Written by on Feb 21, 2014. Posted in Production News

Blue Falcon Productions and Gorilla film around the world for Amway

Michigan-based Blue Falcon Productions worked with Gorilla on a new campaign for home care giant Amway that involved a global location shoot. Our Belief follows individuals around the world to promote Amway’s message of empowering people and their businesses.

Filming took place in New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Bangalore, Guangzhou and Istanbul, with Blue Falcon taking charge of the international locations.

“Amway wanted a worldwide demographic for their product,” explains Jude S Walko of Blue Falcon: “Therefore bi-coastal Americans of all races, as well as true Chinese, Indians, Hong Kong Chinese and Turkish people represented the nice ‘global slice of life’ they were looking for.”

Working on a tight schedule, Walko contacted a series of local service companies in each of the chosen locations and “vetted” them by phone, email and Skype messaging to make an informed decision on who would be best to work with locally.

“I had shot around the world before,” Walko continues, “and had the experience to be ‘dropped’ into many foreign cities and have to find out right away who were the swindlers and who could actually help you get the spot you needed without taking your shirt. It was quite necessary to know the difference between the filmmakers and the 'film fakers' as I call them, who often see a client as a target.

“I think this is where experience is key. A seasoned producer can usually tell who can get them what they need simply by the lingo they talk, the promises they make, or realistic reservations they have as well as the general budget, crew and location advice they give."

“Still though," he adds, "there is certainly a big risk involved, especially when choosing a fixer you have never worked with or hasn't been proven with a colleague or known recommendation.”

Blue Falcon chose LuvKush Productions in Bangalore, Ginger Films in Hong Kong and China and MA Productions in Istanbul. Gorilla worked with We Are Films in New York and independent producer Brett Johnson, who helped facilitate filming in Southern California.

Luckily I had shot around the world before and had the experience to be ‘dropped’ into many foreign cities and have to find out right away who were the swindlers and who could actually help.

Jude S Walko, Blue Falcon Productions

Blue Falcon had around four weeks to finalise all the logistics for the international shoot, travelling between embassies to sort out visas and all the necessary paperwork for the filming equipment. Some governments were more accommodating than others. One crew member was sent home from India without apparent reason in an incident that Walko describes as his “strangest” career experience.

During pre-production Walko in fact scouted the international locations on his own and carried out a whistle-stop tour of Eastern Europe and the Far East.

“My schedule went something like this,” he recalls: “Scout Turkey for three days and lock deals, scout Hong Kong for two days and China for two days and lock deals, scout Bangalore in three days, fly to meet the New York City/LA guys back in Istanbul for the shoot, then travel ahead to prep Hong Kong and China. Meet up again there, shoot and then finish off in Bangalore, India, before heading back to my home base in Thailand.”

The international location work was eased when the team filmed in stores or factories owned by Amway. Here there was a lot more control and it was the closest Walko got to filming in studio settings.

“In those instances we were still being represented by Corporate, which went a long way,” he concludes: “As opposed to 90% of the rest of the shoot where we were asking Chinese grandparents to get up at 5am or Turkish subway authorities to let us shoot at two in the morning!”

Client: Amway
Amway Representatives: Tom Forsberg and Justin Duimstra
Production and Creative: Gorilla
International Production: Blue Falcon Productions
Producers (Gorilla): Eric Johnson and Gabe Burghuis
Producers (Blue Falcon Productions): Jude S. Walko and Dan Campbell
Stills: Andrew Maguire and Robert Knight
Los Angeles Production: Brett Johnson
Production Service Company (New York): We Are Films
Production Service Company (Bangalore): Luvkush Productions
Production Service Company (Hong Kong and China): Ginger Films
Production Service Company (Istanbul): MA Productions
Director of Photography: Derek Street (Gorilla)
Director: Eric Johnson (Gorilla)

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