Thursday, December 7, 2006


Dec. 22, 2006

One wonderful thing about Saint John, is although it is small, it has a wonderful creative arts scene?we also have great restaurants, Indian, Japanese, Thai, Martini Bars, Microbrewery, Old English / Irish pubs, AND a Wine bar named Happinez. My friends Peter and Judith own this incredible heritage building that Judith runs her event management company out of, my friends the Nadeau brothers have an incredible internet solutions company called Evolving Solutions that is based there, there is a great Thai restaurant and bar called Lemongrass, and in the basement, a brick walled cellar called ?Happinez?, this is my hang out of choice. Peter and Judith own this little gem and have really created a European atmosphere where people like myself can sit and sip on affordable fine wines?what a life.


Judith and Peter invited many friends over for their Christmas party, their house is a beautiful old home complete with an outdoor hot tub. Yes, some friends of mine Monica, Steve, Jenn, Tidby and my brother Mark and I spent the bulk of the night in the hot tub as the cold -20 degree air froze our hair, but the hot water in the tub along with the red wine and fireball whiskey kept us nice and cozy! During a drink re fill in the farm house kitchen a fellow I met at a trade mission to Bangor a couple of years previous came up to me and we started to catch up. Dave Veale is his name and back in the day of the trade mission he was working for a very successful IT company. I spoke to him back then in confidence about the direction of my career and how I thought that it might be time to leave my partnership with HIT! Media. He asked me what was holding me back?I had no answer. Every time I saw Dave after that I would give him updates as to where I was with my career choices and he was always opened eared with great advise, I truly saw Dave as a mentor?even though I hardly even knew him. Sometimes you can just trust people, you know they are genuine and that they are actually interested in you so you are free to open up to them. In fact one night I was honored with a very prestigious award presented by the Saint John Board of Trade?I was honored with the ?Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award?. It truly came as a surprise to me because I was always under the assumption that I was a horrible business person, what with my financial books in such disorder and my lack of certain business skills?why was I nominated? Well for whatever reason I was, and I was truly honored and am forever grateful to Enterprise Saint John and the Saint John Board of Trade, and of course my partners at the time in HIT! Media, Tidby and Glenn for helping me get to this great milestone.


After the awards ceremony I ended up at the Saint John Alehouse (a great tap pub owned by 2 of my friends Pete and Trevor?also recipients of an award that night). I noticed that Chris Nadeau from Evolving Solutions and Dave Veale where there as well so I joined them for a beer and the 3 of us talked about business, potential, weaknesses and strengths, it was truly an inspiring night. I think it was that night that inspired me to take action to start a new career on my own, which in the end has proven very successful for all three of us, Glenn is doing great at HIT! Media, Andrew managed to get Planet Luxury on the go (Which I partnered in) and I started on my way to becoming a full time television producer. Anyhow, my discussions with Chris and Dave truly inspired me and realized the value of getting real honest feedback from peers, and that the concept of being coached by peers, family, friends etc. is the only way to really realize your fullest potential.


Fast Forward to the night at Judith?s last Christmas and the great hot tub?Dave asked me if I would be interested in talking to him about filming a corporate video for his new company, VISION COACHING?yes Dave left his secure job with the ?Anyware Group? to follow his passion of?you guessed it...executive coaching! I will be the first to say that Dave is the man for this sort of job. He ended up, along with my sister in law?s cousin / friend of mine Marilyn Sing, going to Royal Roads University to learn the true art and philosophy of coaching?who would have thought that even exists?


I told Dave that instead of a corporate video, why don?t we look into producing a documentary about executive coaching that would feature his company, therefore be a great marketing tool, but would be subtle enough that it would make for a sellable broadcast documentary. Dave was sold?as was I. The 2 of us have decided to go full force with this project and have acquired sponsorship from a couple different sources to raise some money to produce it, after it is done I intend to find an interested broadcaster to license it so the whole world can learn about the new generation of coaching!


My concept was to film myself and my journey as Dave coaches me to become a better business person?which in my opinion is exactly what I need. Throughout the filming of my ?refinement? I will also be traveling the globe interviewing coaches of different types from sports, to music, to spiritual, to art and dance. I intend to define the true philosophy of coaching in all its forms throughout this documentary.


I have a real desire to succeed in my career as a television producer. Admittedly my finances are a mess, I am currently being audited for HST and I owe a lot of money to the ?man?. I am completely responsible for this, but it was truly out of ignorance and lack of business skills that I messed up. 2007 is going to be my year. Being coached by Dave is one step to reaching my goal.

Italian co-pro

Nov – Dec, 2006

After I came back to Saint John Federica and I developed a bunch of show ideas together. 2 of the best shows we came up with where “Cooking in the Past” (a historic cooking show that takes place in Italy) and “Weather Bomb” a very timely doc series about the global issues surrounding climate change. Federica and I share creative vision and I’m so glad that she ended up staying with us for a few months, we now have a lasting friendship and we are both very excited to work together very soon. In fact we just sent our friend Dave Miller over to Italy to act as the young host for the Cooking in the Past pilot episode. Miller was a friend of Tidby's from Vancouver who was a co-host of our first television attempt, a show called the “Useless Facts Travel Show” where we traveled the Atlantic Provinces filming interesting facts (like the ironing board was invented in Liverpool, the ice cream cone as we now know it was invented in Sussex). The pilot turned out really well, now we have something to pitch. Federica and I flew to Toronto to meet with Alliance Atlantis for the Food Channel, History Channel, CTV for Travel+Escape, Discover and CHUM International to pitch out ideas. It is quite an experience trying to prove to these cats that your idea is better than the next guy. We came out of that with a mid level amount of success, no signed offers yet, but at least a solid first contact has been made with these broadcasters. It WILL come in handy soon enough! Christmas marked the end of Federica’s stay at Acamac, so we through a party for her and decided to continue our projects together through Skype…these days you can partner with anyone from anywhere…love the video phone!


