Thursday, 4 February 2010

St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow

I have been filming the Polo on the St. Moritz frozen lake for the past seven years. The event is attended by high profile people. The focus varies from fashion and people to polo. Fur coats, expensive jewelry and a good game of polo are at the order of the day.

My work normally does not require special marketing skills. I usually make the best possible movie and it sells by itself. Seven years of experience taught me that the Polo has a different marketing game. You have only 4 days in which to be adamant, sell your work, win new clients and secure yourself for the next year.

It reminds me of a weekend 10 years ago with my great buddy Don Guan Demarco (Juan Slabbert) who owns a meat processing company. He invited me to a marketing weekend at a little fishing village on the west coast of South Africa called Yzerfontein.

We prepared chicken burgers and barbequed marinated pork ribs at a fast food stand. It was early morning and meat was the last thing on people’s minds. The occasion asked for drastic marketing measures so I started acting like a chicken!! It drew the crowds and that day I even managed to sell meat to a vegetarian! It was an ultra successful weekend and Juan made more than enough money to cover the cost and establish himself. So when I have to do serious Polo marketing, I remind myself of our Yzerfontein experience and start ‘acting like a chicken’.

Over these years I learned to apply special filming techniques to the game of Polo. I learned to go with the flow of the game, focus on the players and not so much on the ball. For example, when a player hits the ball and it goes out of picture, there is no need to follow the ball frantically. Rather go with the pack of polo players until they catch up with the ball again. In this way the picture still flows and it gives a smooth transition back to the ball. It also makes life a lot easier back in the editing room. With easier editing in mind, I concentrate on the transitions between wide and close up. I also learned to stay away from where the pack of media is moving. It’s much more interesting to get the shots over the heads of the audience than to get really close to the action and miss all that great depth-of-field.