Shots from the Road

Shots from the Road

I took this photo in Utah while on the road for “A Movement of Movement.”

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It’s not work

If you’ve ever wondered what the mind behind Burning Torch Productions thinks, this is for you.

With Energy! O Energy! in production and more projects on the burner, I’ve been working more hours per day than I care to keep track of.  When you’re self-employed, keeping track of your hours is depressing.  When it’s all said and done, the film is only about 90 minutes long, but the hours leading up to its completion will easily exceed 3000 hours.   Is it worth it?  Absolutely.  Do you think I’m crazy?  I don’t blame you.  Let’s look at the math.

1 feature length movie running time= 90-110 minutes.

Hours committed to making the movie estimate= 3000 hours.

3000 hours = 125 days = 1/3 of a year.

*This is for a film that’s only 2/3 complete.

Now you’re probably saying, “That’s impossible!”  But it’s not, and here’s why.

When I’m working on a film, I become completely consumed and passionate in the production.  Every thought in my head is somehow connected back to what I’m working on. In order to explore a topic, it must be looked at from every possible angle.  The number of ways to explore a topic is infinite.  Does this mean you shouldn’t try?  Of course not. It just means that you’ll never run out of studying.

So in other words, making a film is a full timejob, literally.  If I’m not spending my waking hours filming, editing, or producing, I’m thinking about the film in every part of my life and then dreaming about it at night (dreams weren’t included in the estimate above).Film is the creation of reality, which makes the human experience the ultimate guide to filmmaking.  Film is the magic of watching realty unfold in front of our eyes.  Even fictional films convey realty.  At the heart of a film is emotion and the emotion is real, even if the story that evokes it is made up.  Every second of every day is an opportunity to expand.  It can be as little as seeing something in the grocery store and writing it down on the back of my receipt.  It could be a conversation with a loved one.  The possibilitiesare infinite.  Nothing goes unnoticed.Actual deskwork may last from 8 to 6 or 7 or 8 or 9, but the deskwork is only a tiny part of the work that goes into making a film.  I don’t make 8am to 6pm films.  It’s not because I don’t want to, it’s because I can’t.  I can’t take on a film and just forget about it at quitting time.   I don’t leave work at work.  I can’t leave work at work because to me, it’s not work; it’s my life.Some people might call it being obsessive. Others might argue that it’s not a healthy lifestyle.   Call me insane.  Tell me it’s impossible and that it won’t last.  Say that it’s not worth it.  Try to change me.  It won’t work, because like I said before, it’s not work, it’s my life.

Mark

Thanks

It’s that time of the year. Everyone is traveling, spending time with family, and busy with the holidays. Burning Torch Productions would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season, and say thanks for all of your support. We have been traveling a bit ourselves, about 3000 miles so far. Carrie and I have traveled by train, bus, and car in our most recent adventure to the Pacific Northwest. Everything is finally starting to make sense. Having a large amount of the filming done, I have decided to dedicate a number of blogs to writing about the people who I have met on my travels. The list spans from energy industry workers to drifters on the street. There is an entire story alone about the people I have encountered. Make sure to check back to get a glimpse into the lives of some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

In the meantime, enjoy the holidays and stay warm! Here’s a picture that hopefully brings a chuckle to your day. Whoever said making movies couldn’t be fun?

Mark jumps on down to Phoenix with Carrie

Pondering in the Mist

The trip to the Northwest has been well worth it.  It has been enlightening, humbling, and inspirational.  Between the huge change in scenery, the interviews with Bonneville Power Administration, and stumbling across more power plants than I’ve ever seen, I have finally found some answers. What is the best energy?  Well, I have definitely come a long ways since I first asked this question.  I have traveled coast to coast, through rain forests, deserts, canyons, and mountain passes.  I’ve traveled by foot, bike, train, bus, car, truck, four wheeler, and plane.  Now that I’ve journeyed over 8000 miles, it’s time to make sense of everything.  The next few months are going to be busy editing interviews and piecing together the puzzle with Marty Pool.  As much as I want to tell everyone what I’ve learned, I have to wait until the film is finished.  As the footage unfolds, Marty and I will be blogging to keep the conversation going.  We will also be blogging about whatever we feel is relevant to Energy! O Energy!  I will be on the road for another 2 and a half weeks gathering footage. I’ll leave you witha few photos of the last two days.  If you’re just joining us, check out some video clips from the first bike ride through Wyoming to explore energy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXCjbccG7c8

Happy trails.

Bonneville Power Administration

I’m back from Phoenix and packing for the next trip.  I have just found out that I’ll be headed to Portland, Oregon to talk with the senior vice president and executive vice president of Bonneville Power Administration.

The Columbia River is a large source of hydroelectricity generation for the Northwest

BPA is a public service organization that is in charge of getting power to the Pacific Northwest.  In other words, BPA makes sure that when you plug in your coffee maker or TV, it turns on and stays on.  That is huge!  Think about the logistics that goes into something that we have come to take for granted.  You have to decide how you’re going to make the energy.  You have to make the energy.  You have to make enough energy.  You can’t make too much energy.  You have to get the energy to the consumer.  You have to balance all of the different types of energy.  You have to make everyone happy, but at the same time, you have to provide them with enough energy to keep up with their demand.  Sometimes we want to save the planet without making any sacrifices.  Is this reasonable?  Whose job is it to make these decisions?  Imagine having to deal with all of these issues.  Doesn’t it sound like a huge job?  It sounds like one of the most complicated situations in our society today.  If this is such a huge job, then why haven’t we heard of organization like Bonneville Power Administration?  Is it a silent art and as long as they do their job well, they are invisible?  What exactly are they doing?  Why don’t more people know about what they do if it’s so important?  Have we taken the most elementary and necessary commodity other than food and water for granted?  Why?  That is my question.  Why do we as a society no longer think about this energy that seems to magically appear from the outlets in our house?  I will be continuing my journey to ask these questions in December by touring the Pacific Northwest and meeting with Bonneville Power Administration. Here is some background information about BPA.

http://www.bpa.gov/corporate/

http://www.bpa.gov/corporate/about_BPA/execs/embio.cfm

http://www.bpa.gov/corporate/about_BPA/execs/bsbio.cfm

On my way, I will be stopping at numerous energy production sites including hydroelectric sites, wind towers, a nuclear power station, and numerous natural gas power plants.  I will be home for about one and half weeks and then I’m setting off for a month.  This will be the longest that I’ve been home since July!  I’m already feeling restless…

I hope you’re keeping up on the blog because I will be posting much more often due to followers’ requests.  The blog has exceeded 5000 views!  I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know that people are becoming more and more interested in something that is so important.  Please feel free to request posts about subjects relating to what you want to hear.  Keep checking back for a story on my new method of transportation for the next leg of my journey!