An afternoon with the Dalai Lama

“We’re looking for someone to videotape a private fundraiser,” the caller said.

No problem. Good Life shoots non-profit events all the time. But we soon learned this was no ordinary event. It was an invitation only luncheon to raise money for The Sager Family Foundation – an amazing philanthropy working to empower leaders and improve lives in some of the most dangerous, troubled places in the world – and the guest of honor was His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. This shoot would require discretion, quick-thinking and flexibility. Sign us up!

We scouted the location – a gorgeous, sprawling apartment overlooking the Boston Common that is home to philanthropist Bobby Sager and his family. Sager’s intrepid assistant Ashley explained that approximately 75 guests would be attending – some of them nearly as high profile as His Holiness – and it would be most important that we capture the event without a lot of production fanfare. That meant no lights, cables or other equipment that would get in the way of keeping the event an intimate experience for all those attending.

No problem. Our new Canon C300 shoots really well in low light and a large bank of windows in the apartment would provide plenty of natural light.

The Sagers had asked only for one camera, but at the last minute, we decided to bring our Sony EX1 as a second camera. The event would be fluid – we didn’t know what to expect and the second camera would give us more options for editing and more importantly, ensure that we get the shot.

It was a wise decision. The Dalai Lama was being escorted by a security detail from the US State Department and as His Holiness entered the apartment, security held back our videographer on the C300. Thankfully, the second camera was already rolling in the dining room and captured the shot as the guests applauded the Dalai Lama’s arrival. No problem.

It was an honor to be in the room with His Holiness. He had an amazing energy that I can only describe as lightness – both bright and buoyant. And when he laughed, it was a deep, belly laugh that was childlike and incredibly infectious. Click here to hear the Dalai Lama laugh. If a man who has lost his country and lives in a state of exile can laugh like that, then we should all be able to laugh our way through life’s challenges. No problem.

If there is no solution to the problem, then don’t waste time worrying about it. If there is a solution to the problem, then don’t waste time worrying about it. – Dalai Lama XIV

(At the request of our client, we cannot show you the footage from the event, but enjoy these stills)

His Holiness with Philanthropist Bobby Sager

Neal on camera 1 (center) trying to get the shot, but being held back by security – thank goodness for the second camera!

Sting was one of the other high-profile guests in attendance

The view from camera 1

The view from camera 1