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How I Teetered on Top of a Waterfall and Blew Up My Desk

by Sean Ogle | Last Updated: July 25, 2019

“Wouldn’t it be cool to shoot a video around everything that Location Rebel Academy embodies??”

“Yeah, that’d be amazing. Why can’t we do it?”

“Well…I guess we can!”

And as simple as that, The Desk became a thing.

If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is in all it’s glory!

And now that you’ve seen it…

Introducing The Making of “The Desk”

There’s a lot that went into making The Desk, and some of it, well is pretty entertaining. We put together this little “making of” video, well, about 4 years too late. But better late than never, right?!

How Did the Desk Come to Be?

Let’s back up for a second, and fill you in on how this whole thing came to be.

It started with a conversation my good friend Jamie McGaw and I were having at the beginning of this year.

Jamie is the most creative guy I know and has worked on campaigns for some of the biggest companies in the world.

I wanted to get the ball rolling on some rebranding for Location 180, Location Rebel Academy, and Breaking Eighty – and I knew he was the guy to help me make it happen.

As we got into it, we started throwing out random video ideas like we were 6th graders who had just gotten ahold of their dad’s new camcorder.

Then the concept of “The Desk” came up.

“That’s freaking amazing,” I remember saying to him.

And one of the coolest aspects of working for yourself? If you decide you want to embark on a 10 day video shoot just because it sounded like a cool idea, well, you can!

We knew that in order to make this thing happen we were going to need someone who knew a thing or two about video production.

Luckily for us, that’s what my dad has been doing for the last 30 years. We told him about our crazy concept, and he was all about it.

A month later we had a script, some location ideas and we’re heading out to Central Oregon to begin production.

Who Was Behind The Desk?

Jamie McGaw, Director and Creative

One of my first entrepreneurial ventures ever was a clothing company called Absinthe Notion that Jamie and I had partnered on. We learned a ton, and it almost ruined our friendship, but between then and now we’ve become better friends than ever and he has gone on to make a name for himself in the advertising world.

After doing creative work for BBDO out of New York, he set out to create his own agency. Thus, Flask Agency was born.

Jamie is the epitome of a Location Rebel himself, having worked everywhere from Mauritius, to Ireland, to well, you name it.

Jamie

Jamie

Steve Ogle, Filming and Editing

My dad Steve has been doing video for most of his life.

Whether it’s backcountry skiing and snowboarding with Shaun White in Japan for a Red Bull Documentary, helping produce the US Open for Burton each year, or simply helping out with Location Rebel projects he’s a master at working with what’s given to him and getting creative within the given production constraints.

Steve

Steve

Sean Ogle, The Talent

Hey, that’s me! And I guess you can’t really call it the “talent”. I just did what I was told and was the one usually lugging the desk around.

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10 Fun Facts About Shooting “The Desk”

I’m not going to lie, this was a really fun project to work on. It was filled with some really long days, and a ton of hard work, but throughout the whole process we were amazed at how smooth things ran for the most part.

1) It was all filmed entirely on Location in Oregon.

Everything you saw in the video was within about a 3 hour drive of Portland, Oregon.

We had 6 shoot days in February – and somehow, amazingly got 6 straight days of sunshine.

We then had 3 more follow up scenes in April.

Here’s the full list of locations:

2) We had to go back and film the waterfall shot a second time because one crew member who shall rename unnamed got a little freaked out.

We actually shot a lot of footage at the waterfall, and had two different placements for the desk. You can’t really tell in the actual video, but this was an extremely precarious location, and the desk was quite literally hanging off the edge of the rock.

I was up there for about 15 minutes and actually got a blog post written...

I was up there for about 15 minutes and actually got a blog post written…

We didn’t have walkie talkies, and had no cell service, so there was no way to tell if we’d gotten the shot or not.

That night we were reviewing footage, and just weren’t totally happy with what we had. So, first thing in the morning we went back up, reshot, and got some much better takes.

The less precarious waterfall setup.

The less precarious waterfall setup.

3) Yes we actually blew up The Desk.

We found an old stone quarry about 4 miles down a logging road in the coast range about an hour outside Portland for this scene.

It took about 6 hours to get the closing shots, and then do all of the tests necessary to blow up the desk.

It was starting to rain, and we really only had one shot (no pun intended) to get this thing right.

The way we did it was a combination of tannerite, gasoline, road flairs and a rifle to set it all off.

We almost blew it (no pun intended, again) as the first shot hit the gasoline rather than the tannerite, causing the desk to light on fire, rather than explode.

Luckily the second shot a couple seconds later was a direct hit.

We debated whether or not to keep the “two stage” element to it, but found this to be more dramatic. You can see what I mean in the slow mo Go Pro footage here:

4) The toughest day was our very first: Mt Bachelor

At this point we still had no clue how this whole thing was going to go. We found a great location across the freeway from Mt. Bachelor in a popular snowpark. It was mid-week, so luckily we didnt have to deal with many snowmobiles playing in the area.

