On my first trip to Brazil in 1993, I was shooting for a Japanese high-tech company. We arrived in São Paulo and went out to scout at our client’s manufacturing facility nearby.
We met with the general manager of the company, a Brazilian who was impressed by this visit from corporate headquarters.
“What can I do for you?” he asked our clients from Tokyo. “Where would you like to film?”
“We are here to film the manufacture of our cellular phones,” they responded.
A frown crossed the general manager’s face. “Cellular phones?” he asked, then consulted in Portuguese with several of his colleagues.
“We have not made cellular phones here for three or four years now.”
Somehow, the geniuses in our client’s PR department hadn’t gotten the word that the cell phone manufacture had been moved to the Philippines a while before.
We did some filming in the factory anyway, but we still needed a compelling story. Through our local production company, we found a sports radio reporter who used a cell phone to issue soccer game reports from the sidelines. Pretty advanced for 1993!
Last year I returned to Brazil, this time to the smaller city of Ribeirao Preto, about four hours north of São Paulo, to shoot a different story for a healthcare company, a touching story about a woman whose life had been saved by a clever medical diagnostician.
Now, less than a year later, I’m back in Brazil. I just landed yesterday in São Paulo, shooting this time for a Silicon Valley-based technology company. We’ll be hiring actors to appear in our scenes, though there’s no dialogue. Our main goal: to film people using Internet devices of all kinds in a variety of environments. It’s important to them that the people and places clearly look like South America, as they already have many shots of this kind set in Europe and Asia. I’ll be using my Canon 5D Mark II (plus a second 5D rented here) and two GoPro cameras.
Stay tuned. More to come.