Friday, February 22, 2013

New Zealand 2013 - Landing, Customs, and Macklemore

Traveling is exhausting...and when it's a work trip it makes everything exponentially more complicated and tiring. Every receipt must be logged, every person must be accounted for. You're tracking multiple flights that are in the air at the same time, and rolling with delays and people missing flights 6000 miles away. And, although I love filmmaking, I wouldn't advise wanting to be a producer. It's alot of hard work that goes unrecognized until something goes horribly wrong, and when the problem is fixed you're still held responsible. I'd rather just sit in the back and shoot video, taking the artistic credit for myself.

Regardless, my team and I have successfully made it to New Zealand in one piece. The last of our cast and crew are filtering in as I write this, and I can't wait to get them all started. 

It was incredibly strange landing in New Zealand again and seeing that, for the most part, things haven't changed in 5 years. I don't know what I was expecting...I mean, outside of Korea, the world doesn't move all that fast. I even had an old friend from Waikato (who has been acting as our in-country Producer) meet us at the airport to catch up and get us all sorted. She took care of us, got us all connected with a car, cell phone, and hotels for the duration of the trip. Coming into a country knowing that you have a place to stay for 30 days and a way to get around is incredibly liberating, and it allows you to focus on more important things and enjoy yourself a little. 

The past 2 days have made me feel like I've never left New Zealand. I see the same brands everywhere, and I'm eating at the same bars and restaurants as when I was 19. All our gear has been held by customs, so there's not alot of filmmaking going on these days. It gives me the chance to reminisce a little and get settled into what is shaping up to be an incredibly complex and from-the-hip film shoot. Not to mention... the forecast of 7 days of sunny weather and a nice cool Pacific breeze blowing through the city makes it hard to stay inside and rest all day.

My team has also taken advantage of the down time and went to see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the Vector Arena in Auckland last night. After dealing with dozens of moving pieces and cranking out a pile of reporting, it was nice to let loose a little with 5500 other people.

This concert was insane. My coworker and I have been listening to these guys for the past 7 months and got to see their album "The Heist" just blow up. If you don't know who these guys are, they're a rapper and a producer from Seattle who are making some waves in music these days. They go against their genre and rap about issues and social change like gay marriage, drug addiction, consumerism, and the love of baseball. The songs are catchy and fun with some pretty deep lyrics. Everyone will know them for "Thrift Shop", but I think they really show up in their other songs. Take "My Oh My" for example.

Stuff like this doesn't come out of rappers very often. It's unique to see a group that's independent who produces and writes all their own music and produces and directs their own music videos. They get that freedom of expression that all artists crave because they don't have to answer to anyone.  It's just them. They're doing it for the love of the art, and it shows in every concert they play and every song they produce. And they worked for it all. It's a rad story. To quote of their songs:
The greats weren't great because at birth they could paint. The greats were great because they paint alot.
Perceptive words for self-doubting artists. All this time put in isn't wasted.
Our gear is back on Monday, and first shots will happen that very afternoon. Until then, we'll be out at the pool lounging in the New Zealand sun (with an iPad working, of course). I'm itching to get shooting, but some good ol' R&R is required on trips like these. You never know if you'll ever do something like this again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Zealand 2013 - There And Back Again

2013 is taking off, and the Orange Sweater is going to have a busy year. I'm working on a massive film project that, because of how much game-changing potential it has, I'm not allowed to go into detail about what exactly I'm filming.

I can, however, talk about where I'm going and the adventures I'm about to go on. The first leg of this project takes me and my team (yes, I have a team!) to someplace very familiar:
About one week from now my team is going to New Zealand for filming. Our project is taking us all over the North and South Islands, and we're packing an entire month full of hiking, bungy jumping, surfing, spelunking, wildlife adventuring, and all around awesomeness...all captured on video.

For myself, this is a homecoming 5 years in the making. I always knew I would return back to New Zealand. It was my first home-away-from-home, and the first place I travelled and made lifelong friends. Every place I've been to since then has been compared to that 6 months I spent studying in Hamilton. It's a country that has always held a special place in my life and shaped me into the globetrotter I am today. This time around, I get to see all the places I couldn't while doing something that I love...and get paid to do it.

The next month is going to be wild and crazy, and there's alot of camera time to come. Although most of it will be for this project and I can't show you what exactly we're creating (not until September, at least)...I'll be able to sneak pics of behind the scenes and some of the rad stuff we're doing. It'll all be coming to you as we do it, and I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I will.

I can't tell you how incredible it was for me to see that New Zealand Visa in my passport again. It reminded me that most people aren't as lucky as me. They don't get to do what I do and see what I get to see while pursing their career and passion at the same time. I was also reminded of how time flies. 2008 seemed like it was yesterday. I can still smell the grassy hills of Waikato and feel the breeze whipping off the ocean at 90-mile beach. I was 19, and the world seemed so big. In 5 short years, the world got smaller. I got faster, older, wiser, and a little fatter all at the same time (yea, figure out how that works). 

It's been a long time, but I think I'm quite ready for another adventure! See you in New Zealand!