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March 2, 2015
Travels – Shootings – Experiences

When I first started discussing to create the stories from the list, I could never have imagined how much it would change me as a person. And I don’t say this lightly…

I thought I would just travel to beautiful places, eat good food and that was it…

Well, things were really very different.

Shooting a travel show, especially in the particular style the The List had, is a completely different thing than I had ever done up until now.

What I mean by this is that… When you work in a studio, especially when the show is live, you have to be very careful. You do everything once. You can’t correct something and you can’t go back because it’s live.

You also have to be very fast. Time is very pressing so you have to be very precise with your movements, talk fast and comprehensively giving a lot of information packed in a few words.

The List was completely different. There, we had to chase the sunlight! That was the most important thing. I remember how we would have to run with the cameras to the next location to shoot the next scene before the sun set, before the faces and the food lost their bright colors… It may sound crazy to you just as it had seemed crazy to me at first.

And of course as you follow the sun you have to move according to when it rises and when it sets… You have to wake up way before sunrise so that you can be ready and set up at the location you want to shoot at before the sun comes up. The schedule is very precise and it doesn’t change….

Each episode had to be shot in just 3 days… A whole day of shooting to get just 15 minutes of usable shots a day! Does that sound like a lot? It isn’t really…

Each scene was shot many times… many, many, many times! And even if my mind was quite clear, what about the rest of the people taking part in the show? That was an interesting experience on its own!!!! :-)

They were people who weren’t professionals and didn’t have a clue about acting… We had to be in the scene together and they had to be able to act as well as be able to establish a connection…

Not to mention about all the difficulties we had, like the weather that wasn’t always on our side, the treacherous mosquitoes, small accidents and other sudden, unexpected events. Keep in mind that we weren’t a small crew.

Another problem we came across was the produce availability. We had to find the correct convenience store, super market, butcher etc. in each city or town we visited and not all of them had a large variety of shops we could choose from. In Stemnitsa for instance, we had to travel all the way to Tripoli to find a large super market and it was 40 minutes away by car!

There were many beautiful things about this trip too… Especially the people we came across… People who embraced us, people that showed us their love and offered their help… Without them we couldn’t have gotten anything done. I’m not saying this just to say it because it sounds good. I was amazed at how everyone really embraced The List as their own. I was amazed at how they offered to help without any reason, how they welcomed us into their homes and how much they did for us without expecting anything in return. 

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Greek people are generally known for their hospitality, but the way these wonderful people treated me went above and beyond hospitality.

When I started on The List, I was under the impression that the crisis the country was in for years would have made the people more selfish and egotistical but what I encountered was exactly the opposite. I hadn’t gone to visit any of these places before the crisis to see the difference in these past 6 years but I don’t believe they have changed all that much… If they have changed it makes you wonder… how were they 6 years ago? :-)

It reminded me of something that had happened to me many years ago and had really made an impression on me… Something I had almost forgotten…

About 15-18 years ago, when I was a boy scout, we had gone to visit a forest which was near a small village outside of Drama. At about 2 in the afternoon we made our way to the main square in the connecting village where we were supposed to catch the bus to get back home. Due to some misunderstanding the bus was coming at 4 pm instead of 2 pm.

We were young kids, it was summer, we were playing, laughing and shouting in the square during siesta time. One of the boys, Bobbis had fallen asleep on a bench and all of a sudden an old woman came rushing towards us holding an umbrella. I got a little scared and thought she was going to angrily chase us away because we were making so much noise! To our surprise, she went to the bench were Bobbis was sleeping and positioned the umbrella over him. You see, when he went to lie down he was in the shade but after so much time the sun had moved and he was lying in sun.

The old lady’s gesture was so full of love for a boy that was a stranger to her and it really touched me. This was how I felt when we were shooting The List. I felt like all the people we came across from Mani all the way to Trikala. That they were protecting us and helping us with the same love and care as that old lady in Drama.

I don’t have enough words to describe all of the beauty we saw all around us.. so much beauty and it wasn’t even the best time of year. It was at the end of summer and the beginning of fall where nature was still quite tired from all of the intensely hot summer sun. These places were still exuding intense natural beauty… Greece at its finest!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have that much time to go around and really enjoy all of these places we were shooting at. At the end of the 3rd day we had to rush off quickly to get to our next destination…

I hope that I can go back to these places again in the future and really take the time to enjoy all of the natural beauty Greece has to offer.

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