A Great Loss


Sadly a very dear friend of mine Leslie Bruce was killed a few days before Federica left, Leslie was hit by a car and it really shook a lot of us up, so sad to loose such a wonderful friend, especially someone who was so accomplished and so traveled. On a positive note I must say that Leslie lived more of a life in 16 years than many have in 80 years. She will be missed. Because Leslie was such a part of our lives I want to add this to my journal. This was an article dedicated to her life written in Maclean’s magazine. To be written about in the magazine truly tells the impact Leslie had on everyone.






Tidby and I where honored to be asked by Michael Bruce (Leslie’s dad) to be honorary Paul Bearers. What a heavy experience, I was so glad that I was considered close enough to her that the family wanted me to be part of their grievance. The funeral was conducted as Leslie would have wanted it, light and a celebration of life, so many friends and family where reunited and everyone was reminded to not take life for granted. It was a real sad way to start the Christmas holidays.


We all love you Leslie and are encouraged to live a fuller life by your example.

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Post production, Mountains, parties, an Italian intern, and Vegas

October, 2006

We see the light at the end of the tunnel, I just finished episode 10 fine edit last night at 2:00 am, I am currently on the plane heading to Vegas to shoot the pilot of my next TV series which is going to feature Ted McIntyre and his MTT team in a TV series that is devoted to speed! I am hoping for a Discover channel broadcast license, we shall see!


This month has been nuts, getting all the episodes edited in time for me to come to Vegas was killer…but we did it. Andrew is now prepping the show to be on lined, it looks incredible when up-rezed to high def. Andrew and I pulled another 3 day straight awake and working session, hard on the body admittedly, and we also pulled another work till 1:00 am, then drive all night adventure, this time to Mt Katadhan, our friends from PEI DMayne and Jacob joined Tidby, Claudine and I to trek the highest peak in Maine. We got to Baxter State park at 6:00 am and immediately started to climb. I’ve climbed Washington before with Jessica and that was insane, but Katadhan was actually harder, I was surprised. We went up a trail called Aboll …it was so steep, and some points we where actually scaling bolders and angles that usually would require harnesses and ropes…we made it after a few hours to the top. We certainly where not alone though, there where about 20 other people up there at the peak beside the knife’s edge who had just completed the 6 month hike of the Appalachian trail, starting in Georgia, ending at Katadhan..what an accomplishment…6 MONTHS!!! I was proud of all the climber’s accomplishment, champagne was flowing that morning. Andrew brought his hula hoop all the way up the mountain so the both of us did some peak top hula tricks and left it up there as a gift to the next hula hikers. We also got shots of Gnomer on top of the pinnacle. Gnomer is a little garden gnome that used to follow Grand Theft Bus from coast to coast and always end up in different cities with different travelers. Gnomer ended up in my possession a few years back when I had an after party in my motor home, Eloise, a friend and GTB fan was in possession of Gnomer at the time and she left it in the motor home by mistake, so I had the little guy for a couple years until a room mate of mine Swanny gnome-napped him and took him across the country again while they shot the TV series “Antiques Road Show” (another Saint John production). Anyhow after that trip I got Gnomer back, but then Dave Mayne stops by on his way out west and picks him up for another coast to coast adventure. We got shots of him on top of the mountain with another traveling gnome..whats the chances there would be 2 gnomes and a Hula Hoop at the top of Kathadan at the same time!


I received a few weeks ago an email from a TV producer from Italy named Federica. She works for a pretty large documentary / TV production company in Torrino Italy. She wanted to come to Canada for 2 months to brush up on her English skills and to also work with fellow producers, so I said “come on over!” in true Maritime hospitality tradition! So she arrived last weekend on Friday night the night the Slip played in Saint John. The Slip are one of my all time favorite bands. Anyhow the poor girl was so jetlagged that she couldn’t see the Slip, but the next night she really got to experience Maritime culture, we through one of our biggest parties ever in the backyard…we had 3 bands, DJs, lights, everything all outside on a clear and crisp October evening. The bands played until the cops came around 5:00 am. It was quite a party, I'm guessing 300 people showed up. Welcome Federica to Saint John!


It is now Oct 28th and as mentioned earlier I’m flying to Las Vegas. Ill be shooting this pilot episode all week. But first thing is first..Vegoose! The ultimate music festival with a line up that blows my mind.


Halloween - November



I checked into my room at the “Uncomfort Inn” on Paradise Rd, it was grimy, stale air, lingering smell of cigarette smoke, and to make it that much more luxurious, jumbo jets fly right across the roof of my room as they come to land at the Las Vegas airport. Right across the street however is the Hard Rock Hotel, it’s not hard to pretend to be a guest and hang out in the hot tubs and lounge on the beach chairs!

I rent my vehicle and head into the desert here the Vegoose Music Festival is happening, what a venue! The Desert Mountains raise high above the main stage. The shakedown in the parking lot brings me back to the old days when I used to follow Phish and other bands throughout the lands...its funny how it was such a huge part of my life no so long ago, but it still holds plenty of nostalgia, and being there alone was a real trip. People in the lot selling everything from Dead tie dies to burritos, to hemp jewellery to my favorite…wheat grass and beer! After hanging in the lot for a bit I entered the grounds and had a great weekend seeing Damian Marley, Jim Jones, Tom Petty, Medeski Martin & Wood, Galactic, Widespread Panic, Phil and friends, Trey Anistasio, String Cheese…the list goes on and on. The late night shows where fantastic and I met some real cool folks. Doing a festival by yourself is fun because you have all the freedom to see whatever show you want, but I was wanting to enjoy the experience with friends, so I met some! I met a group of people from Calgary who I have since visited and have become great friends with; also I met a guy from Ottawa who was a lot of fun to cruise around with. There are good people everywhere. .


