Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My trip to London... One step closer to the editing room

AUGUST 9, 2010

The summer of 2010 has been nothing but sunshine and heat. With smiles on peoples faces as they walk around outside, enjoying what the sunshine can bring, I can’t help but reflect on what a change this year has been. As with every year, I like to find times throughout, where I can step back for a moment and take in what has happened beyond the daily grind. Life can go so fast and there is never enough time in the day; I’m sometimes overwhelmed with what can’t be accomplished due to commitments to financial stability and relationships. Balance is important and necessary for true happiness and sometimes the things you want to do have to take the backburner. Last year I felt that we, as a society had to do the backburner thing with the recession and the whacky weather and climate we were in. For me it was a battle on all levels with work, my dream, our bills, and finding inspiration in moments of despair; I feel I wasn’t alone out there but these moments were felt and dealt with on my own. As I look at this year with the upswing in the economy, the weather being very agreeable, more smiles on faces in my city, and just a productive sense of time used this summer for the things that are important to me; I’m in a unique head space.

It’s August; and an important chapter in my life is getting closer to the finish line. Last week I got back from a wonderful trip to London, England and saw the reality of my documentary project coming to the finish line. Since the beginning of this year I was entering my fourth year on this documentary process. I was in a grey area of how I wanted this film to end but I pushed to find it. I had collected all these amazing interviews, stories, experiments, and moments over the years and I wasn’t completely convinced I had what I needed. A lot of these moments are trial by error because you can’t gage the power of interviews. Patience is essential for a good story in the documentary genre because some interviews or ideas can lead to something by chance that can be a better direction for the film. Up to this point I felt I had 70 percent of the story but I needed the right moments to close this passion project. After some chance meetings over the course of the last year and some new friendships that came out of mutual associates, I’ve been given the opportunity to tell the story I want to tell. Everything finally was making sense in my head.


2 years ago in Miami when I was filming the pilot for the television show spin off with DJ Dan I met a d-jay from London named Chris Aidy. To be fair to Chris the meeting was something that I don’t remember as well as I should. It was the last night of the Pilot shoot and we were done, enjoying a night with DJ Dan behind the decks. It was my first chance to let loose and through this party state of mind I met Chris. The one thing that Chris made sure he gave me in the chance meeting was a CD of his mix and after a week or so of being back in Toronto I found it packed with my camera gear. Not thinking much of it because it was one of many, I brought it with me on a drive to work and I was blown away! The set was tight and the track selection was something I really felt and enjoyed. Right away I took the email address down and emailed him the next day… It’s funny sometimes when you meet people and you click immediately. Both Chris and I were both at a level in this career chosen process that was pushing to go to the next level. With moderate success and awaiting that next break in your chosen profession, strength comes from the people you surround yourself with. Chris had become one of these people for me as did I for him. We both supported one another and throughout the last 2 years have stayed in touch. With a trip planned to London for the film at the end of July, Chris opened up the door and I had a chance to meet his wonderful wife, kid and get to know London from someone who worked within the scene there.

Chris became a great make shift film crew member and liaison for me getting around the city. I had an ambitious trip with some great interviews lined up with editors from MIXMAG, two authors of a book I read a year ago on the history of the d-jay, and a chance to experience Ministry of Sound and some of the club life in London. London is a whole other world compared to my city of Toronto. The culture and the history of the world really sit with you when you tour around London for the first time. Also the importance of dance culture to the people of the UK and Europe is completely different. North America is very much underground still in the way it’s perceived amongst people while it really is a big deal overseas still. People really love their dance beats, d-jays, parties, real radio and pirate radio dance channels and d-jay magazine publications here. Raves I thought were pretty much extinct due to laws and regulations and then the next thing I know on my last night in the city I’m at a warehouse event featuring Eric Prydz…

The event was held in an abandoned cement factory type building that was old brick and sweaty walls that dripped on you as you danced in this long narrow hallway with a thousand people. The stage is on scaffolding and the sound system could be heard all the way in Ireland. The people were banging to the beats and the vibe was a happy one… It was truly a sight to see.

The film and the message I’m trying to create had a chance to collect some amazing footage and perspective on this adventure. Understanding the history of the scene through real life perspective as well as finding opinion on the future from people you respect was the objectives of the trip; it all came together better then expected.

Along with this event I also got to take in the Ministry of Sound experience with Nic Fanciulli at the helm of their weekly global underground event. The club was packed and the dance beats that Nic was dropping gave such an intense and amazing vibe for the party maniacs in Ministry. The night had this electricity to it. Watching those faces from the d-jay perch succumb to the dirty beats was all caught on my camera for the film… it looked so euphoric under the lights and smoke machine affects that were used to bring the mood together. The history of Ministry of Sound was an important element for the film for me because it has such a history. To get a chance to see it from such a great perspective in the d-jay perch you get a sense of the story the d-jay is trying to create for the people who have come to listen and dance. Connection through music, d-jay, and community on the dance floor was the real moment for me that I took away from the trip. Half way across the world people felt what I felt when I got on the dance floor in Toronto and rocked it out to the same music… that was truly special.

Along with Nic Fanciulli at Ministry of Sound I got a chance to hit a smaller and more intimate venue with one of my favorite names from my past dance club days Darren Emerson. When I was really hitting my stride back in the day I always made a point to check out Darren Emerson who would come to Industry a couple of times a year back in the nineties. His producing when he was part of the electronic group Underworld gave me songs to my own soundtrack that define important moments in my life during my twenties. Getting a chance to revisit his mixing on a dance floor at East Village in London as well as get to chat with him again was another highlight to this great shoot in London.

Life is all about experience and London and the memories and friendships and contacts I made were something I cherish most from this trip. Chris was a gracious host and great person to get to know. If you have a chance to check out some of his PODCASTS in our download section on the site you should! With some amazing produced tracks that he is setting to release in the fall I see an artist who is growing and evolving into the talent he has the potential to become. With a daughter, wife, and the responsibilities that come with that, Chris has managed to become a great man that is inspired to be creative in his chosen passion. I admire that and feel lucky to have met him 2 years ago in Miami.

With only a few film shoots left the editing room has become something of the Holy Grail for me. I look at this as a quest to go there, take all this footage, cut it together, and finish the meaning of MY life at this particular moment in time. I’m excited to move on as I countdown my final planned trips for the documentary. The journals of this long filming experience have been fun to revisit and read since I first started writing them four years ago. Remembering the websites first beginnings, the interviews that started it all and the journey I’ve taken personally; it’s truly amazing.

I vow to increase my writing coverage as we get closer to the finish line. Sharing my thoughts helps my process and I hope that the people who read it will be inspired to follow their own dreams. My next adventure takes me to Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert… Love and tribal unity is the theme for this trip and I think the story I’ve managed to find will be the essence of what love means to people. Only time will tell because the story is only half written; the other half awaits me in the middle of nowhere in Nevada. Stay tuned!!