MY BOOK

SHOWDOWN AT SHINAGAWA: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil

Roving Camera Album: Click Photo

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Giants FanFest 2011
Muse | Production | Teaching | Travel

How to Succeed in the Film Business While Really, Really Trying

An old friend from the East Coast contacted me recently to see if I had any career advice for her friends’ son, a recent film school graduate who was trying make it as a filmmaker in New York City. I told my friend that, though my experience as a freelance crew person in the Bay Area wasn’t directly applicable to his efforts at finding production clients in New York, I would be happy to offer some general advice. Here it is.

Hi,

Nice to hear from you. As I explained to our mutual friend, I’m not sure how to advise you, other than telling you a bit about my career.

A little background:

Though I grew up on Long . . . CONTINUE READING: How to Succeed in the Film Business While Really, Really Trying

Muse | Production | Travel | VIdeos

Showcasing ‘Showdown at Shinagawa’—The Video

Video of a presentation by Bill Zarchy at Northbrae Community Church, Berkeley, California on 2/3/16.

The author reads excerpts from four of the stories in his book, Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil.” He also discusses the ins and outs of self-publishing, as well as his background as a globe-trotting cinematographer.

The stories read:

  • “Starstruck at Cannes: Morgan Freeman on the Red Carpet”
  • “21st Century Village: Telemedicine in Rural India”
  • “Dog Years: Sophie, Pop, and Bill Clinton”
  • “Shanghai Lunch”

Please note: Video is from an iPad. Sound level is low, but audible. Crank it up!

Muse | Production | Travel

Bangkok, the Saudis, and the Jism Balls

Sunset over the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok

“I’m hungry,” said Randy, as we set up a sunset shot from the overpass near the end of our first day on the ground. “We need something to eat.”

“Okay,” Larry agreed. “I’ll get street food. There’s lots of it around.”

“Is that safe?”

“This is at least my fifth trip to Thailand. I’ve never gotten sick on street food here.”

“Unlike Mexico,” I put in, “or India, or Uganda.”

“Or other places. I think everything’s very fresh here. When you buy something, it’s usually been made just minutes before.”

Larry crossed to the other side of the pedestrian bridge, past a mutilated street beggar, to one of several food carts . . . CONTINUE READING: Bangkok, the Saudis, and the Jism Balls

Books / Writing | Production | Travel

Showcasing ‘Showdown at Shinagawa’ in Berkeley This Week

Upcoming Book Event—Wednesday • Feb 3 • 7:30 pm

I’ll be discussing my book and reading some stories this Wednesday evening at Northbrae Community Church in Berkeley.

The stories are from my memoir Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil, about my global travels and work as a cinematographer.

Showdown features 18 tales, from the surreal Japanese bowling-for-budget match in the title story, to commiseration with President Clinton over family tragedies in “Dog Years,” to a bus trip down India’s deadly Bombay-Pune Road in “Wrecks and Pissers.”

I’ll be describing the relative ease of self-publishing, compared with the challenge of getting noticed among over one million books published in . . . CONTINUE READING: Showcasing ‘Showdown at Shinagawa’ in Berkeley This Week

Books / Writing | Production | Travel

New Award & Reviews for SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil

My book SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA tells true stories from my long career as a director of photography, working on film and digital cinema shoots across the U.S. and all around the world—Japan, India, China, Uganda, the Philippines, New Zealand, France, Singapore, England, Taiwan, Mexico, and Brazil.

The book has recently been honored as a Commended Winner in Non-Fiction in the 2014 Self-Publishing Review Awards. One of the three highest non-fiction awards!

RECENT REVIEWS

Books / Writing | Production | Travel

SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA Now Available in Paperback and Kindle e-Book Versions

SHOWDOWN AT SHINAGAWA: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil

New Book by BILL ZARCHY on sale now!

