Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Magic of Summer

We're experiencing extraordinary weather in Queenstown. Last weekend, a friend and client visited in Glenorchy. He is a former farmer, who after taking one look at our cabbage trees, said it's going to be a long, hot, dry summer. They know, the farmers. I'd say they're right as its been pretty damn warm since I returned from holiday in California two weeks ago.

Last weekend I escaped to Glenorchy to find that just about everything we had planted at the section had gone off. My partner said it was a jungle when he arrived. Fortunately for me, he had already done quite a bit of work by the time I arrived. Unfortunately, not so much that I didn't have to do any weeding! But that was alright. I like to get my hand's in the dirt.

But I like to harvest even more ... which is what we were able to do. Harvest rocket, otherwise known as arugala, and parsley. And what does one do with enough rocket and parsley to cater an event? One makes pesto. I love pesto, but was only familiar with the basil and pine nuts variety. Turns out, one can make pesto from all kinds of herbs and nuts. We made rocket & walnut pesto as well as parsley & cashew pesto.

Although the plants are loving the heat, we had been wilting. So there was nothing like putting on the new togs (or swimsuits) and jandals, jumping on the bikes, and riding to a new swimming hole for a quick dip. We did that at least three times last weekend.

The swimming hole only saw me once this weekend. Instead of getting in the water, we got on it, in kayaks, and took along fishing poles. The morning was spent in shorts and tshirts paddling Lake Wakatipu from Glenorchy to Kinloch and back. The day yielded three fish, including my first brown trout! Smoked trout & lake salmon on a bed of home-grown lettuce topped with that homemade pesto from last weekend made for a tasty and healthy Summer lunch.

Unfortunately, just after lunch, those infamous Spring winds arrived, along with my hay fever, to remind me that it isn't quite Summer yet. Bugger! Even the hay fever medication I took isn't helping this time around. Curses to you Spring winds! I showed you by picking and relishing those gorgeous bright red and juicy strawberries from the garden.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Slip sliding away ... into the mountainside

I had another first time experience this Winter. One morning while driving to appointments in the towns of Clyde and Alexandra, my car hit black ice on the road going through Kawarau Gorge. I'd never had an experience on black ice. It reminded me of my friend, Steve, who a few years ago had offered to drive as we carpooled to a work event after seeing that I'd walked through black ice while wearing high heeled boots in North Carolina.

I'd often driven in the Sierra Mountains of California during Winter, through snow, sleet, hail. However, I'd never encountered black ice. There really doesn't seem to be much you can do when you start sliding. The conditions that morning didn't look anything like I'd ever seen them before when driving through the Gorge. For that reason, I was driving under the speed limit. And I remember thinking as cars drove past me, "you'd better slow down". Ironically, it was me, not those speeding past me that had the accident.

It was on a curvy part of the road. I remember the back of the car sliding first, but then it seemed to recover. Unfortunately, all was not it seemed. The car began to slide again ... so long in fact, that I had time to think of all the things they say you should and shouldn't do when you hit black ice. I did what I'd always heard was the thing to do ... don't grip the steering wheel hard, don't hit the brakes, and look in the direction you actually want to go. It didn't seem to work. I could feel the car sliding wider and wider across the road into the oncoming traffic lane. I think I was quite fortunate at that time in the way the road curved, because rather than hitting the guard rail and going down the cliff edge into the river, my car slid towards my side of the road and into a ditch before hitting the mountainside. Whew! At that point, I was just happy that my car stopped.

A few hours later, my car was towed and I was home. I have to say that my car insurance was great! And everyone I encountered during the ordeal was really nice. But I have to say that for weeks afterwards, I was driving VERY slow and really paranoid about driving. Oh, and I had a sore neck ... a sort of whiplash I think. Maybe that is part of the reason why I'm kind of over the Winter thing. Bring on the warmer weather!

And thankfully, now Spring has arrived! Bring on the warmer weather! Hopefully no more ice for a while. In the meantime, daffodils are starting to bloom, lambs and baby goats are showing up in paddocks, and I have a new vehicle that has been really fun to drive around. (Well, new to me. I bought it from a friend who was returning home to Scotland.) Here is photo of my new Toyota Rav4 at Lakes Hayes, just outside of Queenstown.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How Similar Are Bucket Lists from Country to Country?

It seems the 2007 release of the movie "Bucket List" with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nichelson got a lot of people thinking about their own lives. I know it did me. I remember watching it and thinking about the '100 things I'd like to do in my lifetime list' that I had made years ago.

