Archive for the ‘Hawaii film and TV jobs’ Category

From Princesses to Pro Wrestlers

October 6th, 2015

TRICK OR TREAT! Our Halloween episode premieres Weds., Oct. 7 at 9 PM on Oceanic Cable channel 12/high def 1012 (which still goes by the misnomer of OC16). For other daily viewing times, visit www.CareerChangers.TV where you'll also find a link to segments from past Halloween shows... including one for Lopaka Kapanui that apparently got him a lot of attention, according to Lopaka himself. (click here for his update).

First though, we have a segment about Storybook Hawaii, which provides costumed fairy tale characters and superheroes in customized party packages (options include personalized songs, story book readings and craft sessions). You may have seen the owner, Casey Thompson Fortuno, and her performers making guest appearances on TV and at special events. What you may not know is the local demand for Princesses is red hot. Her company is booking up to 50 parties per month during their busier times at a price of about $90 to $200 per appearance, depending on the package that is chosen.

So, there we were -- our host Theresa Tilley, cameraman Stanford Chang and myself -- at the Z3 Sports Academy in Kapolei (another interesting story we're going to be doing later this year!) to shoot our October show intros with Casey and her cast of Storybook entertainers. She had run a Facebook contest asking kids to tell why they would like to be a princess for a day or something to that effect. The winners, all young girls, got to attend a special princess party at Z3 that was going to be filmed for a music video Casey is doing.

When the costumed princesses arrived en masse, the girls erupted in squeals and shouts as they hopped up and down while the Disney look-alikes entered. It's important to note that for legal reasons and fear of the Mouse House corporate lawyers, each princess or fairy tale character differs slightly from the Disney versions or original creations. People assume Snow White and Cinderella are owned by Disney. Wrong. They were fairy tale characters long before Walt picked up a pencil and sketched his first cartoon. Which means they are in the public domain. However, other popular characters that Casey gets requests for have been slightly altered. For instance, Iron Man is Iron Superhero (she got the 3-D printed costume from a company in China, which her hubby, Johnny Fortuno wears... we featured the Elvis tribute artist in a piece we did about Legends in Concert).

Then two nights later, Stan and I were at the Waipahu FilCom center shooting a pro wrestling event for the segment we did on Daryl Bonilla. Don't recognize the name? You'd probably recognize his face and voice from the old Bank of Hawaii "That's my bank!" commercials. Turns out he's the one that came up with the line while doing some improvisation when they were shooting b-roll of him and another actor driving around in a car.

How he got into pro wrestling is an interesting story in itself and involves master storyteller Lopaka Kapanui, who suggested we interview Daryl. As it happens, before Lopaka became know as the ghost tour guy, he had a long career as a masked wrestler and trainer -- Daryl was one of his wrestling proteges. (Here's that link.)

To be honest, wrestling is not my bag, nor is MMA fighting. But the AZW matches that Daryl runs is more like comedy slapstick or surreal theater. Highbrow types can look down their noses at it or dismiss it as silly... and that's fine since everyone has different tastes when it comes to entertainment.

Yet it reminded me of that old Preston Sturges classic movie, Sullivan's Travels in which a famous fictional director of comedies embarks on a quest to learn about the "real" America during the Depression with the goal of making a serious dramatic film. Incognito, he joins the ranks of the homeless and when his shoes are stolen by a hobo who gets killed, his ID is found in the shoes and is mistakenly assumed to be dead. The director winds up wrongly imprisoned and it appears things are hopeless. But while he and his fellow inmates are watching a silly cartoon, he sees them laughing and realizes he was wrong -- the world doesn't need another somber, serious drama about what's wrong with life... we need release and escapism, even if it is silly. Eventually he gets out of prison and announces he's going to make another comedy because people need laughs as much as we need love or food. I saw lots of people laughing and smiling at the FilCom Center.

Anyhow, I forgot to mention that for this same show, I got to interview two Olympic gold medalists -- figure skaters Kristi Yamaguchi and Brian Boitano, who were in town last month to promote their November Golden Moment show. Proceeds from the all star skating event will go to her Always Dream foundation program for early childhood literacy. It's a wonderful cause, so please buy tickets! You can see Kristi's segment by clicking here. Brian's piece will be shown in November.

From princesses to pro wrestlers and a real life ice princess. Sometimes I look at the show I produce and have to smile. It's a weird, wonderful world we live in. Check out this month's show on high def TV if you can!


