Monday, November 14, 2011


Our last day squirrel hunting in Apalachicola, FL.  We had to be up a 6am because I guess squirrel hunting is easier at sunrise and sunset.  One of the rednecks down here had some great advice for squirrel hunting, "Them squirrels travel in trees, so you need to be lookin' up."  Dahhhhhhhh!  After hanging around people like that for a few days, I think we're all starting to loose a few IQ points.

We went to hunt the same spot today, but the tide must have been up because everything was submerged in water.  I didn't have waders or boots, so I just trudged through the muddy water in my tennis shoes hoping not to step on a snake or run into an alligator.  No one was really prepared for this.  Scott didn't have any luck finding a squirrel, so we headed back to the boat and floated down the river.  Along the way he shot a couple, and then we decided to hike through the woods again.  I was rigged up with all the audio gear, while Bill was filming.

I stepped off the boat onto a root that was pretty sturdy, while my other foot fallowed. I slipped and before I knew it, I was submerged in water up to my chest.  It turns out there was no land under the roots.  It was a deep water hole where my feet couldn't even touch.  I grabbed the root and tried to keep the audio gear above the water.  I finally got pulled out, but was soaking wet and had just dunked about $20,000 worth of audio gear.  We took everything apart and dried it out immediately, so it might work, but I still don't know.  My phone and wallet were also in my pants, so those got trashed.  The phone is drying and will hopefully work, but it was submerged for a while.  The main thing is that I didn't get hurt and didn't get eaten by an alligator ; )  We pretty much had to end the shoot there because you can't do anything without good audio.

I had some dry audio gear in my bag, so Bill and Scott wrapped up the shoot on the sandy beach by the Gulf of Mexico.  What a crazy trip!  Over the course of the last few days here's all the bad things that happened:  I almost missed my flight because I slept through my alarm, Bill forgot his camera on day one, Our guide bailed on us, Scott didn't wake up day three (we eventually woke him up), I fell in the river and soaked the audio gear, Scott forgot to put the car in park as it started to role away.
I think we all need to get out of here!

Don't Rely on Rednecks

We were supposed to go squirrel hunting again, but it turns out that our "guide" got too drunk last night and decided to blow us off.  He wouldn't answer his phone and never met us at the dock.  Fortunately we knew where he lived, and Scott (our host) had some connections to get us another boat to get down there.  We had to find this guy because he had our mics and we needed him to sign an appearance agreement for TV.  He was at his house, drinking beer, and tried to act like it was no big deal that he didn't pick us up.  Needless to say, we left him and went squirrel huntn' on our own.
We had to trudge through swampy, muddy ground, trying to find squirrels.  Scott shot a few, but it was just a shit-show.  There weren't many squirrels and they were fast.  Trying to document it was impossible because before the camera could be on the squirrel, the shotgun would be blasting away at them.  We quickly learned why people stay in their boats.  I lost my shoe trying to hike through the mud and we ran into several snakes.  It's a perfect habitat for snakes and alligators, which they have lots of.  We saw some colorful snakes, but couldn't remember the saying for if they were poisonous or not. "Red on Black, friend of Jack.  Red on Yellow, kill a fellow." I just googled that and there were definitely some poisonous snakes out there.  The sun finally set, and we headed back.
Dinner made up for the rest of the day because I ate some great oysters, huge shrimp, and an amazing crab cake.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Squirrel Huntn'

I'm down in Florida and we just had our first day of squirrel huntn'.  This is the most redneck place I've ever been.  I can't understand half of what these people say.  They live on the river in these small house boats and just shoot squirrels all day...and eat them.  We hung out at redneck camp almost all day cooking up squirrels, chickens, pork covered in bacon, ham, and some really good oysters.
Squirrels taste like shit! I bit into a tiny squirrel leg that was fried in oil and covered with some type of sauce.  I could barely pull the meat off of the bone it was so tough.  I tried to bite into it again and just ended up chewing on little bone fragments.
They hunt these squirrels with 12 gage shotguns driving down the bank on their boats.  We got to experience the squirrel hunt at the end of the day, but they didn't even get one squirrel.  I also forgot to mention that these people are all alcoholics and chain smokers.  By the time we got out hunting everyone was drunk and could barely steer a boat, let alone shoot a squirrel with a shotgun.  Fortunately no one got hurt, and we get to experience it all over again tomorrow.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Barrett Closing Down

Well, I'm in a weird position right now.  Barrett is closing down and moving all of their employees to Brainerd, Minnesota where InterMedia Outdoors (IMO) is located.  I'm just freelancing right now, so I don't know if I'm going to still have a job.  I'm kind of liking the freelancing gig and have found out about a lot of other companies that hire freelance videographers, so I'm sure there's still a lot of work out there for me if Barrett doesn't work out.  I guess there might still be a full time job open at IMO, but they might want me to be in Minnesota.  Who knows?  I've been thinking more about starting up my own show.  I have all of the equipment and have learned how things run at Barrett, so I don't think it's out of my realm.   I also want to fly my octocopter a lot and start contracting that.  Lots of companies are starting to use them, so the demand is rising and the money is great.  What do I do?  I'm young and can gamble, so maybe I should just keep working on my own thing.  If I get tied down to a full time job then I wont have time to work on my own stuff, I wont make as much money, and its hard for any of the videographers to hold a good relationship with their loved ones.  The full time job does have benefits, it's consistent work/pay check, and great experienced, so it would be hard to turn that down.  Oh, the choices in life!  Any comments or suggestions are welcome.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Toyota Texas Bass Classic

Our last assignment was a shit-show.  We filmed a huge bass tournament on Lake Conroe, TX.  It was a three day tournament with 50 anglers.  All the cameramen would be paired up with an angler and their judge.  The boats only had two seats, so the cameramen were screwed.  Day one was raining and cold and these fishermen like to drive their boats 70mph.  I had the privilege on sitting on the cup holder between the two seats.  Going 70mph over whitecaps, in the rain, sitting on a cup holder with no backrest was comparable to my vision of hell.  I didn't have rain pants so I was soaking wet, cold, and had a bruised tailbone. I was warned ahead of time about this tournament, but no stories prepared me for what I had to go through.
Just about every minute I had to wipe the rain off of the lens.  I'd stand for hours on the back of the boat trying to keep a level horizon as the boat rocked back and forth.  The camera would roll straight for eight hours in hopes that the angler would hook up a bass.  After that we headed over to the awards where, for 3 more hours, every angler would walk across the stage and either show off their larges bass or just find out what position they were in.  The cool thing about it was seeing how large of a production it was.  There was a professional jib operator out of california who operated an 18ft, remote jib. Aerial shots from another MT company who flies a hexacopter with a panasonic GH2.  And about ten cameraman stationed around the crowd or on stage.  After the awards there was a live country show, but during the show we would break down the jib and head out for dinner (maybe 9/10pm).  Dinner was awesome! We would gorge ourselves with sushi all on the company card.  Then I'd go back to my hotel room, get camera gear ready for the next day, finally get in bed around midnight, and wake up at 5am to do it all over again.
We had three days of pretty much the same routine.  The weather got much better, so that really helped out, and my angler on day 2 was catching fish almost every cast, so I was always on my toes.  By the time this trip was over I was definitely ready to head back to MT.