Sunday, April 13, 2008

March 24th, 2008 - The Arctic, Part 2

Yesterday I was snowboarding with Jessica and 2 our good friends Jan and Laurina at Sunday River, now I am storm stayed in a small airport in the arctic region of Quebec, in a town called Kuujjuak. As it turns out flights up to our destination Kangirsuujuak have been cancelled for the past 4 days. I feel for those who are stuck as it costs $250 per night to stay in the hotel…what luxury! I am here for round two of “Melting Lands”…nothing is melting here I can assure you that! It is absolutely freezing here, the wind is blowing like mad and it looks pretty grim. I miss being in the Caribbean! I have been reunited with Genti and Matteo. We are getting ready to shoot the rest of the project, to be honest with you I have no idea about the direction we are going to take with this. It is going to be interesting to se how it shapes up.

I am writing this flying over a sea of melting ice. It is a beautiful sight of ever changing openings in the ice that turn ocean waters into temporary rivers, slowly cracking and forming into new works of art every minute. I am flying in a small Air Inuit plane from Kangiqsujuaq back to Kuujjuak (via a couple other small Inuit village stops). I have on my I-pod an inspiring mix of Bjork, Sigor Ros, Delerium and Catherine MacLeallan. Aside from being the only time I can ever write in this journal, flights are also a great time for me to nothing but listen to beautiful inspiring music. Watching the melting lands below to this sound track really inspires me. Inspires me to do what? I’m not sure…just live and appreciate I guess.

This has been a very valuable trip for me internally, I have had a lot of time to think, and really evaluate where I am spiritually, emotionally and existentially. That’s what the arctic does for me…it is a void, a vast landscape of white and nothingness…in the most beautiful form. This is the environment that my brain needs to clear my head of financial stress, business issues, real life. This trip was such a great experience for me it will be hard for me to put it into words. Last time I was here in July it was such a different landscape and experience. I wrote in this journal each night last time and was very specific about my day to day experiences. This time was different as we filmed late into the evening every day and hen we got home all I had the energy to do was put on my headphones and put myself to sleep listening to music, something I have denied myself of for so long.

Our first night we where welcomed by our friend Robert who drove us to one of the teacher’s house where we would be staying for 8 nights. The teacher and his family was away on vacation so it was nice to have an apartment to ourselves. We set up base camp here for the bulk of our production. A well deserved and deep sleep brought us to a new day, full of blowing winds and snow, a full white out. We bumped into our old fiend Johnny the hunter, he agreed to take us up into the tundra to go ice fishing. We rented our skidoo from Noah, followed Johnny across Wakum Bay, over massive ice chunks, up the tundra to one of the many lakes that we had flown over filming caribou last time we where here. It is so interesting being here the second time having a better grasp of the landscape.


The next day we found our friend Lukasi and his grandson. He took us to this amazing place in the ice where he dug a hole and we slid ourselves fully under the ice as it was low tide. Wakum Bay actually has higher tides than the Bay of Fundy, so when the tide goes way down there are millions of mussels…this is an old Inuit tradition when food was scarce to get under the ice and pick these rich sources of energy. I have always been intrigued by caves and tight places, this was the pinnacle experience for me. The blue light that creeps into the cracks under the ice is fantastic. Lukasi and his grandson picked a few bags of mussels for dinner, then the tide started to rise. The ice actually slowly lowers at the same pace that the tide comes up, so there is only a window of about 30 minutes that you can be down there before the tide will sweep you away, and it has happened in this town on more than one occasion. Lukasi assured us that he is the only one in town who can safely take people down under the ice…he is an incredible man.


Thursday and Friday we went out on a 2 day hunt with 3 Inuit hunters, Charlie, Tiivi, and Willie. We took the snowmobiles over land and ice for about 2 and half hours looking for polar bear, seal, fox, wolf, tarmegon etc…anything that moves they where ready to shoot! Such a different experience for me, I am the furthest thing from a hunter, I love animals, and seeing something die because of me is hard on my soul, but this is how the Inuit live and I fully respect their culture and their ways. I as a documentary filmmaker has a duty to document as I see, not get personally involved.

The coolest part of the day for me was getting out to the ice edge to find seal. The ice edge was probably 10 kms from shore, it was a long and bumpy ride over the ice to get there, but when we got there it was breathtaking. It was sunny, not a cloud in the sky and not even a whisper of wind. It was so quiet at the edge that I could hear the ringing in my ears. I have never been somewhere so peaceful in my life. There where seal, and walrus…unfortunately for our hunter guides they where too far out to shoot. Once they shoot they have a small kayak that they paddle out into the frigid water to retrieve the catch, but if its too far out it is too risky to go, so they decided not to hunt. We where literally inches from the ice edge, it is kind of creepy knowing that I am 10 kilometers into the Hudson straight on ice, only 3 inches from deathly cold water. But I know we where guided by the most experienced people around to keep an eye on our safety. We decided to try to find other water where the animals where closer, but we had no luck. At high tide the ice chunks block access to the water making it impossible to get to the edge. We missed our chance. We decided to move on for another hour and set up at the camp.


