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!
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
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
Bronze Certificate, Funny Travel Category, 9th Annual Solas Awards for Travel Writing from Travelers’ Tales, March 2015
It’s not easy being a mileage whore. Sometimes you have to do things that don’t seem to make sense.
United Airlines operates a major hub in San Francisco, and I’ve whored for their miles for years now. On my trip to Brazil recently, because I wanted the mileage, I had chosen a longer United itinerary through Newark going and Washington coming.
But when things got complicated on the return, I had to decide if the miles were worth it.
We wrapped our week-long video shoot in São Paulo on a Friday night—amid much hugging and thanking with the cast . . . CONTINUE READING: Good Night, Irene—Confessions of a Mileage Whore
At 9 am Monday, I left my home near San Francisco for what proved to be one of my longest trips ever. Twenty-nine hours later, I reached my destination, after a grueling air journey.
But I hadn’t been hurled halfway around the world. I had finally touched down in Fargo, North Dakota, just halfway across the U.S., a mere 1450 miles from home.
At that rate—about 50 miles per hour—I could have driven there.
By comparison, some years before, in 24 hours, I flew from Singapore to Johannesburg to Nairobi to Kampala, Uganda—over 7500 miles. Another time I traveled 8800 miles from San Francisco to Singapore in 23 hours, including a very short overnight in Bangkok. Twice I had . . . CONTINUE READING: Why They Call It Far-go
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!
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
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
Ten of us arrive, unannounced, at the restaurant on the terrace, hoping for an outside table.
The staff seats us quickly, then waters, breads, menus, wines, serves, desserts, and espressos us in style. The service is seamless, though during the meal I notice one of our waitresses hurrying by, looking harried. But we gab and laugh and catch up in the sun on the terrace, enjoying the company, the food, and the splendid New England day.
Eventually the waitress brings the check, with amends. “I’m so sorry about the delay. Thanks for your understanding.” . . . CONTINUE READING: Unpunished
Lots of time in Latin America lately.
In the past two years, I’ve been to Brazil on two work trips, vacationed in Baja, visited my son in Chile, and now I’m in Mexico City for nearly a week, shooting a medical video. Everywhere we’re surrounded by wonderful faces, fascinating street scenes, huge swaths of color, unique art, and both traditional and innovative design. A visual smorgasbord, for sure. Also, amazingly, we have a whole weekend off.
Here’s a sample of the color around us. Photos from Coyoacán and Palenco Districts, Frida Kahlo’s House/Museum, and the Museo de Arte Moderna. . . . CONTINUE READING: The Color of Mexico City
In my mind, I’m Danny McCoy, deftly easing my washboard abs into my 69 Camaro ragtop, trolling confidently up and down the Strip, the wind ruffling my hair as I head for a liaison with my all-grown-up childhood pal Mary Connell, or a dalliance with Delinda Deline, the boss’s daughter.
In RL (gamer parlance for Real Life), I’m a middle-aged guy with grey hair, a little too full of sushi and sake, ambling and people-watching from Luxor to New York, New York, trying to take a few interesting photos on the Strip before collapsing into bed after a long day walking the floor at NAB.
Obviously I’ve watched too many episodes of “Las Vegas!” Like the Josh Duhamel . . . CONTINUE READING: Lost Wages: Everything Looks Great at NAB
I shot a one-day HD job this week for a Silicon Valley company … in Paris. Another shoot with two Canon 5D Mark II cameras, mine plus one belonging to the production company.
All in all, I was in the air about 22 hours, and on the ground for about 48. I did have a couple of hours to prowl around through the heart of Paris on our arrival day with my camera and director Dan Smith. . . . CONTINUE READING: Prowling Through Paris
Busy week. Lotsa time in the air:
Last Monday—Fly SFO to Washington-Dulles / Tuesday—One-day shoot near Dulles airport / Wednesday—Fly Dulles to SFO / Thursday—Breathe, pant / Friday—Scheme, pack / Saturday—Depart SFO to Paris / Sunday—Arrive Paris / Monday—One-day shoot in Paris / Tuesday—Fly Paris to SFO / Today—Breathe, pant, blog
Mastering jetlag is the only way I can get through periods like these. It’s an imperfect science at best . . . CONTINUE READING: Sky Jockey: Conquering Jetlag
News from Townsend 11, the writing collective I’ve belonged to for years, here in San Francisco:
First—Volume 1 of our new book series, No Fixed Destination: Eleven Stories of Life, Love, Travel, was originally published in July as a Kindle book. But now we have made it available at most e-book stores.
Next—Volume 2 of the series, No Set Boundaries: Eleven Stories of Life, Misadventure, will be published in a few days on the Kindle Store, and through other e-Book outlets a few weeks later. . . . CONTINUE READING: Townsend 11: Volume 1 Now in More Stores, Volume 2 Due Out Soon
Photos from my Brazil trip, August 2011 . . . CONTINUE READING: Streets of São Paulo
Less than an hour after my last post (Brazil: Some Days the Bear Eats You), my friend The Dave Mitchell responded on my Facebook page: “Nice, Bill. Easy days are completely forgettable.” Isn’t that the truth?
“But,” added The Dave, a freelance gaffer/key grip, “I’m available if you’ve got any coming up.” If only!
After our tough time at the tower, the next couple of days shooting in Brazil were smooth as silk. Just as The Dave said, I can remember little about those shoots except for what we did and where we did it. I always find it amazing that I can easily spin out 1500-2000 words describing a bad day, but smooth shoots leave me with less material. That’s why OO stories (Overcoming Obstacles) are so popular in movies. It’s hard to find a narrative arc in a yarn about happy professionals cheerfully moving apace from setup to lovely setup. . . . CONTINUE READING: Brazil: Smooth as Silk