Introduction by Larry Habegger

Bill Zarchy’s new book—SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA—is now on sale at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle e-book versions. SHOWDOWN AT SHINAGAWA: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil tells true stories from Zarchy’s long career as a director of photography, working on film and digital cinema shoots across the U.S. and all around the world—Japan, India, China, Uganda, the Philippines, New Zealand, France, Singapore, England, Taiwan, Mexico, and Brazil. . . . CONTINUE READING: SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA Now Available in Paperback and Kindle e-Book Versions

Books / Writing | Photos | Production | Travel

SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA Will Be Published in a Few Weeks

MY NEW BOOK SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil —will be published in just a few short weeks. I have received the first test copies and expect the book to be on sale everywhere in early November.

SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA tells 18 true tales of my long career working on film shoots across the U.S. and all around the world—Japan, India, China, Uganda, the Philippines, New Zealand, France, Singapore, England, Taiwan, Mexico, and Brazil.

SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA is funny and poignant, populated with a real-life cast of characters who add serious, silly, and sardonic perspective to our adventures shooting on the road. We overcome numbing jetlag, deal with cultural obstacles, and sometimes are rewarded for our efforts with a deep satisfaction. And … every day is different! . . . CONTINUE READING: SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA Will Be Published in a Few Weeks

Production

Two Worthy Film Projects Need Your Donations

I have just pledged money to two worthy film projects by Eliciana Nascimento and Eli Adler, and I urge my readers to do the same.

Eliciana, an MFA student at San Francisco State, took (and aced!) my Advanced Cinematography class this spring. She and husband Ben Watkins plan to film her thesis project, The Summer of Gods, in her native Brazil, and are trying to raise $30,000 to shoot and complete the film this year. The Summer of Gods is a short film about a young girl named Lilli who visits her grandmother in rural Brazil. Near her village, she encounters Orishas (African gods) who challenge her with a mission. . . . CONTINUE READING: Two Worthy Film Projects Need Your Donations

Production | Tech

NAB Roundup 2013: LED Fresnels, Camera Accessories

I first wrote about the development of LED Fresnel lights two years ago, tracking earlier reactions by the industry to high energy consumption and high heat output: “Greening the Film Business: LED Fresnels.” This year I followed up with some of the same manufacturers.

Fresnel lenses, originally invented for lighthouses, have long been used on movie lights for careful light control and sharp shadows. Their typical concentric ring style enables them to have great diameter without clumsy thickness. . . . CONTINUE READING: NAB Roundup 2013: LED Fresnels, Camera Accessories

Production | Tech

NAB Roundup 2013: Cameras

Las Vegas is known for its buffets, and the NAB Show at the Vegas Convention Center is a grand smorgasbord of technology.

The floor exhibits fill over 800,000 square feet. 92,000 attendees crowd around 1500 exhibitors showing the latest products and services in TV and radio broadcasting, film and video production and postproduction, cloud computing, entertainment technology, file-based workflows, 3D visuals, and pro audio. . . . CONTINUE READING: NAB Roundup 2013: Cameras

Production | Tech

Apple’s Knowledge Navigator (in 1987) Foreshadowed Our Current Tech Toys

The professor enters his wood-paneled office to the sound of a harpsichord concerto.

He walks to his desk and opens a strange-looking, hinged device, which bongs like a Macintosh. It’s about the size of a laptop, but it opens like a book, revealing two screens.

“You have three messages,” says a face on the device. “Your graduate team in Guatemala, a second-semester junior, and your mother reminding you about your father’s …”

“… Surprise birthday party tomorrow,” says the professor, cutting off his digital butler with the touch of a finger on the screen. Clearly he’s been reminded before. . . . CONTINUE READING: Apple’s Knowledge Navigator (in 1987) Foreshadowed Our Current Tech Toys

Books / Writing | Production

Writing Projects: Hurricane Sandy / Trip to Taipei

Wearing my writer’s hat, I’ve recently cranked out two articles for The Kenwood Group about some of their projects, published on their Varney’s Place blog.