We arrived at this small little shack made from plywood with a little stove in it.; Just 3 Inuit hunters, 2 Italian men, and me…ha ha, in very tight quarters, it was like camping out in my tree house as a kid, we where all cuddled together all night in sleeping bags keeping each other warm! Ha, what a great image! Anyway at night we headed into the mountains and found a lake, they drilled a hole in the 5 foot deep ice, inserted a long piece of wood with a little claw attached to it that had a piece of rope tied to the end. They call this a jigger, once it goes down the hole, they pull the rope and the claw moves the stick in a straight line for many meters under the ice. They do this at night because to drill the hole 50 meters away and successfully find the jigger they attach a flashlight (waterproof!) to the end of it and you can literally see this glow under the snow from under the 5 foot ice creeping in a straight line, man it was so cool to see this. When it reached the destination, Charlie and Tiivi drilled another hole, grabbed the jigger and pulled it out. On the first hole they attached their fish net to the end of the rope and pulled the net through from the 2nd hole….in a matter of minutes they had a net set under the ice. Necessity is the mother of invention! The next morning we went back and we pulled the net back out of the hole and 21 very large arctic char where in the nets. The char are very similar to salmon in size and in taste even. We immediately cooked one up and had the freshest fish in the world! I can’t forget to mention the Northern Lights the night before…standing outside the small cabin in complete darkness, save for the small glow through the cracks in the cabin from the Coleman lamp on the inside, I was knocked over in awe and inspiration seeing these incredible lights. Tiivi told me about some of the mythology that explained the lights. I felt like I was the luckiest guy on earth to be witnessing this…and I was.


After catching the fish, and shooting 3 tarmagon (arctic bird) we headed back to the ice edge looking for more seal or bear. My snowmobile ran out of gas. We where stranded in the middle of the iced desert! Haha, our guides where about 5 kms ahead of us but finally realized we weren’t with them, they came back and drove us the next hour in the sled behind their skidoos back to town, what a painful ride that was! Noah went out the next day to retrieve our snowmobile.


The next few days where filled with amazing time lapse shots of sun sets, sun rises, more awe inspiring Northern Lights, I didn’t realize that they where so bright! They had the intensity of a very powerful spotlight beaming into the sky, only it was dancing all over the place with colorful trails, you couldn’t ask for a trippier psychedelic experience with a perfectly sober mind! God’s art.


We had the chance to go dog sledding. The dogs are amazing, all working together to pull so much weight, so effortlessly and so contently…huskies are amazing creatures. Sadly we met with some hunters who came back with a wolf in their sled. I shouldn’t say sadly, like I said before it is what they have been doing for ever, but to see such a beautiful animal up close with a bullet hole in its head is sad, especially knowing how few of them we have on the earth. What a great animal though, ferocious teeth, and paws the size of my head. This is why everyone travels with a gun up North, I can’t believe how many times the 3 of us went into the tundra, or the ice for miles alone without a guide or a gun, we would be helpless if we met a hungry polar bear or wolf…ha, stupid white boys we are!

Another fantastic experience was when Ussipee (Joe) built us an igloo on the side of a mountain, it took him 90 minutes with only a saw and a knife and he built a beautiful house! Ha, it was amazing! We time lapsed the sun going down as the igloo went up, then when it was completely dark the igloo was illuminated by Joe’s Coleman lamp inside, it was so cozy in there and I was amazed how quick he put this thing up! He was actually born in an igloo and lived in one for the first 8 years of his life, he had some good insights for us about life in igloo. That night as well was complimented by the most glorious northern lights yet. I can’t and won’t even try to explain. You will have to witness it for yourself.

