Monday, March 23, 2009

"Here Magazine Article on Hemmings Huse Pictures" By Çraig Pinhey

The Saint John contingent of Hemmings House Pictures (HHP) recently moved into new digs in the spectacular building at the corner of Princess and Prince William Streets in Saint John, with stunning views of the harbour and city. These could prove to be a distraction, but it’s more likely they’ll provide inspiration to this young crew of producers, filmmakers, photographers, editors and entrepreneurs.

HHP, now boasting a team of eight - four in Saint John and four in Halifax, grew out of Saint Johner Greg Hemmings’ previous company, Hit! Media, where he was a partner with Andrew Tidby and Glenn Ingersoll, as well as from experience from various projects Hemmings collaborated on over the past 10 years since he graduated in 1999 from the Television and Film Production program at Niagara College.

Greg, who founded HHP in 2007, splits his time between Saint John and Halifax these days, but established his reputation via experience right here in New Brunswick. When asked about which of his film jobs most shaped his early career, Greg explains “There are many, actually. The first was REVOLVE, a documentary about the Evolve Music Festival that I shot back in 2001. That opened the doors to funding for a film I produced called A Head’s Tale, following Deadhead culture at music festivals from Nashville to Nova Scotia. That opened the doors to my film Rubarbicon, which was the mockumentary about Grand Theft Bus for the Independent Film Channel.” Rubarbicon garnered Hemmings an ECMA nomination, which set him up for more work in the music business, including concert films for Matt Andersen, Ross Neilsen, Jessica Rhaye, and most recently the Jimmy Swift Band.

“Because of my live music film experience,” adds Hemmings, “the doors were opened for me to produce a series about professional wrestlers on the road (very similar to rock ‘n’ roll lifestyles) called Wrestling Reality (on TFN: The Fight Network), which opened the door to a whole other show about wrestling for a whole other network (RUSH HD, a satellite specialty channel).” This latest HHP show, a 6 X 30 minute episode “DocuSoap” called Kardinal Sinners, is currently in post-production at HHP.

Another feather in Hemmings’ cap was the opportunity to produce a documentary about global warming in the arctic with Italian partners, called Melting Lands, which led him to international TV events in Cannes, France, Washington DC and Banff. There are other irons in the fire, too.
“Doors open all the time,” says Hemmings, “and I love walking through them blindly.”

You can read detailed bios and blogs on the HHP team, and watch much of their film work, at their website ( Key players include Andrew MacCormack, Lauchlan Ough, Stephen Foster, Jon Williams, Matt Webber, and, most recently, HHP welcomed Greg Hemmings’ older brother Mark.

MacCormack, a UPEI Sociology grad, filmed his first feature length documentary, Searching for Simplicity in South America in 2006. He’s played key roles at HHP, including assistant director and head editor on Wrestling Reality, assistant editor and post-production supervisor for the CBC broadcast mini-series Grave Concerns. Ough worked with Greg Hemmings at HIT! Media and on Rubarbicon, and was assistant editor on the series Planet Luxury, produced by Tidby Pictures. Since joining Hemmings House Pictures, Lauchlan has worked on every production in some capacity, often behind the camera.

Foster joined HHP in 2007 as a producer after graduating from UNB. He’s a natural entrepreneur, having managed two companies WHILE in university, but picked up camera experience on Wrestling Reality. He’s produced most of Hemmings House Pictures’ corporate projects and manages the Saint John branch.

Williams joined HHP in 2008 as sound engineer, having worked previously with Foster at their music production company, while Webber, a grad of the Atlantic Media Institute specializing in TV Production, joined HHP’s Halifax branch in 2008 as a producer.

This is a VERY young team, ranging from 21 to 34, with most under 30. They also employ others with freelance work, such as Jessica Rhaye, a local graphic artist and musician, or as co-op students, so there’s a healthy economic spin-off from this locally owned business.

The recent addition of brother Mark as director of photography adds a new dimension to HHP. Mark Hemmings Photography’s reputation spreads internationally, including Japan and Australia. He travels regularly to Japan and Mexico with photography students, and is a guest teacher each year at a film workshop in Hungary. You can see examples of his work at, and also watch his short film Geist, which created waves on the international film fest circuit.

“I fear I annoy him a lot because I am taller and sometimes people think that I’m the older brother,” Greg laughs, “He hates that, but in the end he has had a huge impact on who I am. I am honoured to work with him. . .he is truly a world-class photographer.” Mark’s main role is photography, but he has become increasingly involved in film, owing to his experience using camera lenses with digital film equipment.

