Master Freedive Instructor Roberta Cenedese

In episode twenty three, host Brett Stanley chats with Master Freedive Instructor & cold water specialist Roberta Cenedese. Based in Vancouver Canada, Roberta often works on film and tv sets coaching actors for their underwater scenes, she works alongside stunt performers as part of the safety team, and provides guidance to the production on how to achieve some of the technical shots their going for.

They chat about breath holding techniques, how dangerous cold water can be, and how amazing it was working on a show like Siren.

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About Roberta Cenedese – Master Freedive Instructor

Roberta Cenedese is an AIDA Master Freediving Instructor and a cold water trainer that works with open water swimmers. She teaches cold water adaptation, freediving, open water swimming, and works on set and with photographers to support performers and stunt performers. She hold clinics on equalization, monofin kicking, mindfulness, and visualization for freediving, and incorporate modalities like Pilates and Qi Gong to develop proper posture techniques, streamline, and flow. 

Roberta believes anything is achievable if you stop judging your progress and simply immerse yourself in the joy of learning foundational techniques. She is an overwhelming supporter of meditation as a daily practice to navigate life and to achieve athletic goals. 

Podcast Transcript

Ep 23 – Roberta Cenedese

Brett Stanley: [00:00:00] welcome back to the underwater podcast. And this week we’re ditching the scuba gear to talk with master free dive instructor and cold water specialist. Roberta Cenedese. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Roberta often works on film and TV sets, coaching actors for their underwater scenes.

She works alongside stunt performers as part of their safety team and provide guidance to the production on how to achieve some of the technical shots they going for. We chat about breath, holding techniques, how dangerous cold water can be and how amazing it was working on a show like siren.

Alright, let’s take a deep breath and dive in. 

Roberta welcome to the underwater podcast.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:00:38] Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Brett Stanley: [00:00:41] We’re excited to have you, I mean, we haven’t really had anyone on the show yet who kind of teaches what you teach, which is like the free diving and the, the diving side of things. Talk me through what it is that you do in your, of what your career is.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:00:55] I worked for 20 years in the film industry as a production coordinator.

Brett Stanley: [00:01:00] Oh,

Roberta Cenedese: [00:01:00] and I did that for a really long time. And while I was doing that, I was too, you know, production coordinating is as steady a schedule, as you can see, you can get in the film industry and the film and television industry.

And so I was able to train and compete. In, um, free diving and open water, swim races and do, um, my athletic pursuits as a competitive athlete. And then when I decided to retire from that, I decided to retire from production coordinating because I really did not enjoy sitting for, you know, 12 to 14 hours a day.

In the office, it really was co counter to who I am as a person. It I’m super grateful because it gave me the stability to compete and pursue my, um, my athletic pursuits, but I wanted a change. So, um, yeah, my husband and I decided to, um, just go traveling for a year. And then when I came back before I, uh, You know, I had some time to think I had no idea what I was going to do next.

And so I decided since I was no longer competing to teach, because there wasn’t really an active community in Vancouver at all, or a structured free diving community or open water swim community, really, there was, there was, um, a small, uh, group of open water swimmers that sort of swam off one beach, but nothing really, Nothing organized in the way that I wanted to see it, which was really a lot more challenging and, um, competition based.

Brett Stanley: [00:02:27] It’s a bit more advanced. more

Roberta Cenedese: [00:02:29] Yeah, I think just a bit more. I was, I’ve always been someone that’s pursued individual athletes or individual sort of athletic pursuits and individual, um, endurance pursuits.

So it wasn’t like I wasn’t as interested in going out and swimming a loop in the ocean as I was of like, can I get from this spot to that spot in one swim?

Brett Stanley: [00:02:48] Right. So a little bit more motivated, a little bit more kind of goal

Roberta Cenedese: [00:02:52] yeah, goal orientated and driven. And I’ve. And, you know, obviously both of my pursuits that primarily interested me, free diving and open water swimming were, um, pursuits where you really, really have to adapt your body to what you’re doing. And that’s really what I find exciting. Seeing what the human body is capable of doing.

Um, yeah.

Brett Stanley: [00:03:12] you’re a you’re in Vancouver, so it’s it’s cold water, right?

Roberta Cenedese: [00:03:16] Yeah, it gets cold. And, you know, I swim year round in a bathing suit and it was just really interesting to me see how my body could adapt to colder and colder water for longer and longer periods. So that like in January, when water gets really down to like eight, sometimes six or five, you know, I could still swim for half an hour.

And I thought that was really, really. Cool. I was like, that’s really neat that my body can do that. And it’s really neat that I can hold my breath longer and longer.

Brett Stanley: [00:03:45] and it’s, it’s and it’s, it’s kind of like a superpower, right? Like you’ve, you’ve kind of feel like you’re pushing the limits of your own of your own body

to be able to do these things.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:03:52] a lot of people say that and I actually take the completely opposite approach. I mean, I love saying to my students. Like I’m a little old middle aged lady and I can do it. So if I can do it, everyone can do it. It’s all within us. It’s just a matter of taking it super slowly and rather than. It being a super power.

I like to think of it as unleashing what we have within that. We just, you know, that’s natural to us are mammals just like the seals and sea lions. We see our mammals, I mean, they’re Marine mammals, but we can do the same things. And actually the same physiological, um, events and in our body has happened in there is when they’re holding their breath.

So. I like to approach it that way, because, and this ties in really neatly with the work I do on set, I’m often dealing with people that maybe have a fear of water or, you know, come to it, really not confident. And my job is to say like, especially on a film set is to. Make it so that the fact that they’re performing in water is something they’re not thinking about at all.

They need to focus a hundred percent on their performance and their communion with Brayden, or whoever’s behind the camera and what they’re doing. And my job is to remove, you know, any tension or anxiety around the fact that they’re holding their breath and doing it under water or in cold water.

Brett Stanley: [00:05:11] And so you’ve got people coming to you who may not really be interested in. Doing these things under water, but because of a role and because of what their job has said, they have to learn how to do these things, to be able to do a certain scene

Roberta Cenedese: [00:05:24] Absolutely. And, I’m so sorry, I never finished your original question. I decided to teach. And so I started working, you know, training people from beginners to now we’re getting to a much more intermediate and advanced group in Vancouver that are training and working with athletes specifically overcoming like seconds, the logical, um, um, boundaries and physiological, um, Roadblocks when they’re trying to get deeper and deeper than once you’re descending past 30 meters and 40 meters on a breath hold like different elements come into play.

