Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Calling UK Film-Makers - I have an opportunity for you!!

I WANT YOU! (That's not me in the pic though, sorry)

Recently I mentioned planning something pretty cool to preempt the release of "Of Shark and Man," for a very good reason. When the film is out, that doesn't mean you will be able to see it immediately, the first call for the film will be a premiere screening then the festival circuit, at which time I will also be looking to organise screenings around the UK whilst trying to secure the holy grail that is global distribution.

There will be a very small number of extremely limited edition DVDs and Blu-Rays available as a perk with the crowd-funding campaign for which I am toying with doing something pretty cool making them a bit of a collector's item and ultra personalised but as far as seeing the film as soon as it's out, you're gonna be looking at a screening or a perk from the crowd-funding campaign. 


I have been toying around with an idea to announce the film's arrival in an interesting way and to also involve you in the release and came up with this, I want a talented film-maker to put together a "Behind the Scenes," pre-release, featurette which will not only be released and heavily promoted online before the film gets its official release, you will also be invited to attend the premiere screening and not only that, your film will be on the DVD/Blu-Ray release as the main bonus feature.

The idea with this is to give a talented film-maker the platform to get their talent out to an established and rapidly growing audience and to also give them access to the warts and all story behind the making, and release, of this film. Not only will you have a retrospective look at how this all came together, taken from an interview with me and footage from the film provided, you will also be expected to follow elements of the story of the release and film them as they happen, test-screenings, promotional interviews (if we get them) etc. The idea is not for me to tell you what to do, but give you the basic idea of what I think would be cool and let you run with it, with full access to pretty much anything you want.

If you have a production company, this will be a *insert name* production in conjunction with Scarlet View Media. This would be ideal for a film-maker or group of film-makers looking for a project to help them get off the ground and get their work out to a large audience. This blog has attracted well over 150,000 unique hits since 2010, averaging now, about 5,500 per month, each trailer has done about 3000 views each in the first week of their release with new views from around the world every single day and of course, with this short film being the main driver of the promotion of the film's release, it will be seen by and hopefully shared, by various news and media outlets.

So who would be the ideal candidate?

Ideally you need an interest in this film and the story behind it, you'll have an inquisitive mind and want to know all the details and have a passion for storytelling. You'll have some experience ideally of both filming and editing and own your own camera (minimum DSLR,) sound recording equipment and Editing software and computer. You need to be self reliant and at least of the capability where I can simply hand filming and production over to you, at all points, I would be more than happy to help with advice if you need it but I also want you to feel ownership of what you are doing. A full driving license and transport is also a must.

The perfect candidate would already be producing their own videos and short films and have examples of work to hand, a positive attitude, friendly and enthusiastic nature and generally be a cool person to be around with a solid idea of what they want to achieve.

I'll make sure any travelling is kept to a minimum and make things as easy for you as possible, you'll get access to the footage you need from the film and of course, be able to use your film for your own portfolio. Outside of this, I also always look to work with talented, positive people with a good attitude on a repeat basis so with Scarlet View Media, it could mean future paid work as well.

As with everything I do, I don't want to make fluff, a sanitised yawn-fest designed to serve no other purpose than to be a vanity piece so if we shoot a test screening, we record the reactions regardless of whether people think it sucks or not, you might be interested to know the gory details of all the stuff which wasn't so fun and capture the ups and downs, basically what interests you about this whole journey, that's what I want you to capture.

Hopefully by now, the right kind of people have read this and thought, "yes, that sounds like a cool, fun project to get my teeth into," so you'll be wanting to get in touch and talk to me about it. You can do so by emailing me at david@officetoocean.com or by visiting the Scarlet View Media website and using the contact sheet there.

Please put "Behind The Scenes Film" as the title of your correspondence, I can't stress this enough, I get an awful lot of junk email and I don't want to delete yours by mistake because of an ambiguous title.

So, what are you waiting for? :)

Monday, 2 December 2013

One Week On From Teaser Trailer 3 - Success!

Photo by the mighty Michael Patrick O'Neill

So, it's been just over a week since Teaser Trailer 3 was released in the usual low key manner, a blog, some sharing on Facebook and Twitter and a few special emails to special people, the Street Team, and the Mailing List.

The viewing figures are very healthy, the measurable stats showing around the 3000 mark in its first week so it's more than likely in the 4-5K mark thus far. It's being shared in some places I wouldn't automatically expect and not being shared in places where you would automatically think it would be, such are the complexities of life in the modern social media age! The top five viewing countries up to now, in order, are The US, UK, Russia (!!), Spain and Australia and once again, the most positive feedback has come from the shark world pros, the people working with sharks on a daily basis and also, those with no connection to sharks, the "man on the street" if you will. The fact these are the two audiences who really seem to have captured the spirit of the film is hugely satisfying, on one hand you have those whose professional opinions really matter to me and on the other, you have the primary audience this film is being targeted towards, so that is pretty cool.

If you have a group or page on Facebook, a blog or a website dedicated to sharks and shark conservation, please feel free to share this trailer and also trailers 1 & 2 it's an important story that your followers will surely appreciate, there's no gory shark finning footage or end of the world type scenarios, this is a success story, the sharks win, they're the good guys. This is the type of shark media we need more of.

Another cool thing is that opinion on the "letterboxing" of the trailer is overwhelmingly in favour of keeping this look for the film, the non-letterboxed version is here. What do you think? I have also checked the master version of the trailer on various screens, my studio 23" Samsung, 24" Iiyama, an LG 32" HD TV and the 46" LG Smart TV we have in the living room and it looks stunning, the grade really, really works incredibly well and the bigger the screen, the better it looks and that is usually where a bad grade falls apart so this is all very promising.

Mike has had his say and if he likes it, then needless to say, we are on the right track. I would say this third teaser is marginally the most popular, slightly beating out the first one which took me a bit by surprise at how popular that was!

