May 31, 2007
Well yesterday went pretty smooth. I got all my filming done... I hope. I laid out some more mag articles, and I did plenty of admin stuff, so you know this schedule is working for me. Now when I get off track and I start fooling around, I can just look at my schedule and see what I need to be doing. Right now I am off schedule and writing in my blog early because I need to head off to Rusty's office to review episode 3. So I reworked my schedule a bit to get this blog out before I go.
You know last night I was laying out some pages of the mag, and I was fired up about it. This issue is going to be another great one. With each issue my goal is to out do the last mag, using better layouts, and working to get the images spot on, and of course fun, and exciting articles to get everyone fired up about the sport.
I know its hard to look at a magazine and say it is a work of art, but I admit it, I look at each mag I do as a work of art. I love each one that we come out with. I sometimes wish I could go back and make changes in some of my mags, their imperfections, but that is history and those imperfections represent learning, and striving to come out with better magazines. I know most publishers that produce mags just look at them as money and high sales, but I don't. I probably should, because our company would make more money, but I can't. For me it's more than that, its love and passion for what I do.
When it come to making mags, or films, or whatever I put out into the world, I know it is going to be out there, hopefully forever, and this is what my life's work will represent to everyone. So do I really want something out there that I am proud of, or do I want something that I did to turn a buck? Money has never really motivated me - never has, never will. What does drive me is, I really want to make a positive impact in our sport and I want to help sharks, and I want to inspire people to travel and see thw world. So I will continue to do things my way, having fun, making friends, traveling, diving... and creating my art!
May 30, 2007
I got my second wind today, that and I got an email that gets me fired up. It was my good friend Walter Heim. For those of you who don't know, Walter shot those incredible mako shark images published in issue 13. Check out his cover shot.
Anyway he sent me an email that left me smiling; there is hope for our beloved sharks;
"The makos are starting to show off San Diego. We had 4 to the boat last Friday and 2 yesterday. Notably, a 7 ft blue showed yesterday and stayed around the boat for over an hour. It would swim right up to the camera and put its nose on the lens. Blues this size were common 10-15 years ago, but are now rare."
I f-ing love it! Thank you Walter, you made my day. So after reading my blog yesterday, my buddy, shark photog, Paul Spielvogel sent me an email telling me to organize my time better. Me - unorganized -impossible? Anyway, I did some major soul searching and decided that maybe he was right, so I decided that I would organize myself better to help me flow through my day a little easier. So I wrote up a basic schedule that I will follow to the best of my abilities;
8-9 AM; Check/reply to emails, check our Myspace page, reply to any requests.
9-9:30 AM; Talk to Rusty (our series director/editor) work on anything he needs for the day.
9:30-10 AM; Work on reader trips; scheduling, confirmations calls
10-11 AM; Work on web stuff, write my blog, marketing, make calls
11-12 AM; package outgoing mail, input new subscribers, check subscriber status, mail mags (twice a week, Tues-Fri)
1-3 PM; Work on next issue, layouts, advertisers, story editing, images
3-4 PM; Work on film project, talk to Rusty
4-5 PM; Check emails, finish up any projects
So there it is, my weekly schedule. If I stick to it, I should do ok, time wise that is. Of course any long phone conversations might throw me off, but if I stick to it, I should be able to get some work done. After work should be dedicated to my family and exercising, and more mag layouts...
May 29, 2007
I have got the newsletter blues. I sent out my newsletter today, which was really a shortened version of yesterdays blog. So if you did not recieve it and you read my blog, you did not miss anything. You can read it here if you would like.
But I am not down because of the letter, I am down because my server has reached its max limits. So, many of my newsletter subscribers did not recieve the newsletter. It will send it out to x-amount then it stops sending them. Its a good problem to have, but it is still a problem. Now I have to buy subscription software to handle the growing number of subscribers in my data base. So I am now torn as to who, or what to use for this task.