After 8 days staying at our “base camp” we moved to our friend Cathie’s house for the remaining 2 days. Cathie is an amazing woman who has devoted so much of her life to bringing inspiration and culture to the kids of Kangiqsujuaq. She is a teacher at the elementary school, but on the side she has a project that brings “animators” from the South up to teach and entertain the kids…for example when we where there in July she had this great girl named Elody who was a cirque entertainer, hula hoops, stilts, masks, parades, art, culture…everything. The purpose is to get the kids ready for a trip to the Gaspe once a year to participate in a world festival. It is here where the Inuit kids can experience the cultures of the world in a real fun and exciting environment…anyway Cathie has passionately spearheaded this initiative purely out of the love for the kids and the culture…truly commendable. This semester she brought up a real inspiring guy named Remi who is a fantastic musician and percussionist. He brought with him a whole bunch of percussion and drums to teach the community Brazilian drumming…yes it is true, global warming has happened when you hear the rhythms of Brazil in the land of the Inuit! Haha. Anyway it was so cool because on one of the real nice sunny afternoons they had a parade through town, the echo of the drums resonated through the whole community, made me want to dance! Last night was Remi’s last night as well as ours. They had a the last workshop with him until he comes back in June. We joined the workshop and I played snare and cowbell..MORE COWBELL! Truly a great example of the positive sides of intercultural meshing! Music is the unifying language of the world and it is music that can be use to bring peace, I really believe that.


I am now almost in Montreal, tomorrow I will be in Paris, then down to Cannes, then Turnio, then Rome, then back home to my beautiful woman…well kind of, it will be me sitting at home for a week alone as she will be on the road with 21 leaders at that point, but this is who we are, we love opportunity, we love life, and we love each other and support each other to live our lives according to our dreams. I always digress don’t I? I guess my writing is a mirror of how my mind works..all over the place! I think this is why it was good fro me to be up here, it has been a very stressful few months, and even though Grave Concerns is being edited as we speak, and the business is running…all without me being there…it has been real good perspective for me to wipe my mind clear of some things to re focus.


What have I learned this trip? Well without going into detail, I have had some very uncomfortable experiences the last 10 days when it comes to how people respect each other. I feel that I am so honored to be able to bring a camera into the lives and culture of another people…like the Inuit. The aboriginal communities have been so dishonored and taken advantage of throughout history that sometimes I am embarrassed to ask anything of them…I tread with much respect and honor. I lay down my rights and realize that is a privilege, not a right to be able to document and film people in their most intimate settings. I love the Inuit, I have a heart for them and pray many blessings on them. Like I said before they have been abused so much in history that they are now in a state of stripped culture. Substance abuse is huge, reliance on the system and unemployment is everywhere, young kids smoking cigarettes, and people not respecting each other the way they should is all a result of a mismanaged aid program / evangelism (conversion) of the past. Yaaka put it right when he said that they have suffered a cultural genocide…I believe it. Thanks to people like Cathie and Remi and many others I believe that there is hope for this community of beautiful people. Their heritage and traditional ways of living are disappearing, or evolving maybe? One way or the other I have learned so much from this experience being in their community and becoming friends with so many of them, buying their art, going hunting, eating country food at their table, I am truly honored and truly blessed. Thank you.

March 12th, 2008 - Grave Concerns and JSB DVD

It has certainly been a busy, busy month so far! There is so much to write about for the production of Grave Concerns, we are on the road shooting Gene MacLellan and Yvonne Durell (The Fighting Fisherman). Gene and Yvonne are heroes with rich and intense stories. Brent has been doing a great job driving the Hearse around the Maritimes. We stated the whole show at a real speakeasy (bootleggers) in North Rustico PEI. The jam session was incredible. People shared stories about Gene, told about how much an influence Gene had on the world folk scene, some played some of Gene’s songs…I didn’t here Snowbird played once though…it was a beautiful and spirit filled night. A truly REAL experience. This episode took us to the penitentiary where Gene and his friend Monty Lewis used to play and preach the gospel to. Gene lived a real powerful and some may say tortured life. It was a real honor to hear is story and give honor to him via his friends and family. His daughter Catherine is a friend of mine and one of the most beautiful female folk singers I have ever met, her voice melts me…her mom Judy told me that Gene was the same way, quiet yet powerful with the ability to grab the attention of anyone and everyone who would be close.

The same goes for the Yvonne Durell story, because we have been so freakin busy these days I was very happy to have Colin Thornton, my writer, to direct this episode. Yvonne was a fisherman from Baie St Ann who almost took the World Champ boxer, Archie Moore for the belt. He instantly became a worldwide household name. Yvonne also had a profound affect on people close to him, he was a gentle family man, a giving community member, and a great boxer. In 2 days we will be shooting Frank McKenna’s interview about how when Yvonne was once charged with murder, young lawyer McKenna proved his innocence. The story is rich with many layers. Another reason why doing this job is so fulfilling for me.

To add to the madness, Saturday night we filmed the Jimmy Swift Band concert…7 cameras, jib crane, stedicam, everything, its going to be the best concert film I have ever shot for sure. I am using the footage for a pilot episode for a show I am trying to produce called FANS. It is a dream of mine to produce a series that focuses on live music…the time has come!