After the 2 day festival wrapped up I picked Alistair up at the airport, he has agreed to be my director of photography for my shoot at the SEMA trade show with MTT. Did I mention what I was doing here in Vegas yet? To be honest I haven’t read my own blog in so long…It is actually March 4th 2007 now and Im on the plane again to Hawaii to shoot some footage for a documentary about Coaching…but I’ll get to that later, right now I need to dig back a few months…I apologize for the lack of detail in the following entries, but that’s what procrastination does! ƒº


After shooting MTT’s segment about the fastest motorcycle for Planet Luxury, I had kept in touch with them and eventually came to a decision to shoot a pilot episode for a show all about them, kind of a West Coast Choppers thing, only way faster! So MTT signed up for a booth at this year’s SEMA event…this is the world’s most important automotive market trade show…everyone is there from Ford to GM, to Rolls Royce and every other brand you can imagine. MTT rolls in with their turbine jet powered F 150 pick up, 2 jet superbikes, and their latest adventure, the jet powered Mini Cooper! Ha…this thing is hilarious, so stock looking from the outside; you would never know that packed in the backseat is a 400 HP helicopter engine.


MTT literally stole the show. Cursing the Vegas strip each night shooting flames into the air didn’t hurt! The whole city was talking about the jet powered vehicles. This was great marketing for MTT, and it made for great television, I interviewed the team throughout the week at the market and I filmed enough material to put together a pilot episode. The episode is pretty cool; I am still trying to find an interested broadcaster. I hope to raise enough money to go to Cannes France in April to MIPCOM, there I will try to sell my ideas. The Vegas trip costed a lot of money, and was a risk to shoot on spec but Im confident that I will eventually get something back from the investment.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Acamac to Hawaii

September 2006

We are almost finished the show, our 3rd crew is still out jet setting the globe filming for us, sending tapes via fed ex every other day, we are in full gear. Andrew has started the online edit, which is the tweaking of the first 5 episodes, they have to be high-rezed and touched up before they go to the color correction, sound mix and composer. I have taken the task of editing the last 5 episodes, tall order for the amount of time, 5 episodes equals 20 acts of 5 minutes each. Thankfully boy wonder Lauchlan our assistant editor is such a decent editor that I gave him a few acts to help me out and he took a burden off my shoulders by editing a few acts with me. At this point I was sure that I wasn’t going anywhere but the basement to edit, but as it turns out I was asked to go direct the Martin Guitar owner segment in Hawaii…I’m glad it was me to direct this piece as I directed and editing the first act of this story, plus HAWAII!!!, and here comes another opportunity for me to play another Martin D-100 amongst others.

My girlfriend Jessica is a resident doctor in Calgary, we live way to far apart and it drives us nuts. This will hopefully be fixed soon enough, but as it stands we see each other on average every 6 months…not cool. Anyway Jess and I decided that it would be a good idea for her to join me on the Hawaii shoot as Calgary isn’t that far from Hawaii…right? Anyhow, we arrive in Hawaii and meet my new Director of Photograhy Chris Gargus , he also brought is girlfriend with him as well, I was happy about this because while Chris and I where shooting, Christine and Jess got along great and kept each other company. The resort we stayed at was ridiculous, so beautiful, $800 American a night, and we got 2 rooms for 3 nights for free in exchange for including the resort in the story line of the problem! Princeville Resort on the Hanalei Bay is perfect Hawaii, white sands, beautiful surf, green and warm water, and hammocks between palm trees. It was heaven on earth.


Chris and I went to shoot John Anderton who lives on the island and who also owns a Martin D-100 guitar amongst many other beauties like the legendary D-50 series, a D-50 K with Hawaiian Koa wood, plenty of other Martins as well including the legendary OM-45…probably the most valuable and rare guitar on earth…and I got to play it! I love my job. John was an excellent guy, we shot in his front yard that looked over a jungle valley enclosed by huge mountains with one that looks like the silhouette of King Kong.


The end of the episode featured Grammy Award winning Hawaiian guitarist Ken Emerson playing to a small group sitting on the beach between 2 palm trees. Ken is a very cool cat, you know he lives in Hawaii, very laid back, definitively COOL. It was a quick 4 days in Hawaii but it was worth it and to spend time with Jessica was a real blessing.


While I was in Hawaii Andrew took the European leg to England and Monaco to shoot a couple acts

Monday, August 7, 2006

Editing in Acamac

August 2006

All I can say is that editing in front of a computer for3 days straight without sleep trying to get a deadline on time is the closest thing to going insane that I have ever experienced. August was filled with plenty of in the basement google eyes on computer screens. It always seemed that the big day of delivery was always a Friday night, not a cool time to pick to be working till 2:00 am. This didn’t stop Andrew and I from living the adventurous lives that we live, every year it is an important tradition to attend the Evolve Music and Awareness Festival in Antigonish Nova Scotia. We worked so hard in August that this was going to be our break, our treat, our taste of sanity…AND what better way to start the festival off Friday night then having Mike Gordon and Ramble Dove headline…yes I was quite excited to say the least being a long time Phish fan and certainly a huge Bluegrass and Mike Gordon fan. But alas, CTV needed a roughed episode delivered again on a Friday night, so Andrew and I worked our butts off to deliver on time, we finished at 1:30 am….yes we missed Ramble Dove. But in true Tidby and Hemmings fashion we decided to make the 5 hour drive and possibly catch some of the DJs early morning in the fields. We made record time arriving in Antigonish in just over 4 hours, but we where in no shape to join the party so we slept for a couple hours in the car in front of the Antigonish liquor store until it opened so we could get our much needed and deserved Keith’s red to get us through the weekend.

