Collaborator Highlight: Naoto Ono


Meet our videographer Naoto and learn about his favorite experiences at Ka’ana!

Name Naoto Ono

Date of visit  March 3rd, 2012

Title Creative Director, Videographer, Musician

Homebase NYC; Naoto Ono on Vimeo

Bio I was born in Japan, grew up in southern California, and now work and reside in New York City.  After 13+ years of experience art directing commercials and ad campaigns, and designing identities for global multi-million dollar corporations and smaller businesses alike, I’m now venturing further into shooting and directing. I love adventure and global travel, and I don’t see any reason why work and life have to be separate ideas.

What inspired you on your trip to Belize? Hmm, can I say everything? The lush smell of the air, the spices and flavors of the food, all the amazing locations and unbelievable experiences that happened…on a daily basis! Several times I remember all of us on the crew saying “this project/trip can’t get any better!” but the next day it would! For example, after hiking up a Mayan pyramid (with nobody else around but us) we were jet boating it back to the mainland. The sky was dark by that time because the shoot took longer than expected…well, actually, we just didn’t want to leave. We rode through the marshland in the dark as the animals of the night started to awaken. We saw crocodiles’ eyes shining in the water, flocks of birds bursting out of the trees, and the full moon and stars glowed all around us. Never have I seen stars reflect so brightly in the water! There was no other place I wanted to be at that moment, for sure.

What was your favorite thing about Ka’ana? It’s a beautiful place, but the people at Ka’ana are what make it so special. Everyone was welcoming, friendly, and helpful with the shoot. We were running around the entire time and I’m sure created some disruption to the daily work they already had, but everyone was flexible as well as willing to help, which made the shoot so pleasant.

What was your most memorable experience? I’d have to say the day I was hanging off the helicopter, chasing an airboat at Lamanai Lake. The original plan was to just shoot scenic shots of Belize from the air, which was already amazing, but at the last minute we decided to also shoot the airboat from above as it buzzed through the Lamanai Lake marshland. This type of project was perfect for me because the physical challenges we faced are the kinds of things I’d want to do on my time off anyway! I don’t think many projects can be this exciting, but one can hope. While chasing the air boat standing outside of a helicopter I remember looking out over at the Mayan pyramids over in the horizon and thinking to myself how fortunate I was to be doing this for a living.

What do you love most about your job? The challenges and new experiences I face daily are actually what I love. I can’t image mindlessly shuffling through the same routine every day; it’s my nature to be creative in anything I do, so it’s a perfect field for me. I want to keep learning, and new projects always have an element of education to them, whether it’s new people you meet or new surroundings to adapt to. It’s a lot of work, but to me it’s never just a job.

What was different about working on this project? Working with the Ka’ana team was the kind of unique situation that you hope will happen more often. The energy and excitement they brought to this made me want to just work harder because I knew it meant a lot to them personally. What they created is really special, and I hope I captured at least some of it!