Mike has also beat me to it in thanking the people who took the time to be interviewed during production. The voices you hear in the trailer are Ratu Leone, Michael Patrick O'Neill, Helen Sykes, Manasa Bulivou, Rusi, Alfie Cristoffersen, Jonah from Galoa, Nanise Ledua and of course, Mike Neumann and myself. One of the things I'm proudest of about "Of Shark and Man" is the sheer quality of people involved telling this story and providing input, anything relative to Fiji, is told by Fijians, anything relative to sharks is told by people with the capability and credibility to do so, ditto conservation, photography, history and religion, it's a hell of a line up of people with expertise and passion, unrivalled by most.

So, without further ado, get out there and share it.

"Of Shark and Man" will be released early next year and I'm pretty sure it will be worth the wait. The next thing you'll get is an official theatrical trailer, followed by something pre-empting the release which will be really, really cool and if you are a talented, self starting film-maker, I want to hear from you as this could be a big chance for you to let your talent shine so keep an eye out for the next blog and if you can't wait that long, get in touch at david@scarletviewmedia.com

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Teaser Trailer 3 Is Here!


Here it is, the third and final teaser for "Of Shark and Man," and in keeping with the previous two, which you can view here and here, it runs with a separate theme from the film. The first teaser focused on my story, the second on the sharks and this third teaser focuses on the spiritual and most importantly, conservation, issues raised in the film.

Aside from the points alluded to in the trailer, this is also a clear hint at how much closer I am to finding the look I want for the film. I have worked hard on establishing a stylised, cinematic and filmic look for this trailer, I have always wanted this film to stand out, my inspiration for the style of the film is not other shark films, instead it is a host of films from the 70's up to the modern day so for the people interested in this stuff, it was coloured and graded in Da Vinci Resolve 10, with additional look building in Film Convert, with a few extras I will keep to myself for now. It was edited as always, in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 on my custom built Novatech Edit Suite. All footage was shot on location during production using Canon 7D and Sony XD cameras except the shark fin footage which was kindly provided by Shawn Heinrichs, thank you Shawn!

The music is two separate tracks, the first by Before the Beginning entitled "This Memory of You is Immortal" and the second, once again, another Chris Zabriskie track, "I am a Man who will Fight for your Honor."

You will notice that this trailer is letterboxed, if you want to be more technical, instead of the standard 16:9 aspect ratio, this is in 2:35:1, often commonly referred to as Anamorphic. I'll be honest, I never intended to have this kind of look for the film, I only threw it on the trailer initially to see how it would look, expecting it not to work at all but, on the contrary, I love it and I am now seriously considering applying this aspect ratio to the film. Now, I know not everyone likes this look so I, being the nice person I am, I have also uploaded a standard 16:9 version of the trailer;

Your feedback is important, so please take the time to watch it and comment and perhaps even more importantly, share it on your social media pages, blogs, mailing lists etc. People won't just search out this stuff on their own, they need a friendly nudge. Be that friendly nudge!

If you do decide to comment, please do so here or on the Facebook page but mainly, share, share, share!!! it only takes a few seconds of your time but the benefit can be huge.

Progress on the edit for the film is going well and the first cut is now only missing a closing sequence, a couple of stock footage shots and some UK stuff which will be filmed soon so we're on track and looking good.
Enjoy the trailer and get in touch!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Sarah Shark - Huge Congratulations!

If you read this blog regularly, hell, if you have only ever read it once, you'll know I love my shark films, the (all too rare) brilliant, the good, the mediocre, the bad and the just plain awful, I always watch them and I regularly feel compelled to comment on them on this blog, passing my super dooper expert judgement on them like a kind of shark world Simon Cowell and more often than not, echoing his withering tones as yet another painted drone with a sense of entitlement, tramples over the legacy of the truly great originals.

If you are a regular reader, you'll know that I'm a big fan of the "Sarah Shark" project, a tiny independent group of film-makers in Australia, making their own short form, TV style documentaries about some of the sharks found in the waters that surround their very sharky country.

Why am I such a fan? Loads of reasons!

Firstly, Sarah is the real deal, an actual biologist and whereas that doesn't necessarily always equate to great TV, it gives her a sense of credibility that you can't get by simply repeating what you've read on the Sea Shepherd website, Facebook or the back of a cereal box. She knows what she's talking about and she gives a shit, as in she really genuinely cares.

She also manages to completely ignore the narcissistic, self styled shark messiah approach so beloved by many these days, preferring a grounded, approachable and engagingly natural style which makes her infinitely more likable, when she speaks, you listen because you want to listen to her. It's a simple, yet all too rare approach in the modern era.

Aside from Sarah herself, the content is always good, not too heavy, ideal for that core audience of young teenagers to those in their mid-twenties (in my opinion), it's serious and factual, but not overbearing and shouty, the conservation message is there, but it's not an over earnest, Americanised, finger jabbing guilt trip and I love the way they make it a central feature, without allowing it to strangle the fun and enjoyment out of each episode.

Primarily though, I just love their attitude, they're doers, they go out on a tiny budget and they get stuff done and when they do it, it's professional, really well made and most importantly of all, it has a heart and soul, each film is borne out of a desire to go out and do something cool the best they can and that is something which should be celebrated far more than it already is.

Shark Party!! Photo: Nicolas Rakotopare

So why all this gratuitous purring over these people from the other side of the planet? Well, they finished the first series (six episodes) and having been in negotiations with the TV in their home country for some time, haven't been able to put episodes 3-6 online for public consumption however, since we have become friends in the last couple of years, Kieren Curry, the creative driving force behind the series, was kind enough to let me see them before their wrap party.

Before I give you my thoughts, I have already mentioned we are friends so does that make me biased? No, it doesn't, if I thought they were really bad, I obviously wouldn't come on here and say "this really sucks, these losers need to get proper jobs" but I would make constructive criticisms of the areas I personally think could and should be improved but again, it's only my opinion. If I say something is good and give it praise on here, it's because it is good and deserves it, full stop.