So when I was watching 'Breakfast' on TVNZ on Tuesday morning and they ran a story on New Zealander's bucket lists, it got me thinking. Are bucket lists similar from country to country?

Fidelity Life conducted a survey which revealed that if Kiwis had one year left to live and couldn't leave the country, they would choose travel over staying home with their families. Isn't that what the movie showed as well? Apparently 51% of Kiwis want to travel and the South Island of New Zealand is their #1 destination. To be more specific, visiting Stewart Island ranked #1, followed by doing the Milford Track at #2.

When I think of my own '100 things' list, I recall that I had only reached around 40 items at the time I wrote it. I don't remember exactly what is on the list, but I do recall that at least a third of the items included travelling.

What's on your bucket list?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Where has time gone?

I'm working on something that has me communicating with travel companies worldwide and their advertising buyers. This week I engaged a woman from Canada who considers travel a hobby and apparently blogs about it. I had a look at her blog and really enjoyed it. This reminded me that I haven't blogged myself in quite a while.

Two months to be exact, as today is 31st July in New Zealand. Two months. Unbelievable. It isn't like I haven't thought about it. In fact, every single day I have a topic or thought worthy of writing about. But clearly I haven't managed the time to sit down and do it.

Much has happened this Winter and tomorrow starts August, which I suspect is going to be quite a hectic month for me. But I really want to make blogging a part of my every day ... you know, like exercising, eating right, taking some time out for me ... all the things I know that I'm supposed to do and don't do.

Maybe time really does speed up and slow down? Maybe the fact that we have less daylight and more darkness in Winter makes me feel like I have less time. Everyone around me seems to be saying the same thing ... "I can't believe it's already the end of July."

Monday, May 31, 2010

Today in America=Memorial Day BBQs ... Today in Queenstown=Winter Has Arrived!

This last weekend is traditionally Memorial Day Weekend in America. The weekend to remember those fallen heroes, usher in Summer, and have cocktails and BBQs.

On the flip side, this last weekend in Queenstown, New Zealand brought us Winter. The snow levels on the glorious mountains that surround this town are dropping. It's still the tourism shoulder season, but the nomadic travellers who follow the snow, have already been arriving over the past few weeks. They've been arriving early to try to secure jobs that will take them through the Winter season so they can work and ski till the snow disappears, at which time they'll be headed off back to the Northern Hemisphere to do the same thing. If they're really lucky, they've already secured a job at one of the local ski resorts - which I hear gets them a free season's pass!

Yesterday as I left the house in the morning armed with a puffer jacket and driving gloves, I drove past two jibbers walking towards the CBD in full snowboarders wear, boards under their arms. The local mountain, Coronet Peak, doesn't even open till this Saturday. Apparently these die-hards were planning, like quite a few others it turns out, to walk up the peak and ride down. No wonder that these nutters are so fit!

I heard that most of the rest of the town turned up at the big Wakatipu Ski Sale that was held at the Queenstown Events Centre. Seriously, I heard (and later read online) that there were about 1,000 people in attendance. I didn't even know that any place in Queenstown could accommodate that many people. I didn't make the sale.

Later,  I saw a group of heavily rugged up men, golf bags on arms, scrambling to find another place to tee off within the hour. Not being a real golfer myself, I wondered why they didn't just have a go at this gorgeous course. That was until I hit a patch of ice and almost slipped on my ass right there in the car park, in front of this group of golfers.

When I got back into my car ten hours later,  It was a glorious, clear (and freezing!) night. The only clouds in the sky were over the Crown Range which were lit up by the just-past-full moon rising. I knew a delicious dinner and a warm fire were waiting for me at home, so I was anxious to get back indoors. Unfortunately, I first had to find water to throw over my windscreen to get rid of the ice that had built up after the sun dropped.

Dinner was delicious, the fire was raging, and I fell asleep in the middle of the movie. But this is the view I woke up to this morning. Yes, Winter has arrived. Now it's time to go pick up my Season Pass, pull out the ski gear, and get some windscreen wiper fluid (with antifreeze!) into the car!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Calling all Cookie Munchers!

Something really exciting happened in May. Cookie Time, the Christchurch based and privately owned Kiwi company opened the first "cookie bar" storefront in the World here in the Queenstown CBD. I was really excited when I first heard about the store coming a few months ago because of the concept. The company had apparently enlisted the help of WETA Workshops to help them design an interactive brand experience.

