Monday, 12 January 2015

Some More Press For Of Shark and Man And A New Milestone

I got a nice surprise the other day from Mike who emailed me a link to an article about me by the very cool people at "The Coral Triangle" that I didn't realise had been online since November!

If you went to any of the Beneath The Waves Film Festival events in 2013 you would have almost certainly seen the film "The People of The Coral Triangle" which really is very, very good. James and Jonny are both very talented guys and are doing some great things so please check them out!

I did the interview with Jonny ages ago and had forgotten about it so it was a nice surprise when it landed in my inbox. You can read it here.

Speaking of Beneath The Waves I have entered A Ray of Light II into this year's festival. The criteria for film's is that they must be ten minutes or less and with A Ray of Light II coming in at 28 minutes 40 seconds, I was unsure whether to apply but they actually asked for it personally so I'm hopeful it gets in as I think BTWFF is one of the best underwater film festivals around and I like Austin a lot. I'm not going to lie either, if it gets in and is considered for an award, I hope it gets one!

I'll be entering it in some other festivals as well so watch this space.

As for Of Shark and Man, we are half way through the music which is the last thing that needs doing so there will be an official trailer soon! On Wednesday we are doing some more work on the marketing side including the website which looks absolutely fantastic! The branding is done, the content is being readied and as we start 2015, a release of the film is not far away at all. All this means that very soon, there will be some exciting stuff coming your way including content from the film, merchandise and ways you can help get the film out to the masses.

2015 marks the 40th anniversary of JAWS and later this year, the BBC are airing a three part series dedicated to sharks which will be incredible, I know this because a good friend is working on it and from what he has told me, it will be yet more world beating brilliance from the best in the business at this kind of stuff.

This year has also seen his blog reach a bit of a milestone as it has now surpassed a quarter of a million views! That is no mean feat given its only promotion comes from links shared on the Facebook "shark community" hich is pretty over saturated with content meaning these kinds of shares get lost easily and quickly. Pretty amazing that with that in mind, this is one of the most popular shark related blogs in the world!

Here's to reaching half a million before 2016! ;)

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

I Was Interviewed By Save The Sharks

The other day I was asked to do a short interview with Save The Sharks about the process of filming A Ray of Light II and my approach to work in general, alongside a few thoughts about the issues facing Conservation Film.

Have a read of it here!

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to all!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Gigantic Great White Shark in Mallorca

At Biel's house with a jaw taken from a Mallorquin Great White

Any reader of this blog should know by now I have a special passion for sharks in the Mediterranean, especially around the Balearic Islands and in particular Mallorca. For those that don't know, Mallorca actually has a fascinating history with the Great White Shark with twenty seven confirmed captures between the 1920's and 1976.

My good friend and Mallorquin Biologist, Gabriel Morey and I, will often talk about Great Whites around the island, not only does he share my passion for the stories but he also happens to be one of Europe's leading authorities on Great White Sharks in the Med and is the go to guy for everything related to sharks around the Balearics.

One of the main topics which always arises is that of the gigantic Great White captured in El Delta in 1969, a 6.2m specimen captured close to shore, the primary reason being that El Delta is where we handle our work with the Stingrays featured in both A Ray of Light and A Ray of Light II. It's amazing when I dive that area to think that such a huge White Shark was once swimming around there and to be honest, I get a kick out of it.

Today, Anton at Shark Alley (Anton's a cool guy, go like them on Facebook) posted this video:

I have already seen this footage a few years ago but it has now found it's way online and I originally thought this was one of two sharks given the date, a 5.5m specimen taken from Alcudia by Oscar Pinet or the first shark (5.35m) caught by Xisco Perez, who would later catch the second biggest Great White captured anywhere on the planet (1976) and the final confirmed Great White caught around the island.

However, after checking with Biel it turns out the date on the footage is wrong and that this is actually the specimen caught by Guillem Farragut in El Delta in 1969, coming in at a whopping 6.2m! I never knew this was in fact the shark we have talked so much about. There is video footage of a few of the White Sharks taken around Mallorca but much of it is unavailable online but I have been fortunate enough to see it all and one thing which stands out about these sharks is that they are huge!

Not only that, but they are very much still there, only recently there was proof of this but I'm afraid I'm sworn to secrecy on that...

Anyway, if you want to see the area where this shark was caught, check out A Ray of Light II!

A Ray of Light II from Scarlet View Media on Vimeo.

Monday, 8 December 2014

A Ray of Light II - Online And Available Now!

The wait is finally over!

You can now watch A Ray of Light II in its entirety, free of charge, HERE (Click this link)

If you have any feedback, comments or anything at all, please leave a comment in the comments section of this blog or if you're registered on Vimeo, in the comments section of the film itself.

If you want to help us continue to make these films, the Tip Jar feature is enabled on the Vimeo page, it's non-obligatory of course but any donations, big or small, really do help and they are hugely appreciated!

If you want to embed the film on your websites or blogs, please feel free to do so and if possible, let me know so I can point people towards your site!

So, what are you waiting for!? Watch it and if you like it, please share with friends on Social Media!

Please support Asociacion Ondine as well because without funding, they cannot continue the vital work they are doing! Link here -

Edit: - Thank you Mike!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

A Ray of Light II Going Live on Monday, December 8th

Ready and waiting for you!

It's not been easy sitting on A Ray of Light II for so long, it seems like forever really, but I'm excited to say that it will finally see the light of day on an internet near you sometime around midday UK time on Monday, December 8th.

If you haven't already seen them, please do take a bit of time to check out Lockie's two "Making Of" featurettes below:

The three weeks in Mallorca shooting the film was a big challenge to say the least, exhausting both physically and mentally and at times emotionally draining and it shows in the film.

Whereas the first film was a pretty straightforward affair, this was anything but and has a far more expansive, documentary feel to it. As opposed to taking a retrospective look at things that have already happened, A Ray of Light II gives you an insight into things as they happen and an intimate and deeply personal look at how Brad's life has changed in the two years from the first film.

It's a longer film, coming in at just under 29 minutes, the cinematography is better, the sound is better, the story is better and the overall look of the film is a vast improvement from the first, which people still comment very favourably on. The post production of the film was a big job, much bigger than I expected and I think the time and effort I took to get the film how I wanted really shows in the finished result.

A small group of people have already seen the film outside of the premiere and feedback from both has all been overwhelmingly positive so I'm pretty confident if you liked the first, you'll hopefully like (maybe even really like) A Ray of Light II.