What's changed then in these later episodes? First and foremost, the production is better, it seems slicker and as the series runs through each episode, those episodes get better and better, you can actually see the development happening from film to film and I really like that. They say they're taking us on a journey and they really mean it, that rough and ready, low budget charm, really, really works because they have obviously strived to make the absolute most of what they had available.

The cinematography has got more ambitious and locations play a bigger part, you can tell they've gone to the effort to set up shots in specific locations because they look good aesthetically, that wasn't so present in the first two I thought but in the latter episodes, it's an obvious progression.

Sarah seems more relaxed on camera and is very good at delivering what is a scripted narrative, both to camera and on voice over, she's clear, articulate, warm and the scripts are actually very good.

A really big winner they have is whoever is doing their graphics, from episode 1 to 6, they are consistently brilliant and creative, the time and effort that has obviously gone into them really shows, they are genuinely top class, whoever you are, please go to the nearest mirror and high five yourself.

The sound is really good too. Normally on low budget films, the sound varies from bad, to really, really, really awful, a muffled mess of badly edited soundbites barely audible above traffic noise or wind (I myself have been culpable in that regard on Behind Blue Glass, a mistake I will never, ever make again) but in each episode, the sound is always, at worst good and at best, excellent.

Where I have been critical in the past is the music, in the first episode it was a bit cheesy, I can sympathise though, stock music is often horribly dreadful, a synth dirge of forgettable and utterly inoffensive pseudo melody, music designed to make you forget music is playing, so at least they made the effort to create their own. The musician behind the Sarah Shark score read my first review and instead of throwing his toys out of the pram and having a strop, took on board the feedback from an opinionated pom he's never met, went into the studio and altered the style of music for future episodes, and it's to his great credit that the music is yet another facet of the production which has taken a drastic upwards curve.

To be honest, each episode showed improvement upon improvement and I am absolutely over the moon for them that they managed to finish the first series because it was a huge task. There is so much good about Sarah Shark I feel I should balance out the onslaught of praise with some stuff that's bad about the films but being completely honest, there is nothing bad about them! Is there room for improvement? Of course, there is in everything, but they have a very solid foundation upon which to build for future series, especially if they are given the money to increase production value and I'm going on record here, if they ever need a Cinematographer, Shark guy, Editor, Colourist etc for a future series, I would jump at the chance to work in that team.

On location in Christmas Island

I know the guys have some exciting things in the offing so I won't spoil that for them by blabbing here but I do want to say a genuine well done to each and everyone of them for such a huge effort and to let them know that there are people around the world who support and enjoy what they are doing and who admire them for their courage and conviction to doing something worthwhile. I think you guys are awesome so the people reading this should hopefully feel the same.

Please check them out on Facebook and give them your support!

Well played Team Sarah Shark, well played indeed.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

I will miss you Stu...

L- R Me, Alan, Stuart c2000

2013 has been a difficult year with challenges presenting themselves in many forms, financial, lifestyle, creative and of course, the earth shatteringly life changing arrival of my son and all that came with that so after finally getting Lucas home on the 18th of October, I was hoping that the closing weeks of 2013 would see a new optimism and joy but less than twenty four hours of relief and happiness that Nicky and Lucas were finally out of the hospital after a month of hell for both of us, I was brought crashing back to Earth with the news the following day that one of my closest friends, Stuart Meads, had been killed in a tragic accident in London whilst on a night out with his partner, Gavin.

When I say "close friend," I mean I regarded him pretty much as family. My biological brother and I don't have a good relationship, we never have, we've never been close, so the tiny group of friends I count as my closest mates really are my extended family, the brothers I wasn't blessed with by birth but whom I came to know and love during the most formative and influential period of my early adult years and who, along with my immediate family, my son and my girlfriend, are the most important people in my life, so to hear that one of these people had been taken from us has really hit me for six, I am devastated.

I have lost friends before but this is different, this is one of those friends who you just can't imagine your life without and let me tell you, Stu was one of the most brilliant people whom I have ever met anywhere, warm hearted, generous, supremely talented, full of energy with a love of the esoteric, art and music, a gentle and loving guy who could make me laugh like nobody else. Thankfully, through the grief of losing him, I can still laugh out loud at one of a million things we got up to in our sixteen years of unbroken friendship which was never soured with a single angry word.

I had spoken with Stuart only a couple of days before the tragic accident which claimed his life, a typically funny and bizarre conversation probably only we would find funny and we were discussing ideas for the video I was going to shoot for his band Trademark so when our friend Alan, who lived with Stu and is part of that small and tight knit group of ours who have been pals for almost two decades, called me on the Saturday to tell me the news, it came, as these things invariably do, as a horrible shock.

Only in the last few days has it really started to sink in, made worse by the fact I couldn't attend his funeral due to a commercial shoot I was running for a week in Scotland so I feel I haven't had a chance to say goodbye and to be honest, I'm pretty heartbroken.

With that in mind, I can't begin to imagine what Stu's parents, his brother Lawrence and sister Hannah and his family along with Oli and Paul (his closest friends) must be going through, I can only send them my love and best wishes and hope they can find the strength to make it through this awful and difficult time.

Stuart was going to be providing music for Of Shark and Man which now unfortunately won't be the case but of far greater importance is that my life is now a darker place without him in it.

Rest in peace Stu, I love you mate and will miss you every single day.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

A new, almighty challenge...But a good one!

Lucas Alexander Anthony Diley and his very tired dad 

It's been a while since I last posted a blog and for a very good reason. On Sunday September 22nd at 10:50am, my son, Lucas was born.

First of all, the name... Lucas is named after the latin for Bull Shark (Carcharinus Leucas), albeit without the "e" as his mum wouldn't let me have that, seeing as people seem to have inexplicable difficulty with my surname as it is!

