The power of thought

“I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was. I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.” – Muhammad Ali

One of the great parts of the experience of working on Big Break was the opportunity to meet and learn from people that had a different life experience than I had. Sometimes from crew, sometimes from contestants, sometimes from folks abroad, sometimes from people who grew up in the US. 

One of the more driven people I ever met on the show was Christian Heavens. Beyond being a student of golf, Christian had made himself a student of greatness. Most golfers are going to read about Jack, Ben Hogan, and Bobby Jones. When Christian and I sat down for his bio interview, it quickly became apparent that he was looking beyond the question "What makes a great golfer" to a much broader theme, "What makes a great athlete?" Christian has studied people like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Olympians, you name it, to see what makes greatness. This conversation didn't make the final cut due to time considerations, but is struck me the way Christian thought about intention. Muhammad Ali said he was the greatest before he was the greatest. Ali spoke it into being. Think it, believe it, say it, make it happen. 

Since I've recently found myself "positioned for employment" I've been thinking about where I would work and who I would work with if I could be king of the world. In fact, I made a list. Instead of burying it, as I was once wont to do, I'm going to throw it out there and see if I can make any of it happen. Think it, Speak it, Make it happen, right?. It's a bit of a big list, but I'm not a narrowly focused person.

Virgin Galactic
Space X
NASA
Zero Gravity Corp.
-If you know me well, you know I'm a space geek. I didn't just go to Space Camp, I won the "Outstanding Trainee" award, my team won the Space Bowl quiz award, and my rocket team had an issue with what you might call an "overly experimental" rocket design. I took an undergrad planetary sciences course at the U of A and surveyed maps of Mars that probably no one has ever seen. I've toured the Vehicle Assembly Building, and the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout building. I've seen ISS modules being checked out on earth prior to launch, I've watched a host of space launches from early Space Shuttle to Orion. These are the organizations that are flying into space or involved in the space experience. They must need a producer or a photographer right?

Kevin Smith
-It's Kevin Smith. It would be a career highlight to be a PA on a Smith movie. Snooch to the nooch.

Star Trek or Star Wars Episode 8
-I have no connections to Vancouver or Pinewood, but see point 1 above. 

The Olympics
-Greatest sports television on the planet. 

Walking Dead
-Extremely well put together show. One of my favorites to watch. I can work as a local in Atlanta. I would be a frighteningly huge zombie. 

Game of Thrones
-Again, top-notch filmmaking, love watching it.

Captain America
-I hear they're shooting the next one in Georgia. Like I said, I've got a room there. On your left.

Outside TV
-I love road biking, skiing, rock climbing, and shooting time-lapse photography (demo to come). This seems like a natural fit.

The Tour de France
-I like road cycling, and it's Le Tour. 

Travel
-I love seeing the world and meeting people from all over... I've done some nice photography from all over, and people seem to like some of the things I've written recently. I should look into this.

That's what's rattling around in my head today. Before I sign out, follow Christian on twitter if you want to watch his pursuit of his dream.
Cheers!
Jon

 

The Best Damn Crew in the Biz

It’s been an emotional weekend to say the least. 

For those catching up, a huge group of us got laid off last Friday. I’ve been a freelancer for most of my 11 years in television, and I know the ropes and, so I wasn’t really surprised that something happened, but the scope of it took my breath away. 

I’ve got no sour grapes, no issues with the people who let us go. They handled it in the best way that they could. Golf Channel is amazing, and the professionals that work there are fantastic at what they do. I wish nothing but the best for my colleagues there. This is just the way the business works, and as the old movie joke goes, “This is the business we’ve chosen!”

I do have a couple of things to say. And I have 2 requests to make.

It’s been an absolute privilege to work with everyone on Big Break, Destination Golf, and Altered Course for the last 10 years. It’s a unique experience to work on a show that runs as long as Big Break, it’s not common to the tv experience. I’m incredibly proud of the work that we did. The people I’ve worked with along the way are without reservation the best in the business. Looking through the photos, it’s striking how much life and the world around us changed between 2003 and 2015, and how many of the people who made the show such a success are the same people through 12 years of photos. Somewhere along the way we became more than coworkers, and more than friends. Somewhere along the way it turned into a huge extended family. I’m so lucky to have been a part of it.

The response this weekend has been overwhelming. When I first posted on social media that I was available for freelance work, I wasn’t aware of the true scope of what was happening, I was just trying to reconnect quickly with people that I’ve worked with over the years. I didn’t know how many people were going to be affected. I didn’t think I needed to hear people say they were sorry that it had happened, or get positive words from people. I was wrong. I did. 

