Value in barter

12 02 2011

Honest Ed's knows bargains are where it's at.

Will trade services for goods!

I learned a valuable lesson this week in the value of trades in the current economy. The lesson comes courtesy of a local winery’s event – Township 7’s Taste the Stars – that I’m filming tonight. Because I’d already filmed their grape stomp in October, they asked if I would come back and film the making-of sparkling wine demonstration.

Since I’m always up for more time on the camera (we shoot with Sony’s PMW EX1-r) and…. because it was fascinating… and for a good cause… and… so…

I had to pull out the camera. I couldn’t not record the making of a local sparking wine.

Without going into specifics, we eventually agreed on a trade for services that didn’t involve money.

“But, but!” the business-minded entrepreneur sputters, “You’re trying to start a business! Shouldn’t you be charging for services?”

Absolutely. You cannot afford to stay afloat and actually build a business if you do pro-bono or practically free work all the time. If you provide a service, generally you get paid for it.

But I’m starting to see that credibility and providing a service can be very different things. To get to the point where we can be seen as professionals, we have to bank credibility and track record. It doesn’t just come with the website.

Our company is new. Blue Cyrus is just starting out and no one knows us from a regular wedding-video service, or that we’re professionals who have graduated a little beyond handheld camcorder status. Sometimes, to build credibility we need to work a little harder to prove our true value.

So proving ourselves as professionals can sometimes can mean going the extra mile and doing things for free. I’m ok with that.

Besides, there’s a reason I chose a winery after all…

Let’s just say Township 7’s wine is good enough for Queen Elizabeth II, and it’s said she has great taste.


Company website up and running!

14 01 2011

Check out to have a glance at our new website.

We welcome any suggestions for improvement. Much tweaking still needed!

Thank you, Tobi Elliott and Charlotte Gentis

Horses on my friend Carl Gitscheff's farm Photo credit: Tobi Elliott

PS Thank you to my awesome little brother Matthew, who helped me immensely getting it together. Best birthday present a girl could ever ask for!

Trouble in the Peace

4 09 2010

B.C. Peace River

I came up to BC’s beautiful Peace region last week with a plan to follow my trapper friend Carl on his Tumbler Ridger trapline, and get him talking about the confluence between natural habitat and industries like coal mining, oil and gas.

I filmed him last in November 2008. While he comes across excellently on screen, and he’s the most articulate conversationalist I could hope to find – ever – the footage was not as professional as I would like.

So I came up again with the idea of re-shooting… But Carl had other ideas in mind.

He got me talking to a few people in the local community about their battles with gas companies and the rampant disrespect with which they’ve been treated. From the first story, my mouth fell open and I listened, aghast, thinking, “how could this happen in CANADA?”

This is a battle for land of epic proportions, and it’s being fought over some of BC’s most fertile farmland, next to it’s most untouched wilderness. The stakes are huge. The health risks are unimaginable. And the oil and gas companies do not play fair.

I won’t go into details now because I’m still at the research stage and will need to consult with Charlotte as to whether we will go ahead with this as a possible. But suffice to say: I’m hooked.

This 1-minute trailer “Trouble in the Peace” sheds a bit of light on what I’ve been uncovering over the last few days. It’s for a documentary in the works about the area by Julian Pinder and Six Island Productions. Pinder is a little more sensationalist than I would be, but he gets the point across that there’s a battle in this region, and it ain’t pretty.

It also tells me I’m not the only one interested in this story. However, there’s more than enough drama and high stakes for seven documentaries to be made.

The Peace may never be quiet for me again.


10 05 2010

Going to watch the Habs play tonight in what is hoped to be the LAST game of the season. Lest I sound uncharitable, let me assure you: it’s for the good of Montreal that they should lose tonight’s game, and any hope of advancing in the playoffs.


Don’t we all have better things to do Montreal on fine spring nights? Like walk the village square, fall in love, converse over our balconies with the neighbours, wine glass in hand?

Yes we do. Which is why I’m to be found tonight at a seedy little bar in St Henri, cheering on the Pens.


“wildly exciting and endlessly entertaining”

23 04 2010

That’s what I’m going to call the movie about my life. Stay tuned.

Post coming right up on recent trip to Quebec City with filmmaker and director Magnus Isacsson.

Here’s a picture of the appetizer, a talk to CEGEP students about activism and his films. In the background, one of his more recent films, Art in Action, is playing.

Magnus Isacsson spoke to a CEGEP class about citizen activism in the context of his documentaries. This was just before we set out for QC to screen his film La Bataille de Rabaska at an environmental film festival. Photo by Tobi Elliott

New story coming up on the Journal de Montreal lock out

22 01 2010

Spoke this week to the union secretary for the Journal de Montreal‘s 253 workers who’ve been locked out of their workplace since January 24th 2009.

Story coming in the Concordian, Jan 26th. Might have photos as well as Sunday night I’ll probably head their benefit Show du Cadenas (“lock”), at La Tulipe. It will feature Richard Desjardins, Tricot Machine, Louise Forestier et El Motor, Loco Locass et Jean-Sébastien Lavoie.

Tickets are sold out I hear, but you can get in if you’re press…

A plug for my tv crew’s “Fabric” blog

20 01 2010

You can find our progress on THE show about Montreal, debuting April 2010. The show is called fabric, and it’s going to be really really cool. I’m setting up interviews for it right now.

Watch this site.

Hey! Maybe you can help! If you know someone who was in the manufacturing industry in the 80s and 90s and watched it all go down, send me an email at