Unfortunately, what is now, in the 21st century, a relatively straightforward medical process, we haven't been quite so lucky with the birth of our boy. Twenty six hours of labour and excruciating pain meant Nicky had to have an epidural, this was followed by an inducement to attempt to bring on the birthing process. Within the hour, we were rushed into theatre for an emergency cesarean, at which I was present the whole time and let me tell you, it's a frightening experience, bad enough for a father, but ten times worse for the woman. After about forty five minutes, a tiny little, grey human looking thing was flashed in front of our eyes before being whisked away as he was not breathing. Thankfully, after a couple of minutes resuscitation and breathing aides, he came around and was handed to me to hold for the first time. This was only the beginning, with an alarmingly long list of complications, difficulties, discharges from hospital, re admissions to hospital, you name it, if it could go wrong, it has and Nicky is still in hospital, having spent only five of the last twenty four days at home.

Last Monday (October 7th) when the midwife visited on one of the few days we were all at home since Lucas' birth, Nicky told her how poorly she was feeling, running a temperature, lethargic etc, the midwife immediately called the hospital and informed them Nicky would once again be coming in. After various tests, she was given a blood transfusion but continued to deteriorate and on Saturday, was rushed into surgery to remove an infected abscess in her abdomen and uterus.

It's been an extremely tough time to say the least, especially for Nicky of course, she has had to watch a parade of expectant mothers come into the maternity ward one day then leave the next with their babies every single day, all this whilst suffering dreadful pain and discomfort and we haven't been able to do any of the exciting things new parents do with their babies yet. I have been trying to keep on top of the daily household stuff, combined with twice daily visits to the hospital, exhausting all nighters with Lucas on the days Nicky was home so she could sleep and two full day film shoots for a commercial client and the prep work on another commercial film job starting in early November, alongside looking after our dog, Missy, and the continuous cycle of washing baby clothes.

Thankfully for Lucas, he has an extremely brave mum who has had to deal with an awful lot of not just physical pain and stress, but emotional distress too, when every little thing is seemingly going against you, it is difficult not to let it get you to a point where you give up, but she has been a revelation and is already an incredible mum, I knew she would be of course, but she has surprised even me with her determination and resolute attitude. Safe to say, I am extremely proud of both of them.

The idea when I quit my job three years ago was to make my life as simple as possible to focus entirely on the film but obviously, fate has conspired to make this journey as difficult as possible but I wouldn't swap my little boy for anything, with that said however, any notion that this means I am no longer dedicated to "Of Shark and Man" and my film-making career with sharks, is completely redundant. That will not change, if anything, I am now even more focused on making a success of "Of Shark and Man" and all my future films, I am no longer just doing it for me, but also for my son, to make him proud of his dad, to give him a positive future in a better place and to show him that he can do anything he wants with his life, to set an example to him that life doesn't need to be a boring procession of "normality" and a dull 9-5 just to pay the bills, unless of course that is what he wants!

It's going to be hard, really hard, but I know I can do it and I am determined to make this a roaring success so that maybe one day, Lucas can take on the mantle from his old man!

With regards to the film, I haven't been able to do anything with it for the last three weeks but hopefully, will get a chance to do a few hours tonight. I have started on the final dive sequence and when that is complete, it's just a few UK based shots to add and a couple of changes to the intro and I'll be on to the sound design meaning we are really not far away from a first cut.

Now more than ever, if you believe in this project, I need your support. I need people to spread the word, create interest and when the crowd funding campaign for the release starts, I need people to help me make that a success. There will be a new teaser trailer soon, please help me spread that across as many platforms as possible and please, if you want to help, email me at david@officetoocean.com with the subject title "Street Team" and you can play an important role in promoting "Of Shark and Man" doing something incredibly easy which barely takes any time or effort at all!

I want music for the film from artists covering the following genres, Electronic, Ambient, Melodic Piano/String Instrumentals, Hip-Hop/Trip-Hop, Avant Garde... If you want to put forward your music to potentially be in a feature film, please get in touch!

Do you work in Marketing and Promotion or Graphic Design? I want to hear from you too, I need posters, covers, apparel designs etc and strategic marketing campaigns. If you're talented, professional and enthusiastic, I want to hear from you!

Yes, I am slightly behind schedule but it's for good reason and rest assured, "Of Shark and Man" is looking every bit as exciting, ground breaking, innovative and cool as I had hoped, a bold claim maybe, but what the hell, it's true.

In case you haven't heard or seen much about the film, here are teaser trailers 1 & 2, if you dig it, give me a shout and get on board. We can do this!

"Of Shark and Man" Teaser Trailer 2 from Scarlet View Media on Vimeo.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Bluntnose Sixgill Washed up near Ibiza

The Shark was washed up near Formentera

More Mediterranean shark news.

This 3m Bluntnose Sixgill shark was washed up on shore at Calo de S'Oli near Formentera off Ibiza yesterday. This is I think, the second species washed ashore in the region this year and many of the shark captures recorded in the Med, seem to include this particular species, hinting that it is one of the few species with relative abundance in the area.

With all that said, I much prefer the videos and photos of live sharks.

Story here.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Great White Shark Video from Morocco!

H/T Shark Year Magazine

Regular readers of the blog know I love my sharks and they know that when those sharks are Great Whites, they should also know by now that my favourite Great White Sharks, are Mediterranean ones!

Check out the video taken in Al Hoceima in Morocco earlier this month. It's not the first time I've blogged about GWS in Morocco either...

Love seeing these! :)

Friday, 6 September 2013

Sorry it's been a while! "Of Shark and Man" update and a very short film...

Animation - Coming along nicely!

Hello, it's me again, sorry it's been a while since I last updated you all and spewed forth my varying brain farts on to this blog, I've been kinda swamped with editing, work, moving, a pretty huge life change (more on that soon) and generally trying to keep afloat amongst the chaos of my day to day life.