I decided to pop into the store the week it opened and have a look. I met Verity Richards, the franchisee, and had a nice chat despite the fact that she was obviously quite busy. Unfortunately on that day, she was having a challenge with the new tap that pours milk at the bar. A milk tap! Love it! Fortunately, it didn't seem to affect business while I was in the store. It was fun to see families enjoying the interactivity of the touchscreens, having their photos taken by these screens, and filling their cookie pails with a selection of all the different sizes and types of biscuits.

Not being one to ever pass by a sweet treat myself, I had to endulge. As I drove home from town, I opened my little brown paper bag to relieve the warm, chewy treat. Yummy! There's nothing like the melt-in-your-mouth, chewy, ooey goodness of a warm chocolate chip cookie. I'm such a big kid. But I don't care. It made me smile and made me feel all cuddley inside.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Night of Bollywood

Once a year, Mantra, an Indian restaurant in Arrowtown, holds an event attended by hundreds in the town hall. The evening includes food from Mantra, an Indian DJ and singer, and the Bhangra Boys from Auckland.
Bhangra is a joyous folk dance which marks the harvest season and is celebrated by the men of Punjab.

It's such a great night. Besides the really infectious music and dance, one of the best parts about the evening is the fancy dress. Locals love to dress up, especially in Bollywood style, and this evening was no exception.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I saw a really great film last night, "Boy". It apparently competed at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and was written, directed by, and stars Taika Waititi. To me, this is impressive enough to write, direct and star in your own film. But I was so impressed by the acting and the characters, especially considering the fact that most of the characters are children. It's a funny, sad, good story that is staying with me even the morning after I saw it. At the end of the movie, in a sort of Bollywood style, the cast does a Michael Jackson dance that incorporates some of a Maori Haka. Classic!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Reinventing Yourself

Summer doesn't really last long in Queenstown. So when it's here, everyone wants to be out enjoying it. I could say that is what happened to me. Why I've been such a slacker at blogging. But the reality is that I became very busy in January - out of necessity. I actually started in December. It was around that time that a friend asked me to help him set up a new tourism operation.  He was a farmer, and this was a very, very new and different experience for him.  I've loved this project, helping someone to bring his vision to reality.  Someone told me when I first arrived in Queenstown over 2 years ago now that you can reinvent yourself in Queenstown. I guess that is what he was doing.

I needed a laugh today ...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The bathtub is overflowing!!!!

From what seemed like out of nowhere, Queenstown got serious rain in April. So much rain that flood alerts were everywhere in town. Turns out 6 rivers flow into Lake Wakatipu, and only one river flows out. No serious damage from what I understand, but it made for some exciting times with all the sandbagging going on. You can check out more photos here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Kiwi Bach ... aka, A Great Escape

A bach is a Kiwi holiday house. Even though I've heard that they are called bachs on the North Island and cribs on the South Island, my friend who owns one in Colac Bay (south of Queenstown) calls his a bach. This is his really cool bach not far from the beach. I love that bach with it's separate sleep-out, an outdoor pizza oven, a sauna, a hot tub, an outdoor shower, and two outdoor fire pits. It's the ultimate fun house and up for holiday rental if anyone is keen.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Celebrating at the furthest point South ... almost

For my birthday this year, it was a trip south to Colac Bay. Colac Bay is about a 3 hour drive from Queenstown to the bottom of the South Island. A friend has an awesome bach there about a street back from the beach that we were given access to. I'll post photos of the bach separately because I LOVE it. I actually want that house, and it is for sale. It's also for holiday rental. Colac Bay is a little surf town near Riverton. I'd been there before, but it was cold and drizzly then. On this visit, it was glorious, as you can see from the photos!

Another friend is a part owner of a large section of land on the point at Colac Bay. He gave us access to the land. All we had to do was check-in with the farmer that lives on and works the land ... and make sure we closed all gates we entered to make sure the cattle didn't get out. From here one can look out across the ocean and see Stewart Island in the distance. It made a perfect spot for a beach picnic that included paua freshly plucked from the sea.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The shortest month of the year

February may be the shortest month of the year, but it may have been the busiest for me. A wedding, a huge birthday party, work, being outside ... here's a random sampling of some of the month's activities.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Your Big Break

I had a very unique opportunity a few weeks ago. Tourism New Zealand sponsored a contest called Your Big Break where amateur film-maker competed to make short films targeted at the North America audience. The purpose of the films is to raise awareness of New Zealand in North America. I was invited to watch and photograph the shooting of one of the finalist's films.