August 14th, 2015

BREAKING NEWS: IT'S RAINING IN HILO! EVERYBODY STOCK UP ON A MONTH'S WORTH OF EMERGENCY FOOD SUPPLIES... oh, wait, you already did that after last week's Severe Weather Alert and Updates every five minutes on the morning and evening local TV news shows. Or have you become immune to the incessant, prematurely hyped-up storm warnings that begin the moment there's a cloud on the radar screen somewhere off the coast of Mexico?

Look, we should be aware of potential hurricanes and tropical storms that could impact the islands. But we don't need pointless repetition of speculative "forecasts" five times in the span of a half-hour newscast. It's not news if there's nothing new to report! They are merely fanning anxiety and blowing a lot of hot air to fill time on the cheap instead of actually DIGGING DEEPER or going BEYOND THE HEADLINES and ALWAYS INVESTIGATING (unless the breaking news happens to be about one of their own reporters breaking the law).

Yes, I understand today's version of news reporting is that it has to be "entertaining" and friendly when they're not gravely stating we could be facing an impending weather disaster that we should prepare for by staying glued to the TV set (or download the Weather app!) to track the storm front's minute-by-minute progress. I mean, who knows -- it could get stronger! Or weaker! But it's extremely important to anticipate what you may have to be ready for a week from now, because... well, just because!

What's unfortunate is that all this non-news reporting is actually backfiring. I talk to people every day who say they no longer watch TV news or read the newspaper because there's so much fluff or "might happen/ could happen/ didn't happen" type coverage. I'm a news junkie and started my professional life as a newspaper reporter, so that bugs me. Yet I find I can keep up on things pretty well by skimming the Star-Advertiser headlines and DVR-ing the three local TV news stations, then fast forwarding through all the filler material to watch the 4-5 minutes each day that contain real news substance.

Here's my suggestion: by recording the local TV news and skipping the stuff you probably see via re-posted links and viral videos on Facebook, you will save enough time to watch something that is truly alarming -- like the Merchants of Doubt documentary, which is now available on Netflix. In fact, I suggest the local TV news people watch it and perhaps do follow up segments with one of the executive producers, who happens to live in Hawaii: Pierre Omidyar.

I greatly respect what the Omidyars have done here by creating Civil Beat and the Ulupono Initiative, so the only surprise to me about seeing his name on the opening credits is that locally I don't recall hearing anything in the news about this film project. For all the global warming skeptics and naysayers who contend climate change is just liberal whining and scare tactics, this is NOT something they will want to see. It shows the undeniable link between the same professional PR spin-masters in the cigarette industry and the campaign to discredit scientists who have been warning us for decades about global warming. And yeah, they're backed mostly by conservative Republicans who glibly smile while they peddle cancer-causing cigarettes or try to block regulations to protect our environment.

Instead of devoting so many minutes each day week after week to updating us on "possible" severe weather, couldn't our local news media put a fraction of that time and effort into enlightening the public about real matters related to climate change? Do they have the guts to expose the outright lies of Fox News and conservative Republicans who insist there is "doubt" in the scientific community about the dangers of man-made pollutants that are the cause of catastrophic tornadoes, fires, and flooding throughout the world?

To paraphrase Bob Dylan, you don't need a Weatherman to know which way the wind blows... and you don't need to have local TV reporters go out to Hilo to stand in the rain and tell us it's raining. Sheesh.

Add Merchants of Doubt to your Netfllix queue, or watch it when it comes to cable. Get angry. And the next time someone tries to give you a Fox News or Republican talking point to deny climate change, tell them where they can insert that DVD since they are unlikely to watch anything that conflicts with their myopic world view.


One other side-note about the documentary: it begins with magician Jamy Ian Swiss performing slight of hand tricks to demonstrate the art of deception. I immediately recognized him as one of the bartenders that used to work at the Seventh Avenue South jazz club in NYC, back when I lived there in the early 1980s. Once, while seated at the bar, he asked me to pick a card and insert it back into the deck. After a quick shuffle, he tossed the cards up... and there in the corner of the ceiling, was the same card I had selected stuck into the ceiling somehow. I surmise he must have planted a second identical card there before I arrived. But how did he get me to choose that particular card?


For daily viewing times of my Career Changers TV show, which is NOT a news show and consists mostly of sponsored content, please visit our website. You can also watch segments from past and current episodes on the CCTV YouTube Channel, which now has over 1 million views worldwide.

