Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Straw that Broke the Camel's Arm

Under pressure we can do some of our best work and under pressure one could also walk away a broken person. Over the last 16 months, I did both. 

So where to begin. Yes I know, I neglected my blog, but firstly I had no time to write and secondly I did not feel like writing about myself. On the other hand, if I do nothing these moments just pass and life's memories become a blurry pot of pumpkin soup. 

One of the biggest decisions I had to make during the last 16 months was to move into my own office. It is however a big financial commitment so more than ever one hoped for job opportunities to present themselves. However, this move started with an over amped Swiss Franc where all commercial activities were frozen. Moments like this can bring question marks and takes the fun out of the freedom that come with working for yourself. 

But then all of a sudden the market realized that just sitting and waiting is not the solution and although nothing changed in the economy, things started moving again and the next page of my life started. It just so ended up being a script for the luxury watch brand IWC Schaffhausen, that got narrated by Slum Dog Millionaire star, Dev Patel. It was a complete eye opener to work with professionals like that. Two takes and nothing more to add but a thank you. No problem boss, was Dev's last words as he left for his next commitment. 

Shortly after that it was the whole Larry King LA affair. The king of CNN LIVE was intimidating, but at the same time mesmerizing to work for. (See the link

A month later, followed by a clip featuring 2 times F1 world champion Mika Häkkinen in a 29 million dollar car. The 1953 Mercedes Benz Silver Arrow. This was then used to market Mercedes Benz' presence at the Goodwood festival of speed in England. 

IWC Living Legends 60sec Mercedes Cut from Xaver Walser on Vimeo.

For me these were already enough cool jobs, but then IWC decided to work with Oscar nominated actress Rosamund Pike on a corporate clip for the Beijing Film festival. I wrote the script together with suggestions from Rosamund and corrections by Manfred Thieroff. The final film even went as far as being nominated in a commercial film festival....... (story here)

Truth@24fps_Rosamund_Pike from Xaver Walser on Vimeo.

Then a few months later during the Zurich film festival I was fortunate enough to work with the legendary Kill Bill star, Uma Thurman. What a dream come true. She was so cool and her amazing voice took my simple wording to an entire new level of narrative story telling. 

It was simply just a crazy time since who would ever have thought a week later I would be directing a crew of 5 in London while shooting a talk show discussion with Cate Blanchett. 

It was like being on a freak train and the train just did not want to stop. With all this action I however did not really sleep much anymore and was just pumping out one job after another. I kind of also knew I was walking a fine line between glory and disaster. If that was not enough, I directed a 4 part commercial project to promote more women jobs for the Swiss trains. Another dream company to work for. 

MW4SBB_Myriam from Xaver Walser on Vimeo.

MW4SBB_Petra from Xaver Walser on Vimeo.

MW4SBB_Nadine from Xaver Walser on Vimeo.

MW4SBB_Nicole from Xaver Walser on Vimeo.

Then to almost complete the run, one more mile stone job working with the Irish pop singer Ronan Keating. And oh, I almost forgot about Tina Turner... 

Decoding Beauty - Ronan Keating from Xaver Walser on Vimeo.

So now to get to the final straw that broke the camel.  I got an opportunity to film pro snowboarder Nicolas Müller, as an action "follow-cam" camera operator.  At first I was completely intimidated by the thought. Me on my snowboard following Nicolas Müller.... Really? After all this was one of the last remaining snowboard superstars in the world, but then who would miss such a great chance?

It started off with great shots but as the visibility declined and the moguls expanded and probably that one V-mount battery too much in my backpack, I lost concentration for a brief moment. With my body weight in the worst possible position I threw my left arm backwards to compensate for weight distribution and protect my camera and suddenly could not breathe anymore. I knew something was terribly wrong and crumbled down in a bundle in the middle of the ski piste. In my head I still tried to figure out ways to overwrite the pain and get a few more angles of Nicolas' riding, but when the mountain guide saw me it was all over. No discussion mate, take him directly to hospital. 

There I was laying under the most pain I have had for a while and while the doctor was trying to locate the problem the morphine kicked in and somehow my last 16 months flashed past my eyes as the rest of the day became a blurry pumpkin soup. 

So what's the moral of the story my bru? You can burn your flame bright and think you are going to be ok, immortal, invincible, but come the day! If you do not decide to take it easy, it will be decided for you.... And there will be nothing you can do about it.