Monday, February 16, 2009

"Postcards from Greg Hemmings #1" Kauai

February 16th, 2009

The Telegraph Journal has been kind enough to commission a weekly travel column based on photos from some of my favorite adventures in their Escapade section every Saturday!

Here is the very first! (Click on image to increase size for easier reading!)

Jan. 20thKauai, Hawaii

It was a beautiful and cool morning on one of our favorite hidden beaches in Kauai. My wife Jessica and I took this picture at exactly 7am in Hawaii, 12 noon in Washington DC. At the very moment that the sun cracked the horizon, and the shutter of our camera captured this image, the rest of the world was watching Obama’s inauguration on TV. Instead of watching CNN, we took our coffees to the beach to watch one of the most beautiful Pacific sunrises that we have ever seen. Like the feeling of renewal that the world is feeling with the changing of the presidential guard, the sunrise made us realize that we just entered into a new day, a new adventure, and a new hope.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

“Real Screen”

Feb 4th, 2009
Halifax – Washington

“Just follow the day and REACH FOR THE SUN!” Polyphonic Spree ( once again blasting in my noise-cancelling headphones, inspiring me to reach for the bright side. I am at Washington Dulles airport awaiting my next plane segment to Toronto, then back home for a late night arrival in Halifax. I was just at the White House - not an hour ago - now I am in the United Red Carpet lounge watching news from the White House. The world’s new American president Obama is doing a bang up job today protecting the health care of children of parents who live in insurance limbo, and putting a salary cap of 500K for executives of companies who are receiving federal bailouts…makes sense…doesn’t it? And why is CNN criticizing it? WOW. If I was an American tax payer, I would be sick to know that my tax money was going to bailout companies who pay their execs more than 500K, in fact why not try 100K? How much money does one need to live a fulfilled life? How can an exec greedily get paid from the pockets of American people who actually work hard and struggle to make enough money to pay their bullshit insurance premiums and medical bills? (let alone education and ski trips to Sunday River with 4 feet of fresh snow this week! Dang.)

I had nothing short of an AMAZING week in Washington at the Real Screen Summit ( As I have learned this week, Real Screen truly is the TV market for me to be at, certainly not knocking my adventures to Southern France at MIPCOM or MIPTV on the white and warm sandy beaches of Cannes, but this market was different, it was small, people talked to each other, major broadcasters were all very available. In fact I had an amazing hour and a half lunch with a top development executive for National Geographic today, he was all over a bunch of our shows, so was True TV, A&E, SPEED TV, PBS, Style TV and Vision. It was the first time that I had the chance to spend time with that many decision makers in one place in such a brief period of time.

I am very excited to see what the next few weeks and months will bring as follow up from these meetings. I am in desperate need to penetrate the American market, the Canadian market is very important of course, but lets face it…no one is buying anything right now, time to start focusing South of the Border, Discovery, Nat Geo, Speed, they are all there and no one seems to be slowing down.

We signed a pretty heavy distro deal this week for Melting Lands, very stoked about that, I just need to exploit my territories of Canada and USA now and we have the world covered. HELLO CANADIAN AND AMERICAN BROADCASTERS!!! I have a beautiful documentary for sale!!!

I almost forgot, Tuesday was ground hog’s day, Jessica and my one-year anniversary, AND my birthday! 32 years young…right? Johanna of Ocean Entertainment ( ) took us out for dinner, great to hang out with other Haligonians out of country, I met the Arcadia ( crew for lunch the next day as well. Funny the only time I get to hang out with most of these cats is either in France or anywhere else but Halifax. That’s the way.

Social networking and viral marketing was a hot topic at the market. Of course Facebook, MySpace, Blogger, Twitter, etc were all pushed…this reminds me of a crazy blast from the past that was brought back to my memory the other night. Do you remember Wookie 17? Wookie 17 is an internet phenomenon that was birthed from a picture of a guy with dreadlocks that was exported from a single frame of one of my early documentaries called “A Head’s Tale”. Unfortunately the frame made its way onto the internet and made some poor phish tour kid more infamous than he probably ever wanted to be. I had to post his picture (as a frame) because ion my early days of documentary making I didn’t realize that release forms were important, and I ended up being threatened with a law suit from the owner of one of the music festivals I shot at.

