Production Nirvana

It is a feeling – when a creative project’s subject matter or locations or fellow crew or all of the above meet… production joy happens.

Perhaps it was a concept design meeting or brain-storming session or a shoot, which you find yourself walking away from feeling THIS is why I do what I do. Things clicked. Weather was optimum. The light was… awesome. Shots were magical. The vibe was perfect.

Production nirvana. If you experienced it, you know. If you haven’t, you must do so… to understand. Production nirvana.

On a few of mine, the location was the obvious embrace. Natural locations; from coastal towns to annual harvests to national parks. Special places that instantly warm you prior to frame one.

People do it to me too.

I have met centurions for a project and wept as they told stories from their childhood. I experienced double nirvana on the same project when we returned to film them. I experienced young kids with troubled beginnings that were rescued by forces greater than us all. The project was for a cause. It too made me cry.  A good cleansing cry.

When I work with top-shelf professionals, from the crafts to on-camera talent, and the collaboration turns out to be a wonderful overall fit – it overwhelms me and stirs me to career pause. It is inspirational nirvana.

I relish that I’ve been paid to: watch sunrises and sunsets, scout beaches, go fishing, interview unique characters, play golf, travel, eat new foods, and set-off fireworks. We all have a list of notes we can compare. Never ever feel like you have done enough – yet.

One wonders, out of all the projects there will ever be, why can’t they all be like this? Until then, I wish production nirvana for you all. When you feel it once you will wish it too. Promise.


Content COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay   USE requires permission.

Filming on Water


It is the first word here as it should be first before putting any camera or crew in a boat. Depending on your project – movie, commercial, motion or stills – the list of things required is similar yet different if you want to pull off a great safe production while floating on water.

Here are a few tips about filming and photography on and around WATER:

  • Walk through a safety check list with the boat owner(s) / operator(s) from ample life-jackets to current paperwork. Licensing to State and local registration.
  • Know local waters. From water depths to tide tables to rocks in lakes and trees in rivers.
  • If shooting on a beach, keep an eye on erosion. I scouted a beach that was a viable option. Three days before the shoot, it disappeared with a high tide.
  • The smaller the boat the tighter your personal space will be. You might be standing in one place for hours.
  • Choose extra wide shooting platforms as your camera boat, like a pontoon or even a barge. In markets where they shoot a lot on water, there are camera boats with great rigs.
  • Even if you’re shooting one boat, you’ll need at least one additional. Think about boat to boat photography and a place for the client, crew, extra gear, and / or back-to-shore runs. It could be kayaks for everybody or a houseboat.
  • If your boats are big, confirm bridge clearances and canal access – before you rent them.
  • The best case scenario is to have a marine savvy crew. Crew near water own boats. Grips carry wet suits and aren’t afraid to jump in – literally.
  • Have things to keep you and the gear DRY like plastic bags, tarps, rain gear, and boxes THAT FLOAT.
  • Boats should have protection from sun and weather, especially if you’re on water all day.
  • Have fun.  And be SAFE – I can’t say it enough.

Photos and words COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay USE requires permission.

Free = Non Cents

Please support your local economy.

My job is within the production of moving and still pictures. I have done so for twenty-five years. Most times, I find locations and coordinate all production logistics on a commercial level. I have worked on movies, corporate films, music videos, and many other productions.

I have done so and do these things for a living.

A living means getting paid for what you do. It is a simple concept. Similar to the Dentist or Dog Groomer or the Lawn Guys; I provide a service for a fee. Similarly these folks show up, do their work, and also – get a check.

Please tell me how this concept of FREE in the production business got started?

Why be in business of any kind and give it away all the time? Doing so alters the economy. Challenges of producing a steady paycheck in the creative business are many, especially when you’re self-employed. While my job is often performed within a hip, creative environment and I get to see fantastic places and meet incredible people, it should not devalue the ideal of it being a paying job. I like what I do. You CAN enjoy a job.

Let me be clear.

Working on a real movie crew for pay and making a movie with friends for no money are two different things. The former being a job that provides an income to a family and contributes to a local economy.This is what I’m talking about here.

Making a movie with friends and not getting paid, although admirable and respected because you’re realizing a dream with sparse resources, is a hobby. You are not part of the working crew or the local production market.

While it is glamourous to have a movie shot in your State (least it used to be) the popularity of filming incentives are about economics and paying jobs.

Let me be clear II. I’m not talking about PSAs, pro bono work for a cause, or fair trade.

I get the up-and-coming want-a-be and breaking-in thing. We were all there once. But how much FREE can you do before qualifying your passion as a career? If you feel like you still want to work with friends on personal projects – for free – knock yourself out. Good for you. I am merely suggesting that after you are paid once, charge for your services the next time.

When you don’t charge for your services, it reflects negatively on a local working market and does nothing for the infrastructure of the future.

No matter what you do in life – when you love it and you’re doing it for a living, there’s nothing better. This is what I do. The art, creativity, and collaborations are icing on one of the most rewarding gigs in the universe. A gig that pays.

Content COPYRIGHT Jamie Vesay   USE OF requires permission.