My alarm goes off. It’s 3:45 this morning. I snooze till 3:56. Now I’m up, but barely. No shower. Pull on dirty bluejeans. Tshirt. Brush teeth. Some quick math tells me that I’d just enjoyed a luxurious 3 hour and 15 minute night of sleep. Moving. Slowly. And then I remember more clearly. Ah yes..heading out of town again. Excited–but remembered that the cab to the airport is due here in 20 minutes. Finish packing in a hurry. Mental checklist. Breakfast? No time. Auto pilot. I’ve been here a hundred times before. Text message to my phone – cab out front. A first time treat – cab driver and Scott have fresh coffee on hand. It’s 4:14 am and we speed off into the darkness for a 5-something-a.m.-whatever wheels up departure. Again.
You might not be able to tell from the above paragraph, but that was this morning. I’m having that itch again to share the day-by-day guts of another commercial ad campaign with you as best I can with a few words each night. What we’re doing, thinking, feeling. And why. Yours truly, a cast, and a crew during a week-long campaign shoot. I’ve shared BTS stuff from campaigns before (ala the Sandisk shoot in 2009 and the work with Panerai and Mike Horn was great fun too). I’ll be doing that again as best I can this week, but on this trip I’m making an attempt to show more of the underbelly. What goes on. More of the nuts and the bolts. The real decisions, the snafus, the solutions. Take some of the glam out of the hard work we do. In short, report from the trenches.
I’ll do my best to write ‘dear diary…’ every night for 8 days straight, but if all I can muster one night is a sentence and a picture, bear with me. Let’s call it what it is. It’s another experiment. Could work out, could flop. Either way, aiming to share some stuff and have some fun along the way. So let’s get on with it…and back to that cab ride….[the rest of 'today', plus some photos to prove it after the jump]…It drops Scott and me at the United curb at SEA where we rendezvous with Erik. We catch our 5:45am flight. Our mission? Our mission is to dial in next year’s winter campaign for Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI.com). Amazing company. The workload is not light. We’re joining a substantial cast and crew — I’m guessing 25-30 extremely talented people — in stunningly beautiful Telluride, Colorado, to create advertising stills and video. Good times.
A few things that have already happened to get us to this early morning, where we currently find ourselves boarding an aircraft.
_Contracts + down payments. All dialed.
_Lots of creative meetings – several on phone, a few in person. Tons of work here. Lots of smart people.
_Gear. All our gear…camera gear and winter/mountain gear has been shipped ahead to our destination.
_Casting. We’ve selected all the traveling talent already. REAL athlete. Purely authentic. All of whom I’ve worked with before and I’m stoked on the selections we were able to make.
_Pre-scouting. Location scouts have done good work. We’ve shot in Telluride a lot before, but we’ve narrowed down our possible locations thanks to great work from a production crew already in place in Telluride.
_Other misc pre-production… (crew selection, travel arrangements, etc) Let’s just say that shoots like this one take months to ramp up…you get the point. But we’re here now and it’s go time.
After transfer from our 757 in Denver, we board a jet that bends me in half just to get in the front door of the thing. In no time, we’re in Montrose, CO. It was half the price of flying into Telluride, so we’re all flying in here, renting cars, and driving to our final destination. It’s still early when we pickup our rental rig and 90 minutes later, a round of Guns & Roses and The Dandy Warhols in our ears, we arrive in Telluride. Oh epic Telluride. If you’ve not been here yet – do yourself the treat and make it here one day. Jaw dropping beauty. A local scene all its own. Great people and great weather. And important note: the town & mountain are really production friendly. A world-class outfit.
As today is a “travel day”, a portion of our work is already done… We’re here. But we haven’t eaten a thing so as we pull into town, we go straight to our favorite Mexican restaurant, order up a late lunch. Two hours later, we’ve checked into the hotel, wrangled our gear shipment (arrived late but without consequence), unpacked, and had a nap. I take a quick spin to the local gym and grab a shower, then back to the massive gear detail. One by one, all of us crew members emerge from our hotel rooms and reconnect. It’s like a family. Our local production staff here is seriously top notch.We meet up at Rico’s, the hotel bar, and the 5 of us head out to dinner. Comfort grub at Honga’s – our favorite Asian fusion place in town, just blocks from the hotel. So good. A phone call from the Executive Producer tells us that the rest of the crew’s plane is delayed. We were hoping to catch them at dinner, but they won’t be in till 10, so we’ll have to see them tomorrow perhaps tomorrow. She also tells us a call time for tomorrow scouting mission: a gracious 9:30 at the base of the gondola – fed and watered, ready to go.
A few too many times we’ve heard that generous call time for the following day and have used it as a catalyst to ignite the nightlife a little. Not tonight. Fully bellies, a couple cocktails, a long and important week ahead of us, plus having gotten up at 3 whatever oclock. We are all whupped and focused. Back to the hotel. Unload some more gear. Write this blog post and hit the hay. Catch you tomorrow after scouting.
Holler with any feedback or questions throughout the week. More to come.