Next Hawaii movie in works?

July 16th, 2015

jurassic trees

Took some time off for a mini-vacation trip to Kauai, where I proposed to my wonderful wife Isabel 30 years ago at the old Koloa Broiler, which has been replaced by a pizza place. It's been a few years since we last visited that island, and a lot of new shops and restaurants have sprung up from Hanalei to Poipu. But it still retains much of the laid back feel and natural beauty we associate with the Garden Isle.

Speaking of which, if you've never been to the National Botanical Garden across from Spouting Horn -- a.k.a. McBryde Garden and Allerton Garden -- it's really worth checking out. Especially on Sundays when it's free to residents with local IDs! That deal wasn't advertised in the tourist publications, but I asked if they had any kama'aina discounts and was delighted to learn we would save $45 each for the guided tour.

Also, we highly recommend the Hukilau Restaurant at the Kauai Coast Resort in Kapaa, where we were staying through the timeshare we own on the Big Island. All the locals said it was excellent and they were right. Make reservations though because with their ocean views, great service and delicious food, you'll usually wind up waiting a long time if you don't call ahead.

The old Coconut Marketplace next door was kind of like a ghost town, although it's evident they are redeveloping that area. Brennecke's Beach Broiler in Poipu was good too. I expected it to be overpriced mediocre stuff because they have such a terrific view, but prices were reasonable and the fresh seafood was very tasty. The one disappointment was the Merriman's Gourmet Pizza and Burgers. You'd think with the limited menu and Merriman's reputation, they would serve up something better than the average hamburger or pizza. Yet it was just "okay" and not worth the price. Maybe we should have stuck with Bubba's Burgers, which had lines going out the door in Hanalei and Poipu.

Anyhow, when you talk about Kauai, everyone pretty much knows a lot of big movies were filmed there -- including Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean. In fact, if you take the aforementioned McBryde and Allerton Garden tour, they'll point out where scenes from those films were shot on their grounds. Which brings me to the latest movie project that I heard may be coming to the islands.

Dubbed MICRO it's about a group of graduate students who  are lured to Hawaii to work for a mysterious biotech company — only to find themselves miniaturized and cast out into the rain forest, with nothing but their scientific expertise and wits to protect them. The story is based on a Michael Crichton and Richard Preston novel published in 2011. DreamWorks is producing it, so you can bet it's going to be a big budget tentpole movie. I'm a Crichton fan, going all the way back to his first sci fi book, The Andromeda Strain. Haven't read Micro yet, however.


The new July episode of my Career Changers TV show is on tonight at 7:30 PM, and features master illusionist John Hirokawa plus a segment about the new North Shore Bike Park and pump track at Turtle Bay. You can find other daily viewing times at www.CareerChangers.TV or view segments from the show on the CCTV YouTube Channel by clicking here.

Pardon My French...

June 29th, 2015

PROGRAM ALERT: The new July episode of Career Changers TV premieres Thurs., July 2 at 7:30 PM on Oceanic Cable Channel 12/high def 1012 (a.k.a OC16). We've got a fun segment on master illusionist John Hirokawa and the Magic of Polynesia show, plus a cool story about the new North Shore Bike Park at Turtle Bay, which includes family-friendly bike trails, as well as a pump track for advanced riders! Here's a sneak peek.

Our show host, Theresa Tilley, does a terrific job with our segment introductions, promotional spots and on-camera interviews. Recently, a prominent attorney who hired me to do a website video for him commented on her work in a piece we produced about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to help children of immigrants obtain temporary legal status to live in the U.S. He thought she was excellent. No surprise to me, since she displayed the same level of professionalism in the 808HALT human trafficking videos I directed.

She also has a full-time job in sales, representing a huge product supplier for hotels and resorts. Theresa is active with a variety of organizations too, and pops up in lots of photos at fashionable social events with her long-time significant other, Guillaume Maman. "G" as I call him, because my French is terrible, happens to be the General Manager of Loco Boutique. We profiled him in this piece awhile back. Well, G is not just a dashing figure with a charming accent who looks great in formal wear. He's been appointed Honorary Consul in Hawaii by the Consulate General of France -- a pretty big deal from what I understand.

Below is the press release about his new position. Congratulations, Guillaume -- and mahalo to Theresa for sharing this news!