As with the first film, A Ray of Light II will be free to view online wherever you are in the world (barring maybe North Korea), that doesn't mean it was a cheap production, far from it! With that in mind, Vimeo's "Tip Jar" feature will be enabled so if you enjoy the film and want to show your appreciation, feel free to chuck a few quid/dollars/yen/whatever in there, every little bit helps recoup costs but of course there is no obligation.

I do ask though that if you enjoy it and value the film and/or the project featured within, that you share the film on your Social Media, Blogs and Websites with a description of why you're sharing it, the more people aware of the work of small, independent Conservation orgs like Asociacion Ondine, the better, they really are a shining light in the marine conservation world.

So, set a reminder, mark your calendars, A Ray of Light II is out this coming Monday. As always, feedback is warmly welcomed!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

A Ray of Light II - Behind The Scenes Films

A pic from my time in Palma

I've just got back to the UK from five weeks in Palma on a commercial film shoot for a plastic pollution educational film, not only that, it was also the premiere for A Ray of Light II which was a huge success. If you're wondering where the film is, it will be out in the next few weeks and I can't wait for you all to see it, those who have, all seem to have very passionate feelings about it, or at least various aspects and it certainly created a lot of discussion about its content, to the degree where it wasn't unusual to hear the film being discussed in the bars of Palma by people completely unaware that people responsible for it were within earshot and totally unable to avoid listening in! That was a pretty weird experience for me!

The filming process for part II was much longer, much more complex and a more intense experience, I knew it would be beforehand so enlisted the help of the newest addition to the Scarlet View Media team, Lachlan Stewart-Baker, or as he's better known, "Lockie".

Lockie is new to Film-Making but he's super passionate, enthusiastic and a great person to have on set. For  a big project like this with a lot of expectation attached, it would have been much easier, maybe even more sensible to take someone with experience but Lockie's biggest attribute is his attitude and willingness to get involved and learn.

To help Lockie gain experience in both shooting and editing, alongside helping with the shooting of the film itself, I asked him to make a Behind The Scenes film of the process. I think BTS featurettes are great, they are an excellent promotional tool and really help a viewer engage with the people involved in the production and thus, hopefully, the story in the film itself.

I'm really happy to say that Lockie has now finished his BTS film, which he has split into two parts and I think he's done a great job!

They films feature footage from A Ray of Light II and also, of course, some BTS stuff and both are based around an interview I did with Lockie for which he had total control over the content. I offered advice here and there when asked but these are without doubt, Lockie's own work and he should receive all the credit for their creation. So, here they are!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Let us know what you think and if you like them, please share them on your social media groups and pages, not only do they give an insight into the film itself, but also highlights the massive amount of effort which went into making it and if you're in Palma, Lockie owns Mojo Bar so pop in, buy a beer and say hello!

Great stuff Lockie!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A Ray of Light II Premiere!

Photo by Vicki McLeod

I'm still on a shoot in Mallorca so super busy and as such, instead of doing a separate version, I'll just direct you to this very short post about the premiere of A Ray of Light II last week!

Enjoy and keep checking for the update here as to when you can see it for yourself!

Friday, 24 October 2014

A Ray of Light II - Premiere Screening in Palma de Mallorca!

Just a quick heads up to all you hombres and chicas in Mallorca, the premiere for A Ray of Light II is happening next week in Palma!

The screening is taking place at Palma Aquarium on Thursday October 30th, doors open at 19:00 and everything kicks off around 19:30 with a screening of A Ray of Light, which will then be followed by A Ray of Light II and afterwards there will be a Q&A session and a brief presentation by Spain's numero uno Rock Star of the Marine Biology world, the one and only Gabriel Morey.

I will be there, as will of course, the one and only Brad Robertson and if all that isn't enough for you, there will also be a bar and not only that, as if we aren't being good enough to you already as it is, the whole event is FREE to enter!

We would love to see you, feedback for the film from the small group of people who have seen it already has been amazing so you're in for a real treat and besides, what else will you be doing on a Thursday night in one of Europe's best cities?!

We look forward to seeing you.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

A Ray of Light II Is On It's Way

It's been a manic few months. The first cut of "Of Shark and Man" is on it's way to California so the Sound Design stems can be added.

If you don't know what Sound Design is, it's basically the creation of sound, its manipulation, mixing and mastering, all of which gives the viewer more of an emotional and sensory experience. Some films have a simple, more straight ahead sound design, especially in factual film, however, having gone down a far more complex and ambitious route, we have hundreds of sounds to mix in a cohesive way which will hopefully give you a fuller viewing experience and aid in the narrative of the film. We will end up with a mix of four "stems," one each for the narrative, voice over, topside ambiance and underwater sound, however, currently we have fifty so David Lawrie has his work cut out but what we have sounds incredible!

As post production on "Of Shark and Man" has been reaching completion, alongside commercial work for various clients, I have been putting the finishing touches to "A Ray of Light II."

A Ray of Light from Scarlet View Media on Vimeo.

If you haven't seen the first film, predictably entitled, "A Ray of Light," you can do so above.

The film took me by surprise in the level of success it attained, headlining various film festivals around the world and having been viewed to date, in 151 countries. I'd always intended to do a sequel because the reaction to Brad and his work was overwhelmingly positive, indeed, as more people saw the film, the level of support for Brad's work increased to the stage where he was able to raise sponsorship to start Asociacion Ondine, an official non-profit, grassroots marine conservation organisation based on the island.

I don't want to give too much away but A Ray of Light II is a longer film (29 minutes) much less retrospective with a first person insight into Asociacion Ondine's biggest conservation project to date (a Stingray tagging expedition) and has much more by way of content. It focuses on the effects the first film had on Brad's life and conservation on the island, the growth of Asociacion Ondine, the huge changes to Brad's personal life and also confronts the challenges and more controversial aspects of marine conservation in Mallorca. Where the first was something of a vignette, the sequel is a more rounded, documentary style film which asks the difficult questions and gives the important answers.

In short, I am really, really proud of it.

Production-wise the film was shot on two Canon 7D's, various L Series and EF-S Lenses, about 6 GoPros (meaning lots of mounted POV type shots) and two aerial drones. Sound was captured on a Zoom H1n, Rode Video Mic and Rode Video Mic Pro and underwater sequences were filmed primarily on 7D in a Nauticam housing, with two Sola 1200 lights, with some additional footage captured with GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition, both mounted and hand held.

Post-Production was all done on Adobe Production Premium CS6 on a custom built Novatech edit suite and graded in Da Vinci Resolve Lite 10 with a few of my secret little tricks added on top (they stay secret!) Sound Design was mixed and mastered by David Lawrie on Logic on Mac.

