I saw much of the Houston airport due to by extended time there.  Exchanged some Pesos back to US dollars.  Walked a lot.  Talked a lot on the cell phone (Yeah! Real communications again!) Then had an uneventful flight back to Richmond,

Although my adventure has come to an end I’ve taken time to reflect on the experience and come up with a list.

One of the camera operators and one of the wardrobe stylists enjoying the sunset

1) You can never be too prepared for international travel.
2) Whatever a video vendor promises about equipment prep… DON’T BELIEVE IT!  Have your EIC fax all gear before it leaves the shop.
3) If you are shooting in Mexico… rent ALL of your lighting and grip gear from:  Revolution 435 D&C, S.A. de C.V. in Mexico City. (D&C stands for dollies and cranes) – they have quality gear!
Telephone from the USA: 011-52-55/5605-8060
Owner: Mr. Fernando Hernandez
Our crew (supplied though Fernando & Revolution) (Mexican position names are not exactly the same as the US)
  • Gaffer/Crew Chief: Ernesto
  • Key Grip/Electrician: Efrain
  • Key Grip/Electrician: Pedro
  • Truck In Charge: Memo
  • Truck Assistant: Angel
  • Generator Operator: Marco Antonio
Whenever I go back to Mexico this is the exact crew I’ll request again.  I don’t believe I’ve ever worked (25= years) with a crew with better attitudes or such a hard work ethic.  THANKS!

Blue water in the afternoon light on day two

4) I’d fight for exterior locations that always had the sun direction at 90+ degrees away from the camera and high in the sky.  Our location was beautiful.  Sun rose 90 degree to the left.  Sun set 90 degrees to the right.  But, we were looking south and the maximum sun height was 49 degrees off the water.  With offshore/seaward winds (winds coming off the land) the amount of ocean spray haze was minimal.  With onshore/shoreward winds (winds coming from the sea toward land) the amount of haze was huge!  A white wall!
Given our location choices I think we picked the best one.  However when video equipment delays severely hampered our schedule we were forced to shoot continuously though the worst light of the day. On the day of onshore winds the haze really killed us.
Try to pick a location where you won’t be looking into the sunlit haze with the potential on onshore winds.
5) Always hire a shipping agent with a person in-country to where you are shipping to.  With a set fee!  The shipping company did have a person at the airport for the arrival process but not on return shipping day.  Who could predict.
6) Don’t expect crew to drive vehicles in foreign countries.  They won’t want to!  Hire drivers for each vehicle.  Keep the crew focused on the work at hand.
7) There are good teleprompter software choices.  There are bad teleprompter software choices.  And there are dreadful teleprompter choices.  This is perhaps the sixth or eighth shoot in the last two years that I’ve witnessed teleprompters dragging production to a halt.
8) Never rent even an umbrella from the Miami vendor who supplied this video gear.  You will end up regretting it like we did.
9) Never rent video production gear from the Miami vendor who buys and sells a lo of gear on eBay.  You may end up with used gear that still has the former owner’s name on it like we did.
10) Never rent video production gear from the Miami vendor who also runs a production equipment prop house.  You may end up with the props instead of the second-hand production gear like we did.
11) The amazing positive impact on your health from a week of nothing but organic food (real food not just veggies) cannot be described until you experience it!  Las Alamandas either grows or raises, on their property, everything that touches your plate, except the fish.  And they personally know the fisherman who caught the fish.

Noontime meals survey under the palapa