Posted on April 22, 2014
I’m grateful for people like Pharrell Williams, people who inspire others and share happiness. Thanks to Pharrell and his amazing song Happy, I did a dance video in Nicaragua – with a great help of my travel buddy and friend from home Madula. The video has been online for a week now and I think that it deserves a little “behind the scenes” story, especially for all of you who liked the video and wrote very nice comments to it. Thank you all.
The original idea was to make a video in Nicaragua and show our friends how, where and with whom we traveled. And then I heard Happy by Pharrell and I noticed that it was a trend to do Happy dance videos from all parts of the world. It was decided, let’s do a Happy Nicaragua dance video! We started shooting right away, on a crazy “lancha” (small boat) that was coming back from beautiful Ometepe island to Rivas. Madula felt really dizzy on the boat, because it was moving so much, but she managed to film me. I don’t get seasick, so I wanted to dance, but it was impossible without someone holding me. So I asked a man who sells tickets on the boat and he agreed to hold me. The first scene was done and there was no way stopping us there 🙂
We didn’t make any script for the video, but we knew that we wanted to combine three things: dance, Nicaragua and people who we met – locals and travelers. It took us three weeks to film different scenes, depending on the place we were and who we met.
And because Happy Nicaragua was an international project, it brought us some new lessons about the culture, country and also about the video shooting on the move. Here are the things we learned:
– Filming on the move is challenging. There were situations when I danced on a boat, on a pick-up truck or on a horse carriage. We didn’t have a perfect filming equipment, just my Canon 600D, but it was completely fine for our “amateur” HD video. The more we filmed, the more I wanted to have a GoPro camera though.
– 80% of the scenes were filmed without music. To maintain the rhythm and make people dance, we clapped or sang. That was lot of fun!
– Filming locals was challenging too. People in Nicaragua are not shy, but they were rather shy when we asked them to dance – especially in public. It was an effort to convince some of them to dance. But in most cases we made it happen and they were happy to participate and represent their country ☺ And thanks to talking to them for a while, we learned their stories and professions. We filmed local surfers, psychologist, fisherman, lady working in a shop, our travel guide, students and a girl who sells icecream in Leon.
– Filming travelers was easy. Everyone who we asked agreed to participate in the video, we had more requests than we needed. We wanted to keep it local and global at the same time, so we didn’t want to film internationals only.
– There were many funny and cute situations. One of my favorite scenes is by Mariana and her son Naim. They’ve been traveling (together with Mariana’s husband) for 2 years now. The whole family – including 4 year old Naim – eats only raw food, mainly fruits and they look pretty alright ☺ They said though that it’s much easier in Central America than in their home country, Argentina.
– I would like to mention that thanks to the video I met some interesting people who inspired me for my future activities, e.g.:
Susanne (USA) – owner of an eco/permaculture finca (farm) in the Northern Highlands, close to Jinotega: http://www.hijuela.com
Alric (SWE) – photographer from Sweden who focuses on profiles of people who follow their passion. Flickr.
Alvaro (ESP) – “Memories of the World” is Alvaro’s big contribution to raise awareness and draw people’s attention to the Alzheimer’s epidemic.
– Both Madula and I heard Happy so many times, that it took me one week to be able to hear it again. Madula is most probably still ignoring this song hehe.
– The video turned out to be a pretty nice travel presentation of Nicaragua. We filmed in: Lake Nicaragua, Somoto canyon, Leon, Las Peňitas, San Juan del Sur/Maderas, Jinotega (Northern highlands).
– I was surprised how many locals reacted to the video after it was published. Thanks again for so many nice comments and messages. It changed the original idea of making our friends happy, to making all Nicaraguans happy and it was absolutely worth the work!
– I can’t wait to do more videos, although it’s going to be hard without Madula. It’s good to have a travel and creative partner.
That’s it! I’m still happy and I hope that you’re happy too ☺ Here is the final video:
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