Jess and I moved into our new house in Halifax the same day. To add to the excitement the other crew was filming the Durell story, and also another one of my crew was filming the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra…keep up? I don’t know how I do.

March 3, 2008 - From NSI in Winnipeg to ECMAs in Fredericton to JSB in Halifax and more

I am currently on the flight from Toronto to Fredericton catching up on my journal. All I can say is wow...I said wow is lower case letters because I am overwhelmed, exhausted and excited all at the same time. Wow. I was supposed to be home last night to see my beautiful wife but like a couple of months ago, Air Canada and SJ airport didn't have their shit together and they canceled my flight and I was storm stayed in Toronto for the night. Thankfully I am in the air, CN tower far below out the port side window. I just thought about how when I was younger the take off and landing where so exciting for me, it still is. I always love seeing the world as a microcosm, us as ants. It really gives perspective to look out the window of an airplane, we really are all so insignificant and small to the universe, but so large and important in our selves, our family, friends and communities. I guess maybe this is why being a documentary filmmaker is so interesting?

I am flying home from Winnipeg. I was there for 5 days on the most intense and amazing training session of my life, I can sincerely say that I have NEVER in my life learned more in such a short period of time the I did the last few days in Winnipeg. I was excepted into phase 2 of the NSI global marketing program. I was 1 of 5 up and coming producers to be chosen, I certainly was the least experience of all the participants, this excites me!

There was Heather who works for one of Canada's largest production companies OMNI Pictures, she is in charge of all of the lifestyle and factual entertainment at Omni....WOW in capital letters. Tyler is VP of development at Pyramid, a huge company of over 80 employees in Calgary, in fact a year ago when I was living with Jess in Calgary I was in touch with this company about possibly getting a job with them, wow have things changed since then! Raj is one of the majors at Georgian Entertainment who produce one of Canada's favorite cult show Rent-a-Goalie. And then there is Don, a traditional documentary filmmaker from Alta Nova pictures. Don has produced and directed many very interesting documentaries. He, like me, has trouble promoting himself as AWARD WINNING, I always had a hard time saying that, but now I realize the importance of self marketing, but Dons projects have won Gemini's ! Something to be very proud of!

Anyhow, we where being trained to go to the market and properly market ourselves in Cannes in April, man we went over everything!!! The workshop presenters where ALL world class from distributors in Australia and Canada, to multi-platform gurus from England, to the VP of the new mega power CANWEST GLOBAL (who incidentally bought out Alliance Atlantis the day I was there visiting Michael Kott last time with Colin and Tidby. Such a momentous pinnacle in Canadian corporate / broadcasting history! Basically there are 3 major players in Canada now after the historic consolidation.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->1) <!--[endif]-->Can-West Global (Alliance/Atlantis / Global / E!)

<!--[if !supportLists]-->2) <!--[endif]-->Bell Canada (CTV, CHUM)

<!--[if !supportLists]-->3) <!--[endif]-->Rogers (CITY TV)

Suffice it to say I learned more in 4 days than I did in 3 years of film school. The National Screen Institute is truly an incredible program and I absorbed ALL OF IT. I am really inspired at the opportunities that where presented over the workshops about how I can take my projects to the world. Man I can't say enough.

The training went along side NSI's Drama Prize that mentors a large amount of producer / director teams that produce a short film. We have the chance to join a few hundred people at the theater to watch last years films, and also on the last night we went down to the Forks in Winnipeg (that’s where people skate and have fun) and over an open campfire 1500 hundred people watched NFB short animations on a huge screen made of snow!!! It was amazing and the animations of course where incredible! Minus 30 never felt so warm!

To wrap it up I learned so much, met incredible people, I can't express in words how inspired I am right now so I won't even try. I am now heading to Fredericton as mentioned earlier....tomorrow morning we start filming Grave Concerns for CBC. I was hoping to do a script breakdown on the flight but I feel it more important right now to update my journal. So much has gone on recently I hope I can nail it all in this blog entry.

I will try to be quick, After the wedding things went into HIGH GEAR. I haven't taken a day off in months, I guess this is the serial entrepreneur syndrome. Now that I am married all I want to do is be with Jess. It is so hard to be away from her now. Funny that I say that considering how important travel has been to me all my life. I live on the road, the fact that I have written so many entries all from airplanes kind of gives you a hint about how much I travel. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE adventures, meeting new people and seeing new places, right now though its all nothing compared to spending quality time with Jess at home. Home??? what is that? I haven't seen at my house in a month. Good news though as of Friday jess and I just closed the deal on our new house in Halifax! Yay! I had to swing some major favors on Friday to make that happen, as it turns out, even though Jess is buying the house, now that we are married I need to sign as her spouse! Who would have thought? Haha. Anyway it was really stressful because I was in Winnipeg, SOOOOO I asked Steve to find me a lawyer in Winnipeg to help me sign the papers under oath. As it turns out as a result of Steve’s trip to Prime time last week, he met a producer friend who lives in Winnipeg, he called her, and she got us hooked up with her entertainment lawyer and God bless her she came down to the Fort Garry hotel for me to sign the mortgage papers! WOW. What a favor! Anyway as it turns out she was the entertainment lawyer that was scheduled to do a session with us the next day!!! It is SUCH A SMALL WORLD the broadcast circles in Canada. WOW. Anyway she hooked me up and I was so grateful, she really helped Jess and I get out of a jam. REMEMBER GREG TO PAY IT FORWARD!!!.