And, um, there’s that. But then all of a sudden braid and pulled me into working on film sets and I’m dealing with completely different people. I’m dealing with people that have never had an interest in being in the water. And, and like I mentioned earlier that actually some people have a fear of it. So.

It is really interesting to, to, to work with them. You know, a lot of what I do when you’re doing any kind of like, um, adaptive work, like, you know, um, what I mean by adaptive is adopting your body, adopting your mind to a completely different environment when you’re taking yourself out of breathing, which is like a basic, a basic thing that you feel you need, um, daily.

Um, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a challenge and you have to, you have to create an environment of safety. You have to be on your game so that whatever you’re asking them to do at any point, they can say, I want out and you can get them out one way or the other. That’s the first thing. But, um, you know, you have to make them believe and you have to allow them to know that they can do this.

By having them do their own breath holds beforehand that are like twice as long, three times as long as anything they’ll need to do in the water.

Brett Stanley: [00:07:07] Yeah, so you over overcompensate to, to give them that, that kind of comfort feeling to make them very confident

Roberta Cenedese: [00:07:14] Absolutely. We start with very basic stuff and especially people that are fearful of the water don’t think that they have the ability to do what’s required in terms of moving through the water and heavy costumes or, you know, whatever they need to do. We start out with the very basics and we build them up.

So. Everyone that’s entering the water to do anything with us has done like a one 32 33, three minute breath. Hold beforehand.

Brett Stanley: [00:07:41] yeah. Which is incredible for just regular people. And I think for me, that’s what I, when I, when I mentioned the superpower, it’s not like it’s something that, that ordinary people can’t do. It’s just that, like you say, it’s finding that power within you. That is purely natural response that your body’s got.

It’s just your, has trained yourself to not be able to do it.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:08:02] Absolutely for most of us, whether we’re athletes or, you know, like the actors that I work with or whatever. Um, Go in with the belief that we can’t do it, whatever it is, whatever we attempt for the first time,

Brett Stanley: [00:08:14] Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:08:15] of us, you know, have that belief that like, we’re never going to be able to master this. So we just take that all aside and say, this has nothing to do with what you’re doing, but, you know, um, we’re just gonna work on breath, holds to just, you know, relax and get into it.

And then the first time they do that, the first time they come up and I say, okay, that was two Oh five. They go, what.

You know, and then you go, yeah. And our takes are going to be 15, maybe 20 seconds long, and immediately you just see the shoulders go down and they’re just like, okay, what do I need to work on?

You know, to make that 20 seconds. Perfect.

Brett Stanley: [00:08:49] I can do this. That is totally possible.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:08:51] Yeah. That’s exactly it. Yeah. So, and that’s like, it’s such a. This has been such a satisfying experience because I get to be there every time and see that that’s a really privileged position to be in, to see somebody go through this transformative experience and come out, knowing like that they can do this.

You know, it’s pretty cool to be there and see that over and over and over again.

Brett Stanley: [00:09:14] Absolutely. I mean, so, so talk me through like the process of, of, of coming on to a production. So say something like siren where you’re with with Braden Haggerty, who’s the underwater camera operator. Um, what is the process of you coming onto that production? And then how do you get involved from there?

Roberta Cenedese: [00:09:32] Well, usually when production contacts, Braden, she will recommend that the performer, I mean, they’re going to talk to her about what can and can’t be done. And she will recommend that the performer work with me. And so, I mean, on siren, we had a lot of support from our producer. Tracy Jeffrey. Who’s awesome.

She’s amazing. And, uh, she was like, absolutely. How early can we start? And, um, mean for some of the performers lean are our lead and lean Powell. We started her in England. Yeah. I just reached out to a really amazing instructor and Brit and British national record holder there and had her work with Braden before or work with the leaning beforehand.

And then she came to Vancouver and we just immediately started working with her. I worked with Alex, the male lead we worked with, um, FOLA we worked with, we just worked with anyone that we knew was going to be under water and we just set up pool sessions and we do, um, scuba training work with them. And I’m not involved with that Braden herself or, um, Jeff Hottie.

Who’s another one of our, um, Commercial safety divers. And we do a lot of breath hold training. So first we just do breath work dry. I explained the process of what’s going on in your body and just, you know, it’s very, um, we’re not pushing people. I just want to see where they start at. Cause that’s going to be something I can tell.

Uh, the story coordinator I can tell Brayden, say, look, um, I will know pretty much after day one. Where I can go with this person.

Brett Stanley: [00:11:02] right. What their comfort is and whether they’re going to be receptive to being pushed or anything like that.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:11:08] exactly. And whether how much they’re going to be able to do on their own or how much support we’re going to need from a stunt double. Um, so yeah, you know, just having those conversations and that’s really about the performers, um, comfort level, because there’s no point in having them there underwater pushing them, you’re going to lose performance, um, when they start to feel uncomfortable.

So, um, We work together. We practice our breath holds we, we get in the water, we practice them in the water while they’re nice and comfortable and warm and, you know, wearing a mask. Like we give them every benefit to be comfortable. And then we slowly start peeling away. All those tools will take their mask away from them and have them experience the feeling of, you know, water in their eyes, have them experience what it feels like having water in their nose.

And then we’ll. You know, take off the, the wetsuit and maybe throw on some costumes and you know, all of that stuff, we work really, um, carefully and slowly with people’s ears to make sure that they can equalize. Um, and do what they need to do in the pool. So I’ll have them hold weights in their hands because that’s a big one.

Um, when you first tell people we’re going to be putting like a lot of weight on you, cause we want you to sink to the bottom. Cause you’re drowning in this tape. You know, people are terrified of that. So we do a lot of that in a pool with, you know, blue tiles and bright lights and, you know, mask on and just holding weights that they can drop at any time.

Brett Stanley: [00:12:33] right. So you make them entirely comfortable in that process so that they’ve got the control of it to let go of things and they can see everything and it’s all nice and safe.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:12:41] Totally. We have a lot of training sessions. So, um, you know, some people need one for what they’re going to do. They’re going to be, you know what I mean? They’re going to be standing on a platform underwater with just maybe a couple of feet of water over their head and we will, they could even hold, um, weights in their hands if it’s like, you know, a closeup.