What an incredible experience and opportunity this contest provided for the finalists! They were able to work with production crews and shoot in locations that were used for such films as Lord of the Rings and Wolverine! How exciting and intimidating this must have been for the finalists.

In my attempts to get a few nice scenic shots for TNZ (and in order to not disrupt the shooting), I went for a little wander away from the action. In the tall grass, I came across this skull overlooking Rees Valley. Probably a sheep. We also got fed really well as evidenced by this HUGE pavlova that was served to finish off lunch.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fore! ... (Don't Say I Didn't Warn You)

My first serious relationship was during my first year at University. He played golf ... so did his sister ... so did his father. Apparently, they were all pretty good golfers ... 72 ... is that good? During the course of our relationship, his family would go off to some of the nicest golf courses around the US, and outside of the US as well ... Pebble Beach, the multiple courses in Palm Springs, even St. Andrews, the home of golf, in Scotland. I was usually invited to come along and learn to play. Something I never did because I was too scared of embarrassing myself, or worst yet, injuring someone ... namely, me. So I had plenty of opportunity to learn. I even gave myself the assignment of photographing the University Golf team so I could experience walking the course during a game to try understand what the draw of golf is.

In January, I helped with a hole-in-one fundraiser at the golf course in Glenorchy. During the down time, I would pick up a club and try my hand at putting. It was then that I realized, hmmm, there is something here. Maybe I can see why people get hooked. And when people watching me started to say, "How long have you been golfing? You look like you know what you're doing.", I decided it was time to give it a go.

So yesterday afternoon, I took my first ever golf lesson with the golf pro at Millbrook Resort in Arrowtown, just outside of Queenstown. It was only half an hour, but wow, what you can learn in 30 minutes! The Pro explained that we'd be taking baby steps in learning because it can get too overwhelming in the beginning. It was fun! But ... I had no idea how much technique is really involved. And I had no idea how much your body gets stretched. I got home last night feeling slightly stiff and my back aching. Don't ever let anyone tell you that golf isn't very physical or isn't exercise or fitness!

I actually hit the ball ... multiple times. And at least one of those times it was a pretty good whack, almost an effortless feel, which I understand is how it is supposed to be. I think I'm going for another lesson next week. But I'll have to try to fit in some practice prior to then, because as the Pro told me, "Another lesson won't do you any good unless you practice."

Golfers, birds, tree and anyone in the surrounding area ... beware!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Toto, I'm not in Kansas anymore (or should I say California)

I've been feeling like this for quite some time ... and planning to write about it. Funny how I never seem to get around to this topic. It's probably because as soon as I write about it, it will be out there. It will be public. It will mean that it has finally sunk in ... I'm not on Holiday anymore.

This has to be a common feeling shared by expats around the world, right? You've left your home country to try living somewhere that you fell in love ... probably during a Holiday. But at some point, you're no longer just "visiting". At some point you realize, this is my new life that I've chosen to live right now. You have to start thinking about the things you don't have to think about while on Holiday ... things like when is my car payment due, did my paycheck get automatically deposited into my bank account, how do taxes work in this country, and more importantly, do I owe any taxes in this country? It's about a different mind-set, about a different attitude.

When you're on Holiday, you're an observer really. You're generally pretty happy and carefree. And why wouldn't you be? This is your Holiday, your time to escape your day-to-day life and get from a Holiday whatever you choose. But then you go back to your "normal" life. Well, this is now my normal life. And even though I have to think about those things you don't have to think about on Holiday, I know I can literally step outside my house and be on Holiday for even 5 minutes a day with this view I'm so incredibly fortunate to be enjoying on a daily basis. That's the beauty of living in Queenstown, New Zealand.

The Grass Isn't Always As Green As It Looks

I made a post earlier about being positive versus negative. If you are reading this and haven't read that post, I suggest you read that entry as well. That will explain why I decided to write about this.

I changed my life almost 2 years ago now by moving to the other side of the world. To a town much, much smaller than what I was used to. To a different culture. With no friends except my new friend who is now my partner.

In all my entries, I've tried to be super positive. Why shouldn't I be? I've changed my life, rather dramatically it turns out. In some ways, it has been like I've been reborn. It's just that I've been reborn in my forties, not in my twenties. So for anyone who thinks that my life is all hunky dory, just remember that the grass isn't always as green as it looks. And let me tell you why ...

