For the life of a wannabe adventure/athlete/filmmaker, very view opportunities actually come from my YouTube videos that I spend hours making. This, however, is one of those rare moments when something usually too good to be true, actually turned out to be an epic opportunity! Back in early August of 2015, I received a message on YouTube from a “producer” from Los Angeles, telling me how she is shooting a show for The Travel Channel. She proceeded to explain that she saw my cliff jumping video and wanted to know if I would like to participate in one of their shoots here in Connecticut. Of course, as I’m reading it, I’m thinking to myself that this is the happies moment of my life and that I’m about to have my big break!
After I calm down from the stoke a single email gave me, I began to question everything. I googled the producer and the production company, finding very little info about either. Beginning to think this was some type of scam, I shot back a skeptical email waiting for a response that asks for credit card info and social security numbers. But the scam never came. After a few back and forth phone calls, it was booked. In two weekends, my friends and I were going to meet the film crew at Enders Falls for a day of shooting, I assumed.
Still weary if this whole thing was going down or not, I cleared my calendar for that date. Plans that included a flight to Washington D.C. to visit college friends. It wasn’t until the Friday before did the legitimacy sink in, when I received an actual call sheet with our names on it and a phone call from a guy named Buddy who was the assistant Production Manager.
On that August morning, we showed up to an empty parking lot at the falls. “Damn, I knew it was too good to be true.” I said out loud. They said they’d be here with a full production crew and van. We walked down the trail, towards the falls, when we stumbled upon the entire crew who had brought their big van down the trail somehow. “Holy, Sh!t!” I thought to myself, taking back all the doubt I had been carry around over the past two weeks. A young guy jumped out from the van to introduce himself as Buddy, followed by his assistant, a cameraman, and sound guy. He then explained how I was going to act like a “guide” showing my friends to this new and epic waterfall for some cliff jumping. To his surprise, that is almost exactly what was going to happen since none of my friends I brought were the ones in the video the producer saw. Perfect!
Rather than try to explain the awkwardness of my story and narrating abilities, just watch the video below. Note, that every single line I had took me at least three to ten attempts. However, what I learned that day will never be forgotten. I watched how a full production crew operates on an 8hr shoot, how to vary different perspectives, shots and storylines, and how to make a staged shot attempt to seem natural and on the fly.
Highlights of the shoot were the 10 boxes of pizza the crew bought for a group of 10 people. Yup, I was filming for The Travel Channel, and free pizza still tops the list. But otherwise, it was so much fun jumping with GoPros and watching the cameraman fly his drone over the falls for some epic shots. Even more so, it was crazy to see how eight hours of filming was edited down to a 10 minute segment.
Mama I made it! Nearly a year after filming, on June 26, my friends and I were national television for The Travel Channel. However, we technically didn’t even know we were going to be on at that time, so we missed it. Luckily, we found the segment on www.TravelChannel.com. And of course I did what any normal person would do, quickly find the link online and send it to every single person I know.
Cliff Jumper’s Paradise in Hawaii
My name is Zachary Kenney and I’m an adventure filmmaker & photographer. My passion is to tell stories that will hopefully motivate you to go live a more adventurous life. Whether that is to experience the view from the summit of a mountain, or wandering through a new town on a road trip. Currently based out of Park City, UT.