This is one of the many headaches I am handling today. The other problems have to do with time schedules for issue 15 of our magazine, and episode 3 of our series. I should be done with both, but I am not. I set a goal of having all the articles done by the end of the month, but, I am still a few short of complete, and I have 3 days left. I also have some pick-ups that need to be filmed for episode 3, which should of been done last week, but I am not done yet. I also have some scheduling problems with trips that need some attention... Details still need finalizing for some of our reader shark trips.
My week begins!
May 28, 2007
Yesterday I took my son to the skate park. He grabbed his board and was out there having a pretty good session, when a few drops of rain started hitting the concrete, here and there. I looked at him and said finish it up because its fixing to come down, and we don't have the top on the jeep. He kept riding, trying hard to get as much in, in the little time that he had. A few minutes later, the drops got heavier and I had to kill his session.
We jumped in the jeep, and as we were taking off a couple of his skater friends asked me for a ride home. I said jump in and the race started. They were all laughing as we hauled ass towards their house, bouncing along the road. I dropped them off just as the rain started to come down a little faster. As me and my son David were heading for the house, the wind started howling, I looked at my son and said "Oh shit!, hang on boy, were fixing to drown!" We reached about the half way point when the monsoon hit us. It started raining in buckets. There was nothing to do but crank up the Metallica song we had playing on the radio and hit the throttle- laughing all the way.
We hit a red light, I looked at my boy and he said, "Dad, my board is getting wet. Can I take off my shirt to cover it?" That's when I knew I had raised him right, his priorities were in place. The light turned green and we kept on driving home; smiling, jamming out, laughing as we got pelted by the stinging rain, just stoked to be alive. We finally made it home, and my wife's Tahoe was in the carport (we have a one vehicle carport). I didn't dare use the cell phone because we were totally drenched, so I stopped and honked the horn, she came running out, trying hard to get the truck out my way to let me in. I finally got the jeep under the port, me and David laughing the whole time.
I told you that story because that moment is what I live for. That to me is more important than anything else I could do with my life. That is one of the best times I have ever had with my son, and it will forever be a cherished memory. And how all that translates into sharks is, that is what I am chasing every time I drop into the ocean. I am always seeking that chaotic moment that will forever be engrained in my memory. When I dive, I dive for the purity of it all, the adventure, and to have fun with all my friends. If I could I would travel and dive everyday. But I can't because I chose to be a filmmaker and a magazine publisher as well. If I was smarter I would of chosen to be a shark operator instead. So maybe it was a mistake, but then again, maybe it wasn't.
I chose to publish a magazine and make films about sharks so I could share my passion and excitement for this great sport with everyone, not just the divers that make it out to my part of the world. I do it out of love for sharks and this lifestyle. And also because it is important to ensure that this great sport lives on for years to come. So that future generations will have Shark Diver Magazine and Chasing Sharks films, to read, to enjoy, and to be inspired to travel and create their own fun. And my long term dream for all this is; I want the world to play in the rain with the people they love... forever!
LIVIN THE DREAM!
May 25, 2007
I was talking to staff photog, Andy Murch yesterday.We started chatting about the year and what the plans are. This June, he has plans to spend a month in Australia to chase the little sharks that are in the area, and I have plans to travel the coast line seeking out more wild adventures in the Gulf of Mexico and Florida. We will do this till we meet up later this year for some film trip expeditions.
I have yet to really explore the depths of the Gulf of Mexico and what is out there. There are so many exciting shark species that live in these waters and many that have never been photographed alive before. I am excited about the possibilities. Long-fin makos, common threshers, close up shots of spinner sharks... the list goes on and on.
While me and Andy were talking, we discussed shark images, and what I am looking for in the upcoming issues of Shark Diver. I also told him what I did not want. I did not want typical species pics of tigers, whites, whales and such. He agreed stating its hard to get all fired up about certain speices anymore, they have been shot to death.
