Australian Filmmaker Mark Shea has been producing travel content for over 15 years. His films have taken him around the world including hard to visit locations such as Cuba and North Korea.
One of Mark’s great passions is motorcycles and for the first time he wants to incorporate both his passion for travel and motorcycles by riding a dual sports bike around West Australia. This trip was planned for 2014 but was put on the back burner after the opportunity to road trip the USA was put forward.
Sometimes a photo just sticks with you, it gets in your craw and just won’t let go.
‘The gumption, the balls of this guy….to ride a postie bike across America, 13,000 km’s with a bloody surfboard attached!’
It was like a challenge! ‘Damn it, why not, strip things right back, make it interesting! Why not do my next trip on a motorbike!’
The only place I haven’t filmed in Australia is the West. I want to do a round trip, filming from Melbourne-Perth-Broome to Darwin.
So the planning begins; what to take, how to store it for the 8,000 km desert journey, carrying video gear, maybe a surfboard and camping gear, water and fuel.
Like my epic Camino journey I believe this journey, and all grand journeys, unfold in three stages; the physical, the mental and the spiritual.
1)The first phase: Melbourne to Perth will definitely be the physical, crossing the Nullarbor and getting use to long distances on a bike. I really hope to catch up with and interview Alby Mangels while in South Australia. Watching his World Safari film as a teenager was a huge influence on my decision to become a traveling filmmaker!
2)The second phase: Perth to Broome will be the mental phase. Long rides in arid desert country, not many people, not many towns, the isolation will be tough! In this stage I’m considering getting a surfboard and surfboard rack to the bike and visit some of the most amazing uncrowded left-hander surf breaks in the world, in a place that has the unenviable title of being the ‘Shark Attack Capital of the World’!
3)The third phase: From Broome to Darwin I will definitely explore the rich Aboriginal culture of the Kimberley region, a place indigenous language is still spoken, thus keeping oral traditions alive. I’m fascinated by the Alien like imagery of the Wandjina Rock art. This will be a time to do stories on the most ancient of cultures and get in touch with the spirit of the land.
As with other overlander.tv productions, the journey is open ended and could take us anywhere! Expect to explore unique locations, meet fascinating locals and be immersed in Australia’s Outback Culture.
Having been outside of my home country for near two years, exploring the rest of Asia, I now have a better understanding of Australia’s place in the region. West Australia has been the engine room for the Australian economy, the mining boom protecting Australia from the downturn of the GFC. I’m keen to explore Australia now, the good and the bad, and try and understand where the country is heading.
Branded Content – the future of filmmaking
I was lucky to have had enough success on youtube to have traveled the globe making videos for near two years. I was making a majority of my income from youtube ad revenue. Despite this success, I think youtube is a flawed business model and should be viewed as just one of the mediums via which a program can be distributed.
I now believe content should be released using a tiered distribution method to maximise viewership. First online, then avenues like television and inflight and finally a cinema release tour.
While recently in California, the world hub for media production, I investigated ways in which media producers are exploring new ways of funding their work. The extraordinary growth of the internet has many creative industries struggling with change. One innovative media production company I was impressed with was Korduroy.tv. They produce videos and web based content related to the surfing lifestyle. To fund their work, they have a number of sponsors who pay a monthly fee to have unintrusive branding within the videos. These sponsors, who produce surf related products, can be sure those viewing the videos represent 100% of their target market!
Branded content is the main funding model now being explored across all realms of the entertainment industry. It is the reason James Bond dropped the martini for a Heineken beer! So powerful is the Bond brand, one scene involving a cut throat razor, lead to at 400% increase in the purchase of such razors in the UK!
From the footage I shoot on the Western Australian adventure, I will to produce a 90 minute film. This film can then be broken down into 3 half hour television programs. To leverage the film, I will first release it in bite size segments on my youtube channel. My youtube channel is Australia’s most viewed/subscribed travel channel. I will do this to work out what segments are popular and edit the 90 minute film with this knowledge. The project can then be further promoted with television and inflight releases and a cinematic tour.
I have experimented with branded content before, but this will be the first project I have produced whereby I will work with brands to help market the film. The aim being to get optimum ROI for them, by maximising distribution channels and thus exposure to their products.
I’ve assessed the online video space, and no one is really doing anything significant in the adventure touring genre. Examples from the custom motorcycle scene and from the USA show what can be down in the online arena.
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