Visit California Road Trips

I’ve always wanted to showcase the Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain in a travel film. But the only time I’ve visited them, I focused on taking photographs instead of videos, and I was stuck in the Imperial Sand Dunes with my bros. We spent hours trying to dig our car out of the sand in blistering heat that dehydrated film crews who worked on Return of the Jedi, The Scorpion King, and Jarhead. Finally with the help of generous sand dune vacationers, we dug deep enough to slide wooden blocks underneath the tires so that the rear tires could gain traction and get the car back to the paved road.

When this assignment fell on my lap, I immediately wanted to road trip back to the desert. However, the wanderlust in me tells me that a trip back to these spots simply isn’t enough. Driving up north immediately came to mind, but how far north should I go? And if I showcase the popular spots around California, this piece will just look like every other travel promo. So then I zeroed in on the theme: lesser known spots around Southern and Central California.

The shoot was super fast paced, yet super fun. To minimize the budget and time spent filming, we squeezed the shoot into two long days of drive-stop-shoot-drive, going as far north as SLO and as far east as Salvation Mountain.

The stars of our film are a real-life couple, also a talented skateboarder and a singer-songwriter in their own rights. They’re a pleasure to work with and super easy-going. I gave them a camera and asked them to create and “live” the trip. At most of the locations, after getting the planned shots, I asked them to improvise and do whatever they would do if there wasn’t a camera pointed at them. A good amount of these shots were edited into the film.

Because of the compressed and exhaustive shooting schedule, I haven’t really got a chance to soak in the beauty of San Luis Obispo and its surroundings. Would definitely love to take a real road trip there soon.