Thursday, 19 May 2011

Panic Stations - A plea for help!!

Things are going incredibly well at the moment, in less than two months we will be in Fiji, filming part one of "From the Office to the Ocean" which has a working (and most likely final) title of "Of Shark and Man." The edit for "Behind Blue Glass" is coming along very, very nicely, tomorrow I will be featured in Beyond Limits magazine and there is even talk of maybe, just maybe doing some promotion on national television before we head out!

However, there is one, well two, issues which I need to sort out ASAP. 
First of all, we are still short of the two housing systems (with dome ports, lights and arms) for the cameras we will be using, my Canon 7D and Hamish's Canon 550D.

Secondly, I need to source an edit ready laptop for use in the field whilst on production, the 15" Macbook Pro with upgraded 8GB of RAM being the one which could do the job we need.

Unfortunately, what looked a likely partnership in regards to the housings has thus far failed to materialise and time is quickly running out. My partnership with Cameras Underwater means that I can get what we need at a vastly reduced cost and at the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, it is imperative we get our cameras in the water to film!

This is not a plea to the people who so generously donated to the Indiegogo campaign and who's kindness has already helped immeasurably, this is instead, a plea to anybody who may represent Aquatica, SubalSea & Sea or Apple or indeed anyone who would see the benefit of corporate sponsorship moving forward with "From the Office to the Ocean." The situation is getting pretty desperate at the moment so if you would be interested in helping, please contact me where I will be happy to give further details and discuss what benefits you will get from association with this project.

I am already hugely fortunate to have serious involvement from Tourism Fiji, Canon, Cameras Underwater, Fourth Element and of course, Beqa Adventure Divers alongside Ondine Escape, Palma Aquarium and Diver Magazine. This is a project which is guaranteed to gain serious recognition and you can be a part of that. If requested, I can provide documentation confirming association with a major Film Agent and Distribution House who's last factual feature was the OSCAR nominated Restrepo

Interested to help? Email me at and I'll tell you exactly what we need.

I'd rather not be asking in this manner but desperate times call for desperate measures! I hope to hear from you soon!


Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Behind Blue Glass - More Details!

With all the excitement and ever increasing workload of the upcoming production in Fiji, it might have been forgotten that I am actually doing post-production on my first ever film, "Behind Blue Glass," well you may have forgotten, I certainly haven't!

I've already mentioned what an incredibly enjoyable experience it was shooting this film but now is the time to fill you in on what to expect and hopefully you'll be chomping at the bit to spend approximately twenty minutes of your life, with a cup of tea and a plate of biscuits, actually watching it! "Behind Blue Glass" is a short film, based in Mallorca and for which I came up with the idea in late February and to the credit of Brad and Bea at Ondine Escape and the guys at Palma Aquarium only took three weeks or so to get the required funding to actually go and make it.

The film is centred around two main aspects, telling the story of Mallorca's history with sharks, in particular, the Great White and also showing that sharks can have a life changing, positive effect on ordinary people.

The Mallorquin relationship with sharks and its story is one which is very much untold, particularly for a non-Spanish audience, google it and see how little there is online! Undeterred and with a decades old fascination with sharks in this part of the world, I was determined to go and delve deeper into it and did so with no shortage of success! For example, did you know where the second largest, recorded, Great White Shark ever caught was taken? Yep, Mallorca, less than one hundred metres from shore in a popular tourist resort. Surprising yes? I doubt you will have heard the story about this before so who better to tell it than the man who caught it, Xisco Perez? My thoughts exactly so look no further than this film as he was kind enough to let me talk to him about it on camera.

Xisco is a fantastic bloke and gave up over an hour of his time to spend with me talking about what happened, by the boat upon which the shark was caught and was ably translated by another fantastic Mallorquin and new friend, Jaime Ros.

The last surviving set of Great White jaws in Mallorca? Check, eyewitness reports from the people who were there and saw these huge sharks in the flesh? Check, input from the people who know more about Mallorquin Great Whites than anybody? Check, it's all in there for you!

Passionate, knowledgeable and incredibly helpful people were certainly not in short supply, another of these people, IUCN member and fisheries and conservation minister for the Balearics, Gabriel Morey, was kind enough to not only talk to me on camera about the state of Balearic and Mediterranean shark populations, he also took us diving at the El Toro marine reserve to get some footage of Mallorca under the waves.

Alongside the conservational and educational aspect of the film we have a little bit of inspiration as well in the form of a group of plucky volunteers, young and old and all shapes and sizes who agreed to participate in a "conservation project" but didn't know exactly what I had in store for them, they got a bit of a shock to say the least but their reactions are priceless and illustrate my point about people and sharks better than any words. Every one of them was fantastic and an inspiration to me and to see them now spreading a positive message about sharks is hugely rewarding.

So what was intended to be a ten minute piece about people meeting sharks, shot on a minuscule, shoestring budget has turned into something so much more, Liam aside, this was the first time any of the crew, myself included, had attempted to make a film, staying true to my word of involving talented, enthusiastic people in everything I do, we even got a couple of the volunteers involved in actually making the film itself getting the kind of hands on experience they may not normally get.