Or whatever. So they’ll need one training session and they’re good to go. And other people will need more, especially if they need to move under water and siren. The big issue with siren was of course, like a mermaid, um, learning how to kick a dolphin kick, which is a totally different technique than a regular kick.

And it does take work. This is something that. You know, competitive, freedivers spend years on developing this technique. It’s not easy to move through the water with a monofin on. So, um, You know, we do more training work and, and everyone on siren, all of the mermaids were amazing. Like, you know, I just gave him some pool fence and said, go train on your own.

And they all did. They would just go to the pool and do some surface training, like some safe training that they could do without supervision. Uh, not on breath hold. And, um, they would come back each time improved and then we could move on. Yeah. I mean, even, even, um, um, little Alex who played. The littlest mermaid I’m on season three of siren.

I mean, she’s just a tiny, tiny little girl. And she had tons of action underwater holding Spears and attacking things and swimming with the monofin. And we had to buy, you know, a child’s model Finn. And she just was like, and her and her father and mother were amazing. They would just come to a training session and they just go and train, train, train in the pool and, uh, I mean, she was, she was amazing.

She was swimming like a little mermaid. She was just motoring across the tank and using her spear and performing and wearing like prosthetic teeth. And, you know, it was, it’s not an easy thing to do for adults, you know,

Brett Stanley: [00:14:35] let alone a child. How old is Alex?

Roberta Cenedese: [00:14:37] I don’t know off the top of my head, but I think she was somewhere around eight or nine.

Just a tiny little thing and just bang on, you know,

Brett Stanley: [00:14:47] And it would have been like a dream come true for her as well. I guess if, if she’s at that age probably into mermaids and, and if

Roberta Cenedese: [00:14:54] Oh, absolutely. It was for all the, you know, all the, all the women that came in and played mermaids. It’s like, I get to be a mermaid, but yes, for her, it was, it was really exciting for her. And she just really, as really blown away by how hard she worked and how willing she was to just, okay, one more time underwater.

We’re going to relax and down you go. And she did it. I mean, she did it. Yeah. That’s pretty cool.

Brett Stanley: [00:15:19] Do you give them them homework to do like, are there exercises and training that they need to go away and do and come back?

Roberta Cenedese: [00:15:27] Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.

Brett Stanley: [00:15:29] What does that involve

Roberta Cenedese: [00:15:30] I’m mostly doing a lot of breath holds. And, and then reporting back about issues or what comes up when we’re doing breath holds. So doing them dry once again, um, breath holds in the water should only be done with another certified or trained, you know, free diver there that knows how to react to anything that might happen.

So we never asked them to hold their breath in the water without, without me there, um, But I give them dry breath holds to do in different types of techniques, different types of breath hold. So like either a series of breath holds with timing in between, or just relax, breath holds.

And then in terms of the movement, we can do a lot of it at the surface with small pool fins, uh, breathing. So just really focusing on a dolphin kick, which is a completely different technique and just developing that flow because, you know, I don’t know if you have ever swum with someone that grew up swimming, that was like a competitive swimmer from childhood.

And they’re just like, there’s an understanding on how to move in the water. That no matter how much you train, if you learn to swim as an adult, you’ll never pick that up. It’s just like, yeah.

Brett Stanley: [00:16:36] Uh, that, that understanding do you mean like how the water resists against the body and how to kind of move through it?

Roberta Cenedese: [00:16:42] absolutely absolutely streamline is massive for us, but of course, you know, it’s not always available when you’re performing on camera. You know, you have to assume whatever position you’re assuming. Like when we teach free diving. It’s all about streamline and it’s all about relaxation. So slowing down the heart rate, consuming less oxygen, creating less CO2, keeping your head in line.

Well, obviously when you’re performing, we want to see your face. Your head’s not going to be in line when you’re swimming through the water, you’re going to be head up so we can see your face. But we start with that, right. We start with that because as soon as that clicks for someone and they go, I felt it.

You know, I felt that I just flowed through from one end of the pool to the other, and I didn’t have to breathe. It was easy. It felt comfortable. Then we can go start going. So, you know, that’s available to you and now we’re going to start, like, I’m messing it up a bit. We’re going to start taking your head up.

We’re going to start throwing clothing on. That’s going to be drag. We’re going to start, you know, messing with your tools, you know, now changing your fins or whatever.

Brett Stanley: [00:17:44] because it is a lot like, like aerodynamics is not under the water.  You’ve got drag. And if you’re trying to be conservative with your air and your oxygen in your body, you want to be as streamlined. And as, as, as sleek through the water as possible,

Roberta Cenedese: [00:17:57] Absolutely. And when we train our athletes, I’m sorry, I’m flipping back and forth between. Set work and training work, but you get a lot of people that start free diving and they immediately want to go to work. I’m doing all these crazy exercises to extend their breath hold. And I always try and explain to people.

If you put that effort into developing your posture and into developing your kicking technique and your streamline, you’re going to get a much. Longer breath hold underwater than if you just work on your breath. Hold. Cause it’s all about technique. It’s all about drag. It’s all about streamline. Yeah, absolutely.

Brett Stanley: [00:18:39] there’s something that happens when, cause I I’m an underwater photographer. I shoot with clients a lot and I shoot with a lot of people who have never done it before, um, have made, not even be able to swim and. What I find is that if they’re out in the water, say in the deep end, which is, you know, sort of eight feet for, for my studio is trying to teach them how to get from the surface, the water to the bottom of the water, bottom of the pool.

It’s a little bit of a education on aerodynamics because they’re, they’re like, okay, I’ll just push myself down a bit. And they pushed down. If their feet are flat, you know, their legs are apart, their arms are out and it’s just creating a heaps of drag and they go like two feet down. But then once you teach them how to point their toes and you know, like the, make yourself like a torpedo under the water, then they push themselves down and then they smack into the bottom and they’re like, Oh my God, that was incredible.

Like I had just moved like three times as far as I did before.