As always, big thanks to the awesome Fourth Element, Apeks and Aqualung!

A very small handful of people have seen it and the feedback has been pretty overwhelming to be honest, so far all but one have admitted to shedding a few tears (the one who hasn't, I think may have at least experienced a little moistening ;) ) and all seem to feel this is a big leap forward in terms of the quality of everything.

A Ray of Light II gets its full premiere at Palma Aquarium, in Mallorca on October 30th, where they will also be screening the first film, Gabriel Morey will be giving details of findings of the Stingray Survey to date and Brad, Gabriel and myself will also be doing a Q&A session so if you're on the island, make sure to get down and see it!

The film will then get an online release (free of charge again) some time in November and will be hopefully hitting some festivals next year.

To make sure you are amongst the first to see it when it's out, join here and here as all details will be posted there and there will also be a "Making Of" featurette as well!

** By the way, if you haven't already seen the great news, please have a read of Mike's blog here!**

Friday, 26 September 2014

Mexico Pelagico - Brilliant!

THIS is how you do it!

Yesterday was really weird, really, really weird. Thank you to the 200 or so people for your very kind messages regarding the blog which, when I woke up in the morning, had exploded everywhere which I hadn't really expected at all as I was only chipping in my bit on a "hot" topic. Thank you also to the very small handful of people for the not so nice messages, whether you were in support of the overall message (as 99% were) or not, you engaged directly and I enjoy that so cheers, but I do ask of everyone, please, stop posting under the cloak of anonymity if at all possible. I put ownership on everything I say, I think it's fair to ask others to do the same although that does raise the issue that many of the people who contacted me who are active conservationists and advocates stated they were afraid of the backlash they may face from others if they dared speak out but that's for another time.

Today, I want to focus on everything right in conservation media.

I had a lovely chat yesterday with Jorge Cervera Hauser who is part of Pelagic Life, an organisation I have admired from afar for a while now and it appears we have a mutual admiration and he is someone who shares many of the same opinions and ambitions I have. In amongst the fallout from all the other stuff that's been going on this week, it was great to have an intelligent, articulate and inspiring conversation with someone representing a group who completely "get"what conservation and media messaging is about in 2014.

Pelagic Life was formed off the back of work they were doing in the Baja Peninsuala, paying fishermen to allow them to free the sharks they had hooked. It was a small gesture in the overall grand scheme of things but it is such a great message, to see passionate watermen and women giving something back to the ocean and the sharks who have given them so much pleasure and it also raised awareness of the issues facing sharks in Mexican waters. You can see several short videos of there work here and I strongly suggest you do because they are great!

These are not noisy, privileged, white people stomping into a developing nation screaming at people to "stop shark finning," these are intelligent, articulate, informed and pragmatic people who understand that shark conservation is a far more complex issue than mindless sloganeering and catchphrases, it's a socio-economic issue that is as much about social disparity and capitalist exploitation of the poor as it is about environmentalism. These guys get it and I respect them enormously.

I was lucky enough that Jorge gave me the chance to see their film, "Mexico Pelagico" and I have to say, I was mightily impressed. It's well made, with a great message and as a group, they all come across incredibly well, as articulate, well informed people with warmth and a genuine desire to do something good. This really is brilliant conservation media that has a soul and spirit you only really find in films that are truly independent productions. This is the kind of film we, as people passionate about shark conservation, need to get behind and push out there to a wider audience.

Check out the trailer, join their Facebook page and give them your support. These are people out there, boots on the ground, doing it off their own back with a sustainable and innovative long term goal.

Great stuff!

PS - More from Jorge here!

Mexico Pelagico | Trailer (2) English from Pelagic Life on Vimeo.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Curious Case Of The Shark Attack That Wasn't And Why It's So Predictable

Is this you?...

CAVEAT September 25th, 20:23pm :
I have spoken with Elissa who is obviously quite distressed abut the whole thing which has clearly got way out of hand and we have agreed to do an interview so she can at least give her unedited side of the story which I think is only fair. Her answers will not be edited, will be in her own words and will be presented on another blog here without bias as soon as they are ready. 

UPDATE: October 5th 2014:
I've not heard from Elissa since I sent the questions over so I guess she's changed her mind which is fine. Let's hope everyone can now move on from this whole thing and start looking towards more positive endeavours for everyone involved! 

I'm disappointed in myself, I wasn't going to do this but I've given in and wanted to say a little something about the bizarre case of Elissa Sursara and the shark attack that wasn't. It may well be that although you've already read a ton about her in the last 48 hours, none of it good, but I wanted to take a slightly different tack.

Firstly though if you haven't a clue what I'm on about I'll give a basic run down;

Elissa is a 26 year old Australian who nobody apart from her friends and family had heard of until Monday morning. Elissa likes animals, she's vegetarian, she went to the Australian National University, has blue eyes and doesn't wear much make up. She was also attacked by a shark in September 2013 and spent a week in hospital. 

Unlike 99.9999999999% of shark attack victims however, she claimed to feel "privileged" to have been attacked by a shark and decided to tell her story a couple of days ago to as many media outlets as possible to help protect sharks or something. Either way, her face and name were all over Facebook with many proclaiming her a heroine for sharks and that such positive in the face of such trauma was another win for the sharks. It was a wonderful moment indeed.

The only problem is I, like many others saw the photo of the wound and immediately smelled a rat because it looks completely fake. In fact, it is fake, the attack never happened and the whole story was dreamt up as some kind of bizarre publicity stunt. Drew Scerbo on the Facebook group White Shark Advocacy went so far as to analyse the picture and point out the Photoshop skullduggery leaving nobody in any doubt that this already fishy story was pure, unadulterated bullshit.

This is where it gets really weird... Elissa is someone who has something of a track record when it comes to bullshit. She describes herself as "an Australian wildlife expert and journalist" with a pretty decent list of credits in film and TV and whose profession is lisetd as "Australian biologist, broadcaster, filmmaker and celebrity conservationist" who has almost 60,000 "fans" on Facebook and legions more followers on Twitter. If you look at her IMDB page you will also see the following;

"Following the death of friend Heath Ledger, Sursara was targeted by the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, for her friendship with the actor and for her support of Ledger's role as a homosexual in Brokeback Mountain (2005). The Church also attacked Sursara's support of same-sex relationships and same-sex marriages."

