Travel

BILLY SOLO 2020 — Tickets On Sale Now

All-New, One-Hour Storytelling Soirée Salon
with BILL ZARCHY

FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2020
from 7 to 8:30 pm / Doors open at 6:45.

SILK ROAD HOUSE, 1944 University Avenue #107, Berkeley CA 94704
(6-minute walk from Downtown Berkeley BART Station)

SUGGESTED DONATION: $10
Refreshments will be served! No one turned away for lack of funds.

Come See My First Photo Show

Contact me if you can’t come on November 21st, and I can arrange a private showing.

FINAL PUBLIC SHOWING & RECEPTION

Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Congregation Beth El Social Hall
1301 Oxford Street
Berkeley, California 94709
Wine and refreshments
All are welcome

Video: Telling ‘Mysteries of Travel’

We tried to make sense of what we had seen. We compared notes. We realized that we would probably never find out anything more about what had happened, and why and how.

In case you missed any of the live shows (or you’re dying to see it again!), here’s the video of my story, “Mysteries of Travel,” from the Monday Night Marsh event at The Marsh in San Francisco on April 29th. Storytelling in the oral tradition. No notes, no text.

Closed captions available. Just click on CC near the bottom of the player.

My April Storytelling Gigs

‘Mysteries of Travel’  
‘The Great Debate’  
‘The Elevator in Rome’  

I’ll be telling some new stories at three gigs this month in San Francisco and Oakland. Storytelling in the oral tradition. No notes, no text. Hope you can make it! The Marsh venue is easily accessible on BART (or park nearby). And the Stagebridge telling is free.

MONDAY NIGHT MARSH on April 15th and April 29th at The Marsh in San Francisco.

LUNCHTIME STORYTELLING on April 18th at Stagebridge in Oakland.

Video: Telling ‘The Elevator in Rome’

She looked at me, wide-eyed, with a big smile.
I knew that getting stuck in an elevator was one of her worst fears.

In case you missed the live show (or can’t wait to see it again!), here’s the video of my story, “The Elevator in Rome,” from Tell It On Tuesday at The Marsh in Berkeley last month. Storytelling in the oral tradition. No notes, no text.

Closed captions available. Just click on CC near the bottom of the player.

Health: Our Most Important Product

Technology companies around the world spend millions of dollars on marketing media. Many of these projects rely on real people talking about their own experiences—that staple of corporate video, the talking head.

It’s important to keep asking: what are we selling? I sometimes find it difficult to feel an emotional attachment. Enterprise systems integration or managed hybrid cloud-based solutions don’t always tear at the heartstrings.

But I’ve come to realize that health is the most important product of technology, and that patient stories make the most interesting and compelling talking heads—not corporate executives, engineers, or software designers. Here are four memorable patients

Eiffel: What Goes Up

As the Seine meanders aimlessly through Paris, Gustave Eiffel’s work of wonder appears to glide from one bank to the other. Our Batobus commuter boat docks in the shadow of the Tower, and I shepherd my small flock to the shore.

Razi, 14, and Danny, 11, have been troupers on this first trip to Europe, and they are eagerly anticipating the Eiffel Tower.

Except … my wife Susan has a phobia. Elevators make her anxious, and she’ll only ride in one if there’s no alternative. Fortunately, the small hotels we have stayed in on this trip have booked us on low floors so she can climb the stairs. But the Eiffel Tower is no walk-up, and we approach with some apprehension.

How to Succeed in the Film Business While Really, Really Trying

An old friend from the East Coast contacted me recently to see if I had any career advice for her friends’ son, a recent film school graduate who was trying make it as a filmmaker in New York City. I told my friend that, though my experience as a freelance crew person in the Bay Area wasn’t directly applicable to …

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Showcasing ‘Showdown at Shinagawa’—The Video

Video of a presentation by Bill Zarchy at Northbrae Community Church, Berkeley, California on 2/3/16. The author reads excerpts from four of the stories in his book, Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil.” He also discusses the ins and outs of self-publishing, as well as his background as a globe-trotting cinematographer. The stories read: “Starstruck …

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Good Night, Irene—Confessions of a Mileage Whore

Bronze Certificate, Funny Travel Category, 9th Annual Solas Awards for Travel Writing from Travelers’ Tales, March 2015 It’s not easy being a mileage whore. Sometimes you have to do things that don’t seem to make sense. United Airlines operates a major hub in San Francisco, and I’ve whored for their miles for years now. On my trip to Brazil recently, because I …

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Why They Call It Far-go

At 9 am Monday, I left my home near San Francisco for what proved to be one of my longest trips ever. Twenty-nine hours later, I reached my destination, after a grueling air journey. But I hadn’t been hurled halfway around the world. I had finally touched down in Fargo, North Dakota, just halfway across …

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New Award & Reviews for SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil

My book SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA tells true stories from my long career as a director of photography, working on film and digital cinema shoots across the U.S. and all around the world—Japan, India, China, Uganda, the Philippines, New Zealand, France, Singapore, England, Taiwan, Mexico, and Brazil. The book has recently been honored as a Commended Winner in Non-Fiction in the 2014 Self-Publishing Review Awards. …

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SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA Now Available in Paperback and Kindle e-Book Versions

SHOWDOWN AT SHINAGAWA: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil

New Book by BILL ZARCHY on sale now!