Into the Storm: Producing a Movie Marathon in the Face of a Hurricane

Imagine planning a live event long in advance, only to have the storm of the century threaten to shut you down.

On a recent project for NVIDIA, Kenwood managed to pull off a production just before Superstorm Sandy hit New York, but completing the project proved difficult in the aftermath.

The plan: producing the Rooftop Films Indie Horror Movie Marathon in Brooklyn, with scary flicks and features on several HD projectors, and a live band playing heavy metal. . . . CONTINUE READING: Writing Projects: Hurricane Sandy / Trip to Taipei

Production | VIdeos

Temple Beautiful—Part II of Chuck Prophet’s Musical Tour of San Francisco

San Francisco rock musician Chuck Prophet has released a new video—Part II of a musical tour of San Francisco, named for his newest album, “Temple Beautiful.”

After recording his last album in Mexico City, says Chuck, “I was looking to make a record closer to home.”

Part I of Chuck’s Temple Beautiful video tour was released in February. In Part II we visit Chuck’s home and studio and many of his old haunts in the Mission and North Beach. . . . CONTINUE READING: Temple Beautiful—Part II of Chuck Prophet’s Musical Tour of San Francisco

Production | Tech

The Cloud: Thousands of Overheated, Polluting, Power-Hungry Data Centers

Go ahead, buy it.

Add to Cart. Proceed to Checkout. Enter Payment Info. Place Order.

A nice, clean transaction in cyberspace, right? No need to consume fossil fuels driving to an actual store, which in turn must be electrified, heated, and stocked with not-quite-right products and pesky salespeople trying to sell warranties. Besides the costs and byproducts of the delivery process, the online transaction seems pretty innocent, environmentally speaking. Right?

But the data from your purchase, the store’s inventory control, the product shipping, and each confirming email, are all stored somewhere in “the cloud.” Despite the ethereal name, the ever-growing cloud consists of massive numbers of computer servers in tens of thousands of data centers around the country and around the world, all sucking massive amounts of power, absorbing numerous citations for air pollution, and searching for more efficient cooling. . . . CONTINUE READING: The Cloud: Thousands of Overheated, Polluting, Power-Hungry Data Centers

Baseball | Photos | Production

Shooting Giants: Photographing Baseball from the Diamond’s Edge

I’ve got the best view in the house.

I’m poised on a folding chair in a photographer’s dugout just below ground level, at the edge of the diamond at AT&T Park in San Francisco. It’s the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Giants are losing to the San Diego Padres 6-3.

My camera is less than two feet above field level. As I look straight out through protective netting, I am focusing on Giants infielder Joaquin Arias at the plate, no more than 50 feet in front of me. A right-handed batter, Arias faces away from my vantage point on the third-base side of the field, but I can clearly see his body language throughout the at-bat and see his face during his follow-through. . . . CONTINUE READING: Shooting Giants: Photographing Baseball from the Diamond’s Edge

Production | VIdeos

New Video from Rocker Chuck Prophet: ‘Temple Beautiful’ Tour of San Francisco

Rock musician Chuck Prophet has released a new video, Part I of his musical tour of San Francisco.

The video features scenes of Chuck playing cuts from his new Temple Beautiful album and chatting about songs inspired by various iconic settings in the City by the Bay.

“If ever Cain and Abel went into business together, it would probably be something like the O’Farrell Theater,” he says in front of the Mitchell Brothers’ porn paradise (for “The Left Hand and the Right Hand”). Other locations include the Geary Street site of both Jim Jones’ People’s Temple and former Punk club The Temple (“Temple Beautiful”), Harvey Milk Plaza at Castro and Market (“White Night, Big City”), and various downtown corners (“Who Shot John”). . . . CONTINUE READING: New Video from Rocker Chuck Prophet: ‘Temple Beautiful’ Tour of San Francisco