Wednesday, February 7, 2007

ECMA?s , back home, Planet Luxury Screening

Feb 2007


I was very sad to leave Jessica to go back East, but we made a plan to meet each other again in Hawaii in a month so it was all good. I flew into Halifax and immediately started filming the East Coast Music Awards. What a party…exhausting too. My filming shift was the Roots Room, the Rock Showcase, and the Sennheiser late night lounge. This was 5pm till 7:00 am each night for 4 nights. It was hard on the body, but a good time was had. I think between Shaun (my Nova Scotia filming brother), the live stream and myself I think we got close to 250 hours of content for the website. Quite impressive indeed. The awards show was fantastic this year, I was able to enjoy the awards live as a spectator for the first time in 5 years. Top notch quality this year, it was great to see so many of my friends up on stage getting awards, the East Coat music scene is incredible these days.


The next day Csaba and Jay Maclean drive back to Saint John. RIGHT when I get to town I have to go straight to Elwood’s bar because we are having the Planet Luxury premiere screening. A great turnout happened and we watched the fruits of our labor for the first time live on TV complete with commercials, a feeling of accomplishment for sure.


The next weekend Tidby, our friend Leah and I went down to Portland Maine to hook up with my old friend Chris Gorman, and 2 other good friends from Boston Deana and Nick to see Wintersleep and the Slip play a show. Two of my favorite bands playing together, definitely worth the 7 hour drive, both bands where surprised and happy to see that we made the long journey just to see them! Chris is temporarily living in a cool little cabin on Sabago Lake, it was great to catch up with him as he’s been living in Korea with his lovely wife Heather for a few years now. The next day we had fun out on the lake with the ice fishermen and the skidoos, beautiful day. The show that night was ridiculous, so good. I had met Deana a few years ago in the Caribbean when I was traveling with Chris, so it was nice for us all to hook up again. Tidby knew Deana as well because a few year’s back when I was traveling with Grand Theft Bus on their Eastern U.S. tour I left the guys at Boston and hopped in with Deana and the 2 of us traveled up to Limestone Maine together to go to Phish’s last Maine mega summer festival. Tidby drove my motorhome from Saint John and Deana and I met up with him and we all had a great festival together. So Tidby was excited to see her again. We all loved Nick her boyfriend, very cool kid.


Xtremey Award Nomination


When I got back from Portland I got a wonderful email from Impact Video distributors from Orange Count…Marty Smith Motocross, the instructional video that we (HIT! Media) produced as our first project ever was just nominated for an Xtremey award! This award show happens annually and is a big industry event for extreme sports video producers…it was a real honor to be nominated. I plan to attend the awards in May to see if we win, but even if we don’t the honor of the nomination is enough for me, and the fact that we produced this 4 years ago and it’s being recognized now is quite a thrill.









Bluegrass to HIT! Media to Marty Smith Motocross


Rewind a few years back to the summer of 2003, Tidby and myself where driving back from Halifax and while passing Memramcook, NB we saw a field full of motorhomes…now you need to know, I for some unhealthy reason LOVE MOTORHOMES…Im not sure any other mid 20s guy has such a passion for homes on wheels as I do. I have owned 4 VW camper vans and 4 motorhomes. In fact I lived in a motorhome while going to Film School for 2 years in Niagara…literally on a vineyard and peach orchard…2 feet out of my motorhome’s door where rows and rows of juicy grapes ready to be plucked and converted into ice wine! My friend Sarah Hedar and I bought this Class C motorhome together as we where both broke and living out of a vehicle only made sense…after we came back from Christmas holidays finding our motorhome had an axe sticking out of it we realized that the local neighbors didn’t want us there so we moved closer to school and plugged into various friends’ electrical sockets as we filled their driveways. Besides the fact that every time it rained or snowed we would have a continual leak of water flowing like a tap through the ceiling, we still had a great time living in it. Now I know this segment of my journal is about the Extremey awards but I cant resist taking a right angle turn and talking about my vehicle collection over the years…One of my room mates at film school during the only year that I actually lived in a house was named Jzero Schuurman, he suggested that I named my vehicles alphabetically…so I did, and so I don’t forget in the future, here’s the list! The Vehicles in red are my campers or motorhomes. Each of these vehicles have a VERY interesting story that I will add sometime along with pictures when I get a chance.