With regards to "Of Shark and Man," things are going great, I am just waiting on a few clips of stock footage for the section about mangroves and that part will be done and then it's on to the final, epic dive sequence and the climax of the film and that's it, first timeline, cut and ready to go into post and audio!

On the subject of stock footage, I purposefully set out from the start to avoid it and use only what was shot during the month I was in Fiji, mainly to stand apart from almost everything else being made about sharks, even by the big studios, go organic and go real. However, much to the benefit of the film, I am including a maximum of around ninety seconds of stock purely because it is footage I simply couldn't shoot myself and which aids the film's narrative, not only that, the footage is being provided by professional cinematographers I both respect and like as people so that's a bonus!

The animation is coming along really well, Lian, Emma and Faeez have been brilliant and all possess some serious talent. I got a look at the almost complete first draft and it looks, not to put too fine a point on it, shit hot! A special shout to Lian who has been a real help through the whole process.

There is also a little more UK stuff to shoot but after that, it's on to the recording studio for the narrative voice over and to start work on the soundtrack and sound design, a huge element in telling this story. The film has evolved over the last two years to become something bigger and better than I had in mind when I first set foot on Fijian soil, don't get me wrong, that was ambitious and big, but it is now more ambitious and bigger and I like big and ambitious, go hard or go home right?

 Seals. Brill.

In amongst the film work, the commercial paid work and life stuff, I managed to sneak in some diving with the seals in the Farne Islands in Northumberland, naturally, I took my camera and I've edited a short little film with some of the footage, nothing fancy, just a quick job with the footage set to some nice music but you might dig it if you have three minutes spare.

Check it out below.

Finally, if you have been looking for updates on the "From the Office..." site and/or the Scarlet View Media page, I'm afraid with regards to the former, I haven't had any time to do updates recently and with the latter, thanks to the Wordpress update and the updates to some of the plugins, the site has been killed and due to Wordpress' sucky support (or lack thereof) I now have to start that again from scratch, new theme, new build, the works, so you can imagine how overjoyed I am at that prospect.

Fear not however, I will prevail.

More to come soon...

Edit: Emma Shepherd, on of the animators working on the film has just launched her new website, please check it out, she's very talented and deserves a break!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Fatal Shark Attack In Brazil Caught On Video - A Reaction


Following closely on from two fatalities in Reunion and One of the The Chagos Islands, now renamed Diego Garcia, an 18 year old tourist from Sao Paolo, Bruna Gobbi, has been killed in an attack at Recife, Brazil, one of the world's foremost shark attack hotspots.

What makes this incident particularly poignant is that it was caught on camera, as it unfolded, something which, despite the proliferation of technology for recording video and still imagery on everyday devices, is still an incredibly rare phenomenon, with only the attack on Heather Boswell and the remarkable tag team aerial assault on Shanon Ainslie, providing video of any clarity on what happens in the precise moment shark and human collide. Both these victims survived  but unfortunately Ms Gobbi was not as fortunate.

Before I go any further, I want to state the obvious in that first and foremost, a young lady has lost her life in tragic and violent circumstances and the nature of the scenes captured on camera are very upsetting and although I find it a little distasteful that the aftermath was filmed in such gratuitous proximity, this video does provide a candid look at the reality of a shark attack, both the attack itself and the reaction from witnesses and lifesavers in the aftermath. Whilst I offer sincere condolences and sympathies to Ms Gobbi's family and friends, I do want to take an objective look at the incident because, as regular readers of this blog will know, this is an area in which I have particular interest.

I do also want to add that some of the comments I have seen on the articles reporting the attack have been pretty appalling, both from the moronic "kill all sharks" brigade but even more so, from supposed shark lovers, everything from claiming some kind of karmic high ground using Bruna Gobbi as a scapegoat for the Shark Fin Trade, laying the blame solely on a young girl for swimming in the sea and far too many celebratory in nature sentiments which seem to see the death of a young girl as a way to point score in favour of sharks. Please stop it, you're actually causing more harm than good to whatever imaginary pro-shark campaign you seem to think you're endorsing.

With all that in mind and looking at the video from an objective, non-emotional perspective, this is a fascinating document which presents the stark reality of a shark attack and provides valuable information to aid the assessment of the attack. That is of course, of no comfort to Bruna's family, but it's something I do want to have a look at.


Firstly, before we look at the attack itself, we have to look at Recife's unfortunate position as probably the world's most dangerous beach in respect of the danger posed to bathers and surfers (surfing has been banned since 1995) from Sharks. Since 1992, there have been 58 attacks at Recife, including the attack this week and almost half have been fatal. Only Port St Johns in South Africa has a worse fatality rate in recent times at 100%, six attacks, all fatal. The areas around Perth in Western Australia are also suffering an upturn in fatalities in recent years, providing more statistical anomalies in what is a traditionally high survival rate in global shark bite incidents.

The yearly average of recorded attacks, bearing in mind not all attacks are reported, shows the average rate of fatalities is around 10% and most "attacks" (bites, bumps, scratches and scrapes) require relatively minor medical attention. The marked difference in the nature of the non-fatal incidents in areas like Volusia County, for example and the catastrophic injuries indicative of attacks at Recife, Port St Johns and Perth, is almost certainly down to the species responsible for those attacks and the activity of the victims, especially Recife and Port St Johns where it is primarily swimmers who are the victims.

All the attacks at Port St Johns have been carried out by Bull Sharks and barring only a handful of incidents at Recife in which Tiger Sharks were implicated, the same can be said of the species responsible in Brazil. The difference in Western Australia is the attacking species, where the Great White is responsible.

At this point, I just want to address one theory I have which could explain the increase in the rate of fatalities in WA, which is the protection of the Great White in Australian waters. Contrary to popular belief, this hasn't resulted in a population explosion, however, it has resulted in more sharks reaching the age of sexual maturity and it is far more likely that a human being will succumb to injuries inflicted by a large mature shark, than a sub-adult or juvenile. The sharks implicated in the fatalities in WA have all been very, very large and in at least three of the recent attacks, the victim has been consumed. These are shark attacks in which predation and aggression has been the motivating factor.