And as you say for, for that, those of us who grew up in the water, we understand that’s how it works. But for other people it’s, it’s, it’s teaching them or training them to think of things in a different way.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:19:42] absolutely. And it, I, I’m actually really grateful for this kind of an experience because when you’ve, you know, spent decades in the water, you forget, it’s so easy to forget what it was like the first time for yourself. So this is like always a really good reminder for me about the basics. Um, You know, and, and, and it, it reminds hands me things that I need to be doing.

And it reminds me what I need to be bringing back to my advanced athletes. Like just the real basic things about how to move in the water. And, and, and, and, you know, one of the big things we do a lot is work on equalization, because if they can equalize quickly. I just give them a bit of buoyancy at the surface of the water.

I mean, our tanks are 16 feet deep and sometimes they do need to perform on the water and they need to go, go from the bottom all the way to the top. Um, and I’ll just be there with like a 20 pound weight in my, you know, at the surface waiting for them. They’re breathing, they’re relaxed. They’re ready to go.

And then as soon as they’re ready to go, they’ll take the weight and it’ll just take them down to the bottom and then they can just drop it at the bottom. And float up completely buoyant. And so once I see them getting really comfortable in that, like that and going, no, no, I want the weight and I D I don’t want, I don’t want to do this on scuba.

I want to do it on breath. Hold that’s. That’s the satisfaction. You’ve got people that are coming up with their own ideas on how to make the shot look better. It’s pretty cool.

Brett Stanley: [00:21:09] And that’s great because you’re giving them the techniques and you’re giving them all the tools for them to then be able to create a way for them to do this their way.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:21:17] Exactly. And that’s, my job is just to like, be able to sort of be in the background and allow the performer and Brayden to have this communion between them. You know, where they’re just so comfortable and they’re just able to talk about what they want to do, how they want to be on camera, that that’s super satisfying to see that and to see people that are then like pushing their own limits without any kind of direction going well, can I try this?

Will you know, and it’s like, sure, let’s go for it. Let’s give it a go. It’s pretty cool. Yeah.

Brett Stanley: [00:21:50] Yeah. Um, talk us through the actual physiological, process of learning to increase your breath out. W what is free diving and what is the techniques of, lengthening that, breath hold?

Roberta Cenedese: [00:22:04] Yeah, so, you know, free diving is basically the idea of snorkeling, but just taking it under water, it’s just taking a breath and going underwater and, um, exploring the underwater, um, environment on your breaths. So the same thing that seals do and sea lions and dolphins and whales, that’s what we’re doing.

And a lot of people think it’s about having the longest breath hold possible, uh, or going super, super deep, and certainly for elite free divers, you know, that are competitive. Or when you get into the competitive scene, that’s an element of it. But it’s mostly about. And especially on a film set, accepting whatever breath hold do you have and not trying to judge it and just trying to do as well much as you can under water.

And as soon as you start removing, and this is, this is really integral, even for high level apps, please. As soon as you start removing this idea that it’s gotta be longer, it’s gotta be better. Immediately, you’re able to sort of, um, have a longer, better breath hold what’s happening when you hold your breath.

Every time we breathe, um, we take in air whenever we move or do any kind of action. We burn the oxygen and we create CO2. And what actually makes us have that feeling that I need to take a breath is not, uh, less oxygen. We’re still really oxygenated. It’s the rising levels of CO2, you get to a certain level of, and your body is just automatically set to.

Offload offload that CO2 taken another breath of air. So very basically what we’re trying to do with people is learn how to breathe deeply diaphragmatically and for actors, actually, they usually have a step up on that because, you know, they’re used to performing and having voice control. So they all come in understanding what a diaphragmatic breath is.

Brett Stanley: [00:23:52] which is basically which is basically breathing into your belly. Right?

Roberta Cenedese: [00:23:54] Yeah, breathing into your belly, filling your ribs, like not breathing, not using the top part of your lungs. Only not breathing into your chest. We call it belly breathing. It’s what babies do. If you watch a baby, you’re going to see when they’re sleeping, you’re going to see their belly going up and down.

Or if you watch a cat, you know, or something like that, you’re going to see the bellies going up and down, not the chest. So we’re just, first of all, lying people down and having them actually. Breathe diaphragmatically and take a moment to let go of any external thoughts. Any stresses or emotional tension and any physical tension.

So we all hold tension in our body. And largely we walk around being unaware of where we do that all day long. We’re either sitting at a desk with our shoulders up around our ears, or, you know, our hip flexors are super tight or, you know, whatever issue we have. We all walk around holding that. So it’s just really becoming aware of where we hold tension and really trying to you deepen and relax the body completely, even little things.

Like some people it’s super hard. And I tell them like, put your head back in the water that the water holds your head, hold your head, hold your head, like, relax your head, relax your head. And it’s just, they just can’t let go of holding their head up. That’s actually more common than you would think. And our head weighs a ton.

It’s enormously heavy and involves a lot of work holding that head out. So it’s fine finding where it is that you’re holding tension and using energy and burning through oxygen. It’s tiny, tiny movements. And then we just with a, I mean, this is very simplified, but with a really deep diaphragmatic breath, we hold.

And the very first thing that’s going to happen to most people is they feel uncomfortable holding a full breath. They’re like this doesn’t feel right. Immediately. Some people immediately are like, I need to breathe. I need to breathe. I need to let it go.

Brett Stanley: [00:25:49] because there’s so much air in their lungs, like, because they’re not used to feeling that full.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:25:52] Yeah, absolutely. And it’s like, so then I’ll talk through people. I’ll be like, okay, where do you feel full? Can you try and focus on that area and relax it? Where do you feel, um, tension? Can you release that tension or I’ll try and direct their attention away from what they’re feeling and have them focused on their feet or their hands?

A lot of people will immediately clench their jaws. So just talking them through that with a simple body scan, exercise, just having them really focused on their body parts so that their mind can’t go to, I’ve got to breathe, I’ve got to breathe. And then when they get the feeling that they do have to breathe, which once again are just.

Well, we call the urge to breathe or triggers that the mind sends to the body saying it’s time to, you know, you’ve reached that level of co two it’s time to offload. It’s like, okay, let’s really examine those feelings one at a time. Can you relax for two to three seconds with that feeling? Can you accept that feeling in your body and just relax with it? And they’re like, okay. And then they let go. And they’re like, well, only able to do it for five seconds. It’s like, really well, you just held your breath for a minute 45. So as soon as you give the brain a task, you know, a focused task and take it away from that awful feeling, all of a sudden you’re able to sort of, um, work with it, work with that awful feeling.

