In October of 2008, Qantas airlines started running a promotion, $380 tickets to Australia in honor of their new A380 aircraft, which would be starting service between L.A. and Sydney. That was it. I wanted to go to Australia and it was a cheap ticket, so I reached out to a few friends and put out a line asking if anyone wanted to take an extended trip with me. It took a few days, but some guys said they were willing to go and we narrowed it down to May as the best time. When I went to actually book the ticket (and I was the first), I realized that Qantas allowed you to book a stop-over, for as long as you want, somewhere between Fiji and Australia. Ever since watching the 18 hours of Lord of the Rings special features, I've wanted to spend some time in New Zealand, so I knew I wanted to split the trip between the two countries. After consulting a friend who had traveled through New Zealand, it became clear that I only needed to travel to the South Island. So I booked a ticket, from L.A. to Christchurch, New Zealand, on the South Island, for two weeks, and then from there to Sydney, Australia for two weeks, from May 5th to June 5th. After that, my friend Clint booked a ticket to Sydney, arriving May 20th and then Jonathan Nicholas, a fellow cinematographer, got my itinerary and booked the exact same flights as me, from L.A. to New Zealand to Australia.
I knew before I booked the tickets that I'd be making some sort of movie on the trip. For the last two years I've been traveling around the world making little travel-blogs and informational videos about places, and Jonathan and I had wanted to make a bit of a pilot for a travel-show idea we'd been brewing as well. But Jonathan is a cinematographer, and I'm a filmmaker right? So why make a documentary, when we can make an actual narrative movie? So that was it, we were making a movie. Then the brainstorming started and I came up with a story line pretty quickly, based on true events, mixed with fantasies I'd had on my own backpacking experiences.
So here we are. We're going to New Zealand to make a movie. I'm both playing the lead role, directing and producing the movie. An actress and friend of mine showed interest in playing one of the parts as well, so we asked her to come along. She said yes, so we bought her a plane ticket to come with us. We were going to rent a friend's HVX-200 to shoot the movie, but then Jonathan bought a Canon 5D Mark II digital SLR that shoots video, and now we're shooting with it, through 35mm lenses. An audio engineer friend of mine has decided to invest in the project by lending us professional sound equipment, so now we have a limiting mixer, a digital recorder, Lectro wireless mics and a boom.
I'm writing this all out because I'm working on the script and needed to get my fingers warmed up. No, that's not true, I'm procrastinating. Well, back to it.