Thursday, June 7, 2007

Mexico Shoot: Strange Days and Coral Connections

As we are winding up a spectacular shoot here in Mexico - here are some highlights:

• the first day we were here we scouted the cenote called "Yaax Muul" (mayan word) in the jungle. It was raining and we were EATEN by mosquitos. It was a toss up who had more bites - David Elisco or our sound guy, Dino . . .

• day two- We had a great shoot in Cancun and decided to stay overnite to be near the Cancun airport to shoot aerials the next morning.

• day three - When we woke up it was POURING RAIN - we got up at 5:30 am to go to the airport and ended up talking to the pilot for awhile and canceling the helicopter . . . oh well! We moved on to other things!

• It's Saturday, and this is the first day both the topside and underwater crews are working . . . The topside crew gets up again at 5:30 am to go to the Cancun airport, and the weather is really iffy.

Mark Shelly and I are with the underwater crew, and we are giving the topside crew weather reports by phone. We recommended they wait for awhile, which was great because the weather cleared up and the topside crew had a great aerials shoot!!!!

When Mark, our guest, Shari Sant Plummer, and I get to the marina to load boats - the boat owned by the scientific institute that our scientist, Roberto Iglesias-Prieto is with, that is on loan to use for the day, doesn't look good. The crew is bailing out the back with coffee cups, and the scientist we are shooting that day, Mario Rebelledo, tells me we have a "little situation," but it should be cleared up "soon!"
Miraculously, the boat finally gets bailed out and works, and we head out - to shoot Mario and his assistants taking water samples from a zone in the ocean where the fresh water is coming up. Mark and Ernie are both shooting, and all goes great!

Ernie is shooting the boat going overhead, and Mark keeps telling the boat captain to "get closer! get closer!" The captain is shaking his head and says something in spanish to our support diver - I ask him what he said, which was "that crazy man in the water with the camera has a death wish!" But of course Ernie gets the shot, no problem.

• Sunday - this is our big CENOTE SHOOT DAY - the day we're all secretly dreading! However, all goes really well. Ernie shoots the cave divers (Sam Meacham and Trish Beadows) in the cavern of this beautiful cave - the topside crew shoots in the cave and on land - with jibs, rafts, and all of our lights powered by generators in the jungle! Great day for everyone.

• Monday - everyone has an off day. The topside crew is shooting in Roberto Iglesias's lab in Puerto Morelos and the Underwater Crew is shooting coral reefs. Must have been an odd moon phase . . . topside crew wrestles with pouring rain, Roberto just got in the night before from the Czech republic, cameraman Mark Knobil hasn't slept because he keeps moving rooms to find one with an air conditioner that works! The underwater crew is wrestling with huge currents and then some of their gear is stolen! But . . . Ernie and his local AC (Pietro) prevail with getting their gear back without a fist fight!

• Tuesday - MUCH better day for both crews!!
Both crews are together shooting Roberto Iglesias Prieto topside and underwater researching the coral reef. Roberto's 15 year old son is with us, as he is an aspiring director! Both crews get great footage. We go to Roberto's very beautiful home in Puerto Morelos this evening and shoot him singing - it is a special evening as his whole family is there, and the kids are very excited to have a movie crew in the living room! Roberto's wife is fantastic and shows us the dance for the music he is playing.

• Wednesday - is INTERVIEW day for the topside crew, and the underwater crew goes to the biosphere to shoot the beautiful mangrove forest. Ernie just rolled in tonight and says the mangroves are great . . . they would have shot a beautiful coral reef but were blown out by wind and rain - oh well!

• thursday - the topside crew is going to Sian Kaan to shoot Mayan Ruins, and then we are WRAPPED.