What I Did in 2021 – Roberto Serrini Year In Review.

Quite a year last year … amid a pandemic with an uncertain future I found myself having perhaps the most interesting and meaningful year of my life. Everything has been deconstructed and has us all a bit more focused on what is our own personal reality. Looking back all I can say is thank you, because each day is a gift. Thank you to everyone that made last year so special, and here is to this year, where hopefully more magic continues to find it’s way into all our lives.

What did i do last year. oh boy. Well, my pandemic project of launching www.onemanonecamera.com kept me busy, having 30 projects in the can so far. Some literally.

To save time I made the short All The Pretty Things which featured a dozen brands all in one action packed 5 minute festival film. I call it advertising multitasking. I mean all those episodes of Workaholics aren’t going to watch themselves.

One of the products was an ultra rare quarter of a million dollar bike which we I did a separate doc on.

I got up to do a tiktok tricky piece for buzzfeed which was fun.

Then got freaky with freakmount by hanging babies, filming strippers, Juggalo scientists and armchair jet dudes. its a quality product.

There was of course things with wheels, Like this launch I did for Indians new FTR bike,

A quick edit for my Honda friends with their new line of ATVs

and a quick piece for Wolverine cinema digitizer. I mean it’s kinda a wheel, deal with it.

I got into the real-estate game with AirBnB, one of which was Conde Nast’s best Airbnb in LA … there goes my friends and family rate.

And got very coochie coochie coo as I helped launch the new Ray-Ban stories with Facebook.

and if we’re dropping names I did a big project with Netflix which I’d love to tell you about but I’m under NDA so yeah.

Last year I think we all nurtured an unhealthy relationship with food and booze, so I starting off with a new series about home bars. Shelter in place never looked so good.

I did a quick jam for Absolute where COVID was just a dream.

Then developed a show for the History Channel that explored the fascinating history about booze in America. It had it all … stop motion, fanciful animation, hardcore gotcha journalism, and this guy who’s been training to be the Bourdain of booze his whole life. I knew all that drinking in college would pay off mom.

non alcoholic but just as addictive I did a romantic branded doc for La Colombe coffee featuring chef Tim Hollingworth of Otium and his signature blend he crafted with them. They gave me a crate of coffee and I had the edit done in 23 minutes. #lifehack #roastandrender #caffinecutting

Crashing hard I did a few tasty films for Tasty, like this brie and butter … oh …. oh man. This got flagged a few times on the tok no cap.

I put my laughing cap on for Sweetfin, getting very serious about their new bento box like it was a BMW commercial circa 2004. All tuna interior. mmm.

I brought it back to the boot with a few Italian inspired films for Butter Pat Cast Iron. This is one job I didn’t mind retakes.

finally my torrid romance with Allen Brothers boiled over as we completed 13 heritage recipes with chef Olivier Rassinoux. No one told me in college that I’d have to rib eye, roasted bone marrow tordelli, and wagyu beef cheek risotto for work. I would have gotten better grades.

Putting on my dancing shoes I did a very surreal music video for Chris Sullivan of Joseph the Spouse and got smoke in my eyes with French rap group Kame House out in the desert

quick rando break. I was accepted into the Explorers Club, which is like Soho House for nerds, I bought this red 80’s looker, and started to learn blender. I made a bench. I know it’s not going to win any awards.

But what did win awards are some of my films (now that’s a segway) With 88 official selections and 26 wins my IMDB page is getting downright respectable. I think. I have no idea what any of this means. I did get this dope poster, LADbible shared one of my films which put me over the 10k mark, and I won not one, not two, but THREE Taste Awards which is like the Oscars for food and travel, their words not mine. I knew high cholesterol would pay off.

Alright lets talk travel. Somehow I found myself exploring Utah for Get Lost Magazine which launched their new digital platform, and DC discovering amazing nightlife and whatever the hell this is and with the smokiest and most fire steak I’ve ever had. Over to the Twin Cities to Fargo it up for 3M, and then down to Guatemala for Jet Blue to do a story on their maiden direct flight from NYC, where I explore the colorful sanatoria depths of Atitlan, the vibrant explosion of life in Chichicastenagno, and of course get my Zacapa rum hat on in Antigua.