You have to name it. So a lot of people are like, I just felt like I need to, I need to breathe. And it’s like, no, wait a minute. I want you to do a simple breath hole. And I just want you to spend a few seconds so that you can actually articulate to me. What does that mean? I need to breathe because I don’t know what that means.

Do you have the need to swallow? Do you feel a tension in your chest? Do you feel a burning? Like what do you mean? I need to breathe? So they do a breath hold and they’re focused a hundred percent on. Okay. I gotta be able to articulate this. And the next thing you know, they’ve held their breath for two 30, cause they’ve been thinking about it.

Brett Stanley: [00:27:40] Yeah, right. So it’s a, you’re basically distracting them from the idea of holding their breath or, or kind of funneling them into the deep details of holding their breath, which distracts them at the same time, I guess,

Roberta Cenedese: [00:27:53] Which is basically a form of mindfulness, or I always tell people after they’ve done their first few breaths. Yeah. Sorry to tell you. You’ve signed up for a class on meditation because.

That’s what it is. It’s like, you know, it sounds super, super simple. And anyone who meditated it’s knows that it’s the hardest thing in the world, but it is that.

And as soon as you’re able to focus your mind, it’s amazing what we’re all capable of. It really, really is. And we all have it within us. It’s totally natural. I’ve worked with people in their sixties. I’ve worked with people that are very, very young, like Alex, and we all have it within us. It’s it’s there it’s dormant.

We just don’t access it.

Brett Stanley: [00:28:32] Yeah. So I’ve been shooting underwater for like full time for like seven or eight years, but I was water baby. I grew up, you know, swimming in swimming pools and holding my breath. But what I have learned about myself since sort of doing this as a career is that if I try and hold my breath, like if I try and time myself, I can’t do it. all I’m thinking about is holding my breath, but if I’m down doing a take or, you know, shooting something or whatever, I can be down there for like two minutes and not even know about it because I’m so distracted from the process of holding my breath.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:29:06] that’s exactly it. And you’ve hit on one of the basic tenants that free diving. I mean, brand new free divers come in. And the first thing they do when they ascend from a dive is look at their computer. How deep did I go? And sometimes I take people’s computers away from them and it’s like, you know, I just did an advanced course this weekend and eight to four, which, you know, allows people to dive to 38 meters.

And I’ve got these like super capable divers and, um, you know, they’ve been diving for quite a while and they’re quite comfortable. And one of them said to me, you know, I, I can, I can hold my breath for this amount of time and I can never go past it. And I was like, okay, well, on your first warmup, dive on the line, I want you to pull down to whatever depth and not look at your computer and just feel.

And when you get the, you know, we a diaphragmatic contraction, I don’t want to get too technical here, but once you experience a diaphragmatic contraction, it’s sort of a signal that we use. Once you experienced your first diaphragmatic contraction. I want you to come up very slowly on the line and reassuring to yourself that you’re okay, and that you must continue to relax.

And he came up on his first pull down it immediate. We almost doubled his previous time. Right.


The idea is, and I wish I could, um, think about the name of this person. I heard a documentary on CBC, uh, which is our Canadian version of the BBC and ABC in Australia. Um, with a, I think he was an Irish priest and it was really, really interesting.

Um, Listening to him. He said, you know, children, you watch children engaging in anything. And they’re like, is this fun? And as soon as it stops being funny, they literally drop it. They drop the crayon and run and find something else. And then you watch adults. And the first thing we do, especially when we feel vulnerable, when we’re trying something new or something that we’re placing judgment on ourself, about first thing we say, after we finish it, is, is it good?

Or did it suck? Like we judge. Everything we do. And so having these external judgments, like depth time immediately tension is going to rise because we were placing this external judgment on ourselves. And that’s another thing I really want to say to people when I train with them is that you walk around all day being judged by people like.

Why are you putting this on yourself? Let go of your judgment, completely like put down the numbers, put down the time the focus should be, how do I feel? Is this fun? Should I come? I should be able to come up with a smile. And when I’m working with people under water, even with Brayden, I really put emphasis on that.

If this is not, if this doesn’t feel good, you come up because none of us are I’m here to make you feel uncomfortable. You know, we want you to perform feeling a hundred percent comfortable and like Brayden just, uh, love working with her. Um, cause she’s really, she’s really great. And she’s really able to communicate with performer as well.

And, um, Because she’s a free diver herself and a deep freediver herself, Brayden. And I coach her as an athlete and an also an open water swimmer. And we’ve been working with her to swimming through the winter and she’s adapted really well to cold water. So, I mean, he gets those concepts because she’s lived them.

Um, you know, it’s one


I think, and this is hard for me to speak to because I’m not a photographer, but it’s one thing to be behind a camera, always with your mask on. And, um, but I think if you’ve actually, and I’m sure you have, once you take your mask off and try and do what they’re doing, you get how

Brett Stanley: [00:32:32] Oh, absolutely. And it is shockingly hard.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:32:36] It’s shockingly hard for those of us that are adapted in the water and spend our lives in the water. Still, those tanks are black. They’re not swimming pools. They’re not bright lights. Like they’re black. You take your mask off and you’re blind.

Brett Stanley: [00:32:49] Oh yeah. And it’s a black void. You have no sense of, of space. There’s, you know, there’s a bit of kind of vertigo because you can’t. Work at where anything is anymore.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:32:58] And you don’t know what yeah. You don’t know what depth you’re at and that’s scary, like in a 16 foot foot pool for people that aren’t used to, you know, like it’s scary. It’s like, you don’t know where you are. We want you in mid-water and, and, you know, once again, Brayden’s great. And she really works with, um, directors that maybe have not.

I’m done work in the water before explaining how important it is to continually talk to people on the underwater speaker. Just stream of talk. Okay. Looking good. Look a little bit to your right. Okay. You look fantastic. I want you to move toward the camera. You know, like just never stopped talking cause that’s their lifeline.

What they hear on the speaker.

Brett Stanley: [00:33:41] That’s grounding them.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:33:43] It’s grounding them. And we use lights. We’ve really learned to get some bright lights to hold behind the camera because of course, you know, a lot of times it’s like, look at the camera at the housing’s black Braden solemn dock,

the pool. They have no idea where the camera is.

