Archive for October, 2010

  • The Making of Warren Miller’s Wintervention (TV special)

    (23 minutes) Written by Greg I. Hamilton for Warren Miller Films

    wm10f[COLD OPEN “TOO FAR/HIGH/FAST” ends of the earth – timelapse icebergs, skinning up, hiking ridges, helicopter precarious landing, … Crew w/clapboards/cameras, tips of skis, skiers coming at camera, three skiers carving]

    CREW: Take one!

    TOM: Okay, camera’s running.

    SKIER: 3, 2, 1 — Dropping!

    CREW: Nice!

    NARRATOR: The cameras of Warren Miller Entertainment have been constantly searching for bigger adventures —

    ATHLETE: WHOO-HOO!

    TOM: The big thrill of this job is ending up in places that you never imagined …

  • Sugarloaf: Big Mountain, Big Love

    Research and writing by Greg I. Hamilton for Webeye Group and Synergy Group

    FORMER WARREN MILLER PRODUCERS teamed up to create this film for Sugarloaf’s 60th anniversary. Premiered Oct 9, 2010. Click above to view 3-minute trailer.

  • Screening Room: The Making of Wintervention (article)

    • The Making of Wintervention

      Feature Article, Winter 2010-11

    Published in SnoWorld, magazine of the 61st annual Warren Miller film tour

    Winter 2010-11IN HOLLYWOOD, movies are made after a long series of white tablecloth lunches where writers schmooze agents, agents suck up to producers, and producers sip their mojitos and stare off into the distance, planning another Cayman Island vacation. In the world of Warren Miller Entertainment, it doesn’t work like that. Sometimes all it takes is an idea harebrained enough to be interesting, practical enough to be possible, and exciting enough to be backed by our adrenaline-junkie film crews, guides, and athletes. Here is a timeline of the key steps that led from one outrageous idea to a finished film.

    1. An Idea Forms – April 2008 “Just Crazy Enough”
    Doug Stoup already had an ‘in’ with the Warren Miller producers. Stoup was the mastermind of a 2001 expedition to South Georgia Island that followed the course of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s famous journey. That trek provided the culminating scenes in Warren Miller’s Storm. In early 2008 Stoup was ready to top that with the mother of all Antarctic expeditions.

    His pitch to a Hollywood producer might have sounded like this: “Nearly 100 of the world’s best skiers and snowboarders pack onto one huge ship to tackle the lonely continent’s most intriguing descents.” When the producer yawned, he might add: “But the ship breaks down.” Doug StoupIf the producer raised an eyebrow, he could then drop the clincher: “Once they run out of penguins, they must eat each other to survive.” The producer would then perk up and say “March of the Penguins meets Alive? Brilliant. Greenlight it!”
    Caption: Stoup practices his pitch on a willing audience in 2001

    2. Green Light – July 2008 “What Could Go Wrong?”
    In the world of ski movies, a good expedition idea doesn’t require such box-office-hit themes like, say cannibalism. Stoup’s idea sounded good enough to the Warren Miller producers. They drew up budgets and logistics plausible enough to fool the accountants.

    SnoWorld magazineThe concept? Assemble a who’s who of big mountain adventurers, camera crews, and journalists and turn them loose on the world’s southernmost playground. The setting? A massive 200-foot ship, a fleet of nimble Zodiac boats, plus the stunning icebergs, glaciers, and ridges of the Antarctic Peninsula. Stoup planned an October 2008 departure.
    Caption: 100 athletes, Antarctic wildlife, first descents—the expedition seems like a good idea at the time.

    3. Red Light – October/November 2008 “How Much Further, Captain?”
    Cast and crew boarded the ship at midnight and took seasickness pills, knowing that nasty storms with 50-foot swells awaited them in the notorious Drake Passage. WME director of photography Tom Day thought: “This ain’t no Love Boat—what are we getting ourselves into?”

    Expecting to film huge waves breaking across the huge ship’s bow, Day woke to calm waters. He opened the porthole and there was the dock. They were still anchored.

    Ice Axe expeditionEngine troubles turned the expedition into a three-day waiting game. A disheartened Stoup sent everyone home. Even more disheartened Warren Miller accountants paid all the bills, without capturing a single turn on snow.
    Caption: The little ship that couldn’t.

    4. Green Light Again – November 2009 “This Time for Real”
    A year passed. The next Warren Miller film release, Dynasty, went out on tour. Finally Stoup announced that his Ice Axe Expeditions had reassembled cast and crew for another attempt at Antarctica.

