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June 17, 2016

Behind the Scenes of High Density’s First Video Shoot

In the spring of 2015 I was talking with Chynna Pope, (an award winning fashion designer in Boston, MA) about my concept for a High Density video commercial.  Chynna instantly replied, “You should work with Brian and Daniela from BearWalk.”  She then showed me the recently completed video they filmed for her.  I was impressed!  As a startup company, I didn’t think we could afford BearWalk, but I called and left a message anyway.


Original BearWalk storyboard.

I discovered that Brian and Daniela are an adventurous pair.  They agreed to assist with me cutting costs where I could, such as staying at the Hostel on Nantucket and placing me in charge of “producing” by scouting locations and procuring actors. The next thing I knew, we were discussing a concept.  A week later, they sent a video outline to me which you can view here.

Initially, the difficult part was securing actors.  The challenge was finding people who could commit to filming during the work week.  The Sail Loft owners (who sell High Density in their Nantucket store) agreed to allow some of their employees to participate.  However, when we arrived in August to film, complications ensued, but Daniela came up with a great improvisation for the video and we proceeded to film sightseers who were willing to “act”.

“Opening scene”: 

The opening hangar scene was at my friend Jim’s hangar.  We met at Mansfield Airport (1B9) at 4:00 AM to capture the sunrise.  Since we had been using a high wing Cessna 172 in the video shoots, we towed Jim’s low wing Piper Archer out of his hangar and inserted a rental Cessna 172.  Filming went smoothly for Brian and Daniela know how to quickly capture what they need.  Next, Brian and I flew over to Nantucket (ACK) and he filmed me walking to the fixed based operator’s (FBO’s) terminal in flip flops.

Jen?!? and Kevin walking the cobblestones on Straight Wharf.

Alix and Kevin  on Straight Wharf.

“Streets of Nantucket”: 

While on Nantucket, we met Alix and Kevin who were working at The Sail Loft.  I discovered Kevin was not only a fellow Nebraskan, but also an entrepreneur selling colorful hand made bags made by the Wayuu people of Columbia.  We took a few scenes of Kevin and Alix walking on Straight Wharf and along Easy Street with its captivating cobblestone roads and nearby water views.

“Afternoon at Cru” restaurant:

The crew at Cru restaurant.

The crew at Cru restaurant.

Alix and Kevin also filmed our next scene at Cru restaurant along with Cru hostess Courtney.   There is a brief scene with one of Kevin’s Buena Onda (translation: “good wavelength”) bags in it, followed by Kevin drawing a sailboat on a napkin for our transition to the next scene.

Ryan & Jenna sailing like pros.

Ryan & Jenna sailing like pros.


We actually filmed two separate sailboat scenes. We filmed a scene on a moored boat in Nantucket harbor, but it didn’t make the cut.  We ultimately sailed on my friends’ (Laurie and Peter) boat in Marlborough, MA.  In that scene, my neighbor suggested her niece, Jenna and her friend Ryan be the actors.  Neither of them knew how to sail, but under Laurie and Peter’s guidance, they looked like pros!

“Surfing and beach”:

Surfs up ACK.

Surfs up ACK.

The surfing and beach scene was at Nobadeer Beach, which lies under the approach of Nantucket’s runway 6.  While there, we saw the owner of ACK Surf waiting for the waves to pick up.  He agreed to let us use two of his surfboards for the scene.  We filmed Dana and Chase surfing, swimming, playing frisbee and just hanging out.


The story of how I met the actors for the sunset scene is my favorite.  I had heard that a P-51 Mustang was on the island and I had been trying to both confirm and contact the owner to see if I could use it in the film.  One morning while eating breakfast at the Hostel I heard what sounded like the P-51 Mustang flying overhead.  I jumped up and rushed for the door, knocking into a young British teenage girl and spilling her morning tea.

Brian (of BearWalk cinematography) showing his stamina.

Brian (of BearWalk cinematography) showing his stamina.

Apologizing profusely, I cleaned up the mess.  Afterwards I went out on the patio to see if anyone had seen the airplane.  There I met Jake who was having his morning coffee.  I asked him if he had seen the plane that just flew over, hoping he would be able to somewhat describe it.  His reply was direct, “You mean the P-51 Mustang!?!”

Aside from being an avid aviation enthusiast, Jake is a law student at Suffolk University. He and his girlfriend Kayla were sightseeing Nantucket and agreed to be in the video.  We filmed the bike scene right next to the Hostel, then walked down to the beach and filmed them enjoying a (fake) glass of wine on a beach towel while watching an amazing Nantucket sunset.

Kayla and Jake sunset scene.

Kayla and Jake sunset scene.

Overall, staying at the Hostel and filming the High Density scenes on the island was a great experience. We met many people with broad backgrounds from all over the world.  One girl in particular, Kay, from the U.K. hung out and assisted with some of the filming.  She was departing Nantucket the same day Brian, Daniela, and I were headed home.  Not only was the High Density commercial filmed, but several lasting friendships were established, and BearWalk founders once again proved their professionalism and expertise.

Watch Chynna Pope’s BearWalk Video here.   Chynna Pope:  The Beacon Hellion

Check out Kevin’s Buena Onda bags here.

Check out some of the BearWalk’s great work here.

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