So a lot of times, you know, work with Braden so that, you know, I’m behind the camera. We can like move a really bright light. So at least they can see that,

Brett Stanley: [00:34:07] right. So right. So it’s just a reference for them so they can see all the cameras over there. That’s the direction I need to be.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:34:12] Exactly or I need to swim, like in siren, it was like, it was crazy what we were doing underwater. Like just pulling them onlines while another person is swimming through and Brayden’s panning and swimming, you know, it, you know, and the person’s got to swim to camera the whole time and they can’t see it.

So there was a lot of moving parts underwater. you know, fight scenes with Spears and they’re blind. it

was intense.

Brett Stanley: [00:34:37] what’s the biggest number of people you’ve had to deal with in the water at one time on one of these productions?

Roberta Cenedese: [00:34:41] Gosh, on the crossing we must have had, um, 15 stunt performers, all in the water on breath hold at the same time. And in fact I was one of them and Braden was one of them. Um, yeah. So all of us in the water at the same time. sinking, um, From the top to the bottom of the tank and then just waiting, you know, death sequence where we were all sort of drowning mid-water.

So I’ve had people like, like a lot of people in the water like that. Yeah. Usually what we’d like to do is, you know, obviously when someone’s on breath, hold it’s one-to-one you want to be able to, if someone gives you that single signal immediately rushed down and bring them to the surface of their own on breath hold.

Brett Stanley: [00:35:22] Right. You’re talking in terms of safety and talent,

like one person to one person. Yeah. So when you’ve got 15 people in the water, is there there’s 15 safety divers there as well?

Roberta Cenedese: [00:35:34] Well, in that situation there wasn’t, there just simply wasn’t room for them, but they were all, like I said, stunt performers

Brett Stanley: [00:35:41] so they’re all trained for this anyway.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:35:43] They had all gone through the training, all gone through the underwater training, uh, with us and, um, yeah, understood that understood the bailout, um, protocols. And we had a bunch of surface swimmers with buoyancy.

And as soon as somebody was swam up to the surface, he just threw buoyancy Adam and moved on to the next. So. That’s what, you know, just a lot of support at the surface. So we were all weighted to sink in that situation. Um, and some of us just dropped our weights and left them on the bottom and, um, would float up. Yeah, it’s just, I mean, it’s such an individual thing. It really is Braden explaining to me the shot or what she wants to see and then asking her, does this work for you? If I put weights here, can I do this? And she’ll say, yay or nay. And then we just try it out with the actor or the performer. And off we go once again, because she’s a free diver.

Uh, she gets a lot of what they need and she’s really. Able to, you know, come up with innovative ways of making that work. We use weights a lot.

Brett Stanley: [00:36:47] right. How are you hiding the weights? Like I assume people are in costume and stuff. So are you just hiding things under their dresses or under their clothing?

Roberta Cenedese: [00:36:55] Well, you’ve kicked with a lot. Um, you know, you know what I mean by Chiclets? they’re like the little half pound weights that a lot of scuba divers are a guest. dry sea divers use around their ankles.

They’re like hard, hard half pound weights, but they’re very, very small and flat. So, um, you know, we make belts and we can adjust them to any size.

Brett Stanley: [00:37:15] Oh, so they quite thin like a thin leg weight?

Roberta Cenedese: [00:37:18] yeah. And very, very small, like maybe an inch by an inch in terms


Brett Stanley: [00:37:24] So like a matchbox size.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:37:25] Yeah, absolutely. And even smaller than that. Yeah. And so we can string them at the top of their chest or, you know, on their ankles, under socks or whatever.

Brett Stanley: [00:37:36] So you’re getting quite creative with how you’re putting them on and hiding them in places.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:37:40] Absolutely under breasts because you know, they’re so small, we like to put a lot of weight under breasts so that the breast can just sit on top of the weight because of course that’s your greatest buoyancy is your, your chest, because that’s where you’re holding your air. So we want to do that. Luckily like.

The biggest issue, actually. So muscle sinks and fat floats. So, you know, women and men have to be weighted differently depending on how people want to see them sank. Often we, we get a shot where they really want to see people sink on their back. And like that’s hard, especially for men because their legs are so muscular.

They’re automatically always gonna want to sync leg first. So we actually hide buoyancy sometimes in the lower body.

Brett Stanley: [00:38:24] Oh, well just with some foam or something or.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:38:26] The old wetsuits that we cut up neoprene and, you know, and then we’ll put the weights on the back of the lungs, you know, hidden under a shirt. If we can. We’ve had scenes where we had a stunt performer, um, wearing a pair of underwear and I basically had to hand them some of the Chiclets and say, Okay.

Brett Stanley: [00:38:47] Yeah.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:38:47] You decide what you want to look like.

You want to put them in the back or do you want to put them in the front?

Brett Stanley: [00:38:54] Do you want to look like if you’ve pooped yourself or do you want to look like you’re you’re yeah. Very happy. Yeah.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:38:59] So you can guess what he decided, but it’s like, um, you know, you stick it into your, underwear. Um, and like I said, women, You know, very comfortable working with women. Um, obviously we try and hide them.

Under the breast is a really, really good spot for women. But we often, because women are just built differently than men. We often need to add a little bit more weight, um, around their hips. So that’s a matter of where do you put it? I’d rather put it on the inside of the legs. If they’re keeping their legs together then on the outside and just depends on what they’re wearing and how see-through it is.

And you know, if it’s clingy, you don’t want it anywhere where it’s going to show. So. And then we use soft weights as well. So it’s just, we just have an arsenal avoid.

Brett Stanley: [00:39:40] and this is really interesting. I’ve never really thought about, I mean, outside of my own work where I’m like, okay, we need to wait you, cause you have you’re way too buoyant, you know, we’ll hide a weight belt under that massive skirt. But thinking about putting, you know, hiding buoyancy on people to kind of leave in them out, you know, you kind of gotta, we talk about trimming a camera housing, but you’re almost trimming the talent so that they’ve, they fall in a way that you, that you’re expecting.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:40:05] Absolutely. Absolutely. That’s so important. The director has a vision that he wants to, he, or she wants to see the person, you know, fall in a certain way and the body doesn’t naturally do that. Well, how do we make that work for them?