People have reached out to me from college at the University of Arizona, people that I worked with years ago with opportunities and leads, or to put me in contact with people. People that I’ve worked with once or twice along the way have reached out to let me know that they're out there. People that have no connection with the TV business have reached out to ask me to do photos or videos for them. 

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. 

As the word spread, and the news became public, contestants that had appeared on Big Break have reached out to let us know what our work meant to them. Some of them have texted, or written us on social media. Some of them have just told the world at large. Between what I’ve experienced and what I’ve seen online, I’m guessing my experience isn't unique. It’s truly humbling to have someone reach out and say, “hey, what you did really changed things for me and for a lot of other people.” I think I speak for a lot of us when I say, I’m honored. There is nothing that you can say that means more to me than to tell me that my work helped you. I’m so glad that the effect of our work meant something to you personally. I’m so glad it meant that you could chase the dream longer, or live the dream on the PGA or LPGA tours. You should know that every week in the office, we paid attention to the scoring on the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour, the Web.Com tour, and the Symetra Tour and emailed each other when people on the show did well. It wasn’t because it was good for the show, it was that we were happy for you. Because someone we know and respect had just taken advantage of an opportunity presented to them. We are all so proud of you.

So I have 2 requests. The first is the most easy thing I’ve ever asked anyone to do, and the second will take at most 5-10 minutes of your time. 

1)Watch Altered Course on Golf Channel beginning on June 15th at 9 pm ET on Golf Channel. I ask you to make some space on your DVR and time in your schedule for 2 reasons. The first, is that everyone appearing on the show deserves your attention just as much as anyone that ever appeared on Big Break. I had the opportunity to produce 2 home visits for Altered Course. 2 of those gentlemen that I worked with are chasing the dream on the mini-tours, and the other 2 have spent the last few years of their lives serving our country in the US Army. 

Help us change a few more lives.

The second reason I ask you to tune in is that this is our swan song. The same people that made Big Break set out to do something different, and I firmly believe that we succeed beyond our wildest imagination. I’ve seen the first 3 episodes, and I can honestly say, if you love golf (I’ve played for 25 years) or if you’ve never swung a club in your life, you will find this to be the most riveting television we’ve ever made. If you're concerned with golf courses in your area closing, this show will convince your buddies that they should pick up clubs and try the game. I promise you that you’ll be on the edge of your seat for an hour every week. 

2) This is much bigger than just those of us that work on Big Break. Other extremely talented folks lost their jobs last Friday because the effects of letting us go trickled down to other departments. They may never have worked on the show, and you may never have seen them on a shoot, but I promise you they are just as talented and just as amazing as those of us that where on set season after season. I’ve been in touch with freelancers in the industry here in Florida, and the word from a year ago to this morning hasn’t been good. I have a lot of friends out there are hurting because the Florida State Legislature can’t figure out that we need to be competitive with Georgia and Louisiana. If you’ve ever watched Big Break, you should know that beyond the people that lost their jobs this week, this affects 80-plus freelancers that count on our shows as a significant portion of their income. They hail from all over the country, but an overwhelming majority are based in Florida. If you live in Florida, please please please write your state representative and ask them to help us out by passing the Film Incentive. 

http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/myrepresentative.aspx
 
If you’ve appeared on Big Break, or have ever been a fan of Big Break, please write and tell them how much the Big Break as part of the Florida Production Industry meant to you. If you don’t live in Florida, you can write my Representative and Senator, they represent Orlando, so they're right in the heart of the state.

Rep. Mike Miller
1101 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee , FL 32399-1300
Phone: (850) 717-5047

Sen. Andy Gardiner
420 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100 
Phone: (850) 487-5013

The last thing you should know, is that the people we've worked with as advertisers and at resorts around the world have been absolutely amazing. From Hawaii to Ireland, as far south as Mexico, and as far north as Canada, with gnomes and rental car credits and whatever else we've given away, we’ve had just tremendous experiences and we’ve been so lucky, and so fortunate to be a part of it all. 

Thanks again for all the kind words.
My best,

Jon Painter

Producer 
Big Break Michigan
Big Break Sandals Resorts
Big Break Indian Wells
Big Break Atlantis
Big Break Mexico
Big Break Florida
Big Break Palm Beaches, Florida

 

Open Maps

Here's a cool open source map project. This is huge if you use a Garmin for cycling, or travel or whatnot. 

