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Insane Coaster Wars


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I stood in the sun, in 95 degrees, 95% humidity, on top of bricks in Taiwan. Then I was placed in a Saw trap on a roller coaster, where a nice Taiwanese man would wipe the sweat off of me and try to shoo away the bugs. Finally, I received 47 bug bites. No, it was not fun.

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I think most people watch these shows and think "oh, it must be so much fun to do them" and I guess if you're just there as a "rider" it is, but when you're on a show as more than that, it can be a bit frustrating just like any other "job" can be.


Case in point - the shoot at Nagashima Spaland. The show wanted to meet up with us since TPR was going to be on tour at the park anyway doing filming. The production company brought in a second unit to also do filming. The guy who was in charge of the production unit (another American guy) spent nearly two hours trying to rig up the cameras onto Steel Dragon refusing to listen to anything we suggested. That completely ate into the ERT session that we actually paid for as part of our tour.


After all was said and done, we removed their cameras from the ride, I rigged up my cameras in about five minutes and we were off and running. What you see on the show was the footage I shot.


Thankfully the park, being amazing Japanese people that they are, saw that the production company had ate into our time and gave us some extra ride time that morning, along with getting on Ultra Twister and I believe even brought some people through the "Fast Pass" entrance later that day.


This was the struggle I had on many shoots with the show. They brought in people who had zero knowledge of how to shoot footage on a coaster, they didn't want to listen to an outside "consultant" most likely because they were paid to come in and film, and if they needed to be told by someone else how to do it, why would they get paid again to come shoot, right? The attitudes of most of the production companies I had to deal with was horrible, and all I was doing was trying to make their footage look better. At the end of the day I ended up basically just doing my own thing and in 100% of those cases, the footage that was used was the stuff I shot.


It's frustrating. I would consider myself an "expert" at filming roller coasters as I don't believe there is a single other person in the world who has shot professional footage on as many rides as I have. But all the production companies that we worked with were pretentious and rude and felt they could "do it better" and all the footage they would shoot looked like absolute garbage.


So was it "fun?" I mean, sure, I guess if you consider that it's a "job" and it's a job that is more fun that let's say lifting heavy objects. Would I do it again? Probably, mainly because I can't stand to see crappy roller coaster footage on TV when I know how to do it better.

Edited by robbalvey
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