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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