Welcome to Director’s Notes!

[Welcome to Director’s Notes – the lair of the Explorers Like Us production film team! We’re glad you’re here and want you to know what to expect from us within these hallowed halls. First of all, we’re more of an online magazine than a blog; you’ll never see streams of meaningless responses from robo-humans and the like following each story. Our format also means we’ll do our best to keep the stories interesting. You’ll never know what to expect when you visit, but the stories are always worthy of a few minutes of your day.

Each week or so we like to add a new peek at life and living from a film company perspective. As you’ll learn, our stories are rarely about being a director, producer or a production team member. They center more on the things we encounter in our lives and work. Some stories are quite serious and informative; others border on insanity. Either way, we’ll strive to keep them memorable for you!

Welcome to Director’s Notes!

A Fascinating New Adventure for Select Adventure Motorcyclists!


Explorers Like Us Cinema and Sound is capturing America’s wildest spaces with pioneering lifelike surround sound audio technology in The American Sound Bank project. To acquire these aural environments, field recordists rely on adventure motorcycles for their economy, flexibility and light footprint in natural environments. Overall, adventure bikes provide the perfect platforms for the demanding work.

Recording and filming has been traditionally relegated to the most robust film talent from the remotest corners of the planet. Explorers Like Us is changing that. We’re inviting passionate adventure bikers to join recording adventures through our new Explorers Like Us Guest Rider program. Guest Riders aren’t passive players; they help plan routes, cook, contribute their knowledge and skills and participate in recording activities and experience surprise adventures along the way. So, if you’re ready for adventure of a rarer type, the Explorers Like Us Guest Rider Program may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Each exploration typically consists of a group of 5 Guest Riders selected based on a variety of criteria in addition to 2 or more recording team members. Riders often camp along intended routes or campgrounds, but sometimes opt the relative luxury of hotels. As you might expect, food sourcing is variable with riders bringing basic camping gear and cooking utensils. All of our crews are avid fly anglers, so fishing gear is highly encouraged. Luxury it ain’t. A brilliant adventure with a purpose it is!

If you’re expecting to ride under oceans and over snow-covered mountains; you’ll be bitterly disappointed. To increase safety, reduce acquisition costs and schedule more efficiently, Explorers Like Us records environments primarily from lonely back and farm roads, fields, wildlife refuges, fire, logging and maintenance roads and most of America’s more than 55,000 miles of established off-road trails. It’s about as close as you can get to the middle of nowhere without actually going there!

So, do you have what it takes to be considered? Our average Guest Rider is in his or her 40’s. Gymnastics are not required, but you must be able to hike several miles of variable terrain with minimal discomfort and without assistance. You’ll be required to pass a simple background check and be in average physical condition capable of saving yourself, if required – and the letter from your physician will verify that. Because of the ever-present threat of fire, you must be a non-smoker and illicit drugs of any type are out of the question; drinking and riding are strict no-no’s. And yes, you’ll need an insured street-legal adventure bike in excellent condition, proper riding gear and tires to play. Simply add a great attitude and your desire to experience America’s wildest spaces first-hand to complete the mix. More importantly, there only costs for selected riders are personal costs including fuel, lodging, food and other expenses.

So, how can you participate? If you’re a supporter of the Explorers Like Us American Sound Bank on Patreon, (support non-profit The American Sound Bank project for as little as $1 a month on, you’re invited to apply to be considered! Once you become a supporter, you can access our Guest Rider profile page to put your name in the lottery. You will receive details once we’ve received your application. Explorers Like Us will start sending out information to interested parties starting June 1, 2018.

Another benefit is expedition teams often host impromptu one-day meet-ups in areas around expedition areas. These meet ups attract riders from states near and far and all Guest Riders are invited.

To learn more, please visit

The Dream Life of a Movie Director

My iPhone’s going off. It’s 4:30am – o-dark-thirty. I get to wake later today instead of my usual 3:00am to greet the sun’s golden hour; that was on yesterday’s shot list. As I try to move my stiff legs, I review today’s menu of shots – thirteen of them to be exact. My back is sore and feet are swollen from the past week’s schedule. I just poked myself in the eye with my cell phone. Continue Reading →

The Most Important Photography Tip You’ll Ever Receive!

Travel anywhere and you’ll realize quickly that we are a society consumed with capturing the moment. From mobile phones to full blown Phase One digital systems, cameras are everywhere and everyone likely has at least one on their person at any point in time in one form or another. Recently I was asked what would be the most important advice I could offer anyone wanting to get the perfect shot. While my mind naturally began dissecting camera setups, experience levels and scenes, that one horrible little word kept reentering my deliberations – anyone.Continue Reading →

That’s Right: It’s Not About Your Camera!

When shooting on location, we typically encounter tons of people – many with tons of questions needing answers. As we interact, the conversations invariably surround questions about photography and getting jobs in film. Since we’re not giving out employment secrets these days (of which we have none of any real consequence), the focus becomes photography. You would think the questions would get old, however, despite answering the same ones thousands of times in the past, our film crews make every effort to answer questions and point curious individuals in the right direction as often as possible.

There’s one question, however, we hear far more often than the rest. Which camera should I buy?” Is this a question precipitated by our equipment and gadgets, having seen our work previously or just from years of needling through National Geographic magazines? I’ll likely never know. The question itself is deceptively simple – well, sort of. Continue Reading →