A rainy morning in San Francisco.

A rainy morning in San Francisco.

This past week the producer’s of our newest documentary project, Souls of the Vermilion Sea converged on California’s Bay Area for an intensive, three day producer’s meeting. Production began on this new project back in May of this year when Sean Bogle first visited San Felipe, Mexico. A lot has happened over the past few months, with many exciting new developments in the world of vaquita conservation, as well as new developments on the film’s crew.

Since the beginning of production back in May we have:

  •       -Run a successful kickstarter campaign in which we raised over $15,000 in support of the project!
  •       -Brought Ramona Mays on board as our new Executive Producer to help with continued               fundraising efforts.
  •       -Begun working with Mexico City-based filmmaker Brenda Razo, who has become an invaluable member of our crew.
  •       -Conducted our second shoot in the Northern Gulf of California, which included participating in   Expedition Vaquita 2015.

I learned the hard way when working on my first documentary Scavenger Hunt, that staying organized and keeping everyone on the same page is critical to producing a successful film. As we continue to learn more about the causes behind the vaquita’s dramatic decline and bring more collaborators on board for the project, we desperately needed to take a step back and assess the direction of this increasingly complex story.

We found a vaquita on the California coast!

We found a vaquita on the California coast!

Additionally, this meeting allowed our full crew to meet face-to-face for the very first time! The value of face-to-face meetings cannot be underestimated – not only does it get everyone on the same page, but it provides inspiration and direction for everyone who is involved.

Our first day of meetings was focused on budget and fundraising. Not the most exciting of topics, but one that is absolutely necessary for the success of any film. This is where the input from our new Executive Producer Ramona Mays (along with her husband John, who also sat in for the first day of the meeting) was hugely important. It is extremely satisfying to know that we have someone on our crew that is focused on finding ways to bring in money for the project. Although all of us on the crew will be involved in our continued fundraising efforts, having Ramona on board with her background in fundraising and charitable giving lifts a huge weight off of the rest of us.

The next two days of meetings were focused on story development. This is without a doubt the most complicated story that we have attempted to tell thus far at Wild Lens. The vaquita stands on the precipice of extinction, and although more and more organizations are jumping on board the recovery effort and attempting to play a productive role, the solution to the gillnetting issue remains elusive. Although we won’t truly know what this story will look like until we’ve spent more time on location in Mexico and China, we now have a much clearer sense of the type of story that we hope to tell.

Souls of the Vermilion Sea storyboard work-in-progress!

Souls of the Vermilion Sea storyboard work-in-progress!

We also now have clear targets for our upcoming shoot in Mexico, which will begin in just a few short days. Producers Sean Bogle and Brenda Razo will be traveling to Mexico with expert videographer and Wild Lens board member Joey Leibrecht, where they’ll be capturing the final days of the vaquita survey mission – Expedition Vaquita 2015. They will also be spending several days in Puerto Peñasco – the fishing town on the opposite side of the Gulf of California from San Felipe, which is also being impacted by Mexico’s two-year gillnet ban. And to close out the shoot the crew will be spending several days on board the Martin Sheen – the boat operated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which is assisting the Mexican government in the enforcement of the gillnet ban.

Stay tuned as Sean, Brenda and Joey will be sharing regular updates from the field over the course of the next several weeks!






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