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Montana native shares experience working on set of 'Avatar: The Way of Water'

Posted at 11:18 AM, Mar 20, 2023

BOZEMAN - Disney’s "Avatar: The Way of Water" took about 12 years to make with about 1,000 people working in production.

One of those people happens to be from Bozeman.

"My daughter and I went to the 3D showing and of course I’m like, ‘We’re gonna stay and watch credits to see his name,” said Kristin Tymrak.

She says her son, Caleb Ragland was always interested in the arts.

“Whether it’s camera, film, music, or fashion,” said Tymrak. “There isn’t much of that here in Bozeman, so he always had a plan for bigger and better.”

She was shocked when in 2021 she received a call from Caleb announcing he landed a job working on the set of the new Avatar movie.

"It was on a Friday, and he told me he was supposed to be in Los Angeles by Monday,” said Tymrak. "He said he was kind of freaking out and I just told him, ‘Hey, what do you have to lose’.”

And apparently, Ragland had nothing to lose.

“Everyone there was really welcoming and helped me get into the groove of how they operated,” said Caleb Ragland who worked since 2018 on the movie as a camera operator.

“All the markers on their suits and on their faces, every motion is captured and put onto a Na’vi body,” said Ragland.

Caleb says his job as a camera operator was tedious at times, but it paid off once he saw the finished product and how his contribution to the film helped earn an Oscar for visual effects.

“I definitely feel more confident in my abilities and the future of my filmmaking career,” said Ragland. “It’s just great to have this experience.”

He also says it’s great to be able to pass on what he’s learned to other young people wanting to jump into the world of film.

“Just get those reps in,” said Ragland. “We live in a new digital age where it’s so easy to get your work out there and there’s a lot of tools for you to be able to do that. "I’d say this business is all about networking and making connections.”

Caleb says he credits his family for his confidence to take chances and chase after his passions.

“All the things he’s learned and done, it’s just, ‘wow’,” said Tymrak. “I remember getting teary-eyed in the theatre.”