You know, so yeah, we, we do do that.

You can make anything work with buoyancy and with weights and by buoyancy, I mean, neoprene, you know, as you know, you can do anything.

Brett Stanley: [00:40:27] yeah. Yeah. I mean, one’s one pushes you up. One pulls you down. It’s just a combination of those to make it work.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:40:33] Exactly. Yeah. You just play with it until you get what you want. And if we, I mean, the benefit is if we know beforehand then, and if costumes, this is willing to give us the costume beforehand, we can sort that all out and training sessions, which is what we really try and do really try and get ahold of storyboards beforehand, or, you know, talk to the director, Braden, we’ll try and talk to the director and say exactly what do you want to see?

And then I can, she can say, I need to see this and I can, you know, figure it out in the pool with the actor. And also that’s fantastic because then they’ve practiced it and they know what’s coming up.

Brett Stanley: [00:41:09] Yeah. Did you work with costume department to sort of say, Oh, can we put a pocket in this to hide some weights or is


Roberta Cenedese: [00:41:16] Oh yeah. In siren, we hid weights in wetsuits. Like they literally sewed them in, uh, down the spine, which was w you know, the final. Sequence in siren. He sort of dives in with a wetsuit, but he’s not wearing a weight belt. And he finds that he’s perfectly neutral. Well, that’s not possible as we know. So we just talk with them and, but where we could hide it and they actually sewed, um, soft, um, weights all down the length of the zipper on both sides.

So it was, it was totally invisible,

but it,

it gave him exactly what he needed and I’ve worked with like, Mmm, Mmm. We worked with, um, best film who are like these, this amazing company that does fabrics for Mmm. Underwater and for surfaces, for film sets, basically any type of fabric, green screens, blocks, whatever.

And we did a, we did a, a wedding shoot for Alene Powell who was the lead on a siren, put her in a wedding dress and they, they were able to, so in, um, Like some buoyancy, like little ping pong balls under the dress and,

um, to give it some life and movement and, and some weights and other areas just to allow the dress to move.

So yeah, you can do anything with weights and buoyancy. It’s a pretty, it’s pretty cool. And that’s, that’s a fun part of it. That’s creative,

Brett Stanley: [00:42:32] Oh, totally. Yeah. And you’re kind of inventing stuff. When you do that, like you’ve, you’ve got to problem solve.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:42:37] Yeah. That’s what I love about film. It’s so much fun. I mean, first of all, you got to get the trust of the performer and they’ve got to build up that trust in themselves. And then once you’ve got that, they’re keen to try anything. I mean, we do so many things to these poor people. They’re just like, bring it on.

Yeah. They’re they’re up for it. And that’s so cool.

Brett Stanley: [00:42:56] That’s incredible. Are you doing stuff that’s on location as well, or are you mostly in tanks?

Roberta Cenedese: [00:43:02] Most of the underwater stuff is in tanks. Just because visibility here is not like, you know, visibility in the tropics. You just don’t get the kind of visibility and cold water that you do in the tropics. And of course, then you have, um, Oh, other restrictions, like cold water, like how long can a person stay in the water?

So, um, underwater stuff is generally done in tanks here, although we have done some, but we do a lot of surface stuff. Yeah. And I mean, we had, we had our mermaids diving into the ocean here in November and January and February. And so we do cold water, you know, work with fam and a lot of support in that way.

But yeah. Year round,

Brett Stanley: [00:43:39] That’s that’s. The other thing is that you, you kind of specialize in, in cold water conditioning. What does that involve? What’s the kind of process of getting used to free diving in cold water.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:43:51] well,

free diving and cold water adaptation are two different things. We want to be warm when we’re holding our breath. As soon as you start to shiver, you kind of lose your breath hold. So, yeah. You know, as athletes, we’re doing two different things. When we’re adapting to cold water and adapting to breath, hold that said, we don’t always have that luxury in films.

So adaptation to cold water is really not feasible for the film industry because you sort of have to maintain, it takes a while to build up that cold water adaptation, and then you need to maintain it by constant immersion. So rather than adaptation, we’re looking at making sure the performer is comfortable is where of the feelings understands what’s happening to their body and is safe.

So what we want to do is make sure the core temperature is as warm as possible before they enter the water, but that they’re not sweating. We don’t want their pores dilated. Uh, they’re blood best. We don’t want their blood vessels dilated and open so that they will have an extra shock. The biggest issue with cold water is, you know, a cardiac event.

Basically, because when you enter cold water, especially very cold water in the water here, it does get very cold in the winter. The first thing that’s going to happen is you’re going to basal constrict quite dramatically. So all the blood vessels in your, um, extremities are going to close and a bunch of blood is going to be driven to your core.

Um, and that’s just the body’s way of protecting the Oregon’s, the heart,

Brett Stanley: [00:45:11] Does that push your blood pressure up as well?

Roberta Cenedese: [00:45:13] Absolutely. And that’s why people start to hyperventilate immediately when they enter the cold water, you’re going to get people that are hyperventilating. And when you start to hyperventilate, you automatically, your brain registers panic. It’s almost the same response as a fight or flight experience.

And so then tension goes up, panic goes up and that’s as you know, as a diver, that’s when. Situations can happen. And also of course, if you have any kind of a heart issue, you know, that increased blood pressure is going to put, um, strain on your heart. The idea is what we try and do is, um, first of all, we really want people to be understood.

Stand what cold water is. So. The fear of it honestly, has their heart rate running before they enter it. Generally, if people have never been in cold water and they have a cold water take, sometimes just the anxiety. It’s a night shoot. Um, we had a night shoot on, um, I can’t remember the name of the show where I’m one of the lead actors had to run in the water for a skinny dipping scene.

And, you know, it’s nighttime, it’s cold. So the idea keep them warm as much as possible. Keep them covered up as much as possible. You don’t want an. You know, a lot of times it’s the stunt performer doing this, and they’re standing at the edge of the cliff where they’re going to jump in or the edge of the water.

And they’re in like, whatever costume in the windchill, in the rain waiting for the, you know, final tweaks. And it’s like, no, we want to keep them as warm as possible before they enter. And then, um, Have somebody in the water Hab have them be completely aware of what they’re going to experience. They are going to experience hyperventilation.