As I always say in regards to shark attacks - Every incident must be assessed on its own individual merits, there is no cover all response and reasoning behind every incident in which a shark injures a human, to rely on lazy cliches, is to deliberately misinform.

In areas like Recife, there are patterns to attacks, recurring themes and elements which aid the assessment of an incident which can't be ignored and ultimately assist in increasing an understanding of risk. Recife, like Reunion and Port St Johns are relatively new areas where the risk of attack is greater than historic records suggest it used to be. For example, in the 1950's and 60's, Amanzimtoti was the place to be if you wanted to increase your risk of attack but the last attack there was in 1984. The record books are full of locations which had a bad period of attacks which then stopped as quickly as they started and it isn't unreasonable to suggest that the same may one day be said of these three locations.

In all three places however, it is the species responsible which is undoubtedly the main causal factor in the high rates of fatality. Attacks by both Bull and Tiger Sharks are synonymous in that they are defined by the higher rate of aggression and willingness to bite the victim multiple times. The concept of the "single test bite" refers primarily to attacks on surfers by Great White Sharks, attacks on swimmers/snorkellers by Bulls and Tigers show that more often than not, the victim will face a repeated and sustained effort from the shark.

By their nature Bull Sharks are heavy set and extremely powerful, one likely reason for their physical build, is their natural diet includes other sharks so they need to be powerful enough to overpower and kill other sharks, including other Bulls. This may also suggest why they are more likely to sustain an attack over a prolonged period and attack with such aggression, if they are used to attacking other sharks, they can't risk that shark being in a position to attack them back and possibly cause an injury. What defines the attacks in Reunion, Port St Johns and Recife is this particular kind of  aggression, these are by their very nature, shark attacks.

In assessing the attack on Bruna Gobbi as an individual incident, the video provides more detailed and accurate testimony than any eye witness ever could because it is not impacted by emotion or stress, instead, it documents events as they unfold.

Bruna Gobbi

So what happened in this particular attack?

We know that Bruna and her cousin, Daniele, were swimming approximately 70 yards off Boa Viagem beach and had got into trouble in a rip, Daniele later said that both were panicking, waiting for lifeguards to reach them as they feared they were going to drown.

At 0:17 in the video, we see Bruna, clearly struggling with the current, before she is pulled underwater then catapulted upwards, almost waist high from the water as the approximately 7 foot long shark, briefly visible at the surface, bites into her leg and blood clouds the water.

Two lifeguards are swimming towards Daniele who is further from shore as another lifeguard on a jet ski approaches Bruna. The jet ski is positioned between Bruna and the shark and she is hauled aboard as the other two lifeguards assist Daniele and the five head towards shore.

In the second video, it is interesting to note the relative lack of commotion, unlike in the movies, there is very little panic, instead there appears to be more an atmosphere of shock and curiosity. This is the same as my own experience having been present in the aftermath of a shark bite, during which there was an almost nonchalant and morbid excitement for want of a better phrase.

When Bruna is taken to the lifeguard hut, we can clearly see what is a large and catastrophic bite. The bone is shattered and the flesh from ankle to knee is torn completely, the poor girl's foot hanging only by the remaining skin and tissue. The severity of the wound and Bruna's dire situation are illustrated by the lack of blood on the sand and the drained, white complexion in her right leg signifying massive blood loss.

I have seen wounds like this where the victim has survived with rapid medical attention and amputation of the limb, however, bites like this are often fatal due to blood loss and shock. In comparison with many other Recife shark fatalities, this wound is less catastrophic than others but no less tragic. Sadly, Bruna Gobbi passed away after surgery to amputate her leg fifteen inches above the knee.

The footage illustrates the reality of a shark bite in that it's all over very quickly, the courage of Daniele and the lifesavers should not be underestimated as the shark remained amongst them, attempting to reach Bruna, who remains conscious throughout, as she is pulled onto the jet ski.

There is a human pre-disposition to make sense of something where there may be none, to make ourselves feel more comfortable with what we are experiencing or to justify our own opinions on how we perceive things to be. In this instance, this is not the all encompassing and highly misleading "mistaken identity" bite, nor does it appear to be a simple "test bite," looking at the video and the surrounding information, this is an exploitation of vulnerability.

There are scores of other people in the water swimming and this shark and likely several others, were probably in the area all day swimming amongst them. The trigger for this attack is most likely the rip tide which pulled Bruna and Daniele further from shore, causing them to panic, that panicking, the exaggerated and animated movement and commotion, portrayed both Daniele and Bruna as vulnerable and as such, the attacking shark, fatefully in the location in which the girls were swimming, exploited that vulnerability and attacked.

In Recife, Port St Johns and Reunion, the reason sharks have attacked people with such ferocity and unusual frequency could be as simple as the fact that sharks inhabit these areas, people swim in these areas and every now and again, a shark is compelled to approach a swimmer or surfer with aggressive intent. Using the water in these areas brings with it an inherent risk, albeit a small one, of shark attack, that doesn't mean the victims are automatically at fault as a few too many people seem to relish claiming, it is just a small part of life in these areas.

So what is it that makes these beaches so dangerous?

Recife used to have a busy industrial slaughter house pumping waste into the river system which would work its way in to the ocean, the currents would then disperse this effluent and bovine bodily fluid along the popular tourist beaches so surely it must be that to blame, right? Well, no, not necessarily and it's far too simplistic to suggest that the presence of slaughter houses, canning factories, fisheries waste plants etc are directly causing fatal shark attacks.

The Slaughterhouse has since been shut down, in I believe, the mid 00's but the sharks are still very much present and unfortunately still occasionally seriously injure people.