“What I bring to the table,” explains Mark, “is the ability to allow digital to look more like film. The world of still images and moving images is coming together. Digital video images can seem artificial, almost like plastic, whereas the use of high quality 35 mm Nikon and Canon camera lenses gives a more earthy, natural look, with more depth of field options.”

This is akin to how audiophiles claim that vinyl records have more feel, more ‘soul’, than CDs and other digital music forms. This technique has been used on several HHP projects, and will be used more in future.

What else is in the future for HHP?

“Short term plans are to deliver our latest TV series to RUSH HD for April,” answers Greg, “Long term plans? Become Atlantic Canada’s creative commercial production house, and produce at least three TV series per year.” Although they’re aiming high for the future, the bulk of their film work is done in New Brunswick.

“N.B. is our major market right now,” says Greg, “Our N.S. office is brand new with a lot of potential. We’re players in the Atlantic market space for corporate and commercial work.
We’re players in the international market space when it comes to TV production, and Mark’s photography. The real opportunity is the international TV and photography. That’s where we are now and where we want to grow stronger. Our success for the future is outside the region. Local business is great and solid, but can only go so far.”

Part of their strategy involves advertising, too.

“We’re just now looking into pushing the traditional 30 -second TV commercial,” offers Greg, “We’re pushing the Halifax office to become a heavy player in the Atlantic advertising scene. That said, TV shows, documentaries and live music video production are our core competencies and we love producing them.” HHP has aggressive goals, but, based on the prior accomplishments of this dynamic young team, they’re framed for success.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Postcards from Greg Hemmings #6" - Under The Ice

Telegraph Journal Entry #6

March 14, 2008 – Nunavik under the ice

Ever since I was a child, I have loved caves, tunnels and unexplored caverns. My dad used to take us kids on underground adventures at Howe’s Cave (close to the old Peacock’s Flowers shop) and the Rockwood Park cave. When I was a bit older I used to explore the old General Hospital and the bunker tunnels of Partridge Island - good clean, adventurous fun! The coolest of all tunnel adventures was recently in the arctic under the sea ice, just off the coast of a small Inuit village called Kangiksujuuak. The bay that the village sits on is called Wakum Bay, and the villagers there know all about the Bay of Fundy. They know about it because they claim to actually have higher tides in their bay than we do in ours! An Inuit elder named Lukasi took me under the ice at low tide by cutting a hole and dropping down 12 feet with a rope to find warm temperatures well above zero, and mass amounts of fresh mussels to pick for supper! He warned me not to say a word while we were down there because any noise can collapse the ice roof and the powerful tide can sweep you away!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Postcards from Greg Hemmings #5" - Jamaica! Jamaica!

Telegraph Journal Entry #5

March 7thJamaica

I have spent a lot of time in Jamaica. I hate to say it, but Ochos Rios has to be the most annoying town I have ever visited. Every 2nd local person assumes I want to get a ride to see Bob Marley’s Grave, climb Dunn’s River Falls, or of course buy some sort of herb…I get out of that area as quick as I can and often visit my friend George (literally of the jungle). George always takes me on adventures into the lush wilds of the Blue Mountains. In exchange for a pair of sneakers, or a few boxes of cereal, George hooks me up with long adventurous hikes where we pick aki-fruit and limes. The best part is eating them with fresh fish, dumplings and a Red Stripe at his shanty that sits on top of the mountain looking over the Caribbean sea.

"Postcards from Greg Hemmings #4" - Grand Theft Bus at the ECMAs

Telegraph Journal Entry #4

Feb. 27thCorner Brook, NFLND


It has been a gonzo few days in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland this past weekend. If I include the 30 minutes of shut eye I had on the plane coming home this morning, I would have a total of 5 hours and 37 minutes of sleep over the past 4 days. One of my crewmembers Steve Foster and I filmed dozens of live bands at this year’s East Coast Music Awards for Aliant’s content portal; I took this picture of the screen of my video camera as I filmed New Brunswick’s Grand Theft Bus playing at Marble Mountain’s Base Lodge. They delivered one of the tightest sets I have ever heard them play on Saturday night. Not only are the guys in “the Bus” good friends of mine, they are also one of my favorite bands. Filming gigs like this reminds me of how blessed I am to have such an incredible job, and how much ridiculous musical talent we have in our province!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Postcards from Greg Hemmings #3" - Lake Louise