"From 2006 onward - before finding success as an actor - Sursara became a victim of social identity theft on networking websites MySpace, Bebo and Facebook. According to published reports, there were in abundance of 400 profiles on MySpace using Sursara's pictures. In 2010, Sursara and student Frieda Rose were named the Internet's "Most Faked Girls" after a study on social identity theft."

Not only all the above, but she also claimed to have been dating Justin Bieber at one point.

The problems arise when it becomes clear that pretty much all the above has been proven as a pack of lies and that the supposed celebrity status comes from nothing more than Facebook and Twitter followers that were bought and paid for and who don't actually exist.

The master and the student

At this point, while this looks like veering dangerously off into another hatchet piece on someone who is clearly a deluded fantasist, I want to point out that I'm not going down that route because there are parts of this whole charade which compel me to talk about it far more than slating this young woman for doing something so spectacularly short sighted and stupid with a lack of awareness I find completely staggering. When the story first broke, I was taken aback by the brass neck she has, I found some of her statements amusing but the more I have thought about it and the more I have seen the reaction, I have started to feel differently. Is she guilty of doing something utterly moronic? Yes, but I think there is more to this than that.

To be honest, before I even saw the "wound" I called "bullshit" on the story after seeing another picture, a shot of Elissa in full Sea Shepherd garb with the Jedi Master of lying to the media, Paul Watson. I have become so cynical that the second I see those black hoodies, I automatically think "whatever this is, it's at least 70% bollocks." Sometimes I'm wrong and I'm glad when I am because they do occasionally do some good stuff but usually, (and unfortunately) I'm right and being conservative with the 70%

You see, although Elissa has done something incredibly stupid, I don't think she should bear the blame alone because there are deeper issues here which I'll come to in a second but first, this statement from Elissa stood out to me when defending herself against a rising tide of criticism and some other, rather ugly, reactions;

"For the record, Paul Watson provided comments about this encounter to the Courier Mail, the incident was no secret to those in Sea Shepherd who needed to know. Unfortunately that does not include the 400,000 odd on Sea Shepherd's Facebook page and the millions who receive email updates. The decision to withhold my name at the time was calculated and strategic since I felt that any association with me or with Sea Shepherd would have been instrumentally negative toward sharks, the shark campaign and the work of third party groups -- and, quite honestly, I didn't feel the need to "share my story" with the newspaper since up until now, the shark cull has been in place. As the report states, there is slightly more freedom for shark advocates to speak their piece in the clearance of a WA cull..."

Of course it's difficult to believe anything Elissa says but given Sea Shepherd are yet to respond are we to take it, as that statement suggests, that this was a "calculated and strategic" press release executed under the watchful eye of Watson to raise the Sea Shepherd profile further through a magnificently misguided ploy to convince the public that being chomped by a shark really isn't so bad after all?
Has an obviously vulnerable and easily manipulated fantasist with possible psychological issues and stars in her eyes been convinced to take one for the team with a bullshit stunt concocted by people who think their followers and fans are really that stupid that they'd actually get away with it?!

 Sound familiar?

Elissa isn't the first person to say she thinks being bitten by a shark and having a cool scar would be pretty groovy, in fact, I've seen other people of varying notoriety saying the same, actually hoping it would happen to them because hey it's awesome, the psychological and physical trauma, not to mention the financial damage are just swell and you'll get your name in the news. Awesome!

The issue here isn't just the lie or the effect it will undoubtedly have on the view of Joe Public when he next sees someone on TV talking about shark conservation, it's the fact that something like this has been on the cards for ages and that Elissa is far from alone, the raging narcissists desperate to be the next Shark Girl/Man/Rider are everywhere and even worse, they're winning.

I don't know Elissa but I reckon deep down she's probably a nice girl, a nice, misguided girl who exhibits all the signs of someone with issues who finds a solace in Social Media and the completely false sense of popularity it imbues in those who are in desperate need of good, real friends, friends who will put an arm around you and make you feel good about yourself when times are tough.

The world of shark media and shark conservation is no stranger to narcissism, it infests its every pore, like it does in many niche interests, for all the good hearted, enthusiastic people therein, lies a (un)healthy amount of people whose sense of self importance, talent and worth far outweighs their actual importance, talent and worth.

Sharks are great for the ego, they make you look cool and in a world where you can look cool and make a bit of a name for yourself, those narcissists will grasp, claw and cheat their piece of the pie doing anything and everything to get one over on the competition. In a world where you can actually buy popularity you have all the tools to trick gullible people into thinking you and what you're selling (because everyone is selling something,) has value and meaning, tag on a cool image and some snazzy catchphrases, let other people do the hard work for you and you're good to go.

Unfortunately these people, and we all know who they are, are also smart enough to know how to manipulate enough gullible people into helping them become somebody and for people like Elissa, who obviously, desperately wants to be "somebody," they become the benchmark and inspiration as to how to get there and they must also shoulder some of the blame for this. Without positive role models the lowest common denominator can rule supreme, this is no longer a world where the cream will rise to the top, instead it remains hidden, slowly evolving into a grotesque new life form while you sit there drinking shitty coffee because you couldn't be arsed to look in the back of the fridge.

It's all very well rounding on Elissa, getting the pitchforks and flaming torches out but maybe we might want to start looking at the more uncomfortable truths, that the people looked upon as bastions of Shark Conservation because they ride sharks ("for the sharks"), wear bikinis ("for the sharks"), make crappy TV ("for the sharks"), get you to donate your hard earned money to their projects which don't actually do anything ("for the sharks") or simply spend all their time on Facebook telling you how brilliant they are ("for the sharks") aren't actually doing it "for the sharks," at all but instead, are doing it solely for themselves and that these narcissists are merely creating more narcissists who do nothing other than push their brand at people who believe they are helping by supporting them in doing so?

I'd say to anybody out there who knows Elissa, sit down with her, put an arm around her, talk to her and advise her to lay low, stop talking and let this blow over and learn from it and to anyone out there who, if it is the case, advised her in undertaking this "calculated and strategic" stunt, shame on you, I hope you're happy with the fact this young woman has now completely fucked up any real chance of making a credible career in conservation and who is now getting blasted by the mainstream media and anyone and everyone on Social Media and not only that, you've helped make genuine shark conservationists look really bad by association to people who don't know any better, predominantly most of the general public.

I actually feel sorry for Elissa, maybe I'm going soft in my old age, we all do stupid things from time to time and Elissa's seem to stem from deeper issues than just not thinking things through properly before we do them.