1) It's hard to build a career over when the town you live in doesn't have the industry you worked in. And not many understand what you used to do or how it can help them in their business. The upside - lots of opportunity to reinvent yourself.

2) It's hard to get work when you're over-qualified for at least half of the work available in town. The upside - a chance to try your hand at something new.

3) It's not so easy to make close friends when everyone has established friends, and most people are busy with their families. It's not like you're going to go out drinking all night at one of the 100+ bars in town and make a new life friend.

4) It's really expensive here ... at least in Queenstown. No upside whatsoever.

5) And my current income is less than half what it used to be.

6) Shopping. It's not great. Expensive, limited selections ... especially shoes. The upside - you spend less money on things you don't need anyway.

7) It's super dry here, especially in the Winter. I scared the hell out of myself the first time I went skiing and took off my goggles when I went to the loo. Holy Hell! It was like I'd gone through a time warp. The upside - it forces me to drink more water.

8) It's cold here for a California girl. I'm talking freakin' cold in the Winter. I'm still enjoying it, but am starting to wonder how long the novelty will last. The upside - beautiful.

9) No good, cheap Mexican food. Pretty hard for a girl from LA. The upside - my partner cooks, loves Mexican food, and knows the only real place in town that makes and sells real flour tortillas.

10) Domestic air fares are not cheap. Neither is petrol for your car. This is why I check Air New Zealand's web site daily for their Grab-a-Seat offers. The upside - maybe it will force me to walk more.

Should We Feel Guilty About Being Positive?

Recently I was chatting with a friend who has become really good at using Facebook to market his business. He has learned through experimentation and likes to share the positive and cool things about what he does. And lets face it, as a fly-fishing guide outside of Queenstown, he has got to love his work and have a lot of good days. Lets make that, incredible days. So just about everything he posts is positive and makes others think, "wow, what a life this guy has".

Apparently, he started getting comments from people who were getting f&*^#'d off that he was always bragging about his life. So he did his own poll asking people if they thought he should comment about the cool stuff in his life or all the things that get him f*#$%'d off? He got an overwhelming "post the cool stuff".

This made me wonder how people feel about me always writing about the good things in my "new" life or posting photos of beautiful locations. I got a couple of similar comments, all in jest, I'm sure. But then I started feeling guilty. Guilty about the fact that not everyone I know is having such a good time of it these days and here I was talking about cool experiences and beautiful places.

I resigned myself to the fact that in times that have gone to poo - and they have for all of us - I'm going to try to be as positive as possible. Because isn't there enough negativity around us anyway? I'm hoping that by being positive and sharing the good things, that people who aren't having the best of times right now can see that there are good things. I'm hoping that in some small way, being positive helps others.

And for anyone who thinks I'm just talking crap, I'll post a not-so-positive entry in the next few days. Because remember ... the grass isn't always as green as it looks.

"Go Out & See My Country" - 36 Hours in Paihia

I'm always whinging about the fact that I've been in New Zealand for this long (almost 2 years now) and haven't seen much of the country. And since I'm such a planner, I'm thinking I should start planning some short excursions. Here is an article that appeared on this morning. I thought I'd link to it as a suggested itinerary for some of you that are planning to come to New Zealand later this year. I might consider this itinerary myself.

(The story is by Mitchell Murphy from the Sunday Star Times, and this photo accompanied the story.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Summer Has Finally Arrived

Locals are saying this is what we've been waiting for. Summer has finally arrived in Queenstown. It has been stinking hot the last week, and everyone is out and about enjoying it, including the many visitors to town this weekend ... mostly because of the Bollywood film in town filming and because of Michael Hill's NZ Open. Here are some photos of the weekend.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Lots happening this weekend in Queenstown ... mainly golf

I woke up before 7am this morning to attend a webinar from the States on the Science of Social Media. It was a nasty reminder of working for that major tech company in America when I first got to New Zealand. But then I got distracted by the almost mystical view of super low clouds over Lake Wakatipu just a metre away from my laptop. I think it's just the start of another gorgeous weekend in Queenstown. At least that's my hope since there is so much happening in town this weekend.

Today there is a free event in town, Rock 4 Haiti. It's an 8 hour concert delivered by local musicians to raise money for Haiti and her victims. Hooray for the local radio station, The Rock, and to Glen Balfour (of The Flaming Drivers), John Stapleton (of Revolver), and other volunteers for their efforts in organizing this event!