The festival was wonderful, lots of peaceful little areas in the woods with hammocks, great food, wonderful people, old friends, tents, workshops, waterfalls, yoga and a ton of a great music all to be capped off with an incredible set by the Be Good Tanya’s, one of my favorite female folk trios. They ended around 10:00 pm, we finally left Evolve around 11:00 pm and made it home early in the morning just in time to start another week of editing…we hadn’t slept a few days, but it was all worth it.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Pipe Dream Speakers

Porto, Portugal

July, 2006

Flying into Portugal is an incredible sight; miles of sandy Atlantic coastline, lush green hillsides and clay-orange roof tops. We where blessed with a GPS system in our rental car…so necessary! Portugal is cluttered with one way windy cobblestone streets that are absolutely impossible to navigate through without the help of a guide or a GPS. We finally make it to our hotel on top of a huge hill that looks over the whole city, perfect view!

We met with our subject Jorge, he picked us up in one of his 3 matching silver BMWs. Jorge is a true audio file, and he loves to drive VERY FAST!!! Shortly after meeting him he said his passions in life are good food and drink, cars, women and audio! Jorge, a dentist by day, is an incredible wealth of the science of audio. He and a friend build high end tube amps in their spare time. I instantly took a great liking towards Jorge, his passions where so present whenever he opened his mouth, you can see the love and interest in his eyes when he talked about his passions.

Jorge was very excited that our visit to him had coincided with another visitor, David and his wife from London. David also is an audiophile and found out that Jorge owned a pair of the legendary Pipe Dream speakers by High Emotion Audio. Andrew filmed the High Emotion Audio factory a few days earlier. David was so curious to hear these speakers that he and his wife flew down specifically for 2 days to hang out with George and his speakers, and I was happy to get David to do an interview for the show. David is a movie sound engineer. His last 2 films where Spielberg’s “Munich” and Harry Potter. David certainly added weight to our episode all things considered. Speaking of Munich, we had an hour stop over at their airport at which time Germany won the match of football. We witnessed this as I sipped on my fav. Belgian beer Hoegaarden. We all went to east sushi and drink wine at Jorge’s friends’ new sushi restaurant on the sea shore…AND PORTUGAL WON THE FOOTBALL MATCH!!! Something weird is happening here!

The next day was a great day of filming, listening to jazz and sipping on Port and Scotch. These speakers are truly incredible. The company is called High Emotion for a reason…your emotions are truly lifted when hearing such perfect audio. These speakers are the closest thing to a live concert that I have ever heard. Jorge sent us away with a bottle of port each and a spindle of his favorite jazz cd’s after a great tour of historical Porto. Al and I enjoyed the rest of the night at the city’s carnival held on the waterfront.

Rolls Royce

Goodwood, England

July, 2006

Back to Heathrow, into yet another car rental and into another adventure of trying to drive on the left side of the road. We had to drive to the southern coast of England to the new Rolls Royce factory. The road to get there where incredible, very narrow and windy, lush old growth that covered the road so much that it was like we where driving through a tunnel for miles at end. These roads have been here since the Roman days, sunken with stone walls that could tell thousands of years of stories I’m sure. The Goodwood area was filled with organizers, traffic police and car enthusiasts preparing for the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed to bring in 150,000 people on the weekend. We had a truly incredible shoot all day at the Rolls Royce factory. The Phantom was the car we focused on, what a beauty. This car, like all Rolls Royce cars, is completely built by hand. Mark Brooks, owner of the superbike in Phoenix also had a Phantom. This is the car that people like Snoop Dogg and the Sheiks of Dubai will purchase and not touch afterwards. It is such a class of a car that no one would dare to “soup it up” from its classical bespoke factory delivery. Unfortunately we where unable to take one for a spin, but we certainly got the idea!

Blancpin Watches

Switzerland – France

July, 2006

We flew from London over the beautiful Alps to land in rainy Geneva Switzerland. This was the first time in almost three weeks that it rained. We rented the car and set the GPS for the mountain village of La Brasses located in the famous Valley de Jeux. The GPS however led us up a trail that I’m sure looked quicker in its opinion, but was a bit off the beaten path. No complaints for me though, the drive through the Swiss Alps was amazing…and it was all uphill! Small one lane hairpins along with the forceful thunder storm made the driving even more exciting. After driving a good hour into the altitudes we enter civilization of small French towns with rock walled homes and thatched roofs…French??? We must have taken a wrong turn! We where in France now!!! The borders between these 2 countries are un manned most of the time, and we drove right in without having to stop. So here’s where it gets weird, we drive through this small village of maybe 20 homes, as we pass the local pub French flags and screams of celebration poured out into the streets…you guessed it, France won the Match against Portugal…of course today we where hard core France fans…AND IT IS CONFIRMED…Alistair and I are going to start charging countries to fly us into their borders so they will win the football match! We finally re entered Switzerland and had an incredible local meal at a mountain peak lodge. The Swiss where all very happy that France won, and the celebrations continued all night with horns blowing and people cheering outside our hotel windows.

