Who are you?
I'm a professional juggler. I travel a lot with my show, and perform often at festivals and on cruise ships. I have many other interests, including traveling in my spare time, which you can read about on my blog, if you care to.
First, I travel a lot for both work and pleasure, and wanted to have a record of all the places I've been in 2009. I take lots of photos, but when I travel by myself, I'm rarely in those photos. Video, on the other hand, is a lot easier to capture when you are both the camera operator and the subject.
Second, I knew I'd be returning to lots of places in 2009 that I'd already visited. I've worked a lot in South America, and have been to Montevideo, Uruguay seven or eight times now. By setting myself this video project, it meant I had extra motivation to find new things to do, and find new places to see.
So, as an example, the day I arrived in Montevideo on a Sunday in March, I could have just hung out in a cafe. Instead I took a walk through the city center, and stumbled upon the annual Gaucho horse parade. It was an impressive sight, and without this video I'd never have seen it. This kind of thing happened over and over throughout the year.
Third, seeing as I bill myself as "Luke Burrage - International Juggler and Entertainer", I thought that it would make a cool video to play before my show as a kind of introduction. I've done this with various versions of the video since August, and it's gone down really well.
How many countries did you visit in 2009?
About 40, depending on how you define "country" and "visit". For example, I drove through the Netherlands, but didn't stop, and changed planes in Doha, Qatar, but didn't leave the airport. And are Scotland and England two different countries, or just parts of the United Kingdom? And when I crossed the checkpoint on the way to the Dead Sea, would that mean I'm in a place called West Bank or a country with ill-defined borders called Palestine? Or is the real line not the at checkpoint but the Green/Armastice Line, and I was in West Bank all the way back in Jerusalem? It's complicated.
What I can say is a lot of the places I visited are remote territories, not sovereign states, and in those cases I used the local name as the last part of the on-screen title, not the "real" nation.
Why didn't you visit anywhere in Asia?
I go where my work takes me. Over the past three years I've visited every continent, including Antarctica. It just so happens that in 2009 I didn't go anywhere further in that direction than the Middle East.
And when I'm not traveling with work, I love to... travel! About a third of the countries I visited in 2009 were as part of a holiday. These holidays included six weeks in Portugal, an eight week camper van tour of mainland Europe, a few trips to the UK and a week of camping at a festival in Turkey.
I already know some of my travel planes for 2010, both for work and pleasure. I'm going to be visiting South Korea, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, India and Dubai for the first time, and Antartica for the second time. Plus I hope to spend a week in Japan, and a month or so in New York.
Did you have any help in making the video?
Along the way many people held the camera and pointed it at me while I juggled. I'm thankful for all these people; some are good friends, other were complete strangers who just happened to be walking past.
Otherwise it was just me and my laptop and a copy of Final Cut Express. I actually made the first rough edits in iMovie, way back in April, and I've spent hundreds of hours tinkering since. I once worked in TV production (as my last "real" job back in 2003) so the technical side of the project wasn't the hard part. But for each shot you see in the video, I usually made three or four more shots around the same location. Deciding what to include and what to discard was really painful.
And then, the following week, I'd have another two shots I wanted to include...
What's the music?
Putting my university degree in music production to good use, it's something I wrote and recorded myself.
I decided to rewrite and rerecord a piece of music I made ten years ago called Ready to Roll. Instead of sticking with the old lyrics, I looked through all the photographs I've taken in 2009 and wrote new lyrics based on those images and memories. I also wanted the soundtrack to have a similar feel to the music in Matt Harding's Dancing 2008 video. In the end I got exactly what I wanted; elements of my own old track, with references to Gary Schyman's Praan.
You can download the music here: Ready to Roll 2009. The original version of the music is here: Ready to Roll original. Both are released under Creative Commons Non-Commercial license, which means you can do what you want with it, but if you're going to use it to make money in any way, you have to ask my permission first.
My twin brother, Nathan, is a videographer and documentary film producer. He also does consultancy work for businesses who want to work with online video. He sat in on some meetings with a Scottish software company who wanted to raise the profile of their next product. The product had the word "juggler" in the title, so they wanted to use a juggler in their advertising.
The owner of the company said "I like the Dancing 2008 video, maybe we could pay a juggler to video himself in lots of places around the world?"
My brother said "I know someone who is doing that already."
That was back in September, so I was already well underway with my project. As it happened, I still put out exactly the same video I was always going to, but by adding the CallJuggler.com logo at the end I get some money. Go check out the software, doing so makes everyone happy.
What camera equipment do you use?
My main camera now is a Canon D500, which is good for both stills and HD video. If the 7D had been available at the time I'd probably have bought that instead. I still pack my old Canon FS100 camcorder, but never take it out anymore.
Also, let me recommend the awesome Gorrilapod. Pretty much every non-handheld shot in the entire video is with a Gorrilapod-held camera.
Why are you always wearing the same clothes?
After something like 50 flights per year, I have packing down to a fine art. I never take more clothes with me than I need to, and as soon as one item of clothing gets a bit tatty I replace it right away with something very similar. On cruise ships there are rules about what you can wear, so I travel with clothes that work both on the ship and are still suitable for hiking up to a glacier. This means I have lot of shots in the video with me wearing black, grey or green trousers (never jeans), greenish shorts and short-sleeved checkered shirts. I do have plenty of other clothes - honest - but they seem to get left at home a lot.
You got the place name wrong on one of the clips.
Well, these things happen. Often there are local and international names for the same place, and sometimes more than one spelling of the same name. Before releasing the video I sat in a library, surrounded by atlases and travel guides, and checked each title individually. It's a good job I did! Tallinn has two n's, Mombasa has one s, the e in Dar es Salaam isn't capitalized, etc.
Any plans for 2010?
I've had three weeks at home, working on my new juggling/theater show, and should have some material suitable for sharing on youtube in a few months. And of course I plan to make another similar video for 2010, but with a bit of a twist.
I plan to make a "Dropping 2009" video, featuring all the mistakes I caught on camera. Or most of the mistakes - if I put all the mistakes in, the video would last way too long.
Also, I think I might release all the raw video files from the Juggling 2009 video under a creative commons license. I'm not sure what anyone might want or use it for, but the only way art can progress is if we're free and open about this kind of thing. Who knows what might happen down the line?