*please use common sense. Roads are changing constantly, maps can be inaccurate. If you use the map and drive into the ocean, that's on you.

An open letter to The Daily Show

The highest compliment that I can give to The Daily Show is this, the episodes I enjoy the most are the episodes with a guest that I've never heard of. Because I always learn something new. I always gain new insight into the world, geopolitics, financial news, etc. I look forward most to the episodes that present a guest I've never heard of. 

I love that interviews often extend past the allotted time for the television slot. Here's the radical idea... Can we chose our own time slot as viewers? Can we engage directly and say, give us more? I watched the Michael Lewis episode on Hulu today, and I just want to be able to push a button and watch the rest of the interview. I recognize that there are a lot of obstacles, both of a technological and contractual nature, but it would be an amazing viewer experience to be able to push a button and see the extension of the interview. 

Thanks, and my best to the show.

Jon Painter

A small way to change the world

Just wanted to share a project with you that I've been a part of for several years. World Community Grid is an organization that allows users to participate in grid computing through the well-known Berkley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing.

The short non-technical description of all of that is: When you aren't actively using your computer, you can donate computing time to academic projects like developing solar energy technology, or fighting cancer. It works like a screensaver so you don't even notice that your computer is being used. The software downloads data that needs to be crunched, and when you aren't using your computer, it spends CPU time working through the data. When you come back to use your computer again, it pauses computation.

Hundreds of thousands of people donating CPU time, allow projects to accomplish tremendous amounts of computation, even more than what they'd be able to accomplish renting time on expensive super computers! To date, I've donated over 435 days of runtime on 2 computers and an android phone to projects that help develop drugs to fight childhood cancer, develop drugs to fight AIDS, fighting Malaria, creating clean energy, etc. It's a small, easy way that everybody can help make the world a better place. 

Just wanted to extend an invitation to everyone out there to help make a difference. If you'd like to join my team click this link. (I'm not getting anything out of it, just good vibes!)

Creative energy

My tank is on E right now. This always happens at the end of post-production. Post feels like sprinting a marathon with a bag of bricks on your back. I always dream of a weekend by myself in the desert. Just me, the stars, and a camera. The beach and a good book might be a good way to recharge. Anyone else got any ideas?

Dream meaning

I had a dream that I found a 100-400mm Canon L lens in the trash. Someone had throw it away, so I took it and used it. Odd to dream about a specific lens.

Doonbeg

I hear the Donald has purchased Doonbeg Golf Resort. I visited back in 2011 while shooting a travel show. Situated along the coastline in County Clare, the Norman-designed Doonbeg has a wild beauty too it. Hopefully that doesn't disappear with the new investment.

The 18th green, Doonbeg

The 18th green, Doonbeg

Doonbeg

Doonbeg

Throw Momma the Wine

My cousin is doing a kickstarter campaign to self-publish his first cookbook. I've signed on to do photography, and I'll be doing some video work to help promote everything. Let me tell you, Joel is a great cook. If you're interested in picking up a few new tips or if you're a novice like me that just wants to impress the socks off of someone in the kitchen, this is the kickstarter for you!

Decade

This year marks the end of my first decade working in television. I did my first job in Orlando back in August 2003 on the Wayne Brady show out at EPCOT. I had some jobs here and there, a few commercials, a couple days on a feature film, this and that. In mid-January I spoke with the Executive Producer at Golf Channel that I had interned with, and he asked me to work such-and-such a Sunday as a freelancer. I jumped at the chance, and only after I hung up the phone realized that I'd just booked myself to work on a golf news program on Super Bowl Sunday. No biggie, the would probably would be a blowout, and I'd be able to watch part of it from the control room anyway.

Naturally it was one of the closer games in recent memory, and let's not even start talking about the show at halftime. 

It's been 10 years since then. The Super Bowl has been broadcast with a delay ever since. - I actually worked the Super Bowl in Tampa in 2009, and let me tell you, it ruins the suspense when you're watching the delayed feed, you see the quarterback bring the team to scrimmage on tv, and suddenly you hear the stadium erupt in sound. 7 seconds later you see the play that created the tumult. Ha. The Boss put on a good show at halftime though. 

Since that day in 2004, I've traveled all over the world.  Ireland, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Norway, Denmark, Germany, France Czech Republic, and Austria have all made appearances in my passport. Much of it for work! 

Which reminds me of a story. This one time I met Mick Fleetwood....