Traveler, adventurer, and filmmaker Daniel Rintz, author of an award-winning adventure film “Somewhere Else Tomorrow”, is back in the director’s chair. Having come home to Germany after their round the world motorcycle journey, Daniel and his girlfriend Josephine are busy making the sequel to Daniel’s first movie.
"Somewhere Else Tomorrow" isn’t your typical motorcycle adventure cut: according to Daniel, although the motorcycling part is important – the bike allows you to immerse yourself in cultures on a much more significant level – what he’s truly passionate about is the world and its people. "In Somewhere Else Tomorrow, I am the storyteller, but I’m not in the limelight. I didn’t want to be in front of the camera much. I wanted to show everyone the world, the experience, the people, not the miles or the flat tires, although naturally there’s some of that in there as well”, - Daniel says.
As he and Josephine are settling back into a European lifestyle and routine, Daniel says they’re happy right here and now, and although there may be new adventures on the horizon, the couple just wants to rest up, recharge, and finish the new movie. “We’ve been on the road for six years, and we came back exhausted on a deep level. It was great to have our own place and privacy again, instead of being guests all the time, or sleeping in our tent, always on the move. Josephine is busy working with a green energy project, I do commercials and other video content for brands and companies. But, of course, traveling and exploring will always be our passion, and we’re excited to be working on the film!”, - Daniel explains.
The ‘Somewhere Else Tomorrow’ sequel will be coming out towards the end of 2018. What’s Daniel’s key to success, his advice for beginner adventure film enthusiasts, and how to tell an unforgettable story?
A Filmmaker on the Road
Daniel’s background is in communications design, but his true passion is travel documentaries. “I did set out on the round the world motorcycle journey with an intention to document my travels, but it was a while before I actually started calling myself a filmmaker. When I left, I was fresh out of university, I didn’t have a lot of money, so I and my friend figured we’d just pick up odd jobs as we traveled on. I think back then, him and I was more surprised that it actually worked than anyone else! However, the pressures of the journey and the uncertainty finally made my friend to turn back. I kept going. I think a lot of ‘Somewhere Else Tomorrow’ is about this transition, from being a somewhat naïve explorer to in a sense, maturing into a traveler who asks a different kind of questions”, - Daniel says.
He admits that he didn’t call himself a filmmaker at first. “At various borders, whenever they asked me to indicate my profession, I kept putting down something different. In a lot of countries, I didn’t want to call myself a photographer, for example, for fear they wouldn’t let me in. So I’d say I was a web designer, or a graphic artist, until one day, I just put down “filmmaker”. I liked the sound of it”, - Daniel smiles.
The Art of Storytelling
According to Daniel, the key ingredient in a successful adventure travel film is the story. “With ‘Somewhere Else Tomorrow’, I just shot footage and started editing when I got home and looking back, I think maybe this wasn’t the best thing to do. As a filmmaker, you need to convey the story fluently, not in random snippets. For every single episode, you have to think about a beginning, a middle, and an end. Taking a lot of B-roll is always good because whatever your story, you need to provide a little background for your viewers. Whenever something is happening, you need an intro and an outro because while things are obvious to you because you were there, your viewers weren’t, and they need context”, - Daniel explains.
He says there’s no need to worry about equipment too much, especially if you’re just starting out. Whatever camera you own, whatever feels good, probably is good. “You can make a great movie with a mediocre camera, and a crappy movie with amazing equipment. What matters is how you tell the story, not the sharpness of the image”.
Another great tip to keep in mind is Daniel’s Rule of Seven.
“When you capture something, try to do it in seven different angles. As an example, let’s say, you have a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. Your seven angles could be these: a close-up of the nail in the tire, sure… but what else is happening around you, what else is interesting? Take twenty steps back, capture the bike and your luggage spread out. Then get the horizon to show people how remote your location is; film the setting sun, so people get the sense it’s late and you need to find a solution quickly. Do a shot of your tools – how many tools do you have? Then, film yourself fixing the flat, maybe show the map of where you are, how far from civilization? It’s a good rule of thumb”.
The next step up, according to Daniel, is sound, because it’s an extremely powerful tool that helps you transport your viewers into the world you’re trying to show them.
“You’re making a movie about traveling, so capture people talking. I met a Hollywood producer in LA who said, how do you make the audience feel they’re looking at something beautiful? Simple: have good sound. People will be annoyed if they can’t understand what’s going on. Reduce your wind noise; invest in a good “dead cat”, a microphone muffler, and always use it when recording sound. Also, just talk to people when you travel. Just say hi, start a conversation, and then ask if they would be OK with you filming it. Most of the time, people are excited to be in a film!”.
Daniel admits he’s made some mistakes creating ‘Somewhere Else Tomorrow’, and that the sequel will be quite different.
“I think the biggest mistake people make when creating videos is forgetting that viewers did not go on the same trip with them, and I know I’ve made this mistake, too. For example, for you, your ten-minute helmet cam footage might be awesome because maybe that day, you made it over a tricky mountain pass, and you were so thrilled to get to the other side. But for your viewers, those ten minutes will probably be pretty boring. Think about your audience, look at your footage from an outside perspective. Does it make sense, is it interesting? Again, the flat tire example: lots of people get flats, so if you decide to show yours, what’s special about it? Did it change your journey in a significant way? Did it change you as a motorcyclist, as a traveler?”.
Daniel says it’s extremely important to decide why you want to make a film in the first place. For some, it may be much easier and more effective to just do beautiful photography, or compile photos into presentation slides with some music over it.
“Filmmaking is pretty involved, so if you decide to do it, make sure you’re truly passionate about it. Personally, filmmaking is a labor of love for me. I wouldn’t be able to survive just from adventure films – I still need to do commercial projects to make a living. But creating travel documentary for me is a reward in itself, and the best form of payment is positive reviews from people who see them. The fact that people enjoy the films, that they get inspired – I love that!”, - Daniel says.
The sequel to ‘Somewhere Else Tomorrow’, according to Daniel and Josephine, will be different because they as travelers have grown, and want to find different answers this time.