Monday, May 16, 2011

"RIVER MONSTERS" The final Chapter, Part 1

On a cold and chilly Sunday, MAY 1st, we completed our work with the "RIVER MONSTERS" team in the Grand Glaize Arm near the State Park.  Our mission for that day was to provide a moving "camera platform" for the RM film crew.  Along with several others from Kapilana Resort, our son-in- law Joe Dubinski, grandson Ryan Dubinski and cousin Jonah Dubinski of Overland Park, KS and Columbia, MO were given the honor of being "extra's" and the two boys were given the dubious honor of being "victims" - - - (fact is the air temp that day was 46 deg with water temp hovering around 58 and they were the only two who "volunteered" to go in to the water  :-).  We think, since both boys are HUGE River Monsters fans, that had the "host" asked them to "swim" across the lake they would have done it!!

Filming began early with several "takes" of "Excursion" passengers boarding a 1949, 36ft Chris Craft Cruiser, graciously provided by Jan and Dan Mitzel.  The Mitzel's cruiser is an on-going restoration process which requires a great deal of work and expense and they have done a fabulous job with her.
Passenger's boarding the sightseeing boat - TAKE 2?
Filming passengers boarding the "Excursion" boat
The next step in the process is where things began to get a bit "hairy" - the cruiser was to get underway and make maximum speed and we would follow with the camera crew - -
The "Director" told me to follow behind the cruiser "as close as possible" while the cameraman sat on the bow (sometimes, gripped firmly by the "director")  - O.K. you want "close" "here we go" - -
"CLOSER"?  (Cameraman turned to me and gave a big "thumbs up")
Note:  He also had to pick up his feet
 Well, that went fine  - and I figured we were going to settle down and do some routine filming - - WRONG! - the "director" now says to me - - (in that stern and precise British accent) - "that was fine, can we now do it in the front"? - - - uhhh - O.K. - (doing things up close and in dangerous situations is pretty much a regular occurrence with this business) -  but he sorta wants me to defy ALL safe boating practices - - perform some maneuvers that usually result in our being called out to "pick up the pieces" AND he wants me to do it on CAMERA!!!!  I looked at my wife Laura, who was just beginning to recover from the previous "takes" astern (in which she managed to get some pretty good shots) and the realization of what the "director" was asking had just sunk in with her - - - - before she could say "let me off!!!" I pushed the throttle forward while the camera crew moved to the stern - - and caught up with the unsuspecting cruiser - "Task 1" - run close down the starboard side and then cut 'CLOSE" in front so the  camera crew would be under the bow - - o.k. - - boys -  here we go - -
One of several "passes" close to starboard
Cutting "close" across the bow (Shades of "Whale Wars")
Cameraman saying; "that was good! Now let's do it again!"
We repeated this little maneuver a couple of times, the last time we were close enough the camera crew got soaked by the cruiser bow wash - - -.  I want to compliment Captain Dan Mitzel for his STEADY HAND at the cruiser wheel - - it took great courage to remain calm and steady while being "run down" by a TowBoat - - .  Over the years, Laura has made quite a number of calmer "boat calls" with me, on this one, she really hung in there and rode it out!  She also somehow managed to get some GREAT SHOTS in spite of her "white knuckle" grip on the hand rail and "ashen color" from having the "bejeezes" scared out of her - -  enough excitement for now -.  WE WILL CLOSE THIS FINAL CHAPTER in OUR "RIVER MONSTERS" ADVENTURE WITH A LATER POST - -

Writer Note:  Before the comments come in - - Trying to get a British film crew in PFD's is a struggle - and I am at fault for not insisting on they being more than just "close at hand" - should the occasion arise again in the future - - it will be a much different story.  In my defense - "Brits" are a stubborn lot - and they sorta took to PFD's with the same attitude as they did when they chose to wear "Redcoats"in 1812, the outcome of which we all know - - - - - -


TheRiverWriter said...

Ladies and Gentlemen, next week the producers of River Monsters will ask Captain Charlie Meyer to provide the floating camera platform for a remake of the movie PT-109. Captain Meyer's boat will "stand in" for PT-109 in the scene where the Japanese destroyer rams it and cuts it in two.
Captain Meyer was heard to say, "If there's an Emmy Award in it, let's do it!"

Charles Meyer said...

I have posted the above comment, but I am not sure if it is a "slam" or not, but, Oh well - -

TheRiverWriter said...

No slam. I'm just jealous because I wanted to be one of the actors to go into the water.