We receive enquiries on a daily basis. Some are easily answered; others are out of the ordinary. An LA based Social Media company contacted us wanting to shoot a clip for a viral video where the crew took a mobile phone around the world on one charge. They were planning to film a couple of clever optical ‘tricks’ on the mobile phone in different cities. Their requirements were: a flat desert location, a selection of models of various nationalities and a couple of unusual props; namely red balloons and a giant sewing needle (yes, this was definitely out of the ordinary).
Desert location? Check. Dubai is of course surrounded by sand. The trick was to find something flat and near the city. Jana and I did a recce and took photos practicing one of the tricks. We found a few great spots not far from Dubai and even encountered a very friendly herd of camels!
Models? Check. The lead role was for a young Emirati male model and lovely Faisal ticked all the boxes. Then we needed 20 or so extras, a mixture of pros and aspiring pros. I had a variety of people in mind, in particular, my drama student stepson and friends who happened to be off school on the shoot date. Unsuspecting friends were also drafted in.
Props? Check. Red balloons, no problem, a quick trip to the local party shop was all that was required, but where was I going to get a 9 metre long sewing needle? A chance comment to a friend led me to an alley near infamous Satwa where you can find anything from paint to ribbons to plants, along with tailors and tradespeople from all over the region and beyond (as well as a good authentic curry!). A friend had furniture made at a genius of a carpenter whose workshop was tucked away and tiny to boot. I gave him a picture, then a few days later collected what I can only call a masterpiece. Giant sewing needle, check!
All sorted? Not quite… the day before the shoot was windy, with dark skies and no sunshine. Not exactly how our US crew would imagine Dubai at all. The morning of the shoot dawned a little clearer, however I was still having visions of us caught in the rain. Luck was on our side and although it was very windy (and a bit chilly) the sun came through.
We’d like to say a big thanks to our fabulous actors (especially all the dramatic falls onto the sand) and to the Dubai weather which favoured us in the end.
As of going to press the video had almost hit the magic one million views.