Flying by the Seat of our Pants

We wanted to explore a bit of Victoria after spending time in Tasmania and knew we had two weeks before our scheduled housesit up in Queensland, so we decided to have a look for opportunities on Workaway. Looking forward to honing our skills and spending some time on the beach, we were pleasantly surprised to find a posting seeking video editors! We flipped through the profile and were thrilled to discover that the living situation was in a private ‘granny flat’, which was basically an attached unit with it’s own bedroom and bathroom to the main house. This was a nice break from all of the shared accommodations we had stayed in thus far. We also had many opportunities to walk down to the beach and enjoy the beautiful sunsets that streaked across the crashing waves.

Geelong - Ocean Grove Sunset

Our hosts Annabel and Anatole were very pleasant with three adorable little girls who were quite a handful at times! Anatole runs aerobatic and scenic flight tours near Bells Beach in old WWII fighter aircraft. His tour company (Warbird Air Adventures) offers the opportunity for customers to purchase an edited video of their flight. The video is captured by Go Pros mounted inside the plane and on the tail and edited with music and transitions between all angles to make it fun and captivating.

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Our job would be to take the footage and edit the videos for the customers that purchased them. It sounded really fun and simple, but when Anatole walked us through the expectations and told us that he generally edited 2 videos per hour. Dan and I worked together on the first video and showed it to Anatole to review. He was impressed and was glad he had two experienced editors (yay us!). The problem was, as perfectionists, each of us would edit separately (he had an iMac and I had my Macbook), our videos were taking 2-3 hours each. That means in one typical work day, we would only be getting through 4 videos each (at most). We were really stressed about this since we were provided with food, accommodation, new computer programs, etc. for the work we were doing. We didn’t want to be major disappointments!

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To try and make up for our slow progress we would usually work 12+ hour days to get more done. The laid back, fun job was quickly becoming very stressful. We didn’t end up spending as much time enjoying the area, although we always made a point of taking the family dog, Sally, out for a walk each day. She was an older Kelpie and still full of as much energy as a puppy. She would drag us down the street on the leash until we made it to the local wetland area and then once off the lead, she would tear about, barking like a maniac. She was a very strange yet lovely dog. She was also starting to wear out a bit from arthritis which never slowed her down, but definitely had an impact on her once she got back home each day. They called her Dickie sometimes, since she had a “dickie knee” which basically meant that it was sore often. 

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In an effort to try and help out as much as we could, we were able to help with a bit of yard work, cleaned some windows, made a few dinners and even had a chance to fix up some molds for plane parts at his hangar. Dan even took a crack at fibreglassing! Although hanging out at the hangar was a great experience, I was quite nervous of the presence of RedBack Spiders on the hangar doors. I must have spotted at least 8. And apparently you had to be careful because they sometimes sat in webs where the handholds were. Not exactly comforting for an arachnophobe!  

Geelong - Redback Spider

We had a chance to get to know the family each night, as we would all gather for dinner as well and to give Annabel a break one day, we took the girls down to the beach (although they insisted on running around in the nude, which made it a bit awkward).

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We also had some nice chats with Anatole when he would drive us in his Ute (utility truck), teaching us some of the Aussie-isms including “looks like a plate of dicks” which basically means, it looks terrible. Not something I will be adding to my own vocabulary, but humorous none the less! 

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As a big thank you for all of our work, Anatole took each of us on an Aerobatic flight of our own, and we had a chance to edit our own footage as well. When we decided to head down the Great Ocean Road for a little mini-break, they were happy to lend us some camping gear as well! Once we returned, we were very fortunate that Anatole was flying a half-empty sightseeing tour down the Great Ocean Road on an hour and a half joyride and we were invited as well! That was a great opportunity to get some nice aerial shots and we could appreciate it even more since we had just been to all the major spots ourselves.

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I think that two weeks was definitely a good amount of time to spend on this project and we really enjoyed ourselves. I would definitely recommend this Workaway experience to anyone interested in flying and honing their video editing skills!

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