The near shore coastline of Recife, in particular the areas around Boa Viagem and Piedade where more than three quarters of incidents have occurred, is characterised by a deep channel running alongside a sizable reef which acts as a natural barrier between beach and open ocean, save for a break in the reef which opens the access to the near shore bathing area to that deep channel but then, this has been the case for millions of years, Recife has been a hugely popular beach for decades, yet prior to 1990, attacks here were exceptionally rare, some reports suggest non-existent.

Opening out into Recife's coastline is the Jaboatão River, a characteristic element of Recife's landscape and it is here where we must also look for possible answers. In 1978, industrial development and construction began in and around the natural port of Saupe which impacted the landscape to the point where the mouths of the Merepe and Ipojuca Rivers, areas rich with mangrove plantations and biodiversity, were filled in as part of the industrial development. This, according to local scientist, Fabio Hazin, displaced the population of Bull Sharks using the rivers to give birth and the juvenile sharks using the rivers as a nursery, to the Jaboatão River, which runs directly out to the beaches so popular with bathers.

The development of the port also meant more shipping traffic, meaning more shipping waste and potential for more sharks accompanying these ships closer to shore, added to that, 59% of the Saupe Port complex, roughly 7500 hectares, is devoted to environmental protection, providing areas of protection for temporary and resident marine life.

Recife is an attractive location to Bull Sharks, both naturally and through man made impact, it has river nurseries, deep channels, areas of relative health and biodiversity and the attractant of increased shipping traffic waste. That aligned with high numbers of annual visitors, means that there will be times when sharks and humans collide.

For whatever reason, or culmination of reasons, Recife is a potentially dangerous place to use the ocean. It is often the case in locations where multiple attacks have occurred, that various elements combine to increase the frequency of large, predatory sharks in areas used by people and dependent upon the species of shark, the rate of attack and ultimately, the rate of fatalities, will be affected exponentially.

How can we prevent these attacks?

The simple answer is that, short of staying on the beach and out of the water, we can't, it is misguided of anyone to think they have the answer or the "preventative measures" to stop the attacks in Reunion, Recife and Port St Johns completely. Historically, the two main measures put in place have been shark nets and culls and neither are 100% effective and are even less environmentally justifiable.

You cannot prevent shark attacks in places like these, we can only do what we can to reduce the risks but sometimes, the only option outside completely banning swimming (which people will ignore anyway) is to accept that shark attacks will occasionally happen and that we are prepared for the times they do with effective medical emergency procedures, to try and reduce the number of fatalities.

There is no particular science behind shark attacks, there are just too many factors to take into account in a phenomenon which is so small scale and in which so much varies. Species, location, conditions, activity, the victim themselves, access to medical assistance, all of these affect why a shark attacks, how a shark attacks and what level of injury the victim sustains. In Recife, it is swimmers who are primarily targeted and without the barrier and potential respite of a surfboard, they are more vulnerable to repeated injurious bites and it is also harder to exit the water. The attacking sharks are almost always Bulls, meaning higher risk of multiple bites and multiple bites mean higher risk of mortality. The factors affecting the rate of attacks in Recife is different to those in Western Australia, Reunion etc so, like I said, we have to treat each attack on its own merits and in doing so, appreciate that the prevention of something with so many variables is practically impossible.

To describe these kinds of incidents as "mistakes" and "accidents" is not only factually incorrect but it also promotes the acceptance of myths as truth, much like the concept of the shark as a cold, calculating killer with a lust for human flesh. Perpetuating the fallacies and falsehoods of shark attacks is harmful in that it pushes us further away from the proper understanding needed to establish ways in which we can make our use of the ocean as safe as possible both for us and the sharks.

I am incredibly fond of Bull Sharks, yes they are potentially extremely dangerous but simply thinking of them in terms of the danger they pose to humans is to do a great disservice to their intelligence, charisma, beauty and importance, they are such a cool animal and are not the bloodthirsty killers portrayed by the media as made clear in "Of Shark and Man," if you watch the teaser trailer below, do these sharks look like the indiscriminate killers they're made out to be?

We can only hope incidents like the recent fatalities remain infrequent but one element in all of this which we can control, is how we react, sharks aren't malevolent anti-human killing machines and nor are they carrying out some kind of environmental vengeance against humans so we need to stop reacting as though they are, let's not let agendas cloud how we publicly react to something as tragic as the death of an innocent teenager.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Jesus Loves "Of Shark and Man" - Marching On Towards Release

Thanks mate - New trailer officially JC approved 

So, it's been two weeks since the second Teaser Trailer was released and thought I'd give you some stats on that and also catch up on how the first one is doing.

In the first fourteen days of release we have trailer 2 on:
  •  6418 Vimeo Player and embedded player views
  • Vimeo Player version viewed in 101 countries
  • Facebook plays and other embeds unknown but likely c3000
  • Top 10 views by country - USA, UK, Australia, Germany, Fiji, Spain, France, Canada, Italy, Norway
  • Honourable mentions to views in the following far flung places - Burkina Faso, Laos, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, New Caledonia, Azerbaijan, Northern Mariana Islands
In regards to that last point, it was also interesting to see that in the wake of the fatal attack last week there was a spike in views that day and in the following two days in La Reunion, the first time I've got stats for views of anything in that part of the world.

In the six months since the first Teaser Trailer, the available stats show:
  • 22,878 Vimeo Player and embedded player views
  • Vimeo Player version viewed in 140 countries
  • Facebook and other embeds unknown but likely c10,000
  • Top 10 views by country - US, UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, Switzerland, Spain, France, Fiji, South Africa
  • Honourable mentions to views in the following far flung places -Yemen, Reunion (as a result of the above), Cape Verde, Honduras, Mongolia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Bhutan  
All this is of course, with promotion from only social media sites and I must stress again, if you like what I do, please, please join the street team, you only get emailed when there is something cool to share, you don't get spammed, your details aren't shared with anyone and it is so easy and requires only the most basic effort but it really, really helps get the word out there and in order for this film to achieve anything, it needs an audience.

