State of New Mexico Tourism
A few months back, I had the great privilege to direct a series of TV commercials while traveling across New Mexico. Hired to show the state in it's best light, our biggest challenge was the weather. As I have been called upon to do quite often, I had to make winter look like summer. Despite high winds, freezing tempertures and occasional snow, we made magic.
To make this happen, I gathered my "go to" team (Dane Henry - DP, Rex Lint - 2nd Camera, Mike Hagadorn - RC Helicopter Operator, Wynn Ruji - Producer, John Considine - 1st Assistant/Digi Tech, Rafa Bortolameoli - Stylist and my wife Marina Abreu Rich - Makeup & Hair) and headed to the Southwest to put our tried and true method into action; a small footprint production, moving light and fast with the right tools for the job, all which allowed us to focus on being creative. Our goal was to shoot in a somewhat documentary/vérité style. This approach allowed us to be nimble, adaptable and opportunistic, capitalizing on key scenarios as they unfolded along the way. The secret weapons on this shoot were three Nikon D800s, provided to us a few weeks before they were released to the public. Thank you everyone at Nikon! This is truly the camera I’ve been waiting for. It’s the perfect combination of features for guys like me; 36 megapixel files, full control in HD, variable frame rates, the option to record to an external device and real time audio monitoring, all in a small form factor. As is apparent in the final spots, these cameras are game changers!
The majority of the crew entered this project with a fresh perspective. I personally had spent very little time in New Mexico in advance of the shoot except for a location scout several weeks prior. It’s always a treat to go someplace new; seeing new landscapes, new cultures, new people and new light. It creates a unique enthusiasm and opportunity that I hope is portrayed in the spots. This shoot took me back a few years to a similar situation. I was called upon to help director, Luke Scott (son of Ridley Scott) scout locations in the Lake Tahoe basin for a series of TV commercials for the State of California. It was interesting to watch as Luke moved through the area, having just flown in from his home in London, with no preconceived notion of what the state was “supposed” to look like, focusing rather, on what truly caught his eye. This experience stayed with me, and obviously had an impact as I framed New Mexico through my lens.
This project would not have been possible without an extraordinary group of people: Vendor Inc., a fresh creative agency out of Austin, TX, Dave Stanton & Jeff Nixon, Vendor’s Creative Directors, (a special thanks to Dave for shaing your home state with us), California-based producer Paul Golubovich and all of their incredible creativity and insight. Photographer Matthew Turley joined us to capture stunning still images for the print campaign. My crew pulled it all together with the help of longtime friend and accomplished photographer Wynn Ruji, working flawlessly as producer to keep a lot of balls in the air at once. Blaine Deutsch was the behind the scenes guy in the CRP office as the crew was on location. As always, the team at my production company, Novus Select, was a great resource on the backend. Tina Kerr of On Location Casting came through with a terrific talent pool. The models in the spots were all real people and local New Mexicans. We could not have asked for a better group, weathering the cold as we set out to portray summer in the winter. Stuart Wilde and his llamas added great character to the spots, Kelly Gossett from New Mexico Kayak Instruction went out of his way to ensure we had boats on the water when needed and Dominic Trujillo, owner of El Farolito made sure we had plenty of the best Green Chili in the state. Special accolades go out to a group of longtime friends and New Mexico locals that helped with a variety of planning, scouting and logistics; Outside magazine editor Grayson Schaffer and photographers Michael Clark, Jen Judge, Aaron Gulley and Ryan Heffernen. Your eyes and insight were a huge asset to the project. Most of all, thanks to Monique Jacobson and her team from the State of New Mexico. (Monique, you were right - Tent Rocks was the best location of them all.) Kudos to all involved, and I’m glad no one was crushed by a boulder. (I’ll tell you that story over a beer sometime.)
In the end, we captured footage for three commercials: A one minute "Manifesto," as well as two thirty second TV spots, "Couple" and "Family". Check out newmexico.org/ to see stills pulled from the videos throughout the site.