We must all be held accountable for our actions but sometimes, those who directly, or indirectly influence those actions might want to take a long hard look at themselves, suppress the narcissistic ego maniac within, and exercise a little humility and ownership of their own behaviour because if you do have a public profile and you use your platform to do stupid, worthless, self serving things and claim them to be anything other than what they are, even worse assign them to some kind of altruistic, humanitarian crusade, then you are telling people like Elissa that it's okay to be like you and I hate to say it, but it's not okay to be like you, it's not okay at all.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

A Vision Realised - How "Of Shark and Man" is finally becoming what it was always meant to be!

Our second day in Fiji, visiting Galoa

It seems about a squillion years ago now that I decided I was sick and tired of doing what everyone else expected of me and not fulfilling my dreams, ambitions and potential and decided to just jack it all in on the back of an absurd notion that I could just swan off to Fiji and make a feature length film that would get on TV, okay, maybe not a squillion but it's been four years and that's a long time to go through the trials and tribulations I've faced.

The constant threat of always being on the verge of going broke, giving up my home, constant (and I mean constant) rejection, self doubt, crises of confidence which literally left me a complete wreck, unable to create anything for weeks, ridicule and criticism, you name it, I've had it thrown at me over the last four years but in amongst the hard times there have also been some glorious highs.

Despite practically everyone telling me to stop being so stupid and just give up, I made it out to Fiji and it only took me nine months and twenty seven days to achieve everything I needed to to do that, a first time film-maker with no pedigree, gaining the funding to shoot a film in which he has complete creative control and 100% ownership of a film with no debt is almost unheard of and for that I have to thank the wonderful, innovative and forward thinking Jane West and Martin Harlow at Tourism Fiji for taking a huge gamble on me and who have offered nothing but support, encouragement and enthusiasm. Anything I achieve in my career will always owe a huge debt of gratitude to them.

I went from not even owning a camera and having never even attempted to make a short film, with zero experience, credibility, contacts, support or money, straight into making my own feature film, for which I would be 90% responsible for all the work, fulfilling every role imaginable along the way. Now, here I am in 2014, a professional full-time film-maker with, I'd like to think, a good reputation around the world, working in film, TV and commercial promo work, I'm a dad to an awesome little boy, I'm involved with some incredible conservation projects around the world and am finally getting a growing platform upon which I can help spread positive messages about sharks and also inform the public about important issues, being regularly approached to discuss in particular, shark feeding and shark attack.

This isn't a "hey look how great I am" post, I hate all that bullshit, anyone who feels compelled to constantly convince people of their talent, knowledge or credibility has nowhere near as much of any of those as they think, in my opinion, (I prefer to let my work and work ethic do the talking), no, instead this is hopefully encouragement for anyone else out there on the verge of taking the leap of faith I did. If you believe in yourself absolutely, you have thick skin, you can take rejection and you are willing to sacrifice and risk everything, go for it. It's a hell of a ride with more downs that ups but the ups will define why you did this in the first place and the downs will only confirm and define your character. If you give up easily or you have serious doubts, stay where you are, choose safety, this isn't for you...

So why all the above?

The last two months has seen massive progress on the film, in fact, it's really not far at all away from a completed first cut and my life has been consumed with Grading the film and overseeing the Sound Design, both of which have made everything explode into life and jump out of the screen at you. The addition of great sound and a great aesthetic has been the realisation that I may be sitting on something pretty amazing here...

Given the above retrospective look at how far this has all come, I figured I'd touch base on a few technical factors and also look back at the progression of the film and myself as a Film-Maker, from a naieve amateur who didn't know what "aperture" or "shutter speed" meant, to someone who people actually pay money to make films, and good ones at that too! :)

First up a few technicals...

A major aspect of this film was that I wanted to shoot it on pro-sumer equipment, that is, gear which is high quality but affordable and available to the man on the street so not the Reds and Arri's of the world but cameras and production equipment most people can realistically afford to buy themselves.

So, a list of the main production equipment:

2x Canon 7D (with 2x Nauticam NA-7D Housings)
1x Sony XD Cam
1x GoPro 2
1x Phantom Flex (Absolutely not affordable! For the "dream sequence" pool shots)
1x Canon Ixus 100 (seriously!)
1x Nokia N8 Mobile Phone (honestly, I'm being serious...)

Canon 15-85mm EF-S
Canon 10-22mm EF
Canon 50mm f1.8 (£60 in Incheon Airport!)
Canon 70-300mm
Canon 18-55mm EF-S
Zeiss 50mm f1.4
Sigma 70-300mm

2x Rode Video Mic

Post Production:
1x Custom Built Novatech 32GB RAM Desktop Edit Suite
1x Custom Built Novatech 16GB Laptop
Logic Pro

So that gives you an idea on the budgets I was working on, thankfully and for which I am eternally grateful, Novatech build me my computers for free as a brand ambassador (and they are awesome!) and Canon gave me my camera. The Phantom we got to use for free as part of a test for a TV documentary and the XDCam belongs to Mike who became a member of the underwater cinematography team for a month! I won't say what our budget was but in Film-Making parlance it would be classed as "Micro Budget."

To give you a comparison, the average Shark Week production has a budget of around $200-300K and according to the production release from the company, for the recent "Shark Girl" show they needed to raise between AUS$850,000 - $1,000,000 to get it made.

Needless to say, my budget was a grain of sand on their mile long budgetary beach, but from the outset I set my "competition" not as the amateur "passion pieces" that are becoming more widespread, but films with budgets of £1,000,000+. I'm a one man band doing ninety percent of what's required from a spare room at my parents' house, I can't compete with the BBC but what I felt I could do is aim for a higher quality than that which is typically broadcast on the commercial terrestrial channels, in both content, style and technical film-making. Of course the single most important thing is content and story but the first way a production will be judged against the rest is in how it looks and how it sounds.

With that in mind, here are a few (heavily compressed) screen shots from the sections which have been graded so far so you have an idea of what to expect:

I have gone for a complex grade made up of five separate stages to give the film that "epic" cinematic film look you don't really see much in factual film these days. Colour is a big part of the story and is used very much as a storytelling tool, I may do a breakdown of the grade for the Behind The Scenes film when I've finished everything...Maybe.

Regardless of how amazing your film might look, if the sound sucks, then so will your film unfortunately, you can cheat badly shot footage but bad sound is the killer of films and if your sound is amateur, you will be viewed as "just an amateur." Your story deserves better.

