I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Saturday, October 5, 2013


It's been just over two months since my last post and I have been pretty busy, what with my place being renovated extensively and a relatively steady flow of work.

I had mentioned that I was hoping for enough work before I left that I would have enough set aside to pay my bills for a month or so after I came home, so that I could go away and not worry about all that stuff.   Well, that's why I haven't written - I have been working a fair bit since.

I had more work than I could do, quite frankly.  In fact, I can't think of a time in my career that I have had so many calls for different shows.  I could not do them all as most offers ran on the same weeks... sometimes one wishes one could clone themselves!  Since my last post, I've worked on two television movies (the two I mentioned); I ended up not doing the movie for a producer friend as I had mentioned, as I was asked to work on a union TV series - Arctic Air and it involved a trip to the Northwest Territories. Having never been there and not ever intending to go there (after all, my goal in life is to get closer to the equator, not farther away!) I was excited at the prospect of seeing somewhere very different and not having to pay for it.   I have to say that, despite the biting cold wind that howled relentlessly across the Canadian Shield, it was beautiful in a way that cannot be denied.  Rugged, raw, big sky, crisp air, and Yellowknife is a town like no other.  Art wherever one looked, even the refuse containers.  I am so thankful I was able to have the experience.  The only thing that I was unhappy about was I didn't get to see the Northern Lights.  The first three nights I was there they were spectacular, apparently.  I wouldn't know because I was sleeping (they don't come out till 1:30 am) due to early calls each morning.  The last night I was all set to go out and see them, blanket and all, but the sky was overcast so they were not there.  I will regret forever not skipping sleep for a few hours.

I have to say that I LOVE AIRPLANES so getting to work with so many on this show was a real treat and getting to be RIGHT ON THE RUNWAY as airplanes, both ours and commercial ones, took off and landed was an amazing experience.   At one point, we had two of ours in the air and they flew really low and right over our heads as we filmed them.  What a RUSH!!

My first glimpse of The Canadian Shield, something I remember learning about in grade 4

Gorgeous view from one of the highest vantage points in Yellowknife; the Pilot's Monument

Perched at the very edge of the cliff at Pilot's Monument as we shoot a scene, the monitor placement meant one step back and it was over for me!

Bullocks, a pub in Yellowknife.  The interior of this pub is recreated on a stage in Aldergrove, BC for the shooting of Arctic Air

One of many painted dumpster bins around town. Unfortunately I did not have time to take pictures of them all as we had a gruelling schedule

A house I came across while walking from one shooting location to another 

Up close and personal to four water bombers.  Huge and impressive aircraft

Photo op with a fellow crew member

Buffalo Air, home of  The Ice Pilots.  What a great place.  I haven't ever watched the show but it is an iconic brand that Yellowknife is very proud of.  The DC-3's are amazing!!

Another photo op!

Me and 'Buffalo Jim' the owner of Buffalo Air

Mikey, Buffalo Jim's son

No sooner did I get back from the Northwest Territories than I received calls for no less than four different productions, two of them TV series.  Unfortunately I had to turn all of them down as they each had schedules that overlapped my trip to Grenada.  Some might say I should have cancelled the trip, and to be honest I wondered myself if that was what I should do.  But then I thought, this is why I work... to take trips like this. I have heard so many stories of people in this industry who take work over all else and thus never get away, never spend time with their families, never live.  I don't live to work, as much as I love what I do, I work to live.  The incidences of divorce in my line of work is high and attests to the folly of the 'work at all costs' mindset.  It is also the industry that has the highest number premature deaths of all ... ALL ... unions in North America.  The work is hard, not glamorous as everyone thinks, and the hours long.  My week is never less than 72 hours and most often is in the 80's. Some weeks I have worked 90+ hours.   That is hard on anyone's body.

I also just worked a day on Almost Human, a new TV show for Warner Brothers.  A colleague was ill and needed a day off.  Wow what a day (or should I say night).  We started at 13:30 and I was not off the clock till 07:30 the next morning and we were in a dank, cold, dark old filthy abandoned foundry warehouse.  It was brutal but it was a union show at a great rate so that cheque waiting for me when I get home from my trip will be nice!

Anyway, all that to say, I leave for my trip in 5 days and am able to go with a clear mind.  I don't have work lined up for when I return but I am not worried.  Something will happen, it usually does.

Tomorrow I will write about the plans for the second half of my trip ...  10 days on the island of Grenada.

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