The next day was spent filming at the Blancpin watch factory. This place was amazing, such fine detail goes into the Blancpin, I now know why they are so expensive. Every piece they make was built completely by hand by one master watch maker. The Famed 1735 Blancpin sells for a million dollars and takes one watch maker up to a year to build. It really blew my mind how these watches worked so efficiently with mechanical gears only, no quartz, no electronics…just the old time tested tradition of geared mechanics. The Blancpin crew where so accommodating and helpful and I would have to say I leaned more at this stop than at any other. My greatest satisfaction of this job is having the opportunities every 2 days to learn something new…this is the ultimate education.

London and Home

July 2006

Al and I raced through the mountains to get back to Geneva to catch our flight back to England. After checking into our hotel we hit the tube to head downtown. One year ago this day marks the one year anniversary of the London Bombings in the tubes. Of course CNN was there in their full glory waiting for something dramatic to happen, leave it to the corporate media to bring back all the horrific pictures and stir up horrible memories, but whatever sells advertising I guess.

Of course one of my passions is travel and that is another reason I love this job. Before Christmas I shot a documentary all over China for 2 weeks. After that stint I packed it down to Singapore to have some meetings with the producers of “Eco 4 the World”, a show that I’ve been trying to co produce with them for Canada. After our meetings I hopped on a ferry and backpacked to the Indonesian island of Bantam where I met a very interesting guy named Stuart Wood ( Stuart lives and works in London for Café Direct, the largest Fair Trade Coffee Company in Europe. We have kept in touch since and I had the pleasure of meeting up with him and Heather tufts again to celebrate our “wrap party” for this latest leg of Planet Luxury. A few Mohitos and a Trinidad cigar later we parted ways and now I am flying over the St Laurence River enroute back to Saint John for a heavy leg of editing.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Post Production in Saint John

June 2006

Out of al the jobs and aspects of the filmmaking process, editing is the process I am most passionate about, of course I love traveling and directing my ideas into pictures, and I enjoy cinematography just as much, but there is something about bringing all the elements together that makes me very excited. Putting music and pictures together is truly a magic experience when the marriage works, I edit with a rhythm, a groove. Even if there is no music in the timeline I am still editing to an unheard beat…I guess being a drummer has had a lot to do with my editing style and rhythm.

I was quickly able to edit together a rough cut of the Martin Guitar segment as well as both of the motorcycle segments. We have hired a music composer who will recreate the music that I have chosen after the final edit. This saves money as it would cost way too much to use the songs by Tool, Allman Brothers, The Slip and Keller Williams that I used to inspire my edits for these first segments. I was really happy with how the whole thing turned out for the first episode. The only thing missing is an owner of the Martin guitar, no an easy task as there are only 35 made and owners of that guitar are not quick to reveal themselves as it is such a valued instrument.

London, England

June 2006

After a long flight across the Atlantic I met up with my Director of Photography for the European leg Alistair Mieux. I have known Al for quite a few years and was excited to do some shooting with him. He had just shot a concert DVD for The Who live at Leeds the day before. London is truly an amazing city, so much to see, do, eat and drink. I was a bit shocked to find that the pubs where closing at 11:00pm when went in to grab a pint…of course my body was set to 7:00 pm so I was in no place to put myself to bed. Alistair toured me around his previous home base London (he moved to Canada a few years back). One of my highlights was a small and packed Cuban pub with machine guns hanging on the walls, Cuban music blaring and people partying in and out on the streets surrounding it. Alistair and I ended up testing our bodies’ threshold for Mohitos…what a great and tasty drink a Mohito is!!! We had a couple days off before our next shoot at Huntsman and Sons tailored suits so I picked up a ticket for the O2 Wireless music festival at Hyde Park and met up with my old friend from Saint John Heather Tufts. Heather moved to London a year ago so it was really nice for both of us to se familiar faces. We saw Metric (one of my favorite Canadian bands), Gnarls Barkley, Flaming Lips (2nd time this year, such a great live show) and Massive Attack. It was a fantastic lineup at a real cool music festival in the City. The next day we met again and Alistair treated us all to a fine bottle of Dom Perignon…I have never sampled a Champagne of this value before…I soon realized that this trip may create a few stories to tell of VERY EXPENSIVE food and drink…Scotland’s Whisky Trail is coming up next week, time to start saving the per diems.

Huntsman and Sons Bespoke Tailors

I certainly have never considered my self a fashioned male, but before this trip I decided to buy some “nicer” clothes, I spent about $300 bucks on polo shirts, button up dress shirts, nice pants…clothes that I don’t usually feel that comfortable in, but When in Rome…

Now I realize that $300 in London won’t even buy you a cab from Heathrow to the Hotel and a lunch. (Cab = 70 quid, sushi lunch = 60 quid). I heard Tokyo was the most expensive city on earth, and I have spent time in Hong Kong, I never realized London would be so over priced!!! However when it comes to the bespoke tailored suites at Huntsman and Sons on Saville Row, nothing can compare in price (and quality of course!).

We had a great day filming the process of these suits that range from $7,000.00 to $30,000.00!!! The artists who worked in the overheated basement of the custom shop are true artists, and extremely friendly. After seeing the cloth and the detailed handwork that goes into these suits I can now see how someone who could afford it would spend such prices on a piece of clothing. I’m sure if I bought a Huntsman I would ruin it with a red wine spill the night I bought it! They respectfully didn’t tell us who some of their customers are but you name a millionaire, rock star or celebrity, there’s a good chance they own a Huntsman. David Bowie, Bono, and even Ralph Lauren are walk in customers of Huntsman.