That's when I told him that I had just gotten some images that were just amazing. I told him he has NEVER seen images like these before. He asked what species? I told him and he said, "Now what perspective could you have that I haven't seen yet?" So I sent him an email with an attachment, and I waited... "SHIT" were his exact words. The next series of questions were; "where was this taken?, "who shot this?", and "look how clear this water is", and "I am tired of shooting in murky ass water", and "when are we going out there?"
I f-ing love when I get that kind of response from people over a shark photo. I just love it. That is what I live for as a story teller. A great shark image is supposed to get your imagination going, it will get you dreaming of far away places. And if your a true adventurer, a great image will inspire you to get up and get out there as fast as you can. Because all true adventurers can't stand for others to have better and more adventures than they do, its in our DNA.
As your editor, I will continue to inspire you to travel, dive and see the world. And it is my job to always find new ways to do it...
Have a great weekend!
May 23, 2007
I have to admit this. Our mag kicks ass. I was looking through an issue of National geo, and I was checking out some of their underwater images, and we have images in our mag that are comparable to theirs, and some are even better. As an editor of a magazine I created, I admit to having an inferiority complex to some of these big time photo mags with monster budgets, and expensive photographers. But now that I look at a lot of these magazines, other than the big budgets, and long winded writers, we are right there with them, and sometimes even better than them. Thats right I said it- even better.
I know it is a biased opinion, but so what, SDM really is a great magazine. And we are full of surprises. I can't wait for you all to see what I have planned for issue 15. I have some images that are going to blow your mind, and some really exciting new layouts for some of the story layouts.
If you do not yet know, I get all my layout ideas from surfing mags, and rock climbing mags, and skate boarding mags. NEVER from any of the other dive magazines. The reason why is they are f-ing boring ass magazines, again - yes I said it! Which has done more to hurt the sport than to help it. I am not sure if you know, but in the scuba diving industry the number of new divers has been decreasing over the years instead of increasing. That news to me is disturbing. And after thumbing through a few of those other scuba mags, there is a good reason why. Don't get me wrong, the people who work there are nice, but the content in the mags...DAMN!
FYI, ALL OUR 2007 TRIPS ARE SOLD OUT! KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR ANY NEW TRIPS I MAY ADD, AND OUR 2008 SCHEDULE.
May 22, 2007
I drive a jeep wrangler, and on the day I bought it, I removed the top and it has never been on since. Cold, hot, rainy, it don't matter, the top stay off. To me a Jeep symbolizes freedom, and fun, and it was made to be driven with the top off, I love it. The other day I was at the mall, and a guy walked up to me in the parking lot, looked at my jeep and asked me what year it was. I told him and he said, "you know I bought my jeep brand new in 99, and I have never had the top off." I asked him why not? He said I don't know, just never have. I told him, "then what is the point in owning a jeep? You might as well own a regular car." He just laughed and shrugged off my comment.
You know since that conversation I have seen hundreds of jeeps in my area, and I started to pay attention to them. Of the hundreds, I have only seen maybe 5 other jeeps with their tops off...only 5! I just think of all those Jeeps out there, not really being allowed to do what Jeeps were created to do... I just don't get it. Many of you may not agree with me, but thats ok. And I don't expect others to drive around 24-7 with their tops off like me. But hey, a Sunday afternoon on a perfectly beautiful day, why the hell not? That's what they bought the Jeep for.
I used this story to make a point, I believe many people live their lives the same way. 95% of us out there are not living up to our true potential. We can be so much more, do so much more, but we don't. Why we choose to live only half ass lives, I'll never know. I hope who ever reads this will think hard about this, and if your out there driving around with the tops on your Jeep (metaphorically speaking), rip those damn things off, and live it up! Lead the way for others to follow. Your world will be a better place because of it,
Don't believe me? Try it!
