Spending several months at a time, and making my base there, I have been returning to Thailand’s Koh Tao island every year for the past ten. There are several great reasons for that, as well as a multitude of tiny ones. It is a comfy place. It is a quaint place. It is fun, it is a party, yet it can be serene and meditative. It is everything and anything you want it to be. It can be dancing at 5AM and staggering back home at 7, or it can be pizza, movie, and an early trip to the bed because of diving the next day. Whatever you want. And that, to me, is paradise.
For years I have been wanting to make a movie about it. I put out a few poorly edited videos, one of which surprisingly enough did quite well on Youtube, gathering well over 100k hits. The others are kept safe under a thick layer of internet obscurity. I wasn’t surprised: no narration, no story, just boring clips of beaches and diving. I wanted to change that. I wanted to bring you to the island, even though your boss is an asshole and you will not get time off.
So I set out on the filming mission, and just went a little bit nuts with the camera. This started in 2011, and continued through 2012. Then in spring of 2013 I had enough of trigger-happy filming, and decided to start editing. And now, as I type this on July 4th 2013, the 16GB HD video is uploading to youtube, and I am wondering what the reception will be…
The vid is nearly 1 hour and 12 minutes long. That is pretty long by Youtube standards. Almost stupidly so. Many friends advised me against it. But I decided to screw everyone… My intention is to immerse you in Koh Tao and Koh Tao stuff, and make you feel like you are there. That’s cant happen via a 3 minute clip, or even a 15 minute one. I know that I am fighting an uphill battle in the ADHD-infected world where anything over 5 minutes is long-term commitment, but whatever. I can deal with that.
The video mainly revolves around my workplace and the stuff I do. So, naturally, it is mostly diving stuff, but also hiking, exploring, fitness, food, and generally having a laugh. There are seemingly a billion Koh Tao videos on youtube, all of them showing the same thing: sand, water, and fish. I wanted change: if people are aiming to come here the same way I did 10 years ago, and want to take up a lifestyle of diving, then I want them to have a chance to see more of the place, work up an appetite, make some plans, have an idea of what awaits. Or, if all fails, just make a decent video memory for myself.
In a tiny “sellout” move, and in order to promote the island, as well as my own employer, I have embedded “commercial messages” into the video, trying to direct traffic to information about diving on Koh Tao. Some may find them annoying, but I hope others will find them useful, as this video should really be mostly found by Monkeetime fans and people looking for info about the island. Anyone planning to move here for 3 or 6 months might want to find out some details about what to expect… Additionally, any bookings made through the site will help me make more of these videos, because, as you know, one needs tokens to feed the monkey. So do tell your friends! 🙂
In total, well over two years in the making, this video is the result of a collaboration between myself and several videographer friends on the island. I gathered all of the terrestrial footage and some of the dive stuff, while others (most notably the friendly staff at Koh Tao ProVideo ) pitched in and provided filming assistance during the times when I was busy teaching scuba, i.e. not able to film myself. That was the easy and fun part. The pain in the ass part was sitting for nearly 4 months, sorting through the resultant 145 gigabytes of video, deciding what to keep and what to toss, gluing it all together, editing, narrating, soundtracking, tweaking this, adjusting that, testing, re-doing, and trying again. But now it is done, and I sincerely hope you enjoy yourself, and, to be honest, for all the whining I do about the editing part, it was really a very fun project.
Some folk have jobs, and those jobs come with shitty supervisors who forbid them from watching Monkeetime videos during office hours. For them, a one-hour-12-minute video may indeed be a bit much… Others have crappy internet connections, living in dial-up countries, while yet others cannot focus on anything for longer than 3 minutes…
For those with bandwidth issues, or attention deficits, and rancid bosses, the Koh Tao | Thailand’s Divestyle Island movie is available in 4 shorter parts, all in full HD to stimulate your ADHD:
Part 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-CWKoLSK5k
Part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HffWaQZTk5M
Part 3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KBbRgAWKfc
Part 4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GMrGCdYA28
Click, watch, share, tell your friends, tell them to share, find us on Facebook, Twitter, and sign up your grandmother for everything when she’s not paying attention.
For those of you who enjoy the soundtrack, I am working on a list of songs used in the video, and it will be posted right here in a few days. Nearly all of the music was obtained from www.jamendo.com while some of it came from Overwerk and Favright.
Good times. Cheers!