Saturday, Feb 28th
Telegraph Journal entry #3

Lake Louise - a lake of clouds

Feb, 2009

I arrived at the dark, cold and rainy base of Lake Louise Mountain, excited that I was finally getting a chance to snowboard the Rockies again, despite the weather. You can’t beat riding the high altitude power fields here, or as the West coast girls that I came with say…”It kicks shredding the gnar pow at these rad alts!”. The significance of this picture is that as the chair-lift took us up to the top of the mountain 2,672 meter above sea level, I was shocked how quickly we rose above the stormy clouds, and how warm, peaceful and beautiful it was to see the world from above with clarity. Looking down at the “lake of clouds” it encouraged me to keep passionately adventuring through life, even if I can’t clearly see the way to my destination. There will be a time that I will rise above the cloud cover, and as Paulo Coehelo says in the Alchemist, find my personal legend.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

"Air Canada Breaks my Heart, and Filming ECMAs!"

February 25, 2009

HalifaxDeer Lake, Newfoundland

Air Canada Breaks Greg’s Heart

I just left the Halifax tarmac on a small Air Canada Dash 8 commuter plane enroute to the republic of Newfoundland! Yes it is that time again, the East Coast Music Awards. Hemmings House Pictures has been hired again to film many of the acts for This year we are up for our second nomination for best DVD of the year. Wes Jagoe hired me years ago it seems to film a live video project from his living room, and now it has surfaced and a nomination is in our name!

“Get lit, Feel the power on the one, don’t sit, wait for the thing to come…”, thanks Daniel Lanoise. Great music always sets the mood right for my airplane journaling! Speaking of airplanes, I need to vent.

This journal since its inception has given so many props to Air Canada, I have written most of my blogs on Air Canada planes, or in Maple Leaf Lounges. In fact if you did a word count on this whole blog you would see multiple positive references to Air Canada.






I say positive references because I am addicted not to crystal meth, or peanut butter cookies, but rather to Aeroplan points. I have travelled enough on Air Canada that my Aeroplan fetish has pushed me to the point where I am finding myself paying more money to fly Air Canada just to get the damned things, not only that, I usually upgrade to higher cost fares to maximize my points potential so I can keep my “Elite” status…OK


This is where the story gets depressing. I feel like I have never flown so much in my life as I did in 2008, I was all over the place. 2007 was a big year of flights, but 08 I was sure was going to be the chart topper. So I get an envelope in the mail last week with my new Aeroplan card that pretty much tells me that I HAVE BEEN DEMOTED back to “Prestige” status! WHAT??? Are you kidding me? I have been stripped away of everything that I hold dear to me…Maple Leaf Lounge access, priority boarding, business class line access, P-I-M-P status! ALL GONE within the 2 seconds of me opening up an envelope that I was expecting to be filled with “Aeroplan Elite” membership perks like upgrade certificates and pats on the back and so on.

Many of you readers might say, “Suck it up you spoiled prick…live like the rest of us and use the public washrooms, pay for your drinks and food, and wait for your flight on the uncomfortable terminal seat!” Or others may comment, “Greg is not an elitist snob, I am surprised to hear that he is upset!”. Well I am not upset, I just feel like I have been kicked out of my own band, or I have come back to my home that I have built and there is a new lock in place with a sign saying SORRY GREG, YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE ANYMORE!!!”. I feel abandoned, I feel humbled, I feel sad.

So why am I writing this pathetic post? Well I am hoping that someone from Aeroplan finds this blog via Google Analytics, or Google Alerts, or maybe by one of my faithful readers will post a comment as a message of support in this blog so I can take it to Air Canada and say, “Look, the whole world thinks that Greg deserves his Maple Leaf lounge privileges back!”. So if you are in the Aeroplan team, please know that I fly on Air Canada exclusively in and out of the country, even though this pathetic flight to Deer Lake cost me $1,200 in cold hard-earned cash for Steve’s Ticket from Saint John NB, and $800 for mine from Halifax….so yes, I just spent $2,000 on flights with Air Canada to get two of us to go to the ECMAs, and for me to have a chance to write in my blog as I fly Air Canada instead of West Jet or Provincial Airplanes.

