Oldies But GoodiesJavatrekker Tours!
Forging New Partnerships in El Salvador and Nicaragua
Fair Trade: Keeping it Real
Meet the makers of your Mexican beans!
A word on transparency
Democracy on the move in Burma
Pangoa Cooperative update
A real commitment to Women's Empowerment?
United Students, United Cause
Danger: Ethical Consumerism
So Who Can You Trust?
Farewell to Fair Trade Certified?
Johnny Depp, Fair Trade and Me - A Cautionary Tale
What is the Value of Your Values?
Somali Refugees Succeed with Dean's Beans!
Holding the Course in a Turbulent Time
Kenya - Struggling Towards Sustainability
Timor-Leste: Creating Fair, Direct Trade in a Complex Land
Overcoming Gender Violence in Rwanda
Supporting Girls' Empowerment in Guatemala
Speaking Truth to Power
One Love, One Hut (Ethiopia)
Into the Araku Valley (India)
Global Warning: Colombia
News from Guatemala!
Teaching and Learning in Peru
Celebrating Fair Trade in Ethiopia
Tadesse Comes to Town
Student Leaders and Dean's Beans Meet in Nicaragua!
Drink Dean's Beans and Fight Global Warming!
An Update from Papua-New Guinea
From the Highlands of Guatemala
Papua-New Guinea - Back to the Future
The Death Train - Part II (El Salvador)
Tracking the Death Train (Chiapas, Mexico)
My Life as a Pirate-Part II
My New Life as a Pirate
Into Africa-Creating Fair Trade in Kenya
Update and Thank You From the Farmers
An Update on Sumatra
The Situation in Sumatra
Our New Profit Sharing Program - More Cash in the Hands of Farmers
Halliburton Coffee - The Sequel
Halliburton-Support the Troops!
Starbucks-Show Me the Money!
The Real Impact of Fair Trade
Frankenbeans - Here Comes GMO Coffee!
Indigenous Coffee Farmers Self-Help Efforts in Oaxaca, Mexico
Using Coffee to Preserve Rainforests
The Heart of the Pine Ridge Occupation
Who Benefits from Hurricane Relief?
Fighting Big Oil in the Amazon
Ingrid Washinawatok - A Personal Memorial
Did Nazi's Grow your Coffee?
Pesticides Used in Coffee Production
Cooperatives Mean Self-Reliance for Coffee Farmers
Doing Business as an Expression of Progressive Values
My Life as a Pirate-Part II
Our days began at 4 a.m., when an open speedboat would pick us up for the one hour ride to the set. It was actually a nice way to wake up. One morning the engine failed about half way and we needed to be rescued by another boat in the pitching sea. Real scary pirate stuff! As we neared the set the morning light would just be coming up, so the bay filled with old sailing ships and the recreated pirate town of Tortuga seemed amazingly real.
But it wasn't. All of the stone bridges and forts were plywood with a sheath of cement coating, the imposing Governor's Office only had one real wall. And one of the ships was painted differently on each side, allowing it to be used one way as a Turkish fishing boat and the other way as an East India Company trading vessel. Ahh, the movies!
After hair and make-up we headed towards the set. I was a merchant seaman, surrounded by pirates, sailors, harlots, innkeepers, fishermen, and British soldiers. Awaiting us were hordes of cameramen, set designers, directors, assistants of every stripe, gaffers, riggers, caterers and more. We crashed together and the day began. I was immediately grabbed by an assitant something or other and told that I was to be a stand-in for Paddy, the map painter. Sounded exciting until I found out that a stand-in just, well, stands in for the actor during the lighting and scene set up (so that the real actor doesn't have to stand in the hot sun for an hour). I was so bummed, until I realized that I would be standing right next to the director and cinematographer and would be able to watch close up how a movie gets made. It was really exciting to see the movie minds at work, figuring out the best angles for lighting, to get across the subtle message of power, etc. I was also able to ask questions to my heart's delight about the process, and everybody from the director on down was open and friendly. I even spoke at length to one of the writers, who told me how they create a script, and even how the movie ends (can't tell you!).
I also realized that while we were filming in that air-conditioned Governor's Office, the other extras were waiting outside, trying to find some shade and basically being bored to tears. So being a stand-in wasn't such a bad way to start my career after all.
The next day I was able to put my sailor skills to use as we filmed shipboard action, such as coiling ropes, raising sails, swabbing decks, and raising and lowering a cannon off the ship. Unfortunately, the guy who was actually lowering it didn't understand my real commands and wanged the cannon into the side of the ship and almost dropped it into the drink. But at least it looked authentic!
On the third day, all of the pirates were ready for filming. I looked longingly towards the snarly, gnarly group. I really wanted to be a pirate! So I gathered up my courage and sailed straight for the casting director. I asked politely to be a pirate, then begged him until he finally said yes. They sent me back to costumes and make-up, and the handsome sailor became a scarred and scary pirate in 45 minutes! I even got a cutlass and a pistol.
The scene was to be Johnny Depp and two floozies coming down the dock to board the Black Pearl. I was set up as a drunken pirate just waking up. We did the scene several times when the assistant director went off the dock for something. We took a water break, but I stayed (swayed) in character. When the AD walked past me I lurched and launched a mouthful of water in front of him, pretending to be sick. He leapt back, looked at me in surprise and said "That was great, let's put that in!". So my career as the "Pukin' Pirate of Tortuga" was born. They let me evolve the character and end up staggering off the dock. At the end of the scene the cast and crew gave me applause. One of the AD's asked where I got my great acting skills. I told her that I was just reliving my college experiences, so tossing my cookies and staggering was easy. Hey, play to your strengths!
As we headed for the next scene of the pirates boarding a ship, I was pulled aside by an assistant. "Sorry, you can't be in this, you've already gotten a lot of face time on the camera". What a cruel blow! But the AD assured me that my special scene would definitely be in the movie and not end up on the cutting room floor. So I spent the rest of my life as a pirate deep in the background, as a citizen of Tortuga.
Suddenly, Keira Knightley approached me and said "Dean, those chocolate covered beans were absolutely smashing! You are brilliant!". A quick hug from a beautiful young star left me reeling and smiling like a schoolboy, albeit a naughty one. I had brought Java Drops renamed "Black Pearl Grapeshot" as a gift for the cast and crew, and a hug from Keira was more than adequate payback (sorry, the rest of you will have to pay by check or credit card).
Thus ended my short but brilliant film career. O.K., so it wasn't all Errol Flynn, but I had a great time, learned a lot about the making of movies, made some new friends and replenished my tan. Not bad for a coffee roaster turned pirate!