Sorry I got side tracked again, oh yeah, back from wedding, I went straight to Fredericton to film the ECMA's (East Coast Music Awards) Literally this was 5 days of “H-E Double Hockey stick. ”I didn't sleep for 5 nights, we filmed, captured and compressed 60 concerts or something like that, it was nuts. All I can say is we got through it. In fact we where asked to film the actual ECMA award show as well. That was very interesting considering I was up for an ECMA award myself and Jess and I where having dinner on the floor during the awards ceremony and my boys where filming at the same time with huge pre-show technical glitches. We got through it. I did not win my category of Music Industry Professional, but I tell you, what an honor to be nominated. That nomination really meant a lot to me. I feel like my passion for music and all of the time I have spent promoting the East Coast scene through video has been recognized and I really appreciate the honor of a nomination.

Speaking of music, last night I went to TACF again for a Sunday night service. It was quite beautiful actually despite the fact that there where only maybe 15 people in the was a real time of reflection, relaxation, and worship. I ended up getting Ruth Fazal's newest CD and that is what I am listening to right now as I write on the plane. Ruth is a violin player who releases improv CDs with violin, synth and voice, it is very beautiful and relaxing. I bought my first CD of hers years ago at TACF and it is the ultimate “put you in that place” collection of beautiful music. Funny, as I wrote that last line I spilled by glass of white wine all over me! Ha ha, I'll blame it on the pilot (can I do that?). Music is such an inspirational part of my life, especially Holy Spirit music. I truly believe God shows up in music through His spirit whether its through Bob Marley, a Phish concert, a Polyphonic Spree experience or a Ruth Fazal CD on an airplane ride home from an intense week of inspirational learning.

Please stop me from going on tangents! Ha ha. Who am I talking to anyway? Really this is a blog for in essence I'm talking to myself! Yeah I'm weird. OK, what else happened the last few weeks in February? Hmm, non stop action for sure. We edited and delivered the rough cut to the Sabian documentary that was interesting to say the least. I am looking forward to hearing comments from the broadcasters (Bravo! / CBC) about our direction. I really like where we have taken this story, it looks and sounds great. Semra the producer / Director spent a few days with us at our new office last week packaging up the rough cut.

I shot a cool corporate video at the Halifax shipyard for the Irving Pot Safety video. With this I got to go inside a brand new cruise ship that they are building as well as a NAVY ship they are repairing! That is always cool! This was with my old bro Marc Roy who is the safety officer there, and who is also one of my high school best buddies! Man we got into a lot of interesting adventures together when we where younger! Haha... always nice to reminisce! Am I that old that I am looking back into the “good ole days?” ha, maybe, weird. I love every moment of the present though, I am so blessed to realize that the present is the most important time of my life.

We are getting ready for a DVD shooting of the Jimmy Swift Band on March 15th! I cant wait for this! It will also act as a pilot for a series I want to produce called “FANS” Let me write about that later after we shoot it, basically it is the answer to our companies desire to mix our passions of music and film, THIS IS IT!!!! We are going to film the most incredible concert experience the East Coast has ever seen. I can't wait, and on top of that we are going to shoot the pilot to the show I have always wanted to produce. More to come later!!!

Our cash flow is looking great, we have so many corporate gigs on the go, man so many! I am so blessed to have a team to rock these in my style when I am away! The commercial side of the business is finally really starting to take off, certainly many challenges and headaches are still with us, but we are doing it, we are finally creating a culture of self employment and quality production. The time has come to expand, evolve and produce world class production that mixes our passions with clients needs, and in the end mixes that corporate vision, with my creative vision to lead this company down a road that will be open to the global experience. Mark my words, it is happening...GREG IT IS HAPPENING. I have only God, the universal law, friends, family, and a solid team to thank for this! The river is flowing fast and I don't intend to portage...lets hit the rapids.