Want to know the frosting on the cake? I get the Air Canada Web Savers every week, after we bough the $2,000 worth of tickets, I got a friendly little email from Air Canada with a special offer from Halifax to St. John’s for $79.00…I am sorry, that is just worthy of me shedding tears, a very cruel joke Air Canada. You have made me a pathetic, and humbled little blogger. To put sprinkles on top of the frosting of the cake, I am a stock owner of Air Canada, and to add some extra chocolate fudge on top of the sprinkles onto of the frosting on the cake, I purchased my Air Canada stock 2 days after 9/11…thinking in my universal wisdom that buying Air Canada would be a brilliant investment when the value of airlines stock sunk so deep…well I risked it and invested a couple handfuls of thousands into Air Canada and now my Air Canada portfolio is worth like 70 bucks. Ha, so much for me is a gambler. Is there any room for a candle on top of the cake? The last 2 times I travelled to Hawaii Air Canada lost my luggage, so I am travelling in the winter with winter clothes in Hawaii going for a snorkel in my snowsuit. I don’t complain though….why? Well because I am “Elite” status Aeroplan member and I appreciate the efforts they have made in assuring I have my Guinness and Scotch ready for me to go with my split pea soup and veggie dip every time I end up in the Air Canada Maple Leave Lounge. But those days are long gone. I will stop being so dramatic, you know it’s only for comic relief in these trying times of “being a young entrepreneur just trying to find my way!” ha ha.

Previous to the Heart Break

7 notable points of interest

  • The last few weeks have been nuts as usual, I made two trips to New Brunswick, one to attend the Arts NB board meeting. I was asked this year to sit on the board, I was honored to except. Here is a picture of the board members!

  • The well at my Acamac house went dry, I had to pay $11,500 to drill deeper, good thing I have a Visa Avion to pay for it with 18% interest. Oh well, at least I will get more points to travel on AIR CANADA more. FAAAAACK! I am seriously thinking about selling the legendary house; the place that Hemmings House Pictures was born, and the place of many legendary parties…I will miss it. I have hired the Mawhinney Group ( to list the property…gotta pay off my credit cards. Well Drillers and Air Canada are sucking me dry. Dry as a desert, not a dessert (like cake and frosting and sprinkles and chocolate fudge and candles), a desert, similar to those you find in Egypt and other notable land masses covered in sand, cacti and non-water sources.

  • Andrew is rockin the edit of Kardinal Sinners for RUSH HD to be delivered March 15th, the show is rockin. We have found some heavy interest in the USA for the show, pursuing with much piss and vinegar. RUSH HD has been an absolute pleasure to work for / with so far. So nice to work with a broadcaster that doesn’t waste time with politics, and who is honest.

  • We have moved our office into the Power Post building in Halifax on Hollis, and our new office on Prince William Street in Saint John is an amazing spot. We are all feeling “it”. This is the year, this is the year, this is the year.

  • Jessica is very pregnant, she looks very cute, and baby peanut is kicking like mad, she is the funniest little alien! I can’t wait to meet her May 5th! What a trip fatherhood is going to be. We had our pregnancy pictures taken last week by Jen MacLean, they look very cool.

  • Jessica and I had some heavy meetings in Saint John yesterday and Monday, we made the drive through the craziest snowstorm in the history of the Trans Canada highway. I had a very significant meeting that is taking Hemmings House one step closer to having an international presence.

  • My brother Mark took Lauchlan and some other Photography students to Mexico last week, very cool adventure and learning experience for Lock dog. A Cactus literally fell on my Brother Mark’s head.

“Do you realize that everyone you know, someday will die, and instead of saying all your goodbyes, let them know that you realize that life goes fast, its hard to make good things last, you realize that sun doesn’t go down, its just an illusion caused by the world spinning around…do you realize, you have the most amazing face.”

Thanks Flaming Lips for always uplifting…Wayne your bubble makes me smile and laugh. Time to go film the ECMA’s.

"Postcards from Greg Hemmings #2" - Chicago

Saturday, Feb 21st
Telegraph Journal entry #2

Feb. 16thChicago, Illinois

The Windy City, Vision Television and Chaos Magick brought me atop of this rickety ‘ole Chicago rooftop! What is Chaos Magick? And why is it spelled with a letter “K” at the end? Well that’s what I was here for. This particular day that my sound man Steve took my picture, we had filmed an interview of a wizard-like magician that goes by the name “Andrieh” who uses his magical powers to manipulate events and people to fit his will. Vision TV is no longer about Sunday morning evangelistic television, or psychedelic East Indian spiritual programs, nowadays they are hiring producers and camera crews to investigate and film supernatural phenomena…things like “Life on Other Planets”, “The Truth of the Antichrist”, and now, “Chaos Magick”…with a K. What did I learn about Chaos Magick? I learned that it is way better to watch it on television then to experience it in person!

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