Amber’s December 2020 Fan Club Letter

Hello Subscriber,

It is now December, and here in the Calgary area we are experiencing a very mild winter so far. The snow has left us and daily temperatures above freezing mean filming outdoors is much more enjoyable. But what about the stories we are telling? What about beautiful winter vistas on Heartland? This has been an issue ever since we began filming 14 years ago. The unpredictability of Calgary weather has been confusing coat closets since the formation of the Rocky Mountains. You see, Chinooks are very common in this area, and for those of you outside of Alberta that are wondering what exactly a Chinook is, let me explain. By definition, a Chinook is a warm dry southwesterly wind blowing down the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Since the Heartland Ranch (as well as my own personal ranch) are nestled just east of the Rockies, you can imagine these warm winds play games with our seasons. One day we will be filming with -30 degree temperatures, and the next it could be well above freezing. For continuity of the show, we often have to bring in fake snow to match previously shot scenes or else avoid the snow on the ground that won’t match what we had shot the day before. It is also very difficult for our writers to predict how storylines will be affected. For example, since we are filming late into December this year our writers decided to take advantage of the change in seasons and have some fun outdoor activities in the snow… only one little problem… it is December and there is NO snow! So as they scramble behind the scenes to accommodate we all just go with the flow. Alberta is beautiful in all seasons – however I was really hoping our viewers would get to experience our winter wonderland. Maybe Mother Nature will toss a fresh sparkling blanket our way before the exterior filming days are done.
I hope everyone is able to keep a healthy state of mind during these ever-changing times. I believe having a daily routine that involves keeping the mind and body busy is essential to good mental health. I know this can be a challenge for many who are in a “lockdown” situation. Most importantly, stay connected. Humans need companionship in order to feel our happiest. If you live alone, make it a priority to pick up the phone at least a couple times a day and connect. And remember, social media can be wonderful when used for the right reasons, but it can also create a very unhealthy place for a lonely mind. Ask yourself this; can you go a day without it? If the answer is no, then you must find a way to distance yourself. Much like smoking, it can become a very unhealthy addiction. I can only assume that during the past several months many have turned to social media as a way of not only passing the time, but trying to feel connected. I’m not trying to tell you Social Media is bad, but I do believe it can be harmful to our mental health when we become consumed by it.
December is always a happy month for me. I love the holidays and as soon as my calendar flips to December 1st my Christmas bins reach the livingroom (okay sometimes even before then). But the radio is dialed to Christmas music and the lights go up around the house. I also try to get all my Christmas cards mailed out as there are always big delays once the Holiday music hits the airwaves. If you have already ordered something from my website for Christmas you should receive it well in time, but if not… I would think this is your last week to do so to ensure it reaches you or your giftee in time. I wasn’t sure if they were going to get here in time, but a box of my new apparel just arrived! I decided to share it here first, as I always do with big announcements. So, if you weren’t sure what to get for that someone in your life, that might just check off your list. My new apparel was designed by me and is 100% locally made, something I feel very strongly about, especially during these trying times. I was able to tour the factory where each item was created and can tell you the quality of these garments is top notch.

Speaking of local, we took note of the shipping costs for the Amber Marshall Safety helmet and decided somethings gotta’ give! RMG Outfitters decided to take on the cost and are offering free shipping in Canada, and only $10 for the United States! So you can ride safe and feel good about it!

On the Heartland news front, we have just begun filming our last 2 episodes of season 14! We film in what we call “blocks” which consist of two episodes. So this year since we had 10 episodes, we had 5 blocks. The reason we do this is because it limits how much we have to move around. We film by location for the 2 episodes, not by the order of the scenes. So for episode 9 & 10, we film all of the interior house scenes together, then all of the Heartland Ranch scenes together, then if we have another location such as an indoor riding arena or a country road we will pair that together as well. It can be confusing at times to keep the order of the story correct, knowing what scenes come right before and what mood/emotion should be carried through. We have shot this way since the beginning of the series (14 years ago) so it is really all I have ever known when it comes to prepping for my character’s journey.

I’m wishing all of you joy and comfort during this month. It has been extremely busy for me, but after a summer at home and knowing how many are still not back into their normal routines, I appreciate every hectic moment.

Stay safe, and above all, be kind.

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