The Macallan

June 2006

When the researchers finalized a list of items that we where going to document, I was ecstatic to find out that I would be doing the piece on fine scotch whisky. I have only recently in the last few years began to enjoy scotch, and I must admit it is one bottle that I will always have in my house ready for special occasions (finding out I was doing this piece in Scotland was one of those times!). Alistair and I flew into Aberdeen, Scotland after a very frustrating time in line t BMI airlines…all frustrations left however when the jagged cliffs and rolling hills of Scotland appeared below us as the landing gears engaged in the plane. Because Alistair lived 40 years in London without a drivers license it was me that had to rent and drive the car…the first time on the left side of the road with the stick shift to the left of me…very unnerving experience! After Alistair showed me the right way to use a roundabout (Canadians do it wrong, they are too polite and stop in the middle of the circle which congests traffic…the right was is yield to the entry of the circle then gun it!!!), and after I drove on the right (wrong) side of the highway one too many times and almost got creamed by speeding Scots I finally got the hang of it.

We drove through incredible country side, castles everywhere…beautiful jagged cliffs on the shoreline, lush bens and glens (mountains and valleys) and ruins of old stone churches, homesteads, farms and distilleries made the drive one of the prettiest I have ever driven. The village (or as Al says, the hamlet) of Duftown looked like it probably was 200 years ago, all stone buildings, smoke trickling out of the wood fire chimneys with a huge green mountain peaking over the slate shingled rooftops. We where driving on what is know as the Whisky Trail…every little village has at least one distilleries if not more, Whiskey truly is the lifeblood of this area. The Glenfidich, Glenlevit and, Chivas, distilleries are all within 15 minutes of each other, there where so many other distilleries that I have never heard of scattered throughout the area known as Speyside. They say that Whisky from Speyside is the best whisky on Earth because of the water that comes from the River Spey.

Our journey ended at a quaint little 6 stone-house and 2 pub town called Craigellachie. The hotel we booked into was certainly the fanciest and most atmospheric that I have ever stayed at. We where greeted at the door with a complimentary single malt and a tour of their world famous 12 by 18 foot pub and 900 fine whisky bottle collection. I have never seen so many old scotches, I had no idea there where so many distilleries, and the ages of some of these dates back into the mid 19th century. We get about $100 per day for food and entertainment when on the road shooting for television (per-diem). Some days you spend absolutely nothing, other times you spend twice your allowance, it always seems to even out in the end though if you are responsible. Al and I, living the “When in Rome” mentality decided to concentrate all of our per diem to sample the finest whiskies in the pub. The most expensive (that we didn’t try) was 138 quid for 1 drink, that’s about $280.00 Canadian. We both bought whiskies from the years we where both born…Al’s was a bit more expensive! Ha ha. At the end of 2 nights we had spent over $500 on about 10 drinks. That’s the cost of living like the Romans. We had a great stay for 3 days here and I can’t wait to go back someday and explore the region more.

The next day we met with Alexander and David Cox of the world famous, and mystical Macallan Distillery. The history of this place is very rich, they still grow their own Golden Promise barley, they still have long haired highland cattle in the fields, a world famous salmon fishing length on the shore of the River Spey, and most historically the original house of Easter Elchies which has become the defining symbol of the Macallan on every label of Whisky produced. Many of the distillery workers actually live permanently on site, there is a school and a church on the estate even.

The process of making fine whiskey is very precise and complex. Every process is carefully monitored from the barley in the fields all the way to the pre selected wood that eventually forms the casks that the whisky will age in. The Macallan tries to keep to the traditional ways as closely as possible, they are one of only a few distilleries using open flame under the copper stills, in contrast to inner coils. The feeling I had after shooting the process was that this is truly a hand crafted whisky, so much time, care and passion goes into every bottle of The Macallan.

The reason we chose The Macallan distillery is for its supreme quality and taste, and for value of its old bottles. They recently bought back collections of old bottles and have a full selection of fine and rare Macallan scotches. These bottles range from 175 all the way back to the 0 year old famed 1926. The 1926 bottle of fine and rare was released with bespoke labels, one of which had commissioned art from Peter Blake, the artist who designed the Beatles’ Sergeant Peppers album cover. The world record for most expensive bottle of scotch to ever be sold at auction was a bottle of 1926 sold recently to a Korean collector for 37,000 pounds, that’s about $76,000 CDN. I had the honor of being able to see Macallan’s only 1926 bottle in its protected glass box in a locked up store room in a protected warehouse. This will end up being 1 of 2 of these rare and expensive bottles of 1926 Macallan that I will be able to see this week (read on...)

Bologna Italy

June, 2006

After my memorable experience in Scotland I didn’t think any place on this journey would compare…enter Italy. Fine fine fine wine, breads, rare cheese, and PLENTY of perfectly sliced truffles and hundreds of dollars worth of old scotch is what Al and I where treated to by our very gracious host, and next subject Giuseppe. Giuseppe is an incredible man with an incredible life who is living his passion as a professional whisky collector. He said many times over that he likes buying far more than selling, he is a true passionate collector. We filmed in his sanctuary which is a very large room with over 9000 bottles of rare and aged whisky. He doesn’t know the value, he doesn’t care. Whisky is his love and you can se it in his eyes. He was never interviewed on camera before but when talking about his passion, you would think he was a host for a whisky TV show. Giuseppe was the perfect subject for this segment as an owner of more Macallan rarities than Macallan has. In fact much of Macallan’s fine and rare collection was bought back from Giuseppe, you can imagine how much that costed the distillery. In the middle of the room on top of a pyramid of Macallan fine and rare bottles stands 2 bottles of the ridiculously expensive and rare Macallan 1926.

