Behind the scenes: “Best People for the Best Job in the World!”

Hello again from the Big Blue!

What a week! As I mentioned in last week’s Coconut Chronicle, we had plans to enter the “The Best Job in the World” Contest and were very excited about the idea. To enter, you need to put together a 60 second video application explaining why you are the best person for the job and demonstrating some knowledge of the islands of the Great Barrier Reef. I know this doesn’t sound like much but 60 seconds ain’t much either, believe me.

Oh, they would also like you to show that you are passionate, adventurous and can communicate well. I’m pretty sure Prez and I are all of the above but getting that across on a video is a challenge.

My job was to research the contest and write the script. The first part was easy, the second part not so much. When we did a cold read of the first draft, I think it took us about three minutes, at a fast pace.

Back to the drawing board.

Prez’s job was to track down a video camera. This also proved to be a quest of epic proportions. We finally managed to round one up from a friend but it was about thirty years old and not in any way compatible with our computer. After a few tests, and against my grumbling, Prez concluded that our little digital camera would do the job well enough.

Cook Islands high tech video equipment…

We had our camera and I’d hacked the script down as much as I could, now all we needed was for the weather to cooperate. You have to appreciate the irony – we’ve been moaning for weeks about how hot it is and the moment we need it to be sunny a storm the size of Spain rolls over top of us. Rotten luck!

Wednesday our luck turned. The clouds parted enough to let us present a back drop that at least somewhat resembled a tropical paradise and not London in the dead of winter. One of our guests agreed to be our assistant camera man, (which I think he would later regret), we packed a few wardrobe changes, and we were off!

Location number one was at one of the view points over-looking the island. We each had a short bit of dialogue to deliver but in that brief span of time I managed to get stung, in the neck, by one of the pernicious little wasps that plague Aitutaki. Owwww. We also realized that we hadn’t planned for harsh sunlight and so these clips would involve a fair amount of squinting. Oh well, that’s showbiz, kid.

With scene one in the can, we scootered back down the hill. Well, we almost scootered back down the hill.

The hill is a little worse for wear since the big flood. Ruts and marble-like pieces of coral make for a bad combination on scooters with worn tires. Our guest, who I’ll call Camera Casey, lost traction at one of the worst points on the hill. Unfortunately, I was on the back of his scooter at the time. Luckily, I’d kind of anticipated this problem. Unluckily, Camera Casey had not. He reached for the brake but hit the throttle, which sent us hurtling faster down the hill. Then he found the brake but that only augured the bike into the ground, throwing both of us forward. I leap-frogged over poor Camera Casey, while he got munched, quite unceremoniously, underneath the bike. After clearing the carnage, the only real damage was a slight gash on one of our cameraman’s feet and some shaken nerves.

Location two was our action sequence! Prez filmed me as I road the scooter along the cricket pitch. We chose this location because of the beautiful background, (swaying palms and blue water). The locals got quite a kick out of watching us ripping back and forth, me on the small blue scooter, Cameraman Casey driving the larger scooter with Prez riding on the back – facing backwards. This scene went off without incident and thank goodness because the last thing we need is Worker’s Comp breathing down our necks!

Location three was O’otu beach for our water sequence. We’d planned something along the lines of Waterworld, with jet skis and explosions and people jumping off of ships but then we realized our budget was…um…zero, so we decided to have Prez paddling a kayak instead. Here the only injury we suffered was the atrocious service and lousy food at the beach restaurant we took our cameraman to, to bribe him into not suing us.

That was the end of our location work, so we zipped back to the ranch for the dazzling underwater shots. And then we had to re-think the dazzling under water shots because every time we got the camera to the surface the microphone was full of water and the sound was total crap. Re-shoots!!! Prez also stubbed his toe on some coral – he would probably like you to know that, since everyone else on the shoot was injured. Oh, and when you see actors coming out of the ocean in movies, (I’m thinking Halle Berry in the James Bond flick), looking hot and gorgeous just remember that in reality their eyes are burning out of their sockets from the salt water. Hmm, how can you tell it’s been a long time since I was on a film set?

We shot a few more pieces on land and then we were done. All that remained was the editing. The final product was terrific, Oscar material, well worth the near-death experiences. But it was also too long. About seven seconds too long. “No worries”, said Prez, “I surfed the contest website while I was in Auckland and there were quite a few that were over the 60 second limit. Well, heck, we had gold here; you simply cannot trim gold, can you?

We submitted the video, waiting for the very long upload, then gave high fives and had a nap before the tourism meeting scheduled for that evening. What a feeling of accomplishment!

What a short-lived feeling of accomplishment.

The next day, I visited the contest website to see if our video was up yet. Nope. While I was there, I decided to read a few of the sections I hadn’t gotten to yet. One of these was the “news” section. In the news section, I came across a disturbing bit of information: all videos that are over 60 seconds are ineligible and those posted on the website that are over 60 seconds will not be allowed to progress any further.

What??!! Oh dear 


Apparently gold can be trimmed. And it was. In the meantime, however, the original file had somehow disappeared from the editing program so we had to put the whole thing back together again from scratch. Ay carumba.

At last we had a finished video, exactly 60 seconds long, that we re-submitted to the contest.

As of today, Tourism Queensland has received 15,000 entries. Let’s hope all our hard work helps us rise to the top of that large pool of competitors.

Honestly, Prez often teases me about my black cloud attitude to his many, many, many, many, many, many, many fun and creative ideas. He says I always have to find a reason why his ideas won’t work and I have tried to explain that this is simply a survival mechanism. If I agreed with all his ideas we’d never know a day of peace. I have to hand it to him with this one, though. I really do think we stand a chance. And, if given the opportunity, I truly believe we would be the best people for the job…not a shadow of doubt, or a black cloud, in my mind.

And here is where I want to give you the link to our masterpiece…but it hasn’t been posted yet. So I’ll have to leave you with a cliffhanger. Will Prez and Princess escape the killer wasps? Will Cameraman Casey stop the scooter before it goes over the cliff? Will I finally get one of those gold statues and get a chance to make the Academy Award speech I’ve been practicing since I was five years old??

Tune in next week and find out!

But for now, you can visit our contest website, have a browse, and sign the guest book!

Actual prop used in the video! The red pin is (roughly) where Hamilton Island is and where we want to go.

QUESTION: Will you vote for us?
Until next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!

The Star of the Show…


p.s. I completely forgot to tell you about Prez’s big Zorb adventure but here some photos. I think they tell a good story on their own…

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