Exhausting but wonderful week-end working on the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. It was packed to capacity. Such a treat to direct artistes such as David Koz, who blew me and the audience totally away, Don Laka, Earth Wind and Fire(the original group), they were so energetic I could hardly keep my camera’s on them, Simphiwe Dana who is so full of soul when she performs, Chuck Loeb brilliant guitarist featuring Spanish singer Carmen Cuesta, and of course the one and only Youssou Ndour….
The crew were amazing and I thank them so much..when 02h00am ticked over, we all including me could barely keep going from total exhaustion, but as they say ..The show must go on and it did.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We finally hit our beds way after 03h00am..and for some even later depending on where they had to travel too.
Am so excited to be working and directing on this project again this year. The artistes are amazing and look forward to working with them and the team at ESP AFRIKA…..just to name a few, Simphiwe Dana, Yossou Nodour, Earth Wind and Fire, Bebe Winans and Friends, Spirits Rejoice and Don Laka. What a treat.
The time I toured with Alanis Morissette was a wonderful, challenging experience. The reason I refer to her as wild is because she runs from one side of the stage to the other, but we managed to keep her in camera at all times and IN FOCUS as well….her lyrics are so profound and moving – directing her was rewarding . Alanis had been writing new songs throughout the tour, and one night her book had disappeared with all her material…all the crew were frantic and helping her search for it..how sad!! but she is still going strong, and well -respected !!!!!
Today I was interviewed on ChaiFM, a radio station, in anticipation of my “Road To Return” documentary, that will be broadcast this coming Sunday morning at 09h00 on SABC2. Was a great interview, the biggest surprise of all was the presenter…David Batzofin…a blast from the past. Not only does David do radio talk shows, but he is also an accomplished floor manager for Television Shows…this takes me back to the time we went to Nigeria to do an awards television show…..What an experience! ….bad experience. David can share a few of the experiences from his point of view. A few shockers from my perspective… It first started off when we, the South African contingent of crew arrived at the airport to depart, and we couldn’t, as no flights had been paid for….when that was resolved, the lighting designer couldn’t take all the lights that were required so we had to leave them behind,but were guaranteed that there were sufficient lights to produce the show we wanted…Finally we depart and arrive in Nigeria, no transport booked for us, eventually arrive at hotel to no rooms booked, after spending most of the night in the foyer of the hotel, we get taken up to our rooms, and no surprise, no water and to top it all no food. Just when you think it can’t get any worse…the norm is arriving a few days in advance to rehearse, and check the set that is being built to spec and go through the entire show that is going out LIVE throughout Africa and parts of Europe.
Needless to say, there were no rehearsals, the finishing touches to the set were being done half an hour before going on air..no proper scripts were handed over to us…..I was told there was 1 presenter only to discover when we started to roll camera’s that there were 2 presenters.
When it was time for a band to come on stage, there was nothing…if I didn’t roll something to place the gap we would have black on air, Dave is busy shouting through the comms he can’t get the band on stage, they refuse to go on as they have not been paid…don’t forget we are live……and it was a 3 hour show.
LIghts ..what lights we had two lights, one on either side of stage. Audience in darkness and so it was impossible to pick up the winners when they walked up onto stage or get any audience reaction!…and then the final cherry was, as they were handed their award, on more than one occasion the award broke in their hands….
I had diplomats that popped into the OB Van(outside broadcast van), where I direct from, and they were fascinated as they were saying that even though they are in the audience, the footage on the screen looks so different to what they are seeing on the stage, yet it was the same content…..so yes, I got through that, and knew that whatever comes my way from now on I can handle.
There is more, but we will keep that for some other time….
One of the nicest people whom I have worked with other than Israel Houghton is bryan adams. He was so involved and took such an interest in the shoot. His entire band is down to earth and so much fun. What was not such fun was living in Cape Town, editing in Johannesburg (Gauteng) and sending rough cuts to London for bryan to view. Luckily there were only 2 changes in the edit, but it did mean flying up to Johannesburg just to make 2 changes. His music was a dream to direct and edit. For those of you that don’t know, he always spells his name in lower case!