After participating in this year’s FMC Editor’s Retreat, I was approached by fellow editor and certified Avid Trainer Carlos Alberto Rojano of Artec and the Center of Art and Technology (CAT) in Mexico City, Mexico. He wondered if I was interested in presenting a couple of workshops at their annual NAB-type conference called CineVideo Expo. “But of course, I replied, only I don’t speak Spanish.” He assured me it would not be a problem and off I went to bring my ministry of multicam to Central America.
I knew something was going to be special about the trip when I checked into the hotel and walked past the bar. I looked up at the big screen and saw footage from the Aerosmith DVD I edited “You Gotta Move”. That took me back, Jack. And welcome, I was a-feeling.
Mr. World Traveler
The first thing I learned about the Mexican people is that they are very kind and appreciative. Mexico City is huge. It’s much bigger than Manhattan so, that’s a lot of love to go around. Yeah, I read about the violence near border and travel warnings but, I was going to have a safe trip- rock tour style from the airport to the hotel to the venue and back home, lickety split. After all I’m a world traveler, I’ve been to Little Italy, Spanish Harlem and Chinatown :). Besides, Mexico City has streets named after US states like Pennsylvania and Kentucky so how scary could it be?
Cutting it Close
The second noteworthy observation is that everything is laid back and casual. It’s almost to the point of absurd. For instance, the expo and conference doesn’t start until 2pm each day. NAB for instance, starts with breakfast meetings as early as 7:30am. I’m told the late start is for visiting attendees to have time in the morning to shop and visit museums or get a bite. The locals work and prefer afternoons for education. “We do everything at last minute,” I was told. Well, I like working at night and often keep musician’s hours so, this timetable worked well for me too – no need to worry about cutting it close here!
The Expo & Workshops
I was pleasantly surprised when I made it to CAT’s booth at the expo. There I met Maricarmen Cerda, the director for Artec and CAT and saw a 5-foot tall -backlit poster of the cover of my book. It was the first time I saw it blown up and it looked great!
The expo was impressive. Not nearly as big as NAB, but all of the favorite vendors were there: Telestream, AJA, Sony, Avid, Panasonic, etc..I even recognized a few familliar faces from the states.
We setup for my presentation and for the next two hours, I shared tips, techniques and personal experiences from run and gun editing on-location with U2, the history of IMAG and EPKs and timecode and sync management concepts to a room full of knowledge hungry workshop-ers.
My Spanish is bad. Well, worse than bad. Poquito espanol would be an overstatement. I spent my time in Ms Barnes’ high school Spanish class working on the set list for my garage band. Oops! I do know how to say a few things like: Donde esta biblioteca, Que hora es, Mi Yamo Miguel & Mi cassa su casa. Luckily we had an interpreter. It was fun to watch the class have a delayed reaction to my jokes once they heard it in Spanish. I hope it was transferring correctly. For all I know the joke was more funny in Spanish. Even the slides were transferred to Spanish, which was great for them but bad for me because I usually don’t have anything scripted and use the slides to remind me where I am in the presentation.
Baby Signs his First Book
Afterwards, I took questions and raffled off the first two copies of my book- hot off the presses in China. It was a milestone of sorts when I was asked to autograph the books because they were the first two “real printed” books and my first time autographing. I can tell you with a wink and a smile that it is much easier and more enjoyable autographing the finished book than it was writing it!
Next, Team Mexico took me to Villa Maria, an authentic Mexican restaurant. I could tell by the first bite that this was a special taste very different from the flavors in the states, a far cry from Tex-Mex and almost close to LA Mex…it was true when they say you haven’t had Mexican food like this.
Thanks to everyone in Mexico City for a great time. I hope to come back soon. Que te cuides – take care, nos divertimos mucho – we had a lot of fun!
Mexico City, Mexico