The Consulate General of France in San Francisco has appointed Guillaume Maman as Honorary Consul in Hawaii, effective May 06, 2015. Mr. Maman has been a resident of Honolulu, Hawaii for 28 years and is originally from Paris, France. While in France, he served in the French Airborne Forces and received the medal of National Defense.

Guillaume Maman earned a French Baccalauréat in math, physics and chemistry, studied Economics at the University of Montpellier and a Master’s degree in Finance at La Sorbonne University in Paris. Since 1996, he has been heading a Hawaii based swimwear retail and manufacturing company, Loco Boutique, with locations in Hawaii, Guam, Saipan and Japan. He has also been the chairman of the Matsunaga Charitable Foundation since 2006 and a board member of the Alliance Française of Hawaii since 2007. Prior to his current position, Mr. Maman held many executive positions with high profile companies such as Louis Vuitton and Waterford Wedgwood.

As Honorary Consul of France in Hawaii, Mr. Maman perpetuates the mission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development in Paris. He directly collaborates with the Consulate General of France in San Francisco to provide assistance in administrative affairs and protection of French nationals settled or traveling within the state of Hawaii. He also represents the French Republic at official and cultural events in Hawaii and facilitates in deepening the relations between France and the United States.

Guillaume Maman succeeds Patricia Lee following her 18 years of service to the French government as Honorary Consul for Hawaii. “It is an honor to continue the tremendous service that Patricia Lee has provided to France and Hawaii. I feel blessed to have been raised in France and built an executive career in Hawaii, this has provided me with a deep understanding of the cultural differences and similarities between these two places I call home. I hope to serve as a bridge between France and Hawaii.” remarked Mr. Maman.

The Honorary Consul of France office is located at 1436 Young Street, Suite 303, Honolulu, HI 96814. Hours of operation- Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4pm to 6pm or by appointment Monday thru Friday.

Movie Biz on North Shore

June 17th, 2015

Waimea Valley is hosting their first Screen on the Green family movie nights, beginning Thurs., June 18 around 7:30 PM following their regular Haleiwa Farmers' Market from 2 to 7 PM. Pamela Boyar, who co-owns FarmLovers Farmers's Markets, suggested we make THE GOONIES our first showing. As it happens, this is the 30th Anniversary of the cult classic, so it's perfect timing for that film! Admission is free, but donations are welcome to help keep the film series going. Here's a video piece we did on Pamela for our show awhile back.

For the inaugural summer movie nights, it will be every other Thursday. The next one will be GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE, which was shot in Waimea Valley, on July 2. You can find the rest of the schedule, plus other info about what's going on at the park by visiting To see the short commercial I produced for them, click here. If all goes well, they may be offering more serious feature films and documentaries in the fall -- or even Dinner and a Movie nights at their Proud Peacock restaurant, which could have food-related themes. Beyond that, we've been talking about putting together a Waimea Surf Film Festival to coincide with the big swells that roll in during winter.

Meanwhile, Hollywood is filming new stuff on the North Shore right now. My cameraman and I were at Turtle Bay on Monday to shoot a segment about the new mountain bike trails that have been developed by Brett Lee, the owner of the Hele Huli activity center at the resort and North Shore Explorers center at the Polynesian Cultural Center's Hukilau Marketplace (here's a segment we did on Brett earlier this year).

As I drove into the resort, I saw lots of huge trucks, trailers, tents set up and knew it wasn't just another TV shoot. This was much bigger. Turns out they are filming MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES, starring Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Devine and Stephen Root. Haven't read the script myself, but someone who has told me it was funny. Speaking of not-so-hot scripts, last year I had heard from reliable sources that the "Untitled Cameron Crowe" screenplay was a mess before it even got made. Then it became ALOHA and from what I've read, it sounds like the problems on the page were never fixed before the cameras started rolling.

This is the problem when Hollywood heaps praise on writers or directors for their early work. They develop this aura that shields them from any objective criticism. People suck up to them and tell them everything they do is wonderful -- until their next project bombs at the box office. And even then, some A-list screenwriters and directors can coast for years on the success of one hit movie or TV show.

Anyhow, if you're in the North Shore area Thursday afternoon, check out the Haleiwa Farmers' Market and Waimea Valley movie night!


For daily viewing times of my Career Changers TV show, please visit our website. You can also watch segments from past and current episodes on the CCTV YouTube Channel, which now has over one million total views. If you're interested in having your business featured on the show as a sponsor, shoot me an email at Mahalo!