Kicking off Snow Guardians filming with a road trip

Kicking off Snow Guardians filming with a road trip

Every journey starts with a single step… but here on the Snow Guardians shoot, we tend to do things a bit bigger.  Our first step was a twelve-hour drive from NYC to meet with Eric Kessler and the Kessler Crane team in Indiana.  Leaving New York at 8am, we arrived within two minutes of our sushi dinner reservation with the Kessler crew.  That’s right…  Indiana sushi, and I have to say, it was pretty much as amazing as they had promised.  Go figure.  Spending some time the next morning at the Kessler workshop, we got to know some of the amazing people that make the place tick including Chris Beller and Kessler himself.  Eric, being the great guy he is and with his passion for charity and creativity, decided to donate some of his newest and best equipment to the film as well as sponsor financially, and we can’t thank him enough.  After a guided tour of the facility and a one on one how-to session with Eric, we loaded up all of our new toys and hopped back on the road bound for the Sundance Film Festival/Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City.

Knowing that we were on a very tight schedule, we decided to forgo the sleep portion of the trip and push straight through to SLC arriving at my condo in Solitude Mountain Resort early the next day.  We took it upon ourselves to relax for a little while after driving for 22 straight hours and, after we had recuperated, decided it was time to head over to Sundance to meet up with our good friends Vincent Laforet of Laforet Visuals and Blake Whitman and Jeremy Boxer of Vimeo.  Knowing the area quite well, I suggested that we go to one of my favorite restaurants in all of the greater SLC area called St. Bernard’s, where my good friend and head chef, Matt Barrigar, whips up some of the finest meals I’ve ever eaten.  After dinner it was time to crash.  Took the boys back to Park City and called it a night.

The next morning it was allllll business… headed down to OR and began the process of chatting up some companies that we hope would be interested in sponsoring this little project of ours. OR was an immense show and, with all the companies and reps in attendance, it was a perfect place for us to talk face to face with potential sponsors, a lost art in the world of social media and emails if you ask me.  Making the rounds, we spoke with dozens of companies and people, most of whom seemed pretty excited to work with us and were willing to support us in whatever way they could.

After a successful harvest of business cards and contacts, it was time to cut loose a little… SUNDANCE STYLE!!  Vincent decided that he wanted us to come back and party like the rockstar he is.  So he put us on the list at the Paramount Pictures event, and we did just that.  The DJ decided that those of us inside didn’t need to be having conversations so the music could be heard from blocks away.  The vibe in the place was interesting to say the least.  It felt as though someone had dropped a little piece of LA in the middle of this tiny mountain town and covered it in expensive furs.  But rubbing elbows with actresses, directors, and ad agency execs is a powerful motivator to make a successful and beautiful film so that maybe next year the party will be thrown in our honor!

With Sundance behind us, but having left its mark, and a few more companies to talk to down at OR, it was going to be a slower day than the day before.  Splitting up, Carson headed down to close out a couple more sponsors, and I stayed up the canyon to re-coup a bit of my strength.  Later that night, per usual, we were pressed for time to make it to the premiere of the finished Beyond the Lens short film directed by Vincent Laforet.  After finally seeing the whole thing put together, I was still in awe that all of the chapters were shot on the Canon HDSLRs!!

The Canon cocktail party was next and in attendance were all of the directors who contributed to the film, a few stars who were involved, and many of us who had simply been lucky enough to attend to hear the cast and crew talk about their experiences.  Then we had the opportunity to head to dinner with most of the directors and crew immediately following the cocktail hour and, in the much less professional atmosphere, it was much easier to get to know them and just talk candidly… a necessity when building relationships in this industry.  But alas we would have to be on the move again shortly and make our way to breezy and freezing cold Montana.  Which is where we are right now, working tirelessly on smoothing out production wrinkles and shaking hands with everyone who will be on the ground helping us make this film a reality.

Post by James Douglas Shields

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