May 21, 2007
I have got a lot to say today, so sorry in advance guys. My buddy Paul Spielvogel called me early Sunday morning to give me the Gulf of Mexico shark report. A buddy of ours went out to fish the shrimp boats out of Galveston, Texas and came back with stories of something like 200 plus sharks swimming under the boat. I felt my blood boil, and the hairs on my arms stood up. Diveable days are here again. Of course the Captain also said it was low vis so it was not diveable. - Maybe for him it was not diveable, but I have not been shark diving in over 2 months, so 200 plus sharks in 10 foot vis would of been perfect conditions! Honestly it was perfect; Surface light, lots of sharks in your face, and one pent up shark diver ready for some scary ass action! The waters are warming up and the time to go diving is here.. finally.
That news was a great way to begin the week.
So this weekend I was running behind schedule like I thought I would be, I was only able to lay out one story for issue 15, so that means I need to double time it this week if I am to accomplish my goal of finishing the mag layouts before the end of May. In order to do that I will have to work every night for the rest of this month. It will happen.
Oh yea, and I am all tigered out! I used to be all reef sharked out, then I was all great whited out. Now I am tiger sharked out. What happens when you make some shark species available to the general public is you get 100's of shark photographers out there shooting the same shark species over and over. To the point where they have been done to death. Don't get me wrong, I love tiger sharks, they are one of my favorite shark species, but unless someone finds a unique way to shoot them, then they are just boring sharks. Its like hearing that really great song on the radio, but every radio station is playing it to the point when the song comes on you change the station, just because you are burned out with it. Thats how it is with some shark speices, they have been shot to death. I do have some tiger shark pics coming out in this next issue but only because they will be shark and diver interaction shots. I will never get tired of those, because that is what this mag is all about - SHARK and DIVER. Ok off my soap box now.
Me and Rusty have a meeting today concerning episode 3. I took notes this weekend from the first cut to try and stream line the story. Which I did, and I am pumped, it is going to be good episode. My goal is the same as for my mag. To make each episode stronger and funnier, (well the mag is not really funny, but it is really cool) and have some gnarly intense shark stuff in it. I can't wait to share it with you all.
May 18, 2007
Today I review episode 3. This is the first full cut of the show, cut with music and credits. I have yet to see any of this show yet. I usually get to see a rough cut of an episode before music is added, but I just didn't have time for it. And by now, both Rusty and Steve have a pretty good idea about what I am looking for so I didn't worry about it. Episode three is about our Venice Louisiana adventure, which is still one of the most insane dives I have ever experienced. Talk about a crazy, scary dive. We had anywhere from 60-70 large dusky shark around us. 60-70, and I am not over estimating the numbers, it was really thick with sharks. Our captain took us about 60 miles out to a sea mount that he chums, and it was EPIC. So anyway, that is what episode 3 is about.
So that means I will ne ed to write up the outline for episode 4 this weekend. Episode 4 will be based on our St Maarten dive, which is reef sharks and a blacknose shark. So I have my work cut out for me. Writing up this script is going to put me behind schedule for the mag. I needed to get two stories done for issue 15 this weekend, but the script needs to be done by Monday so that the guys can start capturing clips. So I will behind schedule. So much for a relaxing weekend.
May 16, 2007
I spent the morning doing a presentation at an elementary school. It was for career day, which I always find difficult. Because when I start talking about being a writer and publisher, the kids start asking questions about sharks and shark diving, and I have lost them. Which is ok because I would rather talk about sharks anyway. But today I determined to teach them. So I focused on the most important part of my job, the fact that I am livin a dream. That I created this job out of thin air. About how I wanted to dive with sharks, and talk about sharks and write about sharks, and see the world - So the mag was created, and then everything else just evolved along the way.
I wanted to share that with them. So they listened, sitting their with an interested look on their faces, allowing me to talk. I felt like I finally reached them, that my message was heard loud and clear. It felt good, knowing that one day, one of these kids would grow up and try to live out their own dream. Then one by one they raised their little hands. Me the proud speaker ready to answer each of their questions, "have you ever been bitten by a shark?", "Whats the biggest shark you have ever seen?", Can a great white beat an orca?"
Ok, I almost had them... maybe at the next one.