The above is a screenshot of the Sound Design for just a few seconds of "Of Shark and Man," which is being put together by the brilliant David Lawrie and it sounds spectacular. I knew I wanted a huge, ambitious and complex sound design for the film so finding Dave has been such a blessing, not only can he decipher what I am saying in regards to what I want in there and take on board my suggestions of how to achieve that, he uses his considerable expertise to take what I want and make it so much better. Every frame of the film will have probably between 15-20 "elements" of work in it and that is why the film has taken so long to get this far but this was never a sprint, quality is the key and that sometimes takes a long time.

There are four sections remaining to be graded thus meaning the grade will be finished this week, the Sound Design is about halfway done and the intro titles are also almost complete, when all this is done, the film will have a first cut ready for industry tests. I appreciate everyone's patience, most of all Jane, Martin and all associated with Tourism Fiji who made this possible however, I can guarantee the wait will be worth it.

If you want to jog your memory, check out the three teasers below and in which, you can also see the obvious progression the film has taken along the way.

"Of Shark and Man" - Teaser Trailer 1 from Scarlet View Media on Vimeo.

"Of Shark and Man" Teaser Trailer 2 from Scarlet View Media on Vimeo.

"Of Shark and Man" Teaser Trailer 3 (Letterboxed Version) from Scarlet View Media on Vimeo.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

That is one badass shark!

Michael's Mako. A badass shark for a badass dude!

I'm lucky to be friends with some truly great photographers including many of the underwater variety and one of my favourites is Michael Patrick O'Neill. Not only one of the very best pros out there, but a down to earth, intelligent and downright cool human being to boot.

All of that makes me even more stoked he managed to get this shot of a 4m Shortfin Mako off the Azores (story here)

The world we live in now seems to be full of people trying to make sharks cuddly, friendly and benign little cuties that just want to give us all a hug and be our pals but anyone who knows sharks knows that's doing them a great injustice and sharks like this badass girl remind us why. This is how I like my sharks, big, gnarly looking and with attitude, look at those scars, a big girl like this will no doubt have a colourful history so what a great stroke of luck for MPO and the others on the dive.

Did I mention? Michael also makes a valuable contribution to "Of Shark and Man" too. Here he is in the last teaser trailer.

"Of Shark and Man" Teaser Trailer 3 (Letterboxed Version) from Scarlet View Media on Vimeo.

Brilliant shot as always mate!

Friday, 11 July 2014

A Welcome Reminder of a Bygone Era

The greatest...

Last night just as I was settling into bed after finishing the grade of another section of "Of Shark and Man" (I say "night," it was 3am...) a link popped up on my Facebook timeline which genuinely excited me, it was a Youtube link for the full hour long, 1983 National Geographic special, "Sharks" or "The Sharks" as it was titled on its VHS release.

I can't tell you how many times I watched this as a kid, a hundred plus easy, but since the advent of DVD and Blu-Ray (and laser disc but the less said about that the better) and the phasing out of VHS players it must be around twenty years since I saw it last.

Coincidentally I had been speaking to my friend Jason earlier that evening, about how much of a drastic nosedive the genre of factual shark film has taken in the last fifteen years or so. Of course there is still some good stuff, "Sharkwater" for all its flaws is still a great film, I enjoyed "Extinction Soup," I love the "Sarah Shark" series and every year Shark Week seems to come up with the odd gem here and there ("Alien Sharks," "Great White Highway" from last year as two examples) but the good stuff is becoming increasingly more difficult to find in amongst the various vanity projects, hyperbolic exploitation pieces (Red Sea Jaws) and the downright cheap and nasty (feeding watermelons and hot dogs to sharks anyone?) so this was a really welcome reminder of a time when people actually respected the craft of film-making.

The heyday for shark documentaries is unquestionably the period from the greatest of the all, "Blue Water White Death," (1971) to the mid-nineties when the technology had advanced but not to the point where it was ultimately detrimental to the art of storytelling. If you watch "Sharks" you will not only notice the obvious amount of time spent making the film (something incredibly rare these days, after all, why bother going to the effort of shooting your own footage when you can just use stock footage on the cheap right?) but also the cinematography, the sound design, the raw, natural and unscripted aspects, the almost poetic narration and perhaps most of all, the sheer weight of content within the hour. This is honest, beautifully crafted and real documentary film-making and reminds those of us old enough to remember, an hour long TV slot used to mean an hour of content as opposed to 47 minutes of content wrapped around what the broadcaster really wants you to watch, the 13 minutes of commercials.

Look at those involved on screen as well, The Taylors, Eugenie Clark, John McCosker, Richard Ellis, all of whom are there because they have earned the right to be there, they have something of value to add, they're not there because they look cool, because they do as they're told or because they've bought their way in, they're there because they're awesome.

I make no bones about it, "Of Shark and Man" is a throwback to this golden age, I am purposefully constructing the film almost as an homage to the films that inspired me so much as a child and as I say in the film itself, "...nobody is making the films I want to see anymore so I figured I may as well just go and do it myself."

So all you shark lovers and documentary fans, take an hour, sit back and enjoy.

Big thanks to Scott Curaloto-Wagemann for linking it up in the first place

Monday, 7 July 2014

An Intelligent Shark Feeding Article!

Worth a read. Check it out!

Quite a long time ago now, 2008 to be precise, when I was a failed Rock Star stuck in an office working in Recruitment, frustrated my life wasn't going where I wanted it to, I decided to start working on my exit plan, an exit plan that would get me out of the office, out of the UK and finally in to working with sharks which is where I had always wanted to be and where my talents would finally not be going to waste like they were then.

I'd been writing articles for press and media about sharks already for years, since the age of 11 or 12, and at 15 had been invited into the now sadly defunct European Shark Research Bureau as an honorary member (the only "civvy" member as well I believe), so figured I'd dust off the computer and start doing that again. I had written primarily about shark attacks, shark behaviour and the sharks of the Mediterranean previously so wanted to choose something different, chose shark feeding and the rest as they say, is history.

That article, which appeared in DIVER Magazine was ultimately the catalyst for me being where I am now, it led to my friendships with Mike Neumann and Patric Douglas, two of the most influential people in the Shark Diving world, it opened doors for me in regards to discussing the issue to a wider audience and led to me getting full access to the Shark Reef story. Had I not written that article, it's conceivable I could still be stuck in that office today...

These days, a million Facebook threads abut the subject later, I lean towards offering my input only in a professional capacity, I just get too frustrated with people, (I shouldn't but I do) so when I was contacted by SCUBA Diver Australasia Magazine to contribute to their piece about Shark Feeding (ironically the same title as my own article eight years ago) I was more than happy to do so given Alice Grainger's very open and pragmatic approach.

