Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Albert Einstein once said: "Life is like a bicycle, in order to keep your balance you must keep moving forward".
At the start of the year I hinted that a big new adventure was coming and I promised to reveal all nearer the time. Well, that time is here at last. But before I elaborate, some back story, as they say in the movies:
Back in July 2010, which now seems a lifetime ago, my best friend of all time, Pauline, left Scotland on a great adventure to fulfill her life's ambition: to cycle, unaided, round the world on a bicycle for two years. It was tough to see her go but I was and still am, very proud of her. When people marvel at her continued achievements I say to myself, "yep, that's my best friend they're talking about".
I get to take part too. Normally I'm at home playing the role of Base Camp Manager, but back in September I went to Spain to cycle the Camino de Santiago with her, a memory that will stay with me forever.
Pauline is currently in La Paz, Bolivia and you can catch up on her adventures by clicking on this link: The Bicycle Diaries.
Over the last 16 years we've created many memories together, and we're about to create a big one. On 15 May I will join Pauline in Boston, then after a few days organising we will cycle south for 40 miles to Plymouth. This will be our official starting point and from there lies 4,500 miles of cycling over 150 days all the way to Seattle on the west coast.
Our route will take us north to begin with, for about a month, when we'll reach Buffalo, near the border with Canada. Our route then continues along the northern states all the way to the Rocky Mountains and over into Seattle, with a small detour into Canada around Glacier National Park.
The mention of this park brings one part of this adventure crashing to the front of my mind: bears! We're camping wild most of the way and mostly in bear country. Glacier National Park in Montana is home to some 300 Grizzly bears, the thought of which does nothing for my bowel control. Luckily we'll have my trusty world-travelled mascot, Tigger, along to protect us!
So this got me thinking that there's a fair chance I wont get much sleep all the way, so I came up with an idea to call the adventure Sleepless 'til Seattle. As we cycle along we'll meet all sorts of interesting people no doubt and visit many places of interest, all of which we're going to film in High definition. Then upon my return a feature-length film will be made for release sometime in 2012.
If you'd like to follow our progress or just find out more, either click on the clapperboard on the right or just type in your browser address bar www.sleeplesstilseattle.com
Bears, mountain men, dueling banjos, tornado alley and saddle sores are all going to come together to make one "awfully big adventure".
Come along with us.
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Wednesday, 6 April 2011
I make no apologies that for the second time in as many blogs, events have happened that I find myself writing a tribute to yet another of my young friends that has passed away prematurely. Not many readers will have known my friend, and cameraman, Richard Steel, but we all at one time or another lose someone close to us. The fact we grieve and talk about them is testament to our feelings for them.
“Hasta Mañana”. Richard would regularly sign off a telephone conversation with this, the literal translation being “until tomorrow”.
It is impossible to sum up Richard in one short blog. Professionally on set I could always rely on Richard to work hard and deliver the goods. He and I would regularly lock horns on set, simply because we were both passionate about our craft. But then the next day I would be helping him build raised vegetable beds in his garden, or have dinner together with Dawn, his surviving partner. Nothing ever got in the way of our friendship.
Recently he asked me to help write a biography for him in respect of his BAFTA membership application. Maybe this best sums him up:
“In terms of leaders and followers Richard is very much in the category of the former. He constantly demonstrates a thirst for new ways to achieve what the director wants and regularly surprises his fellow industry professionals. I will often hear from Richard about new technology and a cutting edge approach to capturing a scene, only to find shortly after that others have copied his ingenuity and before long it has found it's way to rapidly becoming the accepted norm.
Apart from his ability to think outside the box, he has a rare combination of skills, from early development of creative ideas, through production and the edit process, be this in digital or film. This gives him an ability to understand the entire collaborative process and make everyone’s job that bit easier. But one of the main qualities that Richard possesses is his generosity. Never one to guard his niche jealously he is in his element in sharing his skills and expertise with those on their way up, reaching out a hand to nurture new talent in a very competitive industry”.
Richard and I met in the late ‘90s and if it hadn’t been for his enthusiasm and drive I doubt I would have returned to film making full time.
In 2004 one of the many highlights of working together was to film the Dalai Lama’s visit to Scotland.
But Richard was only one half of the package. The other was Dawn, his partner. They were great together, very comfortable with each other, and Dawn always has a smile for everyone. We are lucky to still have Dawn in our lives, and I know that Dawn still has us.
Hasta Mañana Rich.