May 14, 2007
The week begins. I am hoping for a real good week, and I think it will be. The administrative month continues. Part of having a business is paper work, doting I's and crossing T's, and I love what I do, but sometimes I would really love to just be a Shark Diver and let other people do all this stuff. During a shark trip we were talking about gear, and how I don't like to carry all kind of shit with me when I am diving, how I prefer diving with just me and the sharks. My buddy and fellow film maker Rusty came back with, "But thats the price you pay when you wanted to become a film maker, you gave up that privilage" He was right, now its all about gear, and cameras, and all the things you need to have on you to make great underwater images. I complicated my life with all this stuff - topside, and underwater. But I am having the time of my life in the process.
This weekend I began creating pages for issue 15. It should take me the whole month of May to cut this one. I am going to be very picky about it. I want it to just scream out with life. I want it to be f-ing amazing. So I am taking my time with each story I am laying out, getting inspiration from different mags. Ok all the mags I use for inspiration are surfing, mountain biking, skateboarding, and rock climbing mags. I never look at other dive mags, because I don't like most of them, they are pretty, but boring. How many articles about BC's can you read in a lifetime? Give me fire, and passion, and something really cool to look at, and exciting people to read about. The bottom line is this mag is going to kick some ass!
May 11, 2007
I felt drained yesterday. There are very few days in my life where I just wanted the day to end, yesterday was one of them. Jimmy Hall's death was a big blow. There are some people who are just larger than life, Jimmy was one of these people. A true ambassador to our sport. I don't often feel blown away like that about people, beause I know we are all just passing through, and I understand that and accept it. There is only one way off this rock, but damn.
The world needs more people like Jimmy, he was a true brother at arms, a kindred spirit, and I am going to miss him. Every once in a while he would send me an email with a "hey check this pic out." And up would pop a pic of Jimmy hand feeding a tiger shark, or Jimmy giving the shaka' sign while swimming next to a great white. I would just smile and ask for more pics, counting down the days till I could get out there and share an adventure with him. His friends put up a website to honor him and it was hard to watch but great at the same time; A must see
May 10, 2007
Bad, bad news hit the shark world today. Jimmy Hall of Hawaii Shark Encounters died. His girlfriend Stefanie emailed me this morning with the news. I had only known Jimmy through phone calls and emails. So I never got to go diving with him. I had plans to visit him in Hawaii later this year though. Right now is such a hard time for Stefanie and Jimmy's family. He was one of the Greats in our sport, helping to push
shark diving to the next level. He will be missed, and our sharks lost another friend!
We cut another trailer for our TV series. We cut it for one of the Mens Channels so we let it all hang out. It is not for everyone because it is totally raw and uncut. We did not edit out any of the foul language, keeping it real. Its a reality series, core shark diving at its very best, and worst! It is also one of my fovorites so far...
May 9, 2007
I am so bummed. I have only been shark diving once this year. What kind of shark diving editor am I? I talk about sharks everyday, 24/7. But that's all I do - talk. I am so lame. The shark operators are out there having all the fun. Taking their guests out evey week sharkin'. I used to think it would drive me crazy diving the same spot, day after day. Doing the same thing over and over. Same GPS readings, same hi-tides, same species. But not anymore. Now I am thinking it wouldn't be so bad. Maybe it would be cool? - Maybe?
The only thing that keeps me fired up is when I do get to finally hit the water it will be in new places, with new species of sharks, and in waters that have never seen divers before... First Descents baby! Sure I'll be hitting some of our regular sharky hot spots along the way, but I'll just be passing through.
I don't want you all to think that diving the same sites is a bad thing, it is just bad for me. The world is just too big, with countless adventures out there, and I don't have the time to visit them all. But I am going to do what I can, and go where I can go with the time I have. Besides if I stayed in one place, I would be limiting who I meet in this world. Waiting for someone interesting to come my way. I don't like living that way, I prefer to stick my neck out there and see where life takes me, and who life leads me too. Some good conversation, and a cold beer with someone new is my idea of a good time...especially after a great day of sharkin'.
May 8, 2007