I am a Film-Maker and Shark enthusiast who spends a lot of time talking about Shark Attacks, Shark Behaviour and Shark Feeding.
I am responsible for the films Of Shark and Man, A Ray of Light and A Ray of Light II.
I don't believe in appealing to the lowest common denominator.
I know it's probably a little late but I still felt I should mark the passing of Eugenie Clark, a woman who was a massive influence on me and who can claim some responsibility for the existence of this blog and everything I have done in relation to my work with sharks over the last twenty or so years.
The world of shark diving and its influence on popular culture, although seemingly a macho pursuit was in fact pioneered by women and none more so the Dr Clark. She was a lady with bigger balls than most men I know, a huge intellect and passion and by all accounts a truly lovely, down to earth and friendly person.
As a kid I vividly remember being in 2nd year at primary school, what is now known in the UK as Year 4 (I think) and already being shark mad, I found a book in our classroom about Eugenie and her adventures with sharks, it may have been the original pressing of "The Lady and The Sharks," and reading about when she and her kids were at the beach, all of them in the water when a large Hammerhead approached, as everyone else made a swift exit from the water, Eugenie described how she and her kids just stared in wonder, overjoyed at such a close encounter and that really stuck with me. There was also the National Geographic documentary featuring her work with the Moses Sole and both the book and that film were staples of my formative passion for sharks.
Thanks for the inspiration Dr Clark.
Richard Theiss - A great pro and a wonderful man
I also want to mention the sad passing of Richard Theiss. A passionate shark lover, great pro and a really nice guy, Richard and I would chat via email intermittently and he helped me a lot when I was starting this journey. Richard really was one of the good guys and his immense popularity amongst his peers is testament to this. I won't post lengthy platitudes about Richard as that is for people who knew him far better than I but I do want to say to Richard, thank you for everything.
Condolences and best wishes to his family and close friends whom it was obvious he cared for deeply.
We've lost two of the genuine leaders in our world and they will be greatly missed.
I'm a really big fan of Pelagic Life, I love their media output, I love their ideas, I admire their professionalism and approach to their work but most of all I love their attitude. They're genuine, passionate, informed and they have that cool edge that you can't teach, that streetwise approach to achieving goals that doesn't come from a textbook but from dirt, sweat and long, arduous days battling against the odds.
I was lucky enough to see Mexico Pelagico which I thought was an absolute triumph. There's a lot of shark films coming out at the moment and in the last few years, some with bigger budgets, other with smaller more indie set ups, I take my hat off to them all for getting out there and doing something, most aren't really my cup of tea to be honest but that's just a personal taste thing, however this really stood out for me (as did Extinction Soup which I also enjoyed) as being way ahead of the pack in terms of quality. Everything about it was testament to what is good in conservation media and of which there should be so much more.
I was excited then to see that the guys and girls at Pelagic Life had released a new film which you can view here (please do so!) and having just watched it, it's more of the same. Good, genuine and honest media by a group of people who truly understand what it is they're doing. The best thing about Call of The Shark is that it highlights once again that PL are not just highlighting a problem but proactively trying to fix it. They get it, they understand the wider issues affecting sharks and they have obviously committed to something which is a long term goal. I also love the idea of the collective working together to achieve that goal. They are absolutely one of my favourite sharky things around at the moment, I especially like that they clearly enjoy doing what they do, there's so much po faced schmaltz attached to conservation that seeing genuine joy and fulfilment at fighting the good fight is inspiring.
One of 2015's major goals for me is to get over to the States for a couple of months as part of the promotion for "Of Shark and Man" and during that time I would be in California and if the chance arose, I would absolutely love to see for myself what they are doing, if they'd have me of course!
Speaking of OSAM...
Last night I recorded the guitar tracks for another piece of music for the soundtrack which sounded awesome (natch) so progress is being made there. There are two other pieces being worked on at the moment which means there is the last dive segment music and a short piece in the middle of the film left and that's it. The end credits have even been done, it's at the stage now where I am waiting for the finishing touches and mastering of tracks to be completed and I can then get the official trailer out and also, I have been toying around with releasing a couple of short clips from the film so you can see and hear for yourself what you're going to be getting.
I can confirm at this stage, the soundtrack is not going to be what you're used to in this kind of film, not at all what you're used to. There is no Arabic wailing music or symphonic orchestral pieces, nor is there any Techno (sorry Mike!) I have no problem with any of that kind of music, it's just not where I'm going. There are varying styles in there (there is a lot of music) and each piece has been chosen and composed specifically to complement the accompanying segment of the film and contrary to what you might be thinking and despite the occasional urge, there is no super heavy stuff either, it just doesn't work.
The approach to the music has been a cinematic one, not just shoving something in there because it sounds nice and is free to use. The sound design and soundtrack sessions for the film have taken a year, there's a reason for that and it will show because I am extremely lucky to have some stupendously talented friends who are some of the best musicians and producers around at the moment and the advice to all of them has been "express yourselves." I have provided ideas and guidance on what I'm hearing in my head but I want them to feel free to be able to put their talents to good use and gain fulfilment from being involved and they certainly seem to be.
The official trailer will start being put together when I have one specific piece of music back so that shouldn't be long and there will be some out there getting access to the first cut in a password protected streaming copy. There will also be an official website, the www.officetoocean.com site has not been updated or used for ages, that will be replaced by the full site which will be regularly updated and will host everything. That is part of the marketing for the film and I need £5000 to pay for everything so if your company wants to know more about very affordable sponsorship packages for the site (which will be the central hub for an aggressive marketing campaign) then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
So there we are, we're metaphorically applying the film's lipstick and final splashes of expensive perfume before I send her out into the wild to turn some heads and break some hearts!
Speaking of music, recently, after breaking out the axe again and playing properly I've been feeling all nostalgic about my old life as a penniless wannabe Rock star so I uploaded some tracks from those days, almost 10 years ago, time really flies! If you're bored and fancy checking them out, please feel free to do so and run around your bedroom smashing the place up in glorious riff fuelled over enthusiasm.