Introduction by Larry Habegger

Bill Zarchy’s new book—SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA—is now on sale at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle e-book versions.
SHOWDOWN AT SHINAGAWA: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil tells true stories from Zarchy’s long career as a director of photography, working on film and digital cinema shoots across the U.S. and all around the world—Japan, India, China, Uganda, the Philippines, New Zealand, France, Singapore, England, Taiwan, Mexico, and Brazil.

Unpunished

Ten of us arrive, unannounced, at the restaurant on the terrace, hoping for an outside table.

The staff seats us quickly, then waters, breads, menus, wines, serves, desserts, and espressos us in style. The service is seamless, though during the meal I notice one of our waitresses hurrying by, looking harried. But we gab and laugh and catch up in the sun on the terrace, enjoying the company, the food, and the splendid New England day.

Eventually the waitress brings the check, with amends. “I’m so sorry about the delay. Thanks for your understanding.”

The Color of Mexico City

Lots of time in Latin America lately.

In the past two years, I’ve been to Brazil on two work trips, vacationed in Baja, visited my son in Chile, and now I’m in Mexico City for nearly a week, shooting a medical video. Everywhere we’re surrounded by wonderful faces, fascinating street scenes, huge swaths of color, unique art, and both traditional and innovative design. A visual smorgasbord, for sure. Also, amazingly, we have a whole weekend off.

Here’s a sample of the color around us. Photos from Coyoacán and Palenco Districts, Frida Kahlo’s House/Museum, and the Museo de Arte Moderna.

Prowling Through Paris

I shot a one-day HD job this week for a Silicon Valley company … in Paris. Another shoot with two Canon 5D Mark II cameras, mine plus one belonging to the production company.

All in all, I was in the air about 22 hours, and on the ground for about 48. I did have a couple of hours to prowl around through the heart of Paris on our arrival day with my camera and director Dan Smith.

Sky Jockey: Conquering Jetlag

Busy week. Lotsa time in the air:

Last Monday—Fly SFO to Washington-Dulles /
Tuesday—One-day shoot near Dulles airport /
Wednesday—Fly Dulles to SFO /
Thursday—Breathe, pant /
Friday—Scheme, pack /
Saturday—Depart SFO to Paris /
Sunday—Arrive Paris /
Monday—One-day shoot in Paris /
Tuesday—Fly Paris to SFO /
Today—Breathe, pant, blog

Mastering jetlag is the only way I can get through periods like these. It’s an imperfect science at best

Townsend 11: Volume 1 Now in More Stores, Volume 2 Due Out Soon

News from Townsend 11, the writing collective I’ve belonged to for years, here in San Francisco:

First—Volume 1 of our new book series, No Fixed Destination: Eleven Stories of Life, Love, Travel, was originally published in July as a Kindle book. But now we have made it available at most e-book stores.

Next—Volume 2 of the series, No Set Boundaries: Eleven Stories of Life, Misadventure, will be published in a few days on the Kindle Store, and through other e-Book outlets a few weeks later.

Brazil: Smooth as Silk

Less than an hour after my last post (Brazil: Some Days the Bear Eats You), my friend The Dave Mitchell responded on my Facebook page: “Nice, Bill. Easy days are completely forgettable.” Isn’t that the truth?

“But,” added The Dave, a freelance gaffer/key grip, “I’m available if you’ve got any coming up.” If only!

After our tough time at the tower, the next couple of days shooting in Brazil were smooth as silk. Just as The Dave said, I can remember little about those shoots except for what we did and where we did it. I always find it amazing that I can easily spin out 1500-2000 words describing a bad day, but smooth shoots leave me with less material. That’s why OO stories (Overcoming Obstacles) are so popular in movies. It’s hard to find a narrative arc in a yarn about happy professionals cheerfully moving apace from setup to lovely setup.

Back to Brazil

On my first trip to Brazil in 1993, I was shooting for a Japanese high-tech company. We arrived in São Paulo and went out to scout at our client’s manufacturing facility nearby. We met with the general manager of the company, a Brazilian who was impressed by this visit from corporate headquarters. “What can I …

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