The spot we found was about a half mile from where we parked, and I made no less than 8 trips back and forth in the snow for various reasons.

We had a $5 Walmart toboggan sled that we piled the desk and gear into in order to transport it out to the shoot location.

Still found time to take some photos in the wolf mask though...

Still found time to take some photos in the wolf mask though…

5) My favorite shot almost didn’t happen

My favorite shot of the whole production was up on Cape Perpetua overlooking the ocean.

LR Perpetua copy

Doesn’t get much better than this.

That day we had reshot the waterfall sequence, driven to Florence, Oregon and spent the day scouting locations for the desert. It was getting late, and we decided to drive further south to see if we could find a good beach shot.

We found a few things that were ok, but nothing that would work out logistically with our rapidly fading sunlight.

On a whim we drove up to the top of Cape Perpetua and were met with an unbelievable view.

We were tired, and had very little time to shoot so we almost didn’t do it.

In the end we said, well “we’re here, might as well give it a shot!”

I thought the result was a spectacular shot, and we were able to give some tourists a bit of entertainment as they looked on perplexed at why on earth we were bringing a big desk out on to the edge of the cliff.

That was one of the best celebratory beers I've ever had though..

That was one of the best celebratory beers I’ve ever had though..

6) The “desert” scene was filmed about 300 yards behind a Fred Meyer grocery store

We had a good spot picked out off the side of the freeway in the Oregon Dunes.

However it was going to be a logistical nightmare, that included hiking up a hundred foot dune, then back down and about a quarter mile out into the dunes to find the perfect “Sahara like” ridges.

On a whim at 7am we were driving by a Fred Meyer that had some dunes behind it, and figured we might as well take a look and hope we get lucky.

Sure enough, we found a great spot and were lucky not to encounter any ATVs or dune-buggys throughout the shoot.

There was a Fred Meyer over the ridge directly behind us.

There was a Fred Meyer over the ridge directly behind us.

7) We had two other concepts we considered before “The Desk.”

The first was called “The Song.”

I’ve been playing guitar forever, and have a habit at parties of freestyling songs about all of the people there.

So we considered writing a Location Rebel song and shooting a music video. We decided against this for obvious reasons.

The second was called “The Other Guy.”

This involved a sequence where I asked community members for their opinions on what they’d like to see from me and Location 180, and they would give ridiculous answers –  then I did them no matter what they were. 

There was a secondary on screen talent that was well, better looking than me.

This script was actually a lot better than it might sound, and who knows could come to life one of these days.

8) We didn’t use a teleprompter

By the second shoot day I pretty much had the entire script memorized.

We read through the entire thing (many times) at each location. This allowed us to be really creative in post, and mix and match the locations as we felt necessary to help tell the story and get the pacing right.

But we did have a lot of other stuff!

But we did have a lot of other stuff!

9) It was originally supposed to be more comical

We had quite a few different jokes built into the script, and at just about every location we filmed many of these (watch the behind the scenes video above!)

Jamie starring as our "wandering man in the desert in desperate need of water."

Jamie starring as our “wandering man in the desert in desperate need of water.”

But one of the things we realized pretty early on in the process is that there’s a difference between “comedy” and “humor”.

There’s a fine line, and the whole concept in and of itself was pretty humorous – we didn’t need scripted gags or jokes to elevate the concept. It was already funny on it’s own.

My biggest thing was I wanted to make sure my sarcasm, casualness and sense of humor came across in the video – which I think it did. If we forced the comedy, I think it would have shown.

That said, at some point I’ll probably release an edit with all of the jokes inserted.

10) I’m Incredibly Thankful for Jamie and My Dad

This was a very low budget film and both Jamie and my dad spent many hours working on this project to both help me out, as well as give them portfolio pieces for their own businesses.

There’s no way on earth this would have worked without them. They are both incredibly good at what they do, so if you or your business is in need of branding, design or creative work definitely check out Flask Agency.

You also, may have noticed that the quality of my vlogs and YouTube videos has improved a lot this year. Well that’s because I finally recruited my dad to do the editing for me 🙂

If you’re looking for film, editing or video work take a look at Steve Ogle Productions.

You can also email me directly, I’m happy to make introductions.

We neglected to get a proper "crew" shot.

We neglected to get a proper “crew” shot.

Since The Desk…

Not long after we finished The Desk, we did a very unofficial sequel, where we tried to find the most exotic office in the world.

I think we might have succeeded:

Other than that, we’re still hard at work creating content and helping our members in the Academy create a business that allows them to do more of the stuff they like to do.

On August 6th we’re doing our largest sale of the year, and if you’ve been on the fence about joining this will be the absolute best time to do it. Make sure you’re on our email list if you want to get all the details!

 

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
Build a Lifestyle Business Giving You Freedom You've Always Wanted

Our 6-part course gives you a strategy to start right now. Put control of your life back in your hands. Sign up below and let’s do this together.

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