    This time their new ship, Clipper Adventurer, was firing on all cylinders. feature articleThe athletes were raring to go and cameras rolled under seven straight days of blue skies and good snow conditions. For those with shorter-term memories than the Warren Miller accounting staff, it was the perfect shoot. Eleven more just like it and another film would be complete.
    Caption: After a year of anticipation, crews skin up to carve down every line in sight, including icebergs floating in the Southern Sea.

    5. Hitting Stride – March/April 2010 “Now We’re Cooking”
    Ask line producer Josh Haskins and he’ll say the beginning of winter filming season always starts agonizingly slow. It’s a waiting and watching game: tracking storms, measuring snowpack, finding holes in pro athletes’ schedules, putting flights and hotels on hold until the perfect conditions prevail. Then when the big powder dump comes, it always seems to hit several places at once. In late March it was suddenly go time.

    At the peak of filming, three concurrent crews were active, from the Colorado Rockies in Warren Miller Films’ backyard to Svalbard, just 500 miles short of the North Pole. The crews captured six complete segments in just three frantic weeks.

    6. That’s a Wrap – April 2010 “From Georgia with Love”
    Deep in the Caucasus Mountains of the former soviet republic, the crew put a bow on the final frames of footage captured for the new film. In the past six months, they’d set foot on the Antarctic Peninsula, stubbornly waited out blizzards at the other end of the planet, dug cameras and tripods out of avalanche sluff, and been sunburned in odd places (see “Tales from the Road”).

    In the end, they stacked up enough cans of exposed film to finally say “that’s a wrap.” Without missing a beat, camera crews headed right back out again (a new segment for 2011-2012 has already been filmed in New Zealand). It’s all a bit manic, evidence of the addictive traits that gave the film its title.

    7. Postproduction – May-October 2010 “Arcane Arts of Movie Magic”
    The filming “wrap” was hardly the end of the line. It was still approximately six months from the film’s premiere, and that would be barely enough time to edit those miles and miles of raw footage—and then polish them into one film. In the HD era of filmmaking, post-production has become more important than ever. While the crew’s upgraded cameras capture more and more precise visual data each year, it becomes critical to maintain the integrity of the footage throughout editing, audio sweetening, color correction, and all the other arcane processes that deliver the look and sound of the final spectacle.

    At that October premiere, if audiences enthusiastically spill their beers and cheer their throats sore, the entire production crew can breathe a brief sigh of relief. And then they dive headlong into the next year’s production. Did we mention that there’s something manic, obsessive, and addictive about all this?

  • Tales from the Road

    • SnoWorld Winter 2010-11

      Front-of-book Feature, Winter 2010-11

    Weather, Gear & Parties at the Ends of the Earth

    Published in SnoWorld, magazine of the 61st annual Warren Miller film tour

    Winter 2010-11AT THE FAR ENDS of the planet, everything seems to ramp up several notches: the gear, the weather, the distance to medical help and the ability of Scandinavians to take a party into the realm of the obscene. Here are four memorable moments, and one very fuzzy one, from filming Wintervention.

    [79°N, 500 MILES SHORT OF THE NORTH POLE]
    1 PACK YOUR RUNNING SLIPPERS
    “In Svalbard one of our main tents blew away in a wind sheer that ripped down off the mountains. Sleeping bags, food, and stoves were strewn across the glacier and I had one of the most abrupt wake up calls I can remember. We were 120 miles from the closest town and temperatures were hovering between ridiculously and stupidly cold. Thanks to the uncanny ability of still photographer Will Wissman to sprint in a full down suit and slippers, we managed to get the tent back mostly intact.” – Colin Witherill

    [39°N, NINE MILES FROM THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE]
    2 WAS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE PLUGGED IN?
    The Photo-Sonics Super 16 Actionmaster camera rented by the crew in Breckenridge, Colo. captures up to 360 frames per second of high-definition action. That’s three to five times more than typical slo-mo. For a cameraman, this means four things: (1) You need an able assistant willing to lug around all that film you’ll be blasting through. (2) You can slow high-speed tricks to 1/12 of real time, revealing the flawless execution of the grab in the middle of, say, a Jossi Wells corked 540. (3) That same HD detail will allow you to examine the crystalline structure of all the snow packed in J.J. Thomas’s nose and pants when he over-rotates his landing on the 60-foot gap jump. (4) All the technology in the world will not help you remember to plug the camera in.

    [64°S, MOTORING NORTH FROM THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA]
    Official Magazine of the Warren Miller film tour3 PARTY LIKE A FINN
    One would expect some pent-up energy on the ship to Antarctica. One hundred professional athletes, cameramen and journalists waited a year for the expedition of their lives. When the trip finally came together, miraculously serving up epic conditions over six straight bluebird days (out of 30 total per year in stormy Antarctica), let’s just say some of the guests couldn’t contain themselves. We don’t like to name nationalities, but multiple accounts—granted, all of them fuzzy—of the Clipper Adventurer‘s “White Party” implicate the Finnish contingent, who have a taste for vintage scotch.

    [37°N, FIVE MILES NORTH OF ZION NATIONAL PARK]
    4 TEN-SECOND RULE
    Director of Photography Tom Day: “In Utah I got my camera out, ready to take a shot. A skier above turned through the shot and threw up a little slough. The avalanche dragged me down a little bit and I just couldn’t get my camera with the tripod out of it. I let go and grabbed a tree. The camera probably went down about a hundred yards; the only thing sticking up was a tripod leg. I had to unbury it, full of snow, brush it off, and ten minutes later I was getting another shot.”

    [78°N, PAST THE WORLD’S NORTHERNMOST TOWN OF 1,000+ INHABITANTS]
    5 SKI TILL SUNSET
    When you head even farther north than the land of the midnight sun, you reach the land of the all-night sun. The crew’s time-lapse shots of “sunset” show a relentless bright orb moving laterally across the sky, never dipping below the horizon. That can make for some odd working hours. Tom Day reports: “The sun never went down. It just spun around us all day long. We were shooting midnight to five in the morning. We’d come back to our campsite at seven in the morning, sleep, and wake up to maybe start again at three the next afternoon.”

  • Living Richly

    • Published in 2010 Living Richly was called a must-read by Peter Buffett

      Co-authored book

    Seizing the Potential of Inherited Wealth

    By Myra Salzer with Greg I. Hamilton (Legacy Publications) On Sale Now

    Praise for Living Richly:

    “THOUGH MY DAD IS ONE OF THE RICHEST men on the planet, the gifts he gave me haven’t been monetary, but rather of ethics and values. The inheritors in Living Richly have a more complicated path—Salzer understands that. A must read for inheritors whose challenges are beyond mine.” – PETER BUFFETT, musician, philanthropist, author: Your Life is What You Make It

    “A very thoughtful journey through the thickets of our clients’ worlds. Readers will experience an easy, poetic resonance with Salzer’s informal style and rich messages.” – JAMES E. HUGHES, JR., author of Family Wealth

    Seizing the Potential of Inherited WealthBravo! For anyone lost in the confusion, fear, guilt or euphoria of a large inheritance, Living Richly provides a way forward—a way to reclaim or even reinvent your life.” – LARRY DRESSLER, author of Standing in the Fire

    Forthright, funny and engaging: it’s a very easy read, and I discovered myself nodding in agreement with the stories. It is an excellent reminder of the human potential that gets covered up in the wealth process.” – ROBIN BORGLUM KENNEDY, author (granddaughter of Mt. Rushmore sculptor)

    “Myra Salzer has a vision of the awesome potential of each human soul. Living Richly is a must-read not just for inheritors but for those serving professionals who are looking for resources and processes to assist their clients.” – JOHN A WARNICK, founder of Family Wealth Transitions and Solutions

    “The more experience you have, the more you are able to distill the complex to concepts that are simple, accessible and profound. That is the triumph of Living Richly: Myra Salzer crystallizes years of experiences into a small gem for the reader. The book makes its case that living richly is a journey based more on values and goals than on money itself. It does so in an easy to read, conversational tone.” – TED SCHWARTZ, Capstone Investment Financial Group

    “Inheritors are simultaneously envied, scorned, and courted not for who they truly are but for their special status and wealth. Myra Salzer has a gift for speaking to them in that rare and precious voice— conversationally, at a human level, with humor and wisdom.” – JIM GRUBMAN, Ph.D., FamilyWealth Consulting

  • Rocket Science & the Aluminum Can

    • Ball Corporation

      Feature Article, Fall 2010

    Ball Corporation Advances Beverage Packaging

    University of Colorado at Boulder's Leeds School of BusinessPublished in Portfolio (magazine of Leeds School of Business, CU-Boulder)

    THERE IS A FAMILIAR SOUND as R. David Hoover opens his can of cola. It’s the same Kshhh! that greets thirsty conference room executives, parched students, and consumers worldwide. Billions of these cans roll out of Ball Corporation’s factories every year. What many don’t realize, as they sip, guzzle, or glug their drinks, is that the aluminum can is actually a feat of modern technology … link to article hosted on Zmags.com