Behind the Scenes; Services for the New Mexico Film industry

Yesterday was my first experience working with the New Mexico Film industry, aside from a few independent projects, but it's something I've wanted to do for quite a while.  With more than 70 kayaks in our program, New Mexico Kayak Instruction, Inc. (NMKI) makes it easy for Directors, Producers and Location Managers to find the perfect style of kayak, and color, for the perfect scene.

Proceeds from this and future film projects go to fund our non-profit, Kayak New Mexico (501(c)3 status pending), where we provide free or reduced-cost instruction, events and activities for kids and veterans with disabilities, at-risk teens and support environmental education and conservation efforts.

Our project was a commercial for the New Mexico Tourism Department, and is Directed and produced by two world-famous videographers Corey Rich and Wynn Ruji. The Tourism Department's Director of Marketing and Communications, Veronica Valencia and I share many common beliefs about New Mexico; There's plenty of water for recreation in New Mexico, the lakes and easy rivers are perfect for kayaking, and kayaking is a fun, affordable way for families to enjoy the outdoors in New Mexico.

Behind the Scenes

I started working with Wynn and Corey Saturday night, culling through more than 70 boats to find the right style, size and color for the cast.  The cast consisted of a couple in their early 30s, and a young family in their mid-30s with two young children; all with limited kayaking experience.  We decided on three beginner-friendly kayaks for the project; the Native Watercraft Magic 14. (tandem sit-on-top, red), the Native Watercraft Ultimate 12 (fishing kayak, red) and the Jackson Kayak Day-Tripper 10 (recreational kayak, green).  We also wanted to portray the actors as experienced paddlers, with quality gear, as if it was part of their lifestyle.

I started loading boats at 2am and drove to Abiquiu Lake for a 6:30 shoot.  Something told me to bring a few extra boats, wet suits, youth paddles and youth PFDs, and an assortment of rescue equipment, just incase.  While the day was warm and sunny, the water at Abiquiu was only 36o, and I wanted to be well prepared in the likely event that someone ended up in the water, the kids especially, who may not know the consequences.

While Wynn and Corey worked their creative magic, I worked with them behind the scenes to get the right boats and gear for authentic scenes.  I spent a good portion of the shoot on the water with the cast, doing what I do best; helping with logistics and readily available should a rescue be necessary.  Little things like getting the right paddle for the right person and boat, and holding it correctly, using correct strokes for stability, and setting the cast up to make kayaking look fun and easy, all helped to make the scenes authentic, manage risk and minimize time on the set.  

I look forward to future film industry projects where boats, gear, logistics, experience and risk managment help to make the scene more real, enable the best shots, and keep the cast and crew safe. 

Thanks Corey, Wynn and Veronica for selecting New Mexico Kayak Instruction for your New Mexico Tourism commercial.

Kelly Gossett
New Mexico Kayak Instruction, Inc.


I know what it's like....

I certainly know what it's like to lose sales to out-of-state retailers who have no time invested in the local community, and it is unfortunate.  As a small business with significant time invested in issues related to boating safety laws, access improvements, advocating for ADA access (I teach a lot of folks with disabilities),  I depend on those sales to help offset the time spent volunteering in other areas.  Losing a sale is never easy to digest, but a belief in core values of making the sport accessible and open to everyone is what keeps me going.  I've won some, and lost some.   As for how the contract was awarded, that's well beyond my involvement with the project.  I can't begin to tell you what the criteria was, budgets, credentials, etc.

New Mexico Film Industry

I'm glad for your positive experience. However, you didn't really get to work with New Mexicans on a New Mexico shoot. Everyone on that shoot, except the craft service person, the driver, talent and people working for the state tourism office was from out of state. I'm sure it was a professional crew, with great equipment (all of which came from out of state) and a positive attitude, but it's a shame that those of us who do work in film locally didn't get an opportunity to showcase our talent.Think of it this way. How would you have felt if you heard a commercial was being shot at the lake, but instead of hiring you or another local based company, they flew in kayaks, boats, and instructors from out of state to perform a job you and your company could handle. At least they didn't do that and did end up using some locals. Again, glad it ended up being a great experience. 

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Upcoming Kayak Instruction Classes

Currently there are no Intro to Kayaking clinics scheduled. Please see our Calendar of Events for upcoming Intro, Roll, Whitewater and Touring clinics, or Contact Us for a private lesson.
Currently there are no Kayak Roll clinics scheduled. Please see our Calendar of Events for upcoming Intro, Roll, Whitewater and Touring clinics, or Contact Us for a private lesson.
Title Date City Name
(Level 3) Whitewater Kayaking Made Easy Saturday, September 22, 2018 - 9:00am - Sunday, September 23, 2018 - 5:00pm Pilar Pilar Yacht Club
Currently there are no Advanced Whitewater clinics scheduled. Please see our Calendar of Events for upcoming Intro, Roll, Whitewater and Touring clinics, or Contact Us for a private lesson.
Title Date City Name
"Open House" Kayak & SUP Fun, Games and Practice Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - 5:30pm - 7:30pm Bernalillo Sandia Lakes Recreation Area