My Day with Philip Bloom

On March 22, 2011, I had the extraordinary opportunity to intern for London-based Director/DP/Editor, Philip Bloom.  Philip was a cameraman for Sky News for 17 years before going freelance.  He has worked with the likes of Star Wars creator, George Lucas, and is known worldwide as one of the pioneers of the DSLR camera revolution.  As a part of a 12 city U.S tour, Philip was going to be in Austin conducting a DSLR workshop with the founders of Canon Filmmakers Live, Jon Connor and Cristina Valdivieso.  I had to make sure I was there.

I have been following Philip’s blog for a year, and living here in San Antonio, I never thought I’d have the chance to meet him, much less work for him.  Now this is where the power of social networking comes in and why I can’t stress enough to people why they need to be taking advantage of free tools like Twitter and Facebook.  Rewind to December 2010, I see a tweet that Canon Filmmakers Live will be coming to Austin.  I immediately look for Philip’s email on his blog and send him a message politely asking if he could use any assistance during his visit.  To my surprise, I get a reply back within a couple hours, thanking me for my offer and requesting I contact him closer to the March date.  He adds me on Twitter and over the next 3 months we stay in contact via Twitter direct message.  During this time, Philip holds a contest during one of his uStream events, “Win a day filming with Philip Bloom”.  Again, I hear about this via Twitter, I login to the uStream session already in progress and towards the end the contest begins, a trivia question, “What was the first video posted that I shot with the Canon 5D Mark II?”  The uStream chat window starts to flood with answers, all incorrect.  I’m sitting behind the keyboard, my fingers waiting for direction, I quickly type, “Kauai: Always Returning”. Two seconds later, Philip types, “we have a winner”!  Was it me?  Or one of the other 20 answers that came in during those long 2 seconds?  “Congratulations Rod, you’ve won”.  Wohoo!  My family lives on Kauai’, so I distinctly remember this video he posted in May of 2009.  Unbelievable, first the chance to intern for Mr. Bloom, and now a chance to actually film a piece with him.  Again, a nod to the power of social networking.  If you aren’t already, get on Twitter and start following gents like Phillip Bloom, Shane Hurlbut, and Vincent LaForet, you never know what opportunities will come next.

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The date has arrived and I am nervously walking into the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin.  I had no idea what to expect, I’m holding his favorite coffee (found in his twitter feed) that I picked up for him at Starbucks.  I walk down the aisle to find him already on stage setting up, I introduce myself, we shake hands and in his native English accent he says “Hey Rod, welcome!  Bonus points you brought coffee!”  Score.  The workshop was scheduled to start in an hour, so I refrained from trying to start any chit-chat.  I asked how I could help and he immediately put me to work.  Relief, I’m in the door and now taking direction from Philip Bloom.

Cristina Valdivieso shooting promo with Jon Connor

Over the course of the next 7 hours, I’m making sure he stays “hydrated”, ensuring none of his gear walks away, and enjoying an extremely informational workshop.  I’ve seen many of his video tutorials and purchased his 7D DVD, but being able to ask questions and receive instant feedback was priceless.

Philip Bloom and Rod Guajardo

Once the workshop was over it was now time to relax with Phillip, Jon, Cristina and all the attendees at  Casino el Camino, a local bar on 6th Street.  But before we could head over to meet everyone, the gear needed to be dropped off at the hotel.  Chris, one of the other interns, pulled his car around, we loaded up, and him and Phil drove off to unload, also Phil wanted to grab a shower.  That left Jon, Cristina and I to make the short walk down to the meetup spot.  When we arrived the get together was in full swing and I quickly made myself at home with a Tecate.  The highlight of the trip occurred about an hour later when I find myself walking to the Radisson Hotel on 1st Street.  Philip was at his hotel and ready to join the party, I went to go get him.  For the next 20 minutes or so it’s just me and him walking the streets of Austin.   Our conversation is easy and light, I’m staying away from technical questions, mostly we are discussing the future of cameras/technology and he’s sharing some of his experiences as a filmmaker, all whilst I’m filming him! (video coming soon)

Walking the streets of Austin with Philip Bloom

The rest of the evening is filled with cameras, new friends, laughter and fun.  Just the opportunity to sit around with a bunch of guys talking shop, was well worth the trip from San Antonio.  A HUGE thank you to Jon, Cristina, and Philip for taking on such a big challenge.  Austin was the half-way point of the tour and they were still full of energy with an extreme willingness to help people and answer questions.  I never thought I would have opportunities like this.  I’m grateful for, my day with Philip Bloom.

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One response on “My Day with Philip Bloom

  1. Neal T says:

    Rod – nice post. One point – there is no such thing as a “native British accent”. Remember Britain encompasses Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and all the many accents of the smaller regions of Britain. It would be better put simply an “English accent”.

    Best wishes

    Neil

  2. Rod says:

    Neal,
    Great point! Sometimes I get so involved writing something and I forget about the details. Thanks for pointing out the error, it has been fixed.
    Rod

  3. JimH says:

    You lucky dog

  4. Rod says:

    Thanks Jim. A lot of it was luck, but some of it was making my own luck. It was a great day, one that I won’t forget for a while. I’m actually finishing up the video of some of the days events now. I hope to have it uploaded tonight.

    Thanks for the message!
    Rod

  5. Beth says:

    Hi Rod,
    Your experience was similar to mine in Los Angeles, their last stop of the tour just two day ago. Philip was cheeky right from the start when Andy, my assistant who was also another intern got him the wrong size coffee cup (grande not venti).
    I couldn’t be to blame because I was finding parking when he ordered. He also wanted a cheeky ‘nana which I got for him. Poor Andy, it was all downhill from there, but at least Philip had someone to pick on all day and thankfully it wasn’t me! In fact, I think that’s why he really wants interns, so that we can’t complain about being the butt of his jokes. Lucky for Philip, I’m rather cheeky myself for an American and I believe he now owes me a drink or two. Cheers.

  6. Dustin says:

    Ah, good memories of Austin! Certainly was good times. Will look forward to more of your postings!!

    Dustin

  7. Rod says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience Beth!

  8. Rod says:

    It was great to meet you Dustin. If you are ever down in San Antonio, let me know!

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