The feedback on the new trailer has been slightly different to the first in that where the first piqued people's interest and had them wondering what the film was really about (mission accomplished, go me...) this second one has seemingly encouraged genuine excitement for the film thanks in no small part to the "Shark Effect" phenomenon, which actually exists by the way, wherein simply putting sharks in stuff makes more people want to look at it.

It's not quite that easy though because we now live in a world where art isn't as valued as it used to be because everybody has developed a sense of entitlement whereby they automatically feel they should get everything for free.

You've probably seen on your Facebook, at least one person share the trailer for Blackfish, which, if it lives up to the trailer and promo campaign, could be one of the best documentaries in years.

It's a great story, looks very well made and carries an important message and as such, I am going to make a point, despite being broke, to pay to see this film and not download a pirated copy, simply because it deserves to be valued and this relates directly to "Of Shark and Man," in a specific way.

The fact the trailer keeps appearing on your Twitter feed and Facebook Timeline is because it's good, but mainly because it's had money spent on it, a lot of money. Promo campaigns as good as this don't emanate from Facebook shares and likes, nor do they come from out of nowhere. There is a team of creative and dynamic people leading this campaign, who will have been paid handsomely to do so and rightly so because the campaign has been very good.

Basic business follows the principle that you have an idea for a product, in this case a film, you then create that product to be absolutely the best it can be and when it's ready, in order to sell it to make money (to pay off your own cost in making said product, pay rent, eat food, feed your kids etc) you need to alert the consumers in your intended market as to its availability and all this costs money and this is a stage I am closing in on with "Of Shark and Man" now.

I can unequivocally state that, unlike "A Ray of Light," "Of Shark and Man" will not be hosted online to view for free. It simply can't be from a financial or realistic perspective, if I was a millionaire, I would make it available for nothing but I'm not so I can't.

One of the coolest things about this entire project for me has been the involvement and support of brilliant, talented and kind hearted people, friends and strangers alike. It's a big aspect of the whole production really, beating the odds and making something truly special with people volunteering and chipping in where and when they can, I really get a kick out of that. The animation team have blown me away with what they have come up with so far, there are people who regularly share and get involved with the promotion of trailers, Mark and his help with music and sound and of course, the commercial support I get from Novatech (especially Tim who is a dream to deal with), Fourth Element, Canon UK and of course, Tourism Fiji / FijiMe along with the continued support and encouragement from Mike Neumann.

So with that collaborative goodwill in mind here's a bit of a scoop on what to expect in the upcoming weeks and months with the release in mind, as such, let me begin with what my release plan is at present although, this could change dependent upon advice and suggestions from people with a lot more experience than I, so in order of what there is left to do...
  1.  Finish the first cut with finished animation
  2. Sound Design and Audio Edit
  3. Soundtrack (composition, recording and collect third party submissions)
  4. Colour Correction and Grade
  5. Final touches to the look build
That will mean a final version first cut signifying the start of the final process before release:
  1. Individual, Industry Test Screenings
  2. Re-edits and adjustments based on feedback
  3. Public theatre Test Screenings
  4. Re-edits and adjustments based on feedback
  5. Final Version DVD sent to handpicked VIPs and press
  6. Premiere Screening Event
  7. Submissions to Festivals
  8. Fee Paid Screenings with Q&A session Nationwide
  9. Secure distribution
  10. Blu-Ray and DVD release
The above ten points are all dependent on various things but this film will have a "proper" release and the success of that is reliant upon two areas, how much I can spend on it and how many people are prepared to help along the way.

In the next few weeks there will be a new crowd funding campaign to raise the funds for the release of the film, stuff like screenings, Legal Documentation, Digi-Beta copies, merchandise, marketing support, promotional material, sound-design production, special edition DVDs, design work and so on and so on. I am working on the perks to offer and have some cool ideas but I just need to figure out how to offer them so in the event I don't reach target, I end up having to spend any money raised on the perks leaving me with nothing and the whole campaign rendered completely pointless! Incidentally, to those who donated to the first Indiegogo campaign, those perks will start going out (the physical object perks anyway) when the film has its premiere.

I also have some very cool ideas for things to promote the film which would go online for free, stuff like a Behind The Scenes look at the film, songs from the soundtrack, stuff like that and in order to actually present the film properly and give it the best foundation possible I am looking for the following people so if you think you can help, please get in touch at david@officetoocean.com or david@scarletviewmedia.com
  • Distributor
  • Graphic Designer (posters/DVD covers/merchandise etc)
  • Promotional Teams
  • PR Firms
  • Marketing Consultants
  • Independent Cinemas
It goes without saying that all well meaning people offering their services is always hugely appreciated and humbling but I would ask at this stage that if you want to offer your services that you be of a professional standard or a ridiculously talented and enthusiastic semi-pro looking to break into that field. The stuff I can't do, the stuff I just don't have a talent for (graphic design being a prime example) I need that to be really, really shit hot, the kind of quality you would expect from a major studio release.

Part of the point of the crowd-funding campaign is to raise the money to pay for exactly this type of thing and it's an uncomfortable truth that without the help of others and being left to do this on my own, this film will almost certainly fail.

You can actually be a part of revolutionisingg how we view sharks and their relationships with humans on film and that's pretty cool no? With Shark Week looming and the obligatory campaigns about how it damages the public perception of sharks, you have a chance to actually do something to change that so if you don't like it, do something about it and climb aboard the good ship HMS OSAM!

Thanks to everyone who has shared the trailers so far, if you haven't yet, please do so, if you have a blog, please write about it, if you think you can help with the release, please get in touch and most of all, keep talking about Fiji's amazing Bull Sharks.

Here's Trailer 1...

All you aspiring Film-makers out there, watch this beautiful and inspiring piece by Philip Bloom about Cinematography

Have a look at this old John McCosker doc that was linked on Facebook yesterday, I really enjoyed watching it again :)

Have a great weekend!