Is it me... or is Santa a lucky guy?

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Let’s set the record straight, I was not on holiday.

Just because I took a break from the blog doesn't mean I was taking it easy. No beach side point break for me. Directors don’t do holidays. Holidays are for teachers, government officials and the big man in the red jacket: what a gig, one day a year and the rest, an endless summer… yo ho ho baby!

But as they say, a change is as good as a rest.

I've left Moon and have a lovely new home at Annex and and I’ve just got back from New York shooting for Shots brand of the year Samsung. But more of that in the months to come. First…

It’s back to Santa’s homeland, Turkey. Yes, you heard me right, St Nick came from the South and has his own Christmas Island, or was that Dean Martin. Returning to Istanbul for a second OMO campaign, thanks to my friend at Lowe and Atlantik Film (great company if anyone wants to shoot in this part of the World), I’m interested to see City life now the summer’s infamous scenes in Gezi park have Twittered away.

Istanbul was unrecognisable. No more tear gas, no more water cannons and no more fasting - last time Ramadan was testing people’s spirituality and Taxi drivers were failing miserably. If you’ve never seen the City's infamous gridlock on an empty stomach think Grand Theft auto, for real.

But it seems most people in this incredible City have nerves of steel. OMO scripts call for dirt. In OMO land, dirt is good. Leaking pens, filthy playgrounds and exploding food are often the order of the day. On my last shoot the man in charge of pyro-burgers was known as “The Doctor” and he was very very professional. You have to respect a fasting man sitting in front of fifty hamburger for twelve hours a day, with only the will of God to keep him going. That's service. Allahu Akbar!

Despite the tricky nature of shooting with children, stain management, and empty stomachs the result was charming - see below.

But that was then and this is now, I'm back at the same school in Istanbul on OMO part 2 faced with two twins who are expected to deliver Emmy award winning performances. Direction done I shout "action" and hold my breath. One little girl looks at the camera and says, "I need toilet". Looks like it's going to be a long day...

But Turkish crews are used to the hours. That could all change in the New Year when they sign a deal with local production companies limiting the working day. Personally I think it’s the way ahead. Anything that manages expectations in an achievable way has to be a good thing.

So in the spirit of change, as the year draws to a close, please check out Annex and Gusto's new table top connection with Grinder in Cape Town – can’t be a bad call shooting in Cape town as the winter freeze sets in.

To one and all I’d like to thank you for making 2013 so enjoyable and wish you a Happy Holidays! Or should I say…. do something new this Season, it’s good for the soul.

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