Thursday, 12 November 2015

A Long Overdue Update On Life In General

It's been two months since the last blog post and I do apologise! Since the premiere for Of Shark and Man I have been unbelievably busy so figured an update is long overdue!

In regards to Of Shark and Man, the crowdfund campaign is now over and perks have been shipped out (T-Shirts are on their way in the next couple of weeks), the winner of the Fiji trip has been informed (congratulations Stephan!) and the money raised is already being put to good use with seven submissions to film festivals around the world and more to come.

There have been some cracking reviews of the film which you can read here with another here which will be added to the site soon.

I have also started the long process of discussing the film's potential acquisition with networks and distributors, it' going to be a journey with ups and downs and about a million emails but hopefully, it will all be worth it!

I have also started work on coming up with an engaging story for part II, the plan for which is of course, equally ambitious and ground breaking, progress on that will be forthcoming when it happens!

Aside from everything to do with OSAM, there has been a ton of other stuff going on, all of which has seen professional development and all of which is being done to improve every area of my work.

Gabriel Morey and I hard at work in Mallorca

Immediately after the premiere, I was on a plane back to Mallorca to shoot a film for Asociacion Ondine and Brad's involvement in Sylvia Earle's Mission Blue II project. The idea was to put together a short film highlighting the importance of The Balearic Islands as a place of natural beauty which is very deserving of greater protection before its decline becomes as serious as the rest of the Mediterranean.

It was a challenging shoot with a really limited timescale and a pretty intense deadline, there were ups and downs but the former far outweighed the latter, chopper rides around the islands to film aerials, beautiful scenery and working with awesome people and making new friends were the particular highlights. Huge thanks to Gonzalo and Roel for all your help!

It hasn't been made public but below are some frame grabs. I'm really proud of the cinematography in there, I really feel like I'm mastering my own style now.

I managed to deliver the film in time, working against a very tight deadline and this morning I awoke to this amazing news;

"BREAKING NEWS: Sylvia A. Earle has declared Spain's Balearic Islands the newest Mission Blue Hope Spot!

The first Hope Spot in the Mediterranean Sea, this archipelago off the Iberian coast of Spain serves as crucial spawning ground for endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna, hosts loggerhead sea turtles and provides the only nesting area to the Balearic shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus), one of the most threatened seabirds in the world."

This is testament to the amazing work being carried out by Asociacion Ondine and proof that from small acorns grow mighty oak trees. Well done to all involved!!

After a couple of days recovery and another little film shoot for Aqualung UK, I was on my travels again, this time down to Wales to undertake the two week HSE Commercial Diving course with Bristol Channel Divers. The course was challenging, fun, exhausting, at times cold but absolutely brilliant. I can't praise Neil Brock and his staff enough, if you're a UK based diver wanting to dive professionally outside of teaching, meaning media diving, commercial work, oil rigs etc, then definitely choose these guys!

The course was a split between underwater work and classroom based theory sessions with a five hour exam comprising three different commercial diving aspects. My group was a really great collection of people from different backgrounds, all of whom were a joy to be around and we all passed, my final exam results being 95%, 98% and 100% so a success all round!

Massive thanks also to the lovely Helen at the Aberthaw House Hotel who really made me feel at home the whole time!

Upon completion of the course it was straight back to work, another shoot for Aqualung UK then on to the Dive Show in Birmingham where I finally got to meet Amanda Cotton who is as lovely as you can imagine and where I spent a bit of time on the Dive Worldwide stand talking to people about Fiji and the shark dive with Beqa Adventure Divers.

In amongst all of this has been the planning of something really quite special. The last five years has really taken a toll on me both physically and emotionally and to be honest, I'm completely burned out from it all. So much has happened in the last twelve months that I have been feeling for a while that I need to get away somewhere to recharge my batteries, take stock of everything and plan the next move of my life.

A few months back Amanda Cotton invited me to join her on a trip to Tiger Beach and given the opportunity and timing it was an offer too good to turn down, which then morphed into a month long trip to Florida and The Bahamas where I will be filming various species of shark, the focus being Tigers, Hammerheads and Lemons, whilst catching up with Michael Patrick O'Neill after 4 long years and hanging out with Susana Navajas, Tanya Houppermans and John Griffith.

It's going to be a huge honour for me to spend quality time with these talented and passionate people, do a ton of diving and also, put a little film together of my trip by way of updating you all on what life is like post-completion of Of Shark and Man. I'm going to dive lots, get a tan, eat great food, drink delicious drinks and enjoy the world in a state of relaxation for the first time in a great many years. I need this badly and I can't wait, I fly on Monday... Florida I'm coming to get ya!

As part of the trip there is a FREE screening of Of Shark and Man at Florida International University on Wednesday November 18th, which will also include a Q&A with me in which you can ask me anything you like, I'll have probably had a drink as well, meaning my inner editorial functions will be down so I'll pretty much answer anything you. Details of the evening can be found here.

When I get back I will start work on the Behind The Scenes featurettes for Of Shark and Man meaning a load more content for the website and Facebook page so there is plenty to look forward to in the coming months!

Once again, sorry for the delay, I'll try to keep radio silence to a minimum from now on!

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