Ride-share driving introduces you to all kinds of good people. Back in January (2017) I picked up a rider in the Hollywood Hills and took her down to Hollywood proper. We had a good conversation about art, photography, film and creative careers. It turned out that she was a documentary filmmaker who had done a great doc back in 2015 in Monrovia, Liberia, which centered around the Ebola crisis. Wow. I was sharing with her how I had done a lot of still photography and was looking to figure out the next steps in my creative journey, be it film, or otherwise. I dropped her off at her destination. Great talk. Nice to meet you. And then I kept working.
A week after that conversation, and idea popped into my mind one morning. Inception. I saw it completely. I received a pretty strong vision of a short documentary that I should and now want to film. (Stay tuned, because it will be real, and posted all over this website) It was so overwhelming that I started to outline it that very evening. It flowed. I understood what it would be about and how it would look, sound and feel.
I've never shot a documentary before. This is and was not cause to disregard it or even shy away from the idea. It was simply a point of reality. How do you release a documentary into the world? The right way? Participant releases...liabilities...I just didn't/don't know about those things yet. I felt as if I needed a mentor, someone to help me place this piece of work into the world in a real, legal, and correct way.
If only I knew a documentary filmmaker. Hmm...That passenger from last week! What was her name?
I then scrolled through my phone realizing that I had written down the name of this woman's documentary, but had not gotten her name. It was something in the "J" family... I then went to ABC News' website to watch her film: Mercy: An Orphan's Journey of Survival. It's pretty great, and gives you a sense of perspective and what trouble and tragedy really mean.
After a bit more Googling and searching about the documentary, I was able to find the producer...Joanna Devane. I reached out to her via Facebook and we connected and began a nice professional friendship. I shared with her my desire to create a short documentary to which she said she'd be willing to give any pointers she could.
In addition, Joanna is a California native with an adventurous spirit. In the vein of getting to know one another and make time to speak about the film idea, she invited me to go on a small road trip to view and photograph, "The Superbloom." This was a new phenomenon for me in spite of having lived in California for a couple of years. Each Spring, native wildflowers bloom in several California valleys. The color is immense and continuous giving the event the name of, "Superbloom."
On the day, I also met a couple of Joanna's friends: there was the Texas native, now Angeleno, film editor, actor, John Nabil Handem. And there was Andrew Smith, Londoner, composer, rocker, all around passionate musician. (Stay tuned for more images of him...)
We would pack into the car and drive toward San Luis Opisbo to Carizzo Plain in Santa Margarita where golden blooms awaited. It was a day built for creative photographers. On a personal note, I had recently purchased a Nikon D800E and it was another great chance to see what it could do. Each of us took photos of the flowers and each other enjoying the moments. An old field plow made a nice modeling prop. We found two great location of blooms and the day ended with a memorable sunset overlooking Soda Lake. Good vibes with good people: