CMRCA was recently approached by the Thai Authority of Tourism (TAT) to find some actors for a new adventure TV commercial they would be filming in Northern Thailand. The stipulations were that they needed 2 foreign males and 1 female. They also had to be between the ages of 25 -35. CMRCA had the perfect match; Katie, Mario, and I. So, we all agreed to spend 5 days shooting. As usual we didn't know what was really happening the entire time or what we were supposed to be doing. Thailand is great like that.
Day 1: The shoot consisted of the first of many long van rides with insane drivers. In addition to our team there were also other actors filming simultaneously, so a majority of our time was waiting around for our scenes. We spent the morning at Wat Phra That Hariphunchai in Lamphun, which was the northernmost city of the Mon
kingdom of the Dvaravati period, and also the last to fall to the Thai. The Wat supposedly houses a relic of the Buddha. After that we headed up to Maeping National Park to film some mountain biking and kayaking scenes. Faking a smile is hard sometimes when filming, so I just think about how absurd the situation is which always makes me laugh.
|Wat Phra That Hariphunchai|
|Chedi at Wat Phra That Hariphunchai|
|Mario getting set up with the Go Pro|
Day 2 and 3: After picking up The Johnson family, an American family who has been living here for over a decade, we drove up to Mae Hong Son. This drive is notorious for the amount of curves in it, and when I say curves I mean hairpin turns. The Johnsons' were recruited to film a family section of the commercial, so they got to drink tea, eat candlelit dinners, and go to the spa. They also got to ride this very rustic Ferris wheel that was set up in a Thai-Chinese village. There isn't much to do when your not filming. I was slowly realizing why movie stars usually end up doing drugs and sleeping with all the co-stars. After that we hit up a spa and then a lake to finish up some mountain biking scenes. We spent the night in Pai before returning to Chiang Mai the next day. Pai is exactly the kind of place I avoid when traveling, mainly because it felt like the Khao San Road of the north.
|Ferris Wheel, safe|
|The air temp was pushing 40 C, not the best time for a hot spring soak|
|Some great translation |
Day 4: The next morning we headed back to Chiang Mai to pick up some climbing gear for a shoot out at Crazy Horse. We set up a few fixed lines next to Into the Sun. Mario gave the camera man a brief explanation of how to ascend fixed ropes and started ascending. The camera man was a little nervous and out of shape but he made it up the 30 m rope nice and easy. The whole camera team was pretty impressed with our rigging and equipment. Every one seemed pleased with the end result.
Day 5: After an off day we were back at it again. Most of the morning consisted of the Johnson family shooting a few scenes with elephants, but the afternoon we spent filming some additional mountain bike scenes and a sunset scene.
Day 6: Our last day of filming was in my opinion the best day yet. We started off by doing the Flight of the Gibbon, a zip line through the forest. This company is trying to do a good thing but it feels like a factory just pumping out clients sometimes with little concern for safety but a big concern for profit. Of course working on risk management and having some idea of what rigging should look like its difficult not to see things. It was a blast though. Nothing like zipping through the canopy on a 800 meter long line.
|Poster telling how many acres are deforested every minute next to a water cooler with paper cups, So sustainable|
|How poorly can you tie a knot?|
|Actors and Director|
After doing Flight of the Gibbon we headed over to catch a train to Lampang. Ended up getting some pretty cool shoots on the train itself before retiring to the dining car for some beverages. We arrived at our stop before finishing our beers, so it was a hasty gulp and jump off the train as it started moving away.
We arrived in Lampang and shot a few scenes walking down the local walking market. I have to say that Lampang is gorgeous. The town has a lot of old buildings, a great atmosphere, and most important not very many farang. I will definitely be coming back here in the future. We sort of got separated from the crew for a bit before getting pushed into a horse and buggy for some more filming. After Lampang we drove back to Chiang Mai to let some paper lanterns off. That was the whole 6 days in a nutshell, although a majority of the time we spent sleeping in a van or in transit. Never a dull moment here in Thailand. The commercial should be done by the end of the month, stay tuned for a link.