Chase Sapphire Commercial

Selfies with Silverbacks is something I never dreamed I'd be doing but here we are. 

Selfies with Silverbacks is something I never dreamed I'd be doing but here we are. 

Shooting this Chase commercial was the opportunity of a lifetime!!! So I wanted to share a bit about how this fiasco came about and also let you know why Gorilla Trekking is one of the coolest things I've ever done!

This shot was all posed... I'm rarely this calm. 

This shot was all posed... I'm rarely this calm. 

The backstory....

So here I am, minding my own business, when I get a message on Facebook from a girl named Melody. She says that I would be perfect for an upcoming Chase Commercial her friend was casting for. Firstly, I barely knew Melody, we randomly met in a chicken joint one night and became Facebook friends… that’s about it, lol. Secondly, I am nobody's actor… I feel far more comfortable behind the camera. But hey, I’m all about trying new things! Anyway, the process moved VERY quickly! I submitted a short questionnaire, then got called back to do two Skype screen tests and next thing I know I’m on a plane to Uganda. The entire process from the first FB message to my flight was a blistering 10 days. 

Walking through the Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp Hotel.

Walking through the Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp Hotel.

The service was great and the food was awesome. My new favorite thing in the world is the Ugandan Tea, a mixture of Tea, milk and spice. Sooooo good

The service was great and the food was awesome. My new favorite thing in the world is the Ugandan Tea, a mixture of Tea, milk and spice. Sooooo good

The road to the Gorillas...

Gorilla trekking is done exclusively in Uganda and Rwanda, who share a border. In Uganda we did our trekking at the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. If you choose to do it in Uganda most travelers will typically fly in to Entebbe International Airport which is quite a distance to Bwindi. So you basically have two options: 1) You can charter a plane or 2) Drive 10 hours. We chose option 2 because it gave us time to bond and also see some sights along the way. We stopped at this really cool market to grab fruit, vegetables and some quick shots and we also got a chance to take pictures at the Equator (which I loved)!  

Did you peep the boom mic in the shot?

Did you peep the boom mic in the shot?

CHS0030_Sapphire Seven_Uganda Market-23.jpg
CHS0030_Sapphire Seven_Uganda Market-26.jpg
I got a chance to shoot a little although my new homie Matt was the hired photographer for this project. 

I got a chance to shoot a little although my new homie Matt was the hired photographer for this project. 

CHS0030_Sapphire Seven_Uganda Misc. Elton-14.jpg

Bring on the Gorillas...

Gorilla Trekking has been on my bucket list for years!! I'd heard that nothing comes close to being face to face with our biological cousins and I must admit its true. We were literally inches from these magnificent beasts! One of the gorillas even brushed up against my leg (I peed a little). The good thing is that these gorillas have been habituated, meaning that humans interact with them in their natural habitat on a daily basis so they won’t feel threatened.

The trademark "Silverback" actually comes with age. Around 27 years old a male gorilla typically gets the unique marking.

The trademark "Silverback" actually comes with age. Around 27 years old a male gorilla typically gets the unique marking.

CHS0030_SapphireSeven_Gorilla Tracking_-14.jpg
This gentleman is affectionately known as "The Chief". He is in charge of the park and was one of our guides on the Trek.

This gentleman is affectionately known as "The Chief". He is in charge of the park and was one of our guides on the Trek.

CHS0030_SapphireSeven_Gorilla Tracking_-70.jpg

The Trek....

Gorilla Trekking is NOT easy. You have to literally track the gorilla families in their natural habitat. The guides have a good idea of where they are but they can move daily. Some groups we spoke with had to hike for 5 hours to find gorillas... luckily it only took us about 45 minutes.

CHS0030_SapphireSeven_Gorilla Tracking_-17.jpg
CHS0030_SapphireSeven_Gorilla Tracking_-45.jpg

Was it worth it? Final Thoughts.... 

I can honestly say that this should be on everyone's bucket list but there are a few caveats. The travel is strenuous! If you're going to fly all that way I would recommend spending at least 2 weeks in the region. I had to do it all in 6 days. It's also not very cheap. The flight, lodging, visa and gorilla permit ($600) can add up to a lot. I'm not a baller quite yet so this trip was always further down line for me. Another thing is you only get an hour with the gorillas. That could be a little disappointing for some but I promise it seems like so much longer. The people in Uganda are super nice so that's a plus! If you have the time, the coins and want an unmatchable experience I say go for it!

CHS0030_SapphireSeven_Gorilla Tracking_-26.jpg

If you haven't had a chance to see the commercials then you can check them out below. I also have a spot I shot in LA which could be coming out any day now as well. Special thanks to Chase and the team at Drago 5 for this awesome opportunity!