Sunday 17 February 2008

Comin' round to meet you...

Having recently read the excellent book version of Long Way Round, by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, and having then re-watched the show itself on DVD (for at least the fifth time admittedly) I felt I just had to pimp up a blog about it.

Long Way Round is a truly inspiring adventure, as well as a piece of filmmaking in itself. I've often said of late how I'm full-blown filmmaker-jealous of 2nd Unit DP Jimmy Simak, who rode with the support crew and helped film the whole thing, particularly the prep stage (which was before the main DP Claudio von Planta was hired).

It must have been a truly fantastic journey, getting away from everything you know and just surviving on a basic level - like McGregor said on the Road of Bones - it was just about getting their vehicles to Magadan, and that was it. Why the Jimmy jealousy? Well, at the moment that's where I'm at as a filmmaker - acting as a cameraman - and I have shot in what you'd call 2nd Unit capacity before...also it's an envy grounded in practicality - I don't ride motorbikes, unlike Claudio von Planta.

It might sound strange to some of you lot, but whatever, I was really inspired by Long Way Round. It showed you a whole variety of cultures in an easy-to-digest way, from the perspective of two chaps on my own cultural level (i.e. a British westerners). It also really continued to put life in perspective, I find myself thinking "well it could be a hell of a lot worse than this, I could be some abandoned child living under the streets of Ulaanbatarr", or if a bit of filming is getting you down on a long day you think "well I'm not riding through a boggy valley in Mongolia and falling over all the time, so it's totally fine".

That kind of thing, that's how Long Way Round has inspired me, it's also planted a seed in me somewhat - which brings me back around to the 'Jimmy jealousy' - to be able to be a part of a filmmaking team and just getting out there to see the world with a camera in my hand, tagging along in a merry band of adventurers. One day maybe, eh?

Anyway, I figured I'd blog up some thoughts regarding the fantastic Long Way Round (check it out if you haven't already). Next up, to read Race to Dakar and then inevitably re-watch the companion show on DVD again, another inspiring and charming tale of man versus the world.

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