I was blessed and fortunate to produce and direct this DVD, and loved working with Israel. He is the most down to earth man I know, and nothing is impossible for him. His crew and band members were also amazing to work with.
I so badly wanted 12 cameras for this shoot, but as always, budget dictates, and there is never enough for a director to play with. So I decided to shoot both shows, (one in the afternoon and one at night) but move the camera positions for the second show, in that way I would have more angles to play with in the edit. I briefed each and every member, telling them of my plan, and emphasising that continuity was of the utmost importance.
Needless to say, we all got caught up in the spirit of the concert, even I, whilst directing, cutting and mixing the various cameras had tears rolling down my cheeks. When we got to the edit, it was only then that I noticed, the percussionist had changed his shirt, Israel himself, had glasses on in some numbers in the previous concert, and off in the second concert for some of the songs.
For those of you that understand an edit, you can just imagine how I was pulling my hair out.
Despite all, the DVD was produced and Israel has told me that wherever he is in the world, people ask him who produced the DVD and that they are so wowed by it – and that is the biggest compliment I could ever have received, more so because when his manager came out to recce, both the manager and Israel were initially insistent on bringing out their own crew and director.
The time I toured with Alanis Morissette was a wonderful, challenging experience. The reason I refer to her as wild is because she runs from one side of the stage to the other, but we managed to keep her in camera at all times and IN FOCUS as well….her lyrics are so profound and moving – directing her was rewarding . Alanis had been writing new songs throughout the tour, and one night her book had disappeared with all her material…all the crew were frantic and helping her search for it..how sad!! but she is still going strong, and well -respected !!!!!
Today I was interviewed on ChaiFM, a radio station, in anticipation of my “Road To Return” documentary, that will be broadcast this coming Sunday morning at 09h00 on SABC2. Was a great interview, the biggest surprise of all was the presenter…David Batzofin…a blast from the past. Not only does David do radio talk shows, but he is also an accomplished floor manager for Television Shows…this takes me back to the time we went to Nigeria to do an awards television show…..What an experience! ….bad experience. David can share a few of the experiences from his point of view. A few shockers from my perspective… It first started off when we, the South African contingent of crew arrived at the airport to depart, and we couldn’t, as no flights had been paid for….when that was resolved, the lighting designer couldn’t take all the lights that were required so we had to leave them behind,but were guaranteed that there were sufficient lights to produce the show we wanted…Finally we depart and arrive in Nigeria, no transport booked for us, eventually arrive at hotel to no rooms booked, after spending most of the night in the foyer of the hotel, we get taken up to our rooms, and no surprise, no water and to top it all no food. Just when you think it can’t get any worse…the norm is arriving a few days in advance to rehearse, and check the set that is being built to spec and go through the entire show that is going out LIVE throughout Africa and parts of Europe.
Needless to say, there were no rehearsals, the finishing touches to the set were being done half an hour before going on air..no proper scripts were handed over to us…..I was told there was 1 presenter only to discover when we started to roll camera’s that there were 2 presenters.
When it was time for a band to come on stage, there was nothing…if I didn’t roll something to place the gap we would have black on air, Dave is busy shouting through the comms he can’t get the band on stage, they refuse to go on as they have not been paid…don’t forget we are live……and it was a 3 hour show.
LIghts ..what lights we had two lights, one on either side of stage. Audience in darkness and so it was impossible to pick up the winners when they walked up onto stage or get any audience reaction!…and then the final cherry was, as they were handed their award, on more than one occasion the award broke in their hands….
I had diplomats that popped into the OB Van(outside broadcast van), where I direct from, and they were fascinated as they were saying that even though they are in the audience, the footage on the screen looks so different to what they are seeing on the stage, yet it was the same content…..so yes, I got through that, and knew that whatever comes my way from now on I can handle.
There is more, but we will keep that for some other time….
One of the nicest people whom I have worked with other than Israel Houghton is bryan adams. He was so involved and took such an interest in the shoot. His entire band is down to earth and so much fun. What was not such fun was living in Cape Town, editing in Johannesburg (Gauteng) and sending rough cuts to London for bryan to view. Luckily there were only 2 changes in the edit, but it did mean flying up to Johannesburg just to make 2 changes. His music was a dream to direct and edit. For those of you that don’t know, he always spells his name in lower case!
Then there was the time that I toured with STING – what an amazing man. He is one of the very few artistes that would sit in the canteen eating with the crew, as opposed to a separate room with silver cutlery.
U2 live at the Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town was the most amazing experience to watch – they have taken music concerts to another level. What I would have done to just workshadow on something on this scale – The “claw” as they call it was brilliantly utilized with 8 follow spot operators within the claw so neatly hidden, so effective..the screens were something else. Have never seen anything like it….I have directed many music concerts for broadcast as well as screen direction, to name but a few bryan adams, Luther Vandross, Sting, Smashing Pumpkins, Brian Mcknight, Jamiroquai, Kanye West, Macy Gray, Israel Houghton and the New Breed, Yellow Jackets, and so much more . Each and everyone was an amazing experience and journey including Luther Vandross who brought me to tears demanding to hand over his multi-track as he was not happy with his singing and I had 3 days to sweeten in edit for broadcast. ..The good news is I still managed to get a good product on air…thanks to the brilliant live mixing of the audio.
It”s been a long day, but finally launched my twitter and facebook account, still more to do but apparently now official!!!!!!
Have been busy work-shopping and brainstorming on some amazing concepts, can’t share yet but soon will. Love it when a plan comes together…from discussion to proposal on paper and then clients show an interest…..then the best part is taking it from the written word and morphing it into video…I love that process – so rewarding. I remember way back when Channel TV2/3 said they needed a variety show and together with a team we came up with an amazing concept involving 4 presenters that each spoke a different language, a combination of music (videos and live bands) dance theatre, movies and game shows. We called it Ngomqibelo ….then it progressed into Ngomqibelo/Kamokibelo and ran simultaneously on both channels 2 and 3. It lasted 16 years and was a great revenue maker for the channel….we were never off air, prime time slot weekly…..sponsors were lining up, we could not accommodate them all….will share some of my experiences in the near future.