Having now read the full piece I am not disappointed! I was told very honestly that Alice would indeed wield the editorial axe over all the submitted comments to aide the construction of a cohesive piece (fair do's!) and I was pleasantly surprised to see most of what I had put forward actually made it in which was nice.

The article features input from various experts with actual in-water experience with sharks over many decades and even the comments which are less favourable towards feeding are measured and well thought out, in short, this is essential, required reading for anyone with an interest in the issue. Mike's input did suffer somewhat from the editorial axe so he was kind enough to post it in full here. Read it!

Thanks again to Alice for the kind words and the opportunity to contribute to an intelligent piece about a subject desperately lacking in cerebral discussion.


I found my full answer so here it is for you, unedited!

What is your opinion on baited shark dives and shark feeding dives, and why?
It’s a strange one, I am neither “pro-shark feeding” nor “anti-shark feeding,” it would be more accurate to say I wholeheartedly support projects which encourage conservation initiatives for sharks whilst involving local communities and tourism, all with a goal to create long term, sustainable and economically successful alternatives to the short term financial gain of commercial or sport fishing. In short, that generally means eco-tourism shark diving and if you want to ensure your business is sustainable, your clients need a guarantee of sharks and in most places, that means baiting or feeding.

People have been feeding sharks since the dawn of civilisation, as soon as we stepped aboard boats and into the water, sharks have benefitted from our being there, it’s not this new thing people seem to think it is. This idea that politicians or just the everyday man on the street is going to want to protect something simply because it’s the right thing to do is not only naive, it is grossly misguided. People need incentives to commit to things long term and that incentive has to be financial for it to work properly. 

Most of the best places in the world to see sharks are third world or developing nations, these nations are already being exploited by fishing fleets looking to empty their waters of fish before leaving them with nothing and heading on to the next location to destroy and for people with nothing, short term financial relief offered by destructive industries is going to be preferable to seeing your family starve. What shark dive operations in these areas can do is provide long term careers and financial stability to areas in desperate need, not just directly linked to the shark feed either but to all the other ancillary businesses which benefit from an influx of tourism capital.

People who say that these feeds condition sharks to view humans as food or as a source of food simply do not understand sharks, sharks are not mindless killers, to imply that seeing a diver behind a cage will condition that shark to equate a diver outside a cage, in a different location, as food is just complete nonsense, akin to claiming a dog can learn to drive a car because he sits in the back seat when you take him to the park. The people who continue to make these claims are implying, whether they realise it or not, that all cognitive development in sharks is in someway ultimately geared towards aggression towards people which is obviously untrue, but also reduces sharks to nothing more than the big dumb animals portrayed in the movies.

Not all feeds are safe, not all feeds are well intentioned and some are downright irresponsible, but we cannot condense an industry which on the whole does some incredible things for shark conservation, into one which is creating man-eating sharks prowling the coasts looking for people to eat because the facts don’t lie, shark feeds have not increased the number of shark attacks or the risk of shark attack, anywhere on the planet, the link just does not exist. Those with moral or ethical concerns about the practice need to consider what is better, shutting the feeds down and letting the fishermen in to wipe out the sharks, or choosing not to partake personally in these dives but appreciating the conservation benefit they can provide.

A protected site under  the stewardship of local employees which serves as a site to take tourists out to see what magnificent animals sharks are is the best available scenario we have and shark eco-tourism, is possibly the last remaining realistic way we can halt and then hopefully reverse the alarming decline in global shark numbers. 

Or even, how do you feel about the controversy surrounding baited dives?
It’s a controversial issue surrounded by myths and untruths perpetuated by people who really don’t understand the issue of shark behaviour. The primary concern has always been the increase in the perceived risk of attack but it just simply isn’t true, there is zero evidence that a shark feed operation increases the risk of attacks on bathers, divers and surfers, in fact, if you look at the statistics, you are less likely to be bitten by a shark in a location where feeding occurs, than you are in a location where it does not. I recently saw a claim that the cage diving operations at The Neptune Islands, South Australia, could be directly linked to the attacks in Western Australia which is of course ridiculous, but indicative of the kind of opinions some people will believe are credible.

It must also be said however, that if you start a shark feed 100 yards off shore from a popular beach, you will likely encounter problems, not because of the implausible notion that feeding sharks conditions them to humans as food (something which has been largely disproven) but because you will be aggregating sharks, at least periodically, in areas of high human recreational water use. More people, more sharks, more risk of a bite, it’s that simple.


If you are going to open a shark feeding site, you must use common sense, pick a site not used by recreational water users, protect the site so you don’t aggregate sharks for the fishermen and put in place protocols from which you never ever deviate. The basic logistics of a shark feed should be exactly the same every single day, the sharks need to learn what is expected of them and also, your clients must also be aware of what is expected of them, too many shark feeding sites these days are letting clients dictate what they want from a dive as opposed to the operator having full control over their input to the dive. If multiple operators use the same site and the same sharks, but their protocols are wildly different, that could confuse the sharks and could lead to issues later down the line and nobody wants that.
It’s all about common sense, a long term initiative which has the sharks best interests at heart and also, involving local communities. Shark feeds run purely for commercial gain, with no thought for the wellbeing of the sharks, are no good for anybody other than those looking to make a fast buck.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Of Shark and Man Update!

A very good bit of editing trickery

Its been a while since the last blog, I had three weeks in Mallorca then came back to a mountain of things needing to be put in place so I could crack on again with Of Shark and Man and as I am now at that point, I felt an update was long overdue but first...

That video all over Facebook of the dude jumping into the harbour in Manly, it's a fake, a very clever and creative one but a fake nonetheless. The big cut is not the one at 59secs, it's the one at 38secs, it's been uploaded at 480p almost certainly to hide the cuts, the water in which we see the shark is clearly open ocean, not least because the shark is accompanied by pelagic fish species which would not be found in a harbour environment and also, the main source of the video initially was SourceFeed, which is a "Discovery Channel Digital Network" and what do we have just around the corner? Yep it wouldn't surprise me if this was another (admittedly brilliant) viral by Discovery who are quickly becoming the masters of this type of advertising. Shout out as well to the editor, a very skillful piece of cutting!

Okay, on to more pressing and very real matters!

Where is progress with "Of Shark and Man" at the moment? 

The other night, the final section of the voice over went into the edit which is a major step towards completion of the first cut. Basically, the whole thing was cut together to a "rhythm" I had in mind which I felt would work best, the script for the voice over was then finalised and slight changes made to the edit so it all fit together as closely as possible. A couple of weeks ago I went to the Banter Media studios to record the voice over with Adam Steel who was brilliant, the whole thing was done in about five hours and sounds absolutely superb and that's without any eq'ing being done yet.