The NZ Open kicked off this week at The Hills in Arrowtown. This is a major event for NZ, bringing heaps of international coverage and much visibility to this region. Not to mention that this event provides the public the opportunity to see the golf course and facilities, which are not normally open to the public. And let me tell you, this is a GORGEOUS place! I'd never been to a golf tournament until I attended last year while working as the Marketing Manager for one of the local helicopter companies in Queenstown who were part of the closing ceremonies.

The buzz is that this year's event will be even better. A friend told me that during a Chamber of Commerce meeting in town yesterday, a major representative from the golf world said that for many golfers around the world, coming to Queenstown for the NZ Open is one of their favorite things to do. According to American golfer, DJ Brigman, in a news article posted online this morning ... "I think Queenstown is the prettiest place I've ever seen. I've seen nothing to compare to it in the USA," he told a press conference after shooting a six-under 66 yesterday. "I've posted all my photographs on my Facebook page already and everyone is going: `Man, what a beautiful place'," he said.

On Sunday, New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key will be in town to open the new Coronet Nine at Millbrook in Arrowtown. I'm sure he'll be headed to The Hills afterwards to see the closing of the NZ Open. Everyone likes to attend the closing.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Summer in January

When you've spent most of your life in the Northern Hemisphere, January means Winter. Even if it is a 50-70 degree Farenheit Winter in Southern California, where they say it never rains. (Don't let them fool you. It rains and can rain quite hard. It used to be, afterall, a desert.) One of the things that seems to always remain odd for someone from the Northern Hemisphere, is that seasons are opposite when you live in New Zealand. Even the lovely couple from Switzerland that I shared a dinner table with last night commented about it.

In Queenstown, everyone is always anxiously awaiting Summer. It's gorgeous here in Summer. Besides the extremes that can occur - stinking hot days or pouring rain - and the fact that Summer appears to be hay fever season (and it has been horrible this year by many accounts, including my own as I'm now on my last antibiotic from the sinus infection that my hay fever turned into) - Summer brings so much joy. The sun is up by 7am-ish, and it doesn't get dark till after 10pm-ish. Long days for plenty of outdoor play.

And Summer is never long enough in Queenstown. It is supposed to start in December and start turning to Autumn around mid-to-late March. This Summer, some people are saying that it has just arrived.

I've always had this strange knack for being able to smell Summer's departure and Autumn's arrival. I mean literally smell it. It occurs when I wake up early in the morning. I sense a feeling, look outside, and can smell the coming change in the fresh air. So you can imagine how disturbing it was for me to smell this familiar smell this morning when I rolled out of bed.

I mean, come on! I'm just now finally starting to come right after that big weekend (and a friend's milestone birthday party) in early January. Summer can't be over yet! I haven't even gone out to play yet! I guess I'd better get out there. Break out the tramping shoes, the running shoes, the mountain bike, the kayaks ... and hope that my nose is just thrown off from the change in hemispheres or the sinus issues.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mr. Wimpy and the BMX Kid

Tourism New Zealand has announced the 5 finalists in their "Your Big Break" competition. This is an amazingly clever idea to market New Zealand, for both tourism and film making, worldwide. Here is the detail from the contest web site ...

Your Big Break in a Nutshell

  1. The first thing you need to do is write a three-minute screenplay on how you would ‘Capture the spirit of 100% Pure New Zealand - the youngest country on earth’.
  2. You submit your screenplay. It is highly recommended you also supply supporting material in a 60 second video pitch to camera to bring your idea to life. It could include rough storyboards, stock footage edits, narratives etc.
  3. These will be assessed by a panel of experts including Academy Award®-winning producers, editors and filmmakers.
  4. The entries will be reduced to a shortlist of 5, which includes one people’s choice entry that is based on the number of votes it receives from the general public. It is to your advantage to encourage your friends and family to get involved and vote for you.
  5. Those five successful applicants will be flown to New Zealand early in 2010. They will have three weeks to pre-produce, shoot and post-produce their idea to the budget of NZ$100,000, with the help of a small crew and Peter Jackson’s post-production facilities in Wellington.
  6. Your return airfare, accommodation, production facilities, crew and core casting are covered as part of your prize.
  7. The five completed three-minute films will then be viewed and judged by Peter Jackson.
  8. You will return home.
  9. The winning film will run on US television in 2010 crediting you.
  10. You will be famous.
I was viewing the 5 finalists' pitches this morning. The range of ideas is inspiring, but this one so stood out to me. Have a look ...