WHAT A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE AUDITIONING FOR NEW BREED AFRICA WITH ISRAEL HOUGHTON. 3 CITIES IN 3 DAYS….CRAZY SCHEDULE. WAY OVER A THOUSAND PEOPLE AUDITIONED. THE TURN OUT WAS INCREDIBLE AND SUCCESSFUL…
NEXT LOT OF AUDITIONS FOR BACKLINE WILL BE FIRST WEEK IN AUGUST …
Exhausting but wonderful week-end working on the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. It was packed to capacity. Such a treat to direct artistes such as David Koz, who blew me and the audience totally away, Don Laka, Earth Wind and Fire(the original group), they were so energetic I could hardly keep my camera’s on them, Simphiwe Dana who is so full of soul when she performs, Chuck Loeb brilliant guitarist featuring Spanish singer Carmen Cuesta, and of course the one and only Youssou Ndour….
The crew were amazing and I thank them so much..when 02h00am ticked over, we all including me could barely keep going from total exhaustion, but as they say ..The show must go on and it did.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We finally hit our beds way after 03h00am..and for some even later depending on where they had to travel too.
Bryan Adams has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The 51-year-old rocker’s tribute was unveiled yesterday (21 March) in front of the Musician’s Institute on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. The Summer of ’69 singer is thrilled to get the honour, and admitted he would often admire the Walk of Fame in his younger days but never dreamed that one day his own name would be on it. At the ceremony, the Canadian star said: “I remember being in Hollywood at the age of 16 and marvelling at the stars. “The idea of being part of it never entered my mind. It was too far-fetched. Today, I’m humbled at the induction of my name. It’s fantastic.” The Grammy Award-winning musician – who is expecting his first child with his partner, his personal assistant Alicia Grimaldi, in May – was watched by fellow Canadian and champion hockey player Wayne Gretzky as he was presented with the 2,435th star. Wayne was delighted to see his friend receive the accolade but he was less than impressed with the rainy weather on the day. The sportsman said: “This is typical. I’ve been to an outdoor concert of Bryan’s where it was pouring rain and watched him perform his magic. “[Bryan is] a very humble Canadian. I’m very proud to say he’s Canadian.” However, the (Everything I Do) I Do It for You hitmaker was prepared for the wet weather. On Sunday (20 March), he tweeted: “Gonna bring my surf board to the ceremony tomorrow just in case the rain continues.”
Am so excited to be working and directing on this project again this year. The artistes are amazing and look forward to working with them and the team at ESP AFRIKA…..just to name a few, Simphiwe Dana, Yossou Nodour, Earth Wind and Fire, Bebe Winans and Friends, Spirits Rejoice and Don Laka. What a treat.
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….