After a great day of interviews with Giuseppe and great shots of the old city of Bologna Giuseppe led us in his Ferrari Super America 30 minutes out of the city into the rolling hills, olive trees and vineyards of this northern Italian landscape. We ended up at a small family run restaurant and ate a meal unlike anything I ever had before in my life. I have never had truffles before, trust me I would never spend $5000 per kilo of mushrooms dug by pigs, but admittedly they tasted fantastic and went incredibly well with our local red wine…and of course our after dinner bottle of rare Macallan Whisky. The bottle that Giuseppe opened for us was a bottle that no one else on Earth has because Giuseppe bought the whole collection, there is no price tag on this bottle, it was bottled as a celebration of the marriage of Price Charles and Diane Spencer…very rare. Now I understand why people love this country so much. To add to the ambience, Italy was playing Ukraine in the world cup, so everyone in the restaurant screamed, sand and waved the Italian flag every time Italy scored…they ended up winning 3 nothing. Driving back to the hotel the streets where filled with fans in celebration of Italy’s win. Already we where in England for the England vs. Ecuador match in Germany, then we where in Italy for this match, and tomorrow which happens to be Canada Day and my friends Ray and Kim’s wedding which unfortunately I can’t make it to, we will be in Portugal just in time for the Portugal vs. England match, Alistair will have to hide his British accent! Currently I am flying over the beautiful French Alps, they are all covered in snow and I am really appreciating my life and my career and this job! Alistair and I managed to find our way into first class, he is stretched out over 3 chairs sound asleep and I am writing with a glass of 2005 Dornfelder Rotwein trocken...

Sunday, May 7, 2006


May 2006 was a pinnacle time in my life…it was the month I decided to write a journal! I have been very fortunate to travel many parts of the world as a documentary filmmaker, and I have finally decided to start logging my adventures. As it turns out the only time I ever have a chance to write in my journal is when I am on airplanes traveling to the next destination. Fortunately for the sake of this journal I travel quite frequently, hence lots of content! Hope you enjoy!

For the last 3 years my friends Glenn Ingersoll, Andrew Tidby and myself have worked very hard at developing our careers collectively to exist as video / film producers in the New Brunswick region as a company called HIT! Media. Hit! Media was a great experience to learn more about the “Industry” and to develop life and business skills. In April 2006 Andrew and I amicably left the umbrella of HIT! Media to pursue our individual interests. Ironically, the first project I was able to fortunately get involved with was with an idea of Andrew’s that has been in development really since the early days of our first attempt at a TV series called “The Useless Facts Travel Show”. We shot 4 of 13 episodes of this series that was commissioned by CTV only to realize that it was impossible to meet the time deadlines with the budget that we where working with…the show got shelved, Andrew and I lost a lot of our personal money that was invested in the hopes of this show. Since that time Andrew developed the show into something that CTV would find more interest in...he came up with the idea of Planet Luxury. This show would travel the globe exploring the most expensive, most luxurious items on Earth. It was a perfect fit for CTV’s new mandate, and was certainly an exciting opportunity for us to travel the world and meet some very interesting and wonderful people.

One thing that Andrew and I have is the ability to bring our creative visions to life on the screen. The necessary part that we where not necessarily strongest at; administrative, was an element of this process that we needed to fill. Enter Tim Hogan and Rick LeGuerrier of Dream Street Pictures. We partnered up with them to create the show that we have been trying to create for almost 3 years…a perfect match! I got a second mortgage on my house, built a full basement complete with a production office, and 3 Avid editing suites, a screening room and $60,000 dollars worth of new Sony High Definition video equipment and sound gear…a full production package. Andrew and I moved our operations to the outskirts of town in Acamac…not a bad place for creative inspiration with the miles of woods surrounding our area and the mouth of the Saint John and Kennebecassis rivers only minutes walk away.

Planet Luxury – A 10 episode TV series that travels the world in search for the most expensive, luxurious items.

Shoot 1 – Martin Guitars

May 2006

Very early Today I left the Saint John Airport after a late night of drum circles and fire hula hooping in the back yard of Acamac to celebrate Andrew and my next adventure in television production adventures. I flew to Toronto to meet up with Mary Anne Alton, an extremely seasoned and experienced director / producer who will be joining me on the first episode just to make sure things will run smoothly. Coming from a film background, I really appreciate that we hired Mary Anne to oversea things this week as there are many differences in the Television production world that I need to be aware of.

The two of us get to know each other and we continue our journey to New York City where we meet our Director of Photography and Sound man Michael Nolan and Mike Karas, again, two very experienced technicians. We hop into Michael’s Suburban and head straight for Nazareth Pennsylvania, the home of the Martin Guitar factory. Martin is the single most important guitar manufacturer on Earth, and they also hold claim to the most expensive guitars in the world; the martin D-100, and the Millionth Guitar. The Millionth guitar literally is the millionth guitar that Martin has ever made. This guitar holds a sticker price of 1 million dollars…imagine that! It truly is a work of art. The artist took 2 years to inlay the pearl into the body and headstock. Chris Martin, the owner of the company doesn’t tell me how much it took to make this guitar but assured me that the expenses where well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Martin D-100 is a series of beautiful guitars that celebrate the Millionth. These production guitars are worth 100 Thousand Dollars each and only 50 will be made. Chris hopes to actually in the end manufacture 100 pieces but of course he needs to first prove that he can sell the first 50.