I had no idea how I was going to find everyone I filmed, so I made a website with pictures, under each picture I put a number from 1 to 67, covering everyone who appeared in the documentary. The power of the internet in the early days blew my mind, I actually tracked down most of the people and got the release forms signed, such radical technology back in 2002! Anyhow, the guy who had the 17th picture was a real cool guy who actually gave me an amazing interview, he was for sure a Phish tour head - natty dreads, beads, tie die -nothing out of the ordinary for the Gathering of the Vibes festival community (or was it Bonaroo? Yeah it was the first Bonaroo actually…). My bad however, the frame I exported was not a very favorable one, hey even the most beautiful people can be caught in a not so favorable point of time in the 1/29.97the of a second frame space! Anyway, some childish spineless internet nerds with nothing better to do but stay on the internet all night took the picture of Wook and Photoshopped his face on everybody from Jesus to aliens, to Michael Jackson…there were hundreds of people posting and Photoshopping this poor guys head and making horrible fun of him all over the place…from to the Ween ( ) forum and beyond. I was horrified. I felt really bad that this poor guy was being made fun of all because of me. Anyway he became infamous, and he is all over the internet even now 7 years later. People were making and selling Wook 17 T shirts, Wook art, trading cards even…when people would see him on tour they would run up to him and take a quick picture and run back to their parents basements and continue to virtually torture this guy, as they would because there is a good chance none of these people had jobs or girlfriends.

I met a guy at Real Screen from a San Francisco production company at the opening cocktail party who was chatting with me about the Phish show in Limestone Maine called “IT” that coincidently we both attended many years ago. We started talking about life following Phish tour (they are coming back in May! Who’s got my miracle?). He randomly brought up the Wook 17 phenomenon (Google search "Wook 17" and you will see some real crazy shit that broke my heart actually…anyway, so many apologies to my brother out there who I brought such negative attention too).

I told this guy, “Hey man, that picture of Wook 17 came from a frame of my film A Head’s Tale that I shot at music festivals from Nashville to Nova Scotia” Crazy small world. My frame truly became one of the first internet viral infamy phenomenons….year before the Star Wars Kid and that Chris guy that thinks he is Brittany!

Previous to my travels to the nation’s capital, (a capital that no longer has a big black depressing cloud over it keeping any rays of sun and hope from entering into the oval office, allowing the death-tolling works of Lucifer himself to influence the leadership of the previous administration), Jess and I had a crazy week back from our week of rest in Hawaii. I miss Hawaii, I would far rather just have stayed there and become a beach bum and surfed for the rest of my years, but the system wouldn’t allow that would it? It was such a busy week catching up from 2 weeks of being away that I didn’t even have a chance to decompress from my brain melt at Banff. I am hoping that tomorrow I can be home with no one knowing so I can debrief myself, and make sense of a lot of knowledge, goals and action plans that have been break dancing in my head for 3 weeks.

One of the projects that I have been working on last week is a possible real estate show with the man who sells the city…yes you guessed it right, Marc Mawhinney. Actually check out Marc’s blog, I am all over the fact that not only is he blogging, but he is actually blogging about interesting stuff, opposite of the dryness of other real estate pros in our corner of the world. BE A RISK TAKER! That is my message to Atlantic Canadian businesses and industries…get with the flow, start blogging, start twittering, start using video on your website (call us…we are open for business y’all!) and for the sake of everything good and right about being a Canadian, watch all the shows that Hemmings House Pictures produces! Ha ha, shameless I know. Check out how Marc is staying current and is offering his clients added value online at (

A couple of highlights for the week were the premiers of two kick ass projects; Supernatural Investigator, and JSB DVD release. Tuesday night my old “supernatural” crew, Mike, Stevo, Jen and I all hooked up for our “reunion” to watch Supernatural Investigators as it aired on Vision TV. The first episode of the whole series was the “Do You Believe in the Anti-Christ” episode, this past Tuesday was the “Do you Believe in Life on Other Planets” episode, and next Tuesday at 11:30pm AST will be the “Do You Believe in Chaos Magick” episode. As mentioned many times before in this blog, this series was an Ocean Entertainment production, and I had the pleasure of working on it as a Letus-toting, mustache sporting, Bob Marley shirt-wearing Director of Photography for the funnest “on the road” TV production I have ever had We finally have been able to get back together for the first time since London to see the fruits of our labor! (it really wasn’t labor…fruits of our “I can’t believe we get paid to travel and be creative and meet interesting people like the guy who thinks he is both Jesus and the Antichrist at the same time, or the naked twister games in upstate New York…love my job.”

On Friday we finally release the Jimmy Swift Band’s live DVD “Live at the Marquee”. Please go to and click on the ole screening room, visit the link that goes to both the Music room and also the TV/Documentary room to see clips of the concert. It looks great. I’m pretty sure you can buy a copy at

Farewell Washington, you were way less sketchy than I thought…too bad your former head of state took so many strips of ya….I’m sure it won’t happen again, at least for the next 4 or 8 years anyway.

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