  1. Ack Ack- 1981 VW Bus (2.0 L Flat 5 water cooled)

  2. Beaster- 1985 Chrysler Caravan

  3. Carlos- 1975 VW Camper Van (1.6 L Flat 4 air cooled)

  4. Duncan- 1972 VW Fastback

  5. Ethel- 1978 Class C Ford Eldorado Motorhome

  6. Farley- 1977 Suzuki 550 GS

  7. Gina- 1976 VW Camper Van (2.0 L Flat 4 air cooled)

  8. House- 1985 Class C Ford Motorhome

  9. Ing- 1987 Winnebago on a Peugeot chassis and Renault 4 Cylinder

  10. Jebs- 1992 Jeep

  11. Killer- 1994 Ford Windstar

  12. Lynnard- 1992 30 ft Motorhome

  13. Mamma – 1997 Chrysler Intrepid

  14. Nina- 2003 Subaru Outback

  15. Stan- 1974 VW Camper Van (2.0 L Flat 4 air cooled)


Anyhow, vehicles aside, you can understand how I got excited to see so many campers in a field…we drove in to see what the campout was all about…it was a Bluegrass Festival!!! I have never been to one before, but I LOVE BLUEGRASS!!! Ive been playing banjo for years, listening to Earl Scruggs, Old and in the Way, Del McCoury etc. loving every note…I was a huge bluegrass fan but never experienced it live.


  1. Tidby and I just happened to have our cameras with us so we asked the organizers if we could get in for free in exchange for us filming the show…they where thrilled. The organizers ended up being the Cormier family of the Bluegrass Diamonds, truly one of my heroes in bluegrass music, I have since become quite good friends with the group, I hope to someday film a DVD for them…they are on my lifetime list of music DVDs to produce.


Anyway, back to the journal…


Tidby and I called Glenn Ingersoll to come down to the bluegrass festival because he has an extra camera AND some great sound equipment. The 3 of us worked together to make our first documentary which was called East Coast Breakdown. We ended up traveling throughout Atlantic Canada to all the different bluegrass festivals including the Maritime Bluegrass Awards show. We took all this great musical footage and released the documentary. It was honored at the Silver Wave film festival for Best Documentary runner up, and it also received honors at the Atlantic Film Festival and the Reel Island Film Festival. Unfortunately after we spend thousands of dollars to release the DVD we ignorantly realized that we didn’t have the rights to sell the DVD because we hadn’t purchased the publishing rights from the song owners…A HUGE lesson was learned. We pulled the DVDs off the shelf. I currently have 900 DVDs in my closet…what a waste. You can see the documentary for FREE at my website in the screening room, its called East Coast Breakdown...


The end result is that this project proved that Glenn, Tidby and I could worked together and with our combined talents and equipment we could create a company and start working for ourselves…HIT! Media was born. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, we stayed with HIT! For 2 years, then Andrew and I left, leaving the company to Glenn. Tidby and I are now independent producers; we still work on projects together, but are on our own. Glenn is doing great with the company now, it was a wonderful educational experience for us all, now we have graduated from the business hard knocks school, and the 3 of us are out on our own making it happen individually and collectively. It all worked out in the end.


Back to Motocross


A few days after we filmed East Coast Breakdown, Glenn, Tidby and I decided to form our company, HIT! Media…that very day Dean Roberts, our friend and film technician colleague, approached us to produce an instructional motocross video featuring Marty Smith, literally the Wayne Gretzky of Motocross. Our first day of existence we got a gig! How cool. The video was funded by local motocross enthusiast and team owner Steve Belyea. Steve flew us all down to San Diego to film the video with Marty. Marty even let me ride is bike around his track for a while…what a trip, I haven’t ridden a dirt bike since I was a kid. To add to my vehicle list, as a child my dad got my brother Mark ( and I a little dirt bike with a Briggs and Stratton single piston motor in it, the I saved my allowance and purchased a Honda 50 from Kevin Corbett across the street, I was 6 years old, then after selling that bike I bought a Yamaha 80cc dirt bike, that was a real rocket, I loved that little bike. Anyhow, that was the last motorbike I owned until Chris Gorman and I drove to Petitcodiac NB to purchase my first and current street bike back in 1995…named Farley (he was far from a Harley). Now Farley had a story of his own.




Not only was Farley a great literary icon, he was also a friend of mine from St. Andrews who threw many great, wild and psychedelic parties on Chamcook Lake, but even more significant….Farley was my 1977 Suzuki GS 550…as old as I am! My birthday is Feb 2, 1977. That makes me the big whopping 30 years old currently as I write this journal on my flight across the Atlantic Ocean to Zurich, then to Milan, then Turin, then Cannes. (I’ll fill you in later on that story). The cool thing about this bike is as follows:


1982 – I was 5 years old, my dad’s childhood best friend John Lewis had a motorbike…as a young child and even today I was always fond of John and his wife Mary-Lou…I always imagined them as hippies in their younger years. Their daughter Sarah was a few years younger than Mark and I but I remember our families going on road trips with little camper trailers down to Bar Harbor every summer…sometimes in the teardrop windowed van of Dad and John’s other friend Dave Esterbrooks. I have only a few , but very fond memories of those days, I hope the young generation that I’m involved with now has just as sweet memories as they get older. The magic of being a child!


