Backstory - Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, Part I-IV

I confess I had concerns about filming this journey. After all, this epic, transcontinental rally was a competition -- and I wanted to win. Would there be time to pull out my camera when charging at high speed across Mongolia? Would there be the inclination to press the record button when tension in the cabin was high, or when my co-driver and I were fixing the car late into the night? Not only did I have these worries but when I pitched the story as a one-off feature to my editor, he said he was interested in a series of four features, nothing less; this was not a subject to be handled in under 5 minutes, he said.

After much debate, I decided I had to take up this assignment -- of course! Plus, my (wonderfully supportive) editor offered to provide a cameraman at the beginning in Beijing and at the finale in Paris. I would have to film only the 14,000km and four weeks in between! No problem!

It was hard, yes, but it was also wonderful to have the raison d’etre of documenting the journey, in addition to the competition. The more this career of mine continues, the more I feel if I don’t write about it or film it, it did not really happen.

In spite of the fatigue and frustration, I hope I managed to capture enough of the highlights and lowlights of the rally to build up a picture of this extraordinary rollercoaster journey. Inevitably I did miss many dramatic moments but I still had more material than I could use, even for a four-part series. The multiple sources of footage included my main rushes, my GoPro footage, the rushes from the cameramen in Beijing and Paris, as well as B-roll from the rally organisers who had promotional videographers on the rally.

Not surprisingly the script-writing and editing has been tough, too, as there were some blanks in the chronology of the rushes -- but I have pieced together something that I hope reflects the spirit of this rally -- and the spirit of adventure.

Now I have to get my camera cleaned; it’s starting to sound like a coffee-grinder with all the Mongolian dust clogging up its inner workings.