My last destination was good ol Italy where I did a series of films for The Gold Hotel in on the Ligurian coast. The papers claimed I was seducing American to come visit. Well I do declare. Then Felini’d down to Rome to win at the Motorcycle Film Festival at Cinecita. While I had my best friends there we thought we should film episode 2 of Italy in Bocca.

So first we rented a 500 year old apartment on the Tiber and planned the ultimate roman meal from the cookbook series.

From there we went to the birthplace of the most roman pasta, Amatrice, which was sadly destroyed by an earthquake in 2016. The mayor took us around to the absolute best purveyor of guanciale and roman pecorino cheese needed to make this ambrosia, and somehow got the local nonnas to share her secrets with us.

Then we jumped over to Arricia which is the home of the por por por porchetta, where we learned the secrets behind this mouth gift from the gods.

Back in Rome I met with epicurean royalty like the only female Roman Michelin star chef Christina Bowerman , the vanguard behind the carciofi judiche at Nonna Betta, the oldest restaurant in Rome la Campana to learn carciofi romani, and the charming Michela Di Maria of my favorite restaurant Due Ladroni to learn the impossible truths of real roman cooking .

Overloaded with this profound knowledge we hit up the best specialty shops and fresh markets in Rome before returning to our ancient apartment to cook. Lemme tell you cooking in a 500 year old wood burning hearth is not like my Brevel toaster oven back in queens. Somehow we had the courage to invite my Roman family to dinner who actually know how to cook, and one very special guest. Rodo, who was the original illustrator of the cookbooks, who not only came, but gifted us two new illustrations which are so special to me I don’t even know what to say.

The entire night was magic. The fact that Me and my friends, who are complete nobodies, could reach out to all these people that share this common love for food, family and culture and bring it together just with our own passion is amazing. In fact, it was so special, such a perfect example of what life should be, that I ended up proposing to my girlfriend Jackie. I never thought 2021 would be such an amazing year, and all I can say is thank you, you all mean everything to me. Here’s to us all in 2022, no matter what comes at us.

What an Electric Hot Rod taught me bout Perception.

I saw this video this morning, and while it’s not about travel or filmmaking, I did realize something very interesting that applies to both. Your perception of the world is misleading you.

You don’t have to watch the video, but it’s pretty remarkable what this guy builds. An electric Hot Rod, the first I’ve ever heard of. What really struck me was when he talked about what kind of noise the engine makes.

None. It’s silent.

He says it worried him. Hot Rods have to be loud, the engine noise is as much a defining factor as is the speed or style of a Hot Rod. This car is silent. How could it be a Hot Rod then?

This made me think about perception. As animals, we learn the world around us, perceive it a certain way, and accept it as truth. We do so to make it easier, and faster, to navigate our world, effectively using less energy to do so, which is the goal for all life on earth, can I do this with less energy waisted. We recognise food, faces, places, and they become knowledge so we don’t have to waste resources discovering them over and over again.

This kinda sucks when you apply it to art or travel.

I love the fact that this Hot Rod doesn’t make a noise. It still is a Hot Rod, but not as you expect it. That’s what makes it interesting, wonderful, and creative. If we constantly expect the same thing out of something, then we will never have anything novel. It’s this loss of perception that created something novel, and that is wonderful. Go to countries and challenge your perception of a foreign culture. I guarantee any preconceived idea you have of a place you’ve never been to will be wrong on some level, for better or worse. This will broaden your mind, and amaze you.

The same goes for filmmaking. How many Super Hero films are there? How many are exactly the same? Change the dynamic, change the conversation, change the perception of what a Super Hero is and you will create something rather interesting. Spiderverse, Glass, Hancock. It goes for any genre, just imagine how it could be the same, but different, and blow people’s minds.

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About:

Roberto Serrini is a professional filmmaker who records his adventures in word, photography and film. He is a staff writer for Get Lost Magazine, a senior contributor to Trip Advisor, as well as a drone operator. His work can be seen at www.robertoserrini.com where he can be contacted as well. The Vintage Camera Quest is an adventure through vintage cameras.
Follow him @serrini

 

Taking old cars and making them better is a part of American culture: the hot rod. In this episode of State of Repair, Jim Belosic takes a 1981 Honda Accord and makes it electric… and very fast.