Dick Boak, Artist / public relations at Martin is very kind to us and pretty much gives us the run of the factory, over 600 local “Nazarenes” work in this plant. One of Dick’s friends Tim Porter pulls up in his Porsche with license plate OM 45 GE, his favorite pre-war Martin Guitar. Tim is an ex Wall Street banker / 911 survivor that finally had enough of the rat race and decided to devote the rest of his life and time to his hobby / passion; the guitar. Tim and Dick pick up the D 100 and the Millionth (combined value of 1.1 Million Dollars) and start jamming some finger picked 12 bar, its sounds incredible. I ask Dick if I can try the Millionth…he hands it over…I loose myself! (This is certainly a perk of this career I have chosen!)

Shoot 2 – MTT Super bike

I had the pleasure this year of buying my old motorbike back from the fellow I sold it to 3 years earlier. Every spring I get the motorcycle “ITCH” to get onto a bike and cruise down a country road at speeds that almost make me nervous. Before this trip I took my newly “re- acquired” 1977 Suzuki GS 550 for a rip and maxed it out at around 140 kms…not too bad for such an old bike, but certainly not nearly the fast speeds of most bikes on the road.

Our first stop was a small town outside of Lafayette Louisiana where Ted McIntyre and his company MTT (Marine Turbine Technologies) produces the fastest AND most expensive motorcycle on earth. One of my hopes on my shotlist was to get a shot of alligators considering we are so close to New Orleans and this whole coast is infested with them. How perfect it was when our very first shot of the whole series was a group of teenagers on the bans of the bayou catching alligators with a chicken tied to a string! This is certainly nothing that I have ever seen before!

The MTT Y2K Superbike reaches speeds of 400kms/h and has a price tag of $185,000 American. What makes this bike so unique? It is completely built from scratch at their factory and is powered by a Rolls Royce Bell Jet Turbine engine…A JET ENGINE in a motorbike!!! When Ted powered it up I thought I was on a runway standing beside an airplane ready for take off, I have never heard such a sound come out of such a small vehicle. The bike has 2 gears; first gear (idles at 55 mph) and Turbo (idles at 85 mph). We hopped onto the back of Ted's motorhome, set up the camera and followed Ted rip up and down sugar cane lined country roads, I have never seen a bike disappear so fast in my life.

Ted’s first customer for the bike was Jay Leno. This is one of Jay’s favorite vehicles (he owns a pretty kick ass collection of toys). Jays description of riding this bike: “It feels like the hand of God is pushing you on the back”, he also was quoted saying that he melted a Honda Civics’ front bumper with the bike at a red light…I can only imagine the reaction of the owner of that car when realizing this bike melted his/her bumper, and then realizing it was Jay Leno on the bike!

Phoenix / Scottsdale, Arizona

May 2006

After a great day with Ted and his crew we flew to Phoenix Arizona to meet another owner of one of these bikes, Mark Brooks. Mark is another guy like Leno that loves his toys, he also has an airport hanger full of toys. Mark is covered in Diamonds, he defines the Bling lifestyle. We interviewed him in his driveway littered with his Rolls Royce, Hummer, Jet powered Eclipse, and his Norton and Harley motorbikes. He took us downtown Phoenix to a car show, the crowds parted when the “jet” came for a landing. Cops where there ready to set up barricades for him. Hundreds of people swarmed over to see his 2 jet powered monsters (he brought the eclipse as well). He stared the jet eclipse and flew 30 feet of jet fuel flames. It was the loudest experience I have ever witnessed. After 5 minutes of showing the car off he gets out to a huge applause and starts up the MTT superbike for an even bigger reaction as he burns out the back tire and leaves the whole crowd in a dense cloud of burned rubber smoke, I was ecstatic that Mike our DP was rolling the camera the whole time, Mary Anne, our supervising producer was running around the crowd with release forms for all the stunned observers that Mike shot, not an easy task!

The next day we spent more time at Mark’s beautiful house by his pool. I interviewed him, then his 14 year old daughter, then one of his riding buddies, Duane. Duane is an independent porn producer and is on Jenna Jameson’s payroll. When I asked Duane to explain what type of person mark was he joked that Mark is the blackest Jewish guy he knew, and that he is the only Jew that could get away with wearing a $200,000 diamond studded crucifix around his neck and get a way with it! If there was a person in my life time that would define the “bling” life, it is Mark. The massive diamond n his ear, his custom diamond watch, his crucifix and of course his toys in the driveway are a quick indicator that Mark lives it up.

We spent the afternoon speeding down desert roads, the sound of the MTT Superbike still amazes me, and in the desert with the heat ripples it is truly an experience I will not soon forget. The desert was beautiful with cactus and rocky cliffs and lots of dust, perfect location to film Mark race past the camera. I didn’t get a chance to ride the bike, but at the end of the day I had the chance to walk it 2.5 miles between my legs! Yes…the battery died! Because this bike only has 2 gears, the alternator is designed (as far as I can tell) to charge the battery only in second gear. The bike is so fast that there is no way we could have filmed it in 2nd gear and actually got a shot (first gear idles @ 55mph, second at 85 mph). I had mark racing down the desert roads only in first gear, even in first he was easily cruising past 90 mph. So end result was on the way home, Mark and Duane where racing in the front, his Hummer was driving behind and I was driving beside them all in busy traffic heading back into Phoenix…bike stops and won’t start. After standing at the road side for quite some time trying to figure out what to do I offered to walk the bike back to his house…what a workout. I didn’t really think that if I dropped the bike I would have dropped the most expensive / fasted motorcycle on Earth, I just thought it was an honor to sweat my ass off pushing this beast back to Marks pad. A work out it was, but certainly a great story…Mark emailed me the next day to say that it was just a matter of charging the battery…I was feeling a bit guilty for getting him to drive so much that afternoon. Mark was a wonderful guy, loves his toys, loves his family and friends and loves life. Perfect subject for our show!

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