Bad sound will kill your film, it doesn't matter how great it looks, sucky sound screams out "I'm an amateur" and you lose your audience so the voice over for this film has to sound good and I'm very confident it does. I won't lie though, I'm not a fan of recording them, I certainly don't speak "Queen's English" (I detest that term) and I swear a lot so ensuring people like Americans can actually understand what I'm saying whilst also sounding like me is easier said than done. It's accurate to say the end result sounds like I'm meeting a new girlfriend's mum for the first time and I can live with that.
Recording the Voiceover
Putting the voice over into the edit has really helped as it has streamlined everything and also highlighted where any changes needed to be made, all of which have been done so as of tonight, the process of sending everything off to David Lawrie will begin so he can complete the sound design.

Sound Design has already started and sounds amazing, David and I have been in regular contact where I have been explaining exactly what I want. It is very complex and ridiculously ambitious but then, hasn't this project always been this way? As I said to David the other day, everything these days is so safe and derivative, let's do something completely different, we're not just making "another shark film."

The intro title sequence is currently under construction as well and I am really excited to see what Dave Whittle has done with it, the guy is one of the best graphics guys out there in the UK right now and I am beyond stoked to have him be a part of this film!

The process of sound tracking the film is in it's early stages but will pick up momentum likely next week so currently, we have the final sound design to be completed, the title sequence to finish, the music and next week the colour correction and grading will begin. In short, we are very very close to a finished first cut!

As I have enlisted the help of external experts, I obviously have to wait until they have done what they need to do and at no point will I be rushing them but I would like to say a first cut will be finished and ready for industry screenings by the end of August, start of September and that is allowing plenty of time for the soundtrack to be completed.

So, when each section has gone to David Lawrie and every single clip of audio split into its own track (the most mind numbingly tedious thing ever) the grade will start, whilst at the same time music is being composed and recorded and the title sequence finished... We're almost there folks!

Sorry for the radio silence once again, I'll try to find time for more regular updates in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

"Of Shark and Man" Pogress, Something New and Something Very Cool!

 Going back to the sun for a bit!

Sorry for the silence lately, it's unusual for me to neglect the blog for so long but there is a very good reason for it. In the last couple of months I have been absolutely swamped with work, both for "Of Shark and Man" and for the day job, although Scarlet View Media isn't something I'd consider a day job, more a passion which allows me to survive through doing something I genuinely love to do. Since starting the company I have always focused on doing commercial work of the highest quality to earn a living and grow the brand's reputation and the last twelve months has seen more interest in what we do, more work and a growth I'm really happy with, plus the feedback from our clients is nothing short of exceptional.

Wanting to build the company is twofold, firstly, I have to eat and have bills to pay and even more importantly, so does the little sharkboy Lucas and secondly, when I come to release Of Shark and Man it will be through Scarlet View Media as our first feature length film and I want the platform to be as strong as possible.

As well as completing a hugely time consuming commercial project, a music video and pitching for some very exciting and big jobs, the Of Shark and Man juggernaut continues to roll. We have started the "Making Of" featurette and I did my first interview a couple of weeks ago along with getting some of the footage together.

Sound Design is coming along very nicely, it's amazing the difference a proper layering of sound can make to the footage, it's not merely background sound however, every single element is carefully thought out, constructed and mixed to really bring everything to life and aid the storytelling in the film. I am approaching this in the same way big budget features are put together, it is of course way more time consuming but will provide a far more satisfactory experience for you the viewer, essentially, absolutely everything you see must come alive and put you in a position where you feel a part of the action.

The system for doing this is that I am cutting the whole film into sections, the sound design I created as a guide has been separated into dozens of different tracks, some of those tracks featuring only maybe two seconds of a particular sound. If you can imagine doing that for a two hour first cut, you might be able to imagine just how mind numbingly tedious a job this is, definitely worth it, but tedious nonetheless. These sections are then sent over to David Lawrie in the States and he works his magic and sends them back over to place back into the edit.

Work has also started on the title sequence, this is something I am really excited about. In a weird sense of serendipity, one of my best mates from school, just so happened to become one of the UK's leading graphic animation artists for film and TV, doing a lot of work for the BBC alongside the band Gorrillaz. Just before Xmas, he got in touch to say he'd seen the trailers and wanted to offer his services, I was absolutely over the moon to say the least! I can't say too much about what we have planned but as with everything else in the film, it will stand apart from everything else going on at the moment and given his stupendous talent, I am sure it's going to be incredible.

As it stands, until I get the go ahead from the studio on recording the voice over, I am now in a position of farming out the work I can't do, to the talented people who can.

The timing is pretty handy as well as I fly out on the 22nd to do a short commercial job in the Med but not only that, I am using the time over there to finally get around to shooting a project I have been working on for the last two years, if you are a regular reader, you watch my stuff and you've been following the journey, you don't need to be a genius to figure out what it might be and to say I'm excited is an understatement! I am away from the 22nd of April for two and a half weeks and to be quite frank, for reasons I won't be going into here, I need a break and some time away, it's not a holiday, it's work, but if I had two weeks doing nothing but spending time in my own mind, I would most likely end up in the puzzle factory, as such, it's a much needed break with close friends, an awesome project to get my teeth into and some sun on my back and salt in my gills.

I've spent the last month burning the candle at both ends to get all the pieces in place so I can go away and have work being done on Of Shark and Man whilst I'm out of the UK and when I come back, come back to completed Sound Design sections, a closer idea of the title sequence and a date to record the voice over. I really need this but not only that it's also another project out there in the smaller and more niche festivals whilst the main event takes on the gauntlet of screenings, big festival submissions and yes, distribution (hopefully).

So that's where we are with everything at the moment, completion of Of Shark and Man is now something which is going to happen in the short term future for the first time and it's a pretty incredible feeling to have made it here!

As I leave you here until the next blog which won't be as long coming as this one, I promised you something cool. You may well have seen the promo video for "Gimme Chocolate" on social media, but I wanted to share this as this just blew me away when I heard it for the first time. Regular readers know I love my music, especially Metal and *bold statement alert* BabyMetal are the only band I can think of other than Gojira who have made me sit up and say "wow!!" (in a good way) in quite some time, years in fact, yes it's manufactured, yes it's probably highly cynical, yes it's really, really weird, but who gives a shit, I think it's really fucking cool.

Yes seriously, I think this is one of the coolest things I've heard in a long time.