Category Archives: Uncategorized

Swingin’ Over Cuenca

A few days ago, we decided to put our free Sunday to good use by going to Turi.


Not only was the view awesome, but we also found a gigantic swing that flies over Cuenca for the small price of $1.50 a ride!!

^ Check out my short video of the swing in the link above! ^


Filming Week Complete

Last week was our third week here in Cuenca and was our designated “filming week.” The TECHO group faced a good amount of setbacks last week (which I will explain) but we kept on trekking and still had a great time.

First, on Monday, we were supposed to start our week off by shooting our main character at her university. She had gained permission from her professor for us to shoot about 10 minutes of her class and then use the classroom for an interview afterwards. Everything started off great, we arrived early and got started shooting some great establishing shots but things took a turn for the worse when we were waiting for Gaby (our main character) to come meet us outside of her classroom building. Apparently our camera equipment caught the attention of some nosy teachers who were wondering what we were doing and then questioned if we had the permission of the Dean. Apparently, the permission of the teacher was not enough and after much negotiation and paperwork we were eventually banned from the campus. We spent the rest of the afternoon shooting some really cool time lapses though, so the whole day was not lost.

Tuesday, we were really excited to get filming again. We were going to spend the morning getting some establishing shots of the city and then spend the afternoon filming a TECHO volunteer event at our main character’s house. Early Tuesday morning the other group, FCT, left for an overnight trip up to the mountains. When we arrived to our first location to shoot we realized as we were setting up our gear that FCT had actually took our tripod with our camera’s baseplate attachment with them and left us their tripod with no baseplate for us to connect our camera to (thanks FCT!!) This meant that we could not shoot anything that needed a tripod, which was the majority of our shots planned for the morning and the afternoon. We tried to make the best of the morning situation and get some audio of the city to use but there was a cab strike going on and they were driving around the center in circles honking their horns non stop….not the best for extra sound clips. We ended up having to buy another tripod during lunch because no store would sell is just a baseplate, but again it ended up working out and we got some really nice shots from our afternoon session.


Wednesday was another extremely interesting day. We were finally heading out to one of the communities that TECHO built houses in, Quingeo, which is about an hour outside of Cuenca. How did we get to Quingeo you ask? We fit 8 people in to a car meant for 5 and drove very fast through the mountains and sort roads; definitely not the most enjoyable ride of our lives. But once up on Quingeo we were able to see first hand what TECHO was all about and talk to some owners of TECHO houses.



Thursday, shooting was going smoothly other than us starting about 1 1/2 hours behind schedule because our character was stuck in class a little later than planned. We got some great shots of her at a library (to replace the school shots we could not film Monday,) shots of her walking around the city and a really great interview at her house. Things became interesting after we finished her interview in her room and she told us we couldn’t leave because her parents were downstairs. Our character has a complicated relationship with her parents and they obviously did not know that we were going to be there and she didn’t want them to see us. So after about 15 minutes of seeing if they would leave we decided to hide our film equipment as best we could and make a run for it, one of our professors may or may not have stuck a boom poll down his pant leg.

Saturday, our final day of shooting, we returned to Quingeo for a TECHO community event where TECHO volunteers spent time with the local kids. We went to some of the TECHO houses further away from the town center and again met with a couple of families who had their lives changed because of TECHO. We got a lot of great footage and it was an excellent way to wrap up the week of filming.



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Recipe for Guacamole a la Ron


5 medium Avocados 

2 cloves of garlic 

1/2 medium size tomato

1/2 large cebolla 

1/2 ounce of cilantro 

 2 medium sized limes (juice) 

The finest fresh cracked pepper in the land. 

Enough hot peppers to notice the hot peppers

Residual sugar and mint flavor from the mojitos we were drinking. 

…. And about three seconds of rum. Just tilt and count. 



Put everything in a bowl. Sip a mojito. Enjoy. 

There and Back Again: A (Not So) Hobbit’s Tale

Oh man, let me first just say that two mornings ago, I was woken up by a rooster! What?! That actually happens. I thought that only happened in the movies! But for real, flippin’ Foghorn Leghorn woke me the heck up at first crack of sunlight the other night.

So you are probably wondering why I was hanging out with roosters! We were up at the farm filming the heck out of mountains, mountains and more mountains. We got all the mountain shots- we got dem pans, dem tilts and doze zooms! You need mountain shots, we got them!

But other than that the trip was a huge success. We ate like kings (minus all of the things kings eat!),  we hung out with some alpacas (creepiest little buggers at night) and we slept in the freezing cold (praise the alpaca blanket)!

But on a more serious note, the trip was amazing. What we saw and what we did were part of a larger experience, something I will remember for a long long time. There was a point when we were twenty minutes into a steep uphill mud hike that, when we finally were able to look out at the miles of hills and mountains that, even after a half hour of cursing the trip, I couldn’t help but think about how worth it everything is- how every step took me to a better and greater view.  And that made everything good!

Its amazing to compare that to life, how the things we think are rough and impossible lead us to something greater and more awesome. I can think of time, way back when, when I would curse the little things, but now I look back and every second I’ve hurt- every second I’ve cried or struggled- I couldn’t trade it for anything. I cherish those moments. And like the hike up that mountain, things are more beautiful now because of them.

….Oh man, woah, think I blacked out for a second. That got too serious! But yeah, this trip is cool, that trip was cool. Mountains are cool. I’m cool, you’re cool, life is cool. Cool shit.

-Zach M.

Shooting Week

We are now into our third week in Cuenca and the crews are all out shooting while I await their return so I can edit the footage. We’ve hit a few speed bumps on the way, most recently involving a missing tripod plate, but we are still moving in the right direction and the footage we have gotten so far is looking great! I cannot wait to see what footage my crew brings back today. If it is anything like yesterdays footage then I am going to have a good day of editing tomorrow.

~ Zach Persechini

Half a Month and Half a Beard Later

Hola. ¿Como estás!?

Good. Now that the extent of my Spanish is out of the way, lets be real and stuff. Cuenca is pretty awesome. They have so many things… Like Karaoke! And Beer! That’s fun!

I’m learning ever so much here in the far away land of America. Like what do do with a tripod and a dead cat (technical terms, you probably wouldn’t understand).

So all of you avid readers of probably know a bit about whats going on, but imma fill you in:

Day 1: Flights be early, Copa be silly.

Day 2: Bus tours, like a baws

Day 3: Authentic Mexican food because we are in Ecuador

Day 4: I showered for the first time ever….

Day 5: Things happened

Day 6-7: More things happened

Day 8: I spad (spa as a verb in past tense) to a whole new level.

Day 9: Something about mountains

Day 10-13: More talking than I’ve done ever.

Day 14: I rode a flippin horse and made friends with a dog. This is my only friend….

Day 15: Silly Switzerland.

Day 16: Got our first interview down….now I am writing a blog post titled “Half a Month and Half a Beard Later.” It is about what I have done the past half of a month. I started out talking about how on the first day Copa was silly. Then I went through every other day to….never mind.

Hi! Hello. My name is Zach!

16 days so far of Cuenca Ecuador. 14 more to come! Party like a rock-star and shiz like that. Goodnight and stuff.



FCT Location Scout

Last Monday, the FCT group and I traveled to the Sangay National Park for location scouting for our documentary.

Group Photo

We got to see some awesome views…


And even meet some alpacas!


It was great to see the area to plan our shots before we began filming. While I will be hanging back to begin editing, the rest of the group will be in the national park on Tuesday to start the actual filmmaking process!