And the goal is to actually slow down your breath, anybody out there that does Wim Hoff, please don’t comment on this. I’m as every free diving instructor is, we’re sort of very anti Wim Hoff and as any, not anti Wim Hoff, I don’t want

Brett Stanley: [00:47:02] I

Roberta Cenedese: [00:47:02] that

Do your thing. Free diving and swimming cold water has nothing to do with Wim Hoff.



a whim, Hoff is a very popular method yeah. Of, um, hyperventilation that he, um, believes extends, or maybe improves your adaptation to cold water, which I kinda think is. As someone who’s swamp cold water. And as someone that has worked with people that are English channel swimmers and knows is not

at all relevant, it’s just about relaxation and breathing through it.

And adaptation actually just adapting to cold water and developing Brown fat. But, um, anyway, I just wanted to put that caveat out there because I have so many people practicing that method. That approach what we’re doing with hyperventilation and that’s super, super dangerous for free diving and also for cold water immersion

Brett Stanley: [00:47:52] Right. And the problem with hyperventilation is that you could cause yourself to pass out. Right.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:47:57] you can cause yourself to pass out and free diving. What you’re doing as offloading, CO2 and CO2 is actually what brings on those uncomfortable feelings that tell us it’s time to breathe and those uncomfortable feelings. Are actually our signal for where we are in our breath hold. So we don’t want to, um, we don’t want to stop them because if we do, we could actually hold our breath until we’re in a low oxygen situation.

And that becomes dangerous. That’s when you might have a blackout or a loss of motor control. So what we do is free divers is rather than offload CO2 so that you don’t feel those feelings. We learn to tolerate those feelings

Brett Stanley: [00:48:35] Yeah, which is that tight can convulsion of your chest when you’re, it makes you feel like you need to breathe, but you can kind of push past it.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:48:43] Well, everybody experiences it differently. Some people experience it like a, you know, a tightness in the chest that is very common. Some people experience it like a need to swallow. Some people experience it much more as thoughts in the brain. I wouldn’t say. Push past it just because the connotations of that are like fight or tension.

Um, that

sit in it for a few seconds at a time until you understand. What it is. And in fact that we can actually with time and experience and learning to tolerate those feelings better, we actually, they end up coming later and later and later as the body then says, okay, well, you don’t really need to breathe.

Your level of CO2 is not dangerous or super high. It’s just set here cause you’ve never played with it before.

So learning to tolerate those feelings in cold water. Hyperventilation is certainly not going to help you in any way, because if you’re doing a swim, especially, you know, a middle distance for distance swim, you don’t want to be raising your heart rate by hyperventilating and you don’t want to be, you want to like long, slow, deep breaths.

So ox, you know, being completely relaxed and then just start swimming in a careful manner until that hyperventilation sort of, we call it immersion shock or cold water shock subsides a little bit in your body becomes a little more adapted.

Brett Stanley: [00:50:06] And that’s when you, when you jump into cold water, like UWO cold swimming pool, and then you just like,

Roberta Cenedese: [00:50:11] yeah, exactly.

Brett Stanley: [00:50:13] Yeah.

So you just kind of letting that subside.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:50:15] Yeah, you’re letting that subside. And we do that in a head up position if at all possible. So I like to, um, if I can’t because of a wig or. Actually, let me backtrack again. So as swimmers, we enter the cold water. We’re not actually not going to start swimming with our face in the water until we’ve gotten through that period.

So that means either, you know, moving into the water slowly, allowing the, you know, the vasal constriction to happen. Naturally. If you’re a new person in cold water and then maybe swimming. As you’re moving through it, maybe practice like three breaths, head up three breaths down, or one up one down until you actually subside into it.

And then you can drop your head in the water and naturally start to breathe in, in a more natural rhythm. We don’t often have that luxury when we’re on set. Sometimes it’s jumping off a cliff in a bikini in November, you know, and, and, and it is what it is. So, um, in that case, what I would do is keep the body as warm as possible, and then maybe use cold packs on the wrists and ankles of the person or on the face.

So areas of the body that will immediately start to base will constrict before you enter the water. Mmm. Just so the body is a little bit prepared for what’s gonna happen happen. And then immediately. Wait a person so that they’re buoyant and then have people in the wall or with a lot of buoyancy and able to swim really quickly to support that person and keep that head out of the water.

We don’t want them aspirating any water. That’s our big issue with cold water. I mean there’s cold water shock, immersion shock. That is a massive, massive issue. And then, um, paying attention to, um, Yeah, keeping their airways out of the water while they’re breathing. Because a lot of times in cold water, you’re going to lose the ability to maintain buoyancy.

Buoyancy is massive and cold water anywhere we can hide neoprene, you know, instead of socks, throw on some neoprene socks,

you know,

Brett Stanley: [00:52:05] is that because in the cold water, you, you would sink more because you’re hyperventilating, you’re not, not breathing properly

or is it just a matter of keeping the body higher in the water just for, for safety and for comfort.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:52:16] Both and everything. Keeping that body, having somebody come up and feel buoyant is going to make them feel a lot more relaxed than fighting to stay up at the surface. And if they’re doing take after, take in there, you know, you start to lose member when your vasal constricted, right. Your limbs, aren’t getting oxygenated.

They start to feel very heavy. And so if you’re spending a lot of time in the water, it becomes harder and harder to keep yourself up because just moving the lambs to do whatever, tread water or swim there heavy, and it becomes hard. And oftentimes if they’re in costumes and they’re soaked and they’re heavy, you know, hi neoprene everywhere.

And people often say, I can’t hide neoprene. Um, this costume, well, you can hide it. Neoprene everywhere we work with amazing free diving. Wetsuit manufacturer, which is based here in Vancouver. They’re one of the best wetsuit manufacturers in the world they’re called ocean or free diving. And they we’ve brought free diving technology to that.

Well, they will make, you know, flesh color. Um, suits in any configuration that we need so we can hide it anywhere we can, you know, even like a little like bikini bottom that maybe comes up a little higher, that’s going to help you,

Brett Stanley: [00:53:30] Yeah. Even if you got like a seven mil Andy’s on or something.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:53:34] even three mil, like any neoprene is going to help you. Right?    Any neoprene, if you, if you can’t wear seven mil, where three mil, you know