Anyhow, Dad one fall took me out on John’s HUGE street bike, the 77 GS 550. I remember dad took me down the highway SO FAST!!!! The bike was huge, what a thrill, much to my ma’s dismay, I was hooked! Anyway, I never got onto a street bike again until 13 years later, and yes, it was the SAME bike! John Lewis wanted to sell his motorbike and upgrade to a Honda Gold Wing, I think I bought it from him 12 years ago for 500 bucks.


I had many good years with that bike! I remember Tidby and I drive it up to Fredericton to work on our 2nd movie called the Dance in Fredericton. We got the job only because we survived our first movie called “In Her Defense”, a court thriller starring Michael Dudikoff (The American Ninja) and Marley Matlin (Children of a Lesser God, Seinfeld’s def girlfriends in one of his episodes. That film was directed by Sydney Fury (Superman, American Eagle). Andrew and I volunteered to work on this film for free just to get experience. Ironic thing is, Glenn Ingersoll (our future partner in HIT! Media) was working in the “Unit Department” and was part of the reason we got hired…first time we met Glenn, so interesting!


Career Beginnings

First Feature Film


Anyhow I was in my 3rd year of film school at the time and I thought it would serve me better to leave my cozy motorhome in my friend’s driveway (Robbie and Mike) and take up a “leave of absence” to work on this film..FOR FREE!!!...whatever, it’s truly the only way to break into this ridiculous business. Andres and, even though we weren’t paid, where treated like SHIT! WOW, forget the military, join the camera department on feature films, you become a man quite quickly I must admit. I think I learned my uncanny talent of exercised humility from working as an IATSE camera trainee. Great experience, glad I’ not doing it anymore!


Our boss on that film was a guy named John E*^n had to have been the meanest man I have ever worked for…BUT though I hate to admit it, he made me strong, I remember having feelings of violence towards this guy which was a new feeling for me, I never had so much distain towards someone before…I also remember fighting back tears after a VERY HARD and abusive day, but staying strong, knowing that I had to get through these tests before I could “Make it”…I continued to stay strong, and almost 10 years later I feel that the hard work is starting to pay off...I just can’t wait to hire John sometime! Ha ha. I certainly don’t have a vengeful spirit, but I must admit the most amazing lesson I ever learned through that hellish experience. ALWAYS RESPECT PEOPLE. No matter if they are above you, your equals, or below you, treat everyone with equal respect. I have had a few (only a few mind you) idiots that I have worked with who abused there power positions and treated me with dis respect, I always took the disrespect with honor and tried not to let it get to me, AND always promising that I would never disrespect someone who works under me. Anyhow, the funny thing is, now that I am a producer and am in the position to hire these people, I have already been in the place where the few people who abused their positions in the past have asked to be hired by me. Truthfully I will never hold a grudge, but I tell you I will never disrespect anyone working with me, for me, or above me because these people are part of a team and an ultimate goal, AND some day, the people under me may be my boss. Great revelations…Whatever.


The climax of this story is that at the end of the film, Sydney the director gathered everyone in the crew together at the wrap party and said:


“Andrew and Greg worked for free on this film and they got their asses kicked…but they didn’t give up. Please for your own sake take care of young guys like this because before long YOU WILL be working for them.”


Respectfully this has come true many times over, Sydney was not only a great director, but a profit of Biblical proportions! ƒยบ


I solemnly swear in this journal that I will always respect all who I work, play and love with…this has been a wonderful life lesson.


As it turned out the Production Coordinator Jackie Anderson and Glenn ended up taking a collection from the crew for Tidby and I, it was very nice of the crew…funny thing everyone but our jerk boss and focus puller contributed to the fund. Anyhow enough money was collected from the crew that I could buy my first street motorcycle…it was John Lewis’ bike, the 1977 Suzuki GS 550. After watching Easy Rider in my first year of University at UNB (before Niagara), my new Deadhead bearded best friend / brother from another mother Chris Gorman and I drove down to Petitcodiac and purchased John’s bike…the same one my dad took me on so many years earlier. I felt like Mr. Fonda himself driving down the open roads with freedom blowing through my hair! Ha ha. Funny thing is that my mom was not at all impressed that I developed the fascination to drive motorbikes…so way back in the day when I bought my Yamaha 80cc I wrote my mom a contact PROMISING that I would never ride without a helmet in exchange to let me by a bigger and faster bike. So here I am Christmas Eve on the Kingston Peninsula with my brother and one of my best buddies Mike Leblanc on a photo shoot…Mike was driving Beaster (my Caravan) and my brother shot Easy Rider style photographs of my driving with my leather jacket on, long hair, beard, and NO HELMUT!. I framed the pictures and attached the original contract I wrote my mom and gave her the full package the next day for Christmas…she was not impressed.


My Brother Mark


My brother Mark is an incredible photographer, and a great elder sibling. Check out his adventures at to see his incredible work around the world. I will write more about Mark later.

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