Captain is telling us that we are close to destination. Sorry about the lack of detail in this entry, man all I can say is the last month has been SUPER intense, I have been married for exactly on month today, I can count on 2 hands how many days I’ve seen Jess, she is so incredibly supportive about my passions that I am able to do this, I am so lucky, After the next few weeks I will have shot all of Grave Concerns episodes 2 and 3 . I will be on a plane to the Arctic for round 2 of Weather Bomb. I will update you next at that time! Until then! I'm really speechless, can I add again the analogy of a river? I really feel that I have jumped in and I cant see around the corner, but I have a life jacket keeping me afloat which is sustained by my faith, my passion, my woman and my team...thanks you all for letting me do this, creative living, and creative teamwork, and creative faith is true life, I can't tell you enough how blessed and excited I am, despite my exhaustion.

Feb, 20 08-02-07. Wedding in the Cayman Islands

Jessica is now my wife!!! Those exclamation marks represent me screaming it in a real happy voice!!! Haha. I’m totally honored and stoked that we are about to start this new life of opportunities together. We were married on a picture perfect day in Grand Cayman on the ocean. We have similar dreams, goals, passions, drive, determination, ethics, motivations, spirit and love! I feel that our partnership will prove to be a force to be reckoned with. Anyway, we are now flying in a shitty Delta flight from Atlanta to Bangor. I just bought these incredible Panasonic noise canceling headphones, they are incredible! Of course I’m listening to Beatport Burners ( , there’s nothing like hearing electronica in sonically perfect headphones!!! Jess and I stayed at the Hyatt Atlanta last night, very cool hotel, 52 inch plasma in the room, funky interior design, and all serve yourself concept in the lounge and registration desk. The future of the executive hotel experience! We watched the movie JUNO, it was a fun show.

Let me rewind...Jan 29th we flew into Grand Cayman and pretty much began a week of paradise living! The Reef resort was right on the sandy beach. It was Jess, myself and 48 of our closest friends and family...a perfect combination, all here to celebrate our marriage, we feel really honored and blessed to have everyone with us. Jess and I treated everyone to a pirate ship sunset sail, all you can drink open bar, pirates, and reggae music in the Caribbean sea...c’mon...does it get better? I won’t go into too much detail about the wedding but I have to tell you Jessica and I had the wedding we had dreamed for, everything was perfect and stress free, I can’t tell you how smoothly it went! We ended up getting married at the end of this beautiful pier, my old bro’s from child hood Mike Long and Michael LeBlanc played some beautiful tunes on the acoustic guitars during the ceremony, Jessica looked stunning, BREATHTAKING even, the wedding was beautiful and I am truly the luckiest guy alive to have such an incredible partner in life. Its going to be a great adventure together.

The night of the wedding we hired an incredible Reggae / Soca band called the Coco Red band, they played everything you could imagine, from Bob Marley, to Gregory Isaacs! In fact they even invited me to come join them on drums for “Night Nurse” one of my favorite Reggae tunes ever, the dance party was kickin! Jay MacLean was the best MC you could ask for, my brother and Tidby stood up with me, Ruchi and Van stood up with Jess. Jessica’s bro Chris got up and said a great speech welcoming me into the family...he recalled a road trip he and I took back in 1996 when I admitted I wanted to marry Jess...he ended his speech with “what took you so long?” ha ha! So true! Anyway to be honest Jess and I have lived the lives we needed to live in our 20s to get us to where we are today, the timing is perfect for us to join together and rock it!!! My dad welcomed Jess to the family with a real special speech. Jay was able to keep the party going smoothly however by feeding everyone Jager and Baha shots...I could go on for ever, but lets just end it with me just saying it was the best wedding I have ever been too!

The next few days we spent relaxing, playing beach volleyball, snorkeling, swimming with the Stingrays, checking out the skate park and riding the manmade surf wave.

January, 2008-01-30 - A New Year!

Christmas was the furthest thing from relaxing, although it was a wonderful time to share with family and friends. I guess the older I get the more I realize and value the time spent with people close to you is so much more valuable than gifts and Christmas commercialism (quite the oxymoron!) . I knew immediately that after the week of the holidays people would finally get back to work and that I would be flooded, it?s so funny that Christmastime shuts down business for 2 weeks. I guess this 2 week downtime was a blessing as it really gave me a chance to finish off backburner projects...but then the rest of the world woke up, and the craziest January of my life just began!

Jessica and I are currently in the Delta Airplanes executive lounge waiting our flight to Grand Cayman. I'm such a lounge snob as all my friends and Jessica's family are in the airport, ahhh well! Ha-ha...Jess is reading and article in the New York Times about tomorrow nights premier of season 4 of LOST...I know it will be our first full day on our wedding vacation, but we need to watch it! I can't wait, I will admit that for a non TV watcher, I am HOOKED!!!