So what is the result? Most importantly, a film with heart, no pretension, just enthusiastic people with a love for and deep knowledge of sharks, combined with an everyman approach and an awful lot of smiles! Sound good? Keep an eye out, I am currently editing at the moment and some of the footage looks superb and I am very happy with the way things are going, hopefully it will all be completed by the end of this month with a premiere to come at Palma Aquarium and after which, you lot can get to have a look and make your own minds up.

This film is a celebration of sharks, of people and of Mallorca, one of my favourite places on earth and to who's people I owe huge gratitude. It's not a mini version of the film in Fiji as it differs in several areas, it is less "cinematic" with more of a "documentary" feel but it is no less, very "me." I'll leave it up to you guys to decide what you think of it but I'm confident you'll love it!

"Behind Blue Glass" - Coming soon!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

9 months and 27 days exactly!....

It was Journey who said it best (not the cast of "Glee"), "Don't Stop Believing," the beauty in the message is its simplicity, never give up, hold on to the things which give you the faith to carry on, you never know, you may just get there in the end...

A hell of a lot of people said it wouldn't happen, more hoped it would, but felt it a step too far, it was practically impossible after all, some however, jumped on board and shared the belief that it may just work, they offered their time, support, encouragement and even money, they believed in it that much!

On July the 1st, I awoke at 8am, the reality dawning in me that this dream I had obsessed about for over twenty years was now what I wanted it to be, my entire life, the driving force behind why I get up in the morning and the reason I would barely sleep for almost a year. It's now a story well told, no money, no savings, no job, no support, no famous surname and soon enough, nowhere to live...It was a seemingly insurmountable task which would require a herculean effort just to get people to take me seriously enough to respond to an email, answer the phone or if I was lucky, meet with me face to face.

Well, nine months and twenty-seven days later, that dream, that ridiculously far fetched dream, is no longer a dream because I am delighted, over the moon in fact, to announce that in July, I fly out to Fiji for a month with Underwater Cameraman extraordinaire Hugh Fairs and photographer, sound man, expert Diver and raconteur in extremis, Hamish Harper to commence filming for my first, full length feature film! Here's a little something to give you an idea of what awaits us...

With no professional experience to add to the aforementioned, complete lack of anything which would normally open doors for things like this, this is a monumental display of faith from the numerous organisations and individuals who have helped me get this far and without whom, I would still be just a dreamer so to them, my friends, I give my unending gratitude, respect and thanks. They were the ones with the courage to take a punt on a total unknown and a good idea, the kind of people who actually make things happen in the world and I mean it from the bottom of my heart when I say they are amazing beyond belief.

There have been downs on this journey, television execs claiming they would steal my ideas and there would be nothing I could do about it, a sneering contempt from a handful of people who simply couldn't be bothered to even offer a bit of helpful advice and the realisation that perhaps, the shark conservation community isn't as inclusive or ethically motivated as I once thought it was. However, I must stress these are in the minuscule minority. One thing this process has taught me is that people are actually pretty damn cool and the lack of any financial stability and the pressure that brings has been completely obliterated by the attitudes of a great many old and new friends who, without any thought for what they may get in return, stepped up to the mark and reinvigorated my faith in people. In short, this most difficult and highly pressurised period of my life has also been my happiest.

The final, much needed push, well more of a full on body slam, which got me here came from the incredible people at Tourism Fiji, in particular, Jane and Martin who have been brilliant since I first made contact and without whom, I would simply not be making this announcement.

However, anyone who thinks I've "made it" or will be going over there for a holiday is seriously mistaken. This was undoubtedly my biggest obstacle however, the real hard work starts now. Making a film isn't an easy process, making the film I will be with a crew of three will be insanely difficult, however, that's what I wanted from the start, to prove it can be done and with the people behind me, I have no doubt it will be everything if not more than I envisage.

Over the coming months, you will be party to everything that happens, the filming process, post production, publicity, everything. I have said since day one, this is not "my" film, it's for everyone who wants their voice heard, who loves sharks or just has their own dream, a film by the people, for the people. If you have any questions or anything you want to know, please ask and I may just do a blog about it or at the least answer your questions for you.

At this stage, I can't divulge details of what will be in the film itself (I learned that lesson last year) but I can tell you it will not look or sound like any other shark film you have seen, I've done it my way this far, I do not intend to stop now. With that in mind, my first short film, "Behind Blue Glass" is now in the stages of editing the first cut and it looks pretty damn good. It's different to my film in Fiji but will give an indication of what to expect on a smaller scale.

Check out my website which is being updated in the coming days and also join the Facebook group to keep up to speed with the coming news. My workload has now exploded and sleep is pretty much a luxury from now until the end of the year so if you want to contact me, please forgive me if it takes a bit of time to respond.

If there is one thing that I want to leave you with on this blog, it's to say that I hope you have a stronger feeling of belief in your own dreams and ambitions, I'm no different to you, I am doing it, you should too. Go for it!

Full speed ahead Fiji!