On The Road Interview with Rick Mereki

On The Road Interview with Rick Mereki – Filmmaker and Visual Artist – A World to Travel (3)

Last year, while exploring the Italian region of Abruzzo after the #TBDI2013, I had the opportunity of meeting Rick. Not only an amazing filmmaker but also a great and fun individual to hang out with, he’s been an inspiration for all of us here at A World to Travel and to many other travel people I know since he became worldwide known since his viral “MOVE” video (Vimeo Staff Pick) was launched in 2011. Enjoy our last On the Road interview with Rick Mereki.

  • Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started to travel. Do you remember your 1st travel experience? Why are you (if that’s so…) passionate about traveling?

Filmmaker, photographer, and lover of pies and sloths (not at the same time)

My first real travel experience came after the breakup of a relationship, I booked around the world ticket as a way of dealing with heartbreak, best decision of my life.

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The reason I am so passionate about traveling is that I somehow managed to combine my 2 greatest passions with my job (travel & filmmaking) … that is very rare in this world and I am forever grateful.

  • Now that we know where do you come from… could you tell us where are you heading to? Which are your plans for the future in terms of traveling?

I will go wherever the wind blows me, I have many personal and exciting commercial projects lining up for 2014, but I hope to get to Russia, Japan, Brazil, Bolivia, Puerto Rico, Istanbul, Croatia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, China, Nepal, and Tibet this year … fingers crossed.

  • What do you think of traveling with a purpose or meaning in mind?

90% of my travel is done purely with the purpose of filmmaking, you look at the world completely differently, I mainly travel with specific locations in mind, traveling as a filmmaker, my mind is constantly focused on finding amazing locations and finding amazing stories to tell, for me it is the most amazing way to travel, hell for me is being trapped on a desert island without a camera.

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  • What do you look for when traveling long-term?

If it’s long-term away from civilization…. probably how many batteries do I need to take.

  • How do you fund your travels?

About 70 % of my adventures/travel/films are commissioned by either a particular countries tourism department or by a private company.

  • Have you found a job or income source that allows you to be on the road fulltime?

Filmmaking has me traveling around the world about 9 months of the year. When I’m not making travel films I am making music videos, commercials, or my own films.

  • Did your job, studies, volunteering experiences, or other projects help you to travel the world? Where have you been thanks to those? If so, tell us a bit about those experiences.

I studied filmmaking and special effects at university (RMIT Melbourne). Filmmaking has sent me around the world 6-7 times in the last 3 years.

  • What would you recommend to someone who wants to follow your steps?

Learn how to operate a camera and how to edit, but more importantly don’t be boring, try things that no one else is doing, creativity is more important than technical ability.

  • Which kind of training or studies are necessary?  Would an investment be needed in the first place?

University is great for meeting other like-minded filmmakers and building lifelong collaborators and film crews … but honestly, you can learn everything you need online these days so if you can’t afford higher education, you can learn everything you need from YouTube and Vimeo tutorials … or offer to volunteer your time on film projects and learn that way.

A good camera is always a good investment, and they are getting cheaper and cheaper as technology progresses.

  • Please, give 3 pieces of advice (you wish to have known before starting) of what to do and what to avoid in order to succeed.

– Experimentation is the most important thing a filmmaker can do.

– Surround your self with inspiring people.

Ideas are more important than skills.

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  • What does a perfect day in your life look like?

A perfect day is filming an exhausting 16 hour day over dozens of locations and then returning home late at night to revue the day’s footage only to discover that you have captured something purely magical during the course of the day, makes it all worthwhile.

  • Where do you come from originally and where you call home now? Can you give us some local tips we cannot find in a guidebook but you highly recommend about your hometown?

I grew up in a small country town called Daylesford, about 2 hours drive from Melbourne Australia. It’s a magical place that has the most amazing water on earth, you pump it out of the ground using hand pumps and it comes out of the ground as the most amazing fizzy sparkling water you have ever tasted, and ice-cold. There is one in particular that has magical powers but if told you where it was the locals would kill me.

  • Do you read, write, draw, listen to music, sing, watch movies, or do something else while traveling?

I draw a lot when on the road, sometimes when I return home I have exhibitions of my illustrations from around the world.

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  • How do you interact with technology these days and which gadgets you definitely take with you everywhere?

My basic camera kit is a Canon 5d, 3 or 4 lenses, tripod, compact led lighting, GoPro’s, zoom mic, steady cam, laptop, iPhone, and most importantly a really nice pair of headphones.

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  • What is your favorite book?

Tintin and the 7 crystal balls.

  • And the movie?

Withnail and I.

  • Do you keep a bucket list?

The last list I wrote read:

1) Write a to-do list

2) Do everything on the list

*I did neither

  • Which are your craziest dreams?

 To one day be as awesome as Bill Murray

  • Where are your favorite destinations on earth?

At the moment … if I had to pick … top three … Morocco, Iceland, and finally New York (because in my humble opinion you only need 2 things to live a long happy life … you need to be continuously inspired and an excellent Bloody Mary … and New York does both of those things incredibly well).

Thanks so much, Rick for your time and inspiring us daily! Keep being AWESOME! 

Photo & video credits: Rick Mereki