January began with a few real big wins, one was that Jessica was selected to join the 21 Inc. Group. This is a real honor as it involved New Brunswick's most progressive young leaders to tour around the province doing workshops, discussions and brainstorms to help shape the future of New Brunswick. This is a very cool experience, and not only that my man Jay MacLean was chosen as well! Leaders everywhere!

The next win was the NSI Global Marketing Program. Every year the National Screen Institute mentors only a small group of up and coming producers to go to MIP in Cannes, and properly guide them through the process of global export in the television content markets. So as you can imagine I was stoked to find out that I was accepted for phase one of the program! If I get through phase 1 then the next phase will be a trip to Winnipeg for some intensive training. I'm ready for it!

The other VERY cool recognition was that I was nominated for an East Coast Music Award! The ECMA is a music industry awards festival and industry market. Truly bizarre and incredible that I was nominated for "Industry Professional" considering that I don't even work in the music industry! BUT as we all know, music is my passion and I have been filming bands, musicians, concerts, festivals, and in fact the ECMA's themselves for many I feel really blessed to even get a nomination. My good friend Darren Gallop from Cape Breton has a nomination for this as well, truly it is he that deserved this award as far as music industry professional, man that guy kicks it hard bringing bands from the island to the world, bands like Slowcoaster, Carman Townsend, Tom Fun etc are all bands that Darren has propelled into the market. Anyway suffice it to say I?m excited for my nomination. The day I get back from the wedding I drive to Fredericton to film them for again. It will be interesting to be on both sides of the festival this year!

Another very interesting thing about this month is the growing project list on the commercial side of the business, there are so many projects that I am forced to expand. Not only have we just moved our office and studios downtown into the Atlantica Center for the Arts building, I also need to lauchlan Ough! It's great to have Lauchlan back. He was a high school co-op student that we took under our wing a few years ago with HIT! Media. He learned quickly and Tidby and I are proud to say that we have shaped him in many ways into the cool dude he is today. Anyway he was one of our editors for Planet Luxury, and one of the camera guys for Wrestling Reality. Anyway I have hired him back on, so now I have Steve, MacCormack and Lauchlan. We are looking into hiring one other guy named John as well to help with Audio Post and Admin. The company I feel in really starting to take shape, we just need to respectfully and responsibly make the right choices and work as hard as we possibly can to continue growing and to continue providing income for all involved.

The other cool thing that is going down is that the CFTPA (Canadian Film and Television Producers Association) that helped fund Steve's wages through the mentor program has chosen him to go to the CFTPA awards this year, all expenses paid! This is another incredible win for our company, I'm proud of what Steve has accomplished in our company and where he is going to go through these experiences. Way to learn!

January has also been a busy month for project development. I met with CBC before Christmas to discuss Grave Concerns, great news, they want to acquire the Jack Kerouac pilot episode! That was certainly not expected, we put the pilot together strictly to pitch, but bravo! We produced a CBC worthy show! Anyhow along with the acquisition, they also wanted us to think about pitching an Atlantic Canadian version. Along with Grave Concerns, the 2 projects that Colin Thornton and Cindy D?Orsay have asked me to co-produce (Aztec Enigma and Eureka!) have come to the point in the developmental stage that we can start pitching as well. We went back to meet with CBC Halifax for all three of these projects, they are VERY interested in Eureka! (a series about imagination) and they want to go forward with producing 2 episodes of Grave Concerns to start with. Here?s the pressure drop, they need it produce by April! The only time I think we will have time to produce the show will be the week before I hit the road to England for Wrestling Reality season 2. This is going to be a crazy winter / spring. As it stands right now here is my upcoming calendar.

March 15-21 - Hit the road for Grave Concerns

March 22-28 - England for Wrestling Reality

March 29-April 5 - Nunavik for Melting Lands

April 6 - Rome

April 7-11 - Cannes France for MIPCOM

April 12 - Turino Italy for post production of Melting Lands

April 1-30 - Post Production for Grave Concerns and Wrestling Reality

It kind of freaks me out but I've done it before, this is where the team REALLY has to come together and I will have to trust that they are able to take ownership of their tasks and roll with it. I feel like we are floating at the top of a white water rapid in a canoe preparing to hit the rapids with no clue of what the outcome will be, we will roll? Will we crash? Will we sink? Or will we catch a huge buzz and paddle as hard as we can and celebrate a victory at the bottom? Let's find out! One thing on my personal side I'm a bit upset about is the lack of time I will have to spend during this time with my wife...WOW that?s the first time I have written the word wife!