Riding Through Death.

A while back I had the chance to go experience Death Valley in a very special way: top a two wheeled beast who just devours desert.

With the adventurous crew from Honda who brought the badass bikes, along with my goto for all things cool, Tracy Motts from Rev’It motorcycle gear, we were completely covered in the way of motorcycle mayhem. Or destination was Beatty (pronounced either beat-ee or bait-ee dee-pending on who you talk to and how much they have had to drink) which isn’t so much a destination as a town as is a place that aliens forgot to obliterate on their strike on the U.S. in 1958 (something locals actually believe.)

The town is a wonderful place if you like weird, strange and that slight feeling that you are surrounded by people evading John Q. Law. We opted for the Motel 6, which was the finest joint in town.

Food wise there is actually lots to discover, some fine chili places, Mexican joints, and this dodgy little bar that had some fine salisbury steak. We tossed back a few root-beers, stapled a few dollars on the wall to appease our intergalactic overlords, and hit the hay to get up before sunrise to hit the dirt trails.

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I cannot overstate how absolutely FANTASTIC it is to ride a dirtbike through desert canyons. At all. I had never ridden a dirtbike, and while I was secure on a street bike, this was a whole other beast. After ditching a few times in some soft spots I learned to stand over the bike rather then lean into it; something non-riders will scratch their head at, and experienced riders nod at. It’s just like riding a BMX bike, you know, like when you were 12, if your BMX had a 650 monster engine attached to it and you were fueled by whiskey rage.

Once I had the knack of it I was flying through switchbacks and even getting my front wheel up on long tracks. As you fly through the canyons you feel like Indiana Jones, but on a motorcycle, which is about as cool as you can feel. It was epic.

Here’s a little film I shot with my drone that day. Oh, did I mention I brought a drone? Yeah. I brought a drone to Death Valley.

Once through Titus Canyon we met the Honda truck which ported water, gas, and anything else we might need. This was the way to travel. As a side note, while we rehydrated, a runner came over the hill half dead. Apparently her boyfriend had fallen ill running a trail and was about 2 miles back, baking in the sun, unable to move. Like a modern western our best rider jumped on a 350 and tore off on his mechanical horse to help. Needless to say the chap was alright and our badass meter jumped up another notch.

We took lunch at Scotty’s Castle, which, if you’ve never been, is friggin weird. It’s a castle … in the middle of Death Valley. Thats it. A clear testament to human’s ability to put things where they truly do not belong. Strange as it is, it’s a magical place to take lunch, and get out the scorching heat for a sec.

Refueled, we continued on, heading to the famous Racetrack Playa, a dry lake-bed which has been in every car commercial in the 90’s. On the way we passed Teakettle Junction, and checked the pots for some secret messages. We found one, that said “Nancy. I’ve left. The salt has me now. Tell grandma I loved her. The money is in the seat cuchion. Don’t drink too much. Stay safe. Ted.” Ted is my new spirit animal.

The lake bed is an amazing place, unlike anywhere else on earth (other then other deserts that might have a dry lake bed). It’s a place with absolutely … nothing. For a kid from NYC this is unreal, and immediately made me nervous and start looking around for a Starbucks. Alas, there was none. Things started to get…weird.

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We drove back hooping and hollering, through Ubehebe Crater, Zabriskie and the Rhyolite ghost town, and arrived back in sleep Beatty just in time for supper. We hit up this Mama Sara’s, which, no lie, had the best Mexican food I’ve ever put in my mouth. This coming from a man who has lived in SoCal, Mexico City, and even gotten into La Esquina in NYC. This was off the cadena (that’s “chain” in Spanish. Sorry).

In the end, Death Valley is a magical place. It’s a wondrous, empty, low spot on the planet that is strangely filled with so much to see, experience, and feel. It is a beautiful place for introspection and a meditative location to reflect quietly on one’s life. It’s only ten times better doing it ripping through a desert canyon on a 650 cc cannon as BRRRAAAAAP echos off the sandstone walls. Respect.

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