Colin Thornton and I went to Toronto a couple of weeks ago to pitch Eureka! and Aztec Enigma. Tidby joined us for the trip. Angelika my entertainment lawyer and her husband Cam (who is an old Evolve Tribe friend of mine) invited me to stay with them for the 2 nights. We had a full day of great meetings at CTV, Discovery, and History. I had a chance to catch up with the Canadian Urban Music Association founder Will Stricklen. Will has such deep roots in the Hip Hop scene, his stories are nuts. Will has worked with Wu Tang, Run DMC, amongst many others, he's a real inspiring cat. Will wants to produce a boxing TV series. He has a few other cool projects on the go as well that we could find ourselves working together n in the future. I always enjoy the possibilities of working with other like minded and passionate people...Will is one of those. I met Will in the green room at TSN when Peter was on ?Off The Record?. Every opportunity that is presented to you opens doors to other opportunities, what a maze! Love to see where this one leads!

The next day Pete and Rick flew in and we had a full and very intense day with The Fight Network. Negotiating WR 2 is interesting as the facts remain there is hardly any money to be afforded to us from the Network. It is complex and its part of the business I don?t enjoy. I really like the guys at the network on a personal level. Talking hard business is tough some times when you are working with people you consider friends, its all part of the package though.

December 2008-01-30

It is actually Jan 30, 2008 as I write this, I am cramped on a small Delta Airlines commuter from Bangor to Atlanta with 12 of some of my best friends. Jess is beside me, and we are en-route to Grand Cayman to get married! What a wild ride it’s been, anyway fortunately I have had the opportunity to stay put since the end of November for the most part. This means I haven’t been on an airplane in a while and it also means that I haven’t updated my journal. So I have my headphones on, Wintersleep is inspiring me to write, all is good!

Looking back December and January have been absolutely ridiculously busy, I have never in my life experienced such mad hours, Jessica has been pulling 32 hour shifts at the hospital, I have been plugging 14 hour days every day with no weekends for 2 months. The idea is to get everything cooking along so when we do go on this wedding trio and sneak away for a week, I will be able to rest at ease knowing that everything is taken care of. Andrew MacCormack has been in China for the last 8 weeks and man can we ever feel it, Steve and I have been holding it together as well as we can, but the demand has been large. I have been editing a lot, which is exactly what I hired employees to do so I could concentrate more on producing, but now I have been juggling both roles, its a high though...I do love editing...I like the idea of sleep as well though.

I can’t remember if I mentioned that Jess and I where given a hot tub in October as a wedding present, what an addition to the Acamac experience, literally we have been having our Monday morning meetings in the tub, great way to start the week off. It has also attracted more friends...hmmm, strange coincidence! Anyway I guess this is symbolic of the culture that we have created at Hemmings House Pictures, in my mind it’s all about working as hard as we can to produce the most creative and cost effective programming possible, and have a lot of fun while doing it. Our jam room set up outside the office has been great, when we get stressed, MacCormack hops on drums, me on electric guitar and Steve on bass, we rock out for 20 minutes then get back at er! It’s a great stress reliever and creativity fueler! Our Hemmings House band is called “The Industry Standards” ha-ha...inside joke! Anyway it’s a lot of fun having Steve and MacCormack on board...and super necessary. I am training Steve to become a great producer so that when I move to Halifax he can still manage all of the corporate projects, Andrew is developing into a great director, shooter, editor...head of production baby.

December along with its business was a lot of fun as well, Jess and I got to go to Sunday River for some snowboarding and skiing, Christmas came so we got to see lots of great friends, I had my bachelor party!!! We went to Poley for a great day of snowboarding and a night at a cabin jamming. I managed to finish editing the |Belize documentary that has been on my computer now for almost 2 years, wow what a relief that is. It turned out pretty cool actually, Ill be screening sometime in February most likely. We rang in the new year at Sebastian’s, oh and Jess and I moved out of Acamac, it was getting to crazy and we needed some alone time before the wedding and stuff, it has been really nice, I treated her to a kick ass super hip condo on Prince William street, man it was beautiful, exposed bricks, open concept, 2 floors, big windows, and a lot of dough...hence only being there for a month! Ha ha. We have moved now into our friends Terrie and Jackie pad to sub lease it for the 3 months that they are away, then we head to Halifax for 2 years....which reminds me we just bought a crazy cool house on North Street in Hali! I can't wait because it will truly be a new start, I really feel that the promise of 2008 will come true, there is a reward for all the effort and passion that we have all put into this company. It will be cool to live downtown Halifax, walk everywhere, sell as car, have less of an imprint. That leaves Acamac, I have asked my dear roomies to clear house by end of February then I am putting the house on the rental market. When we come back to SJ in 2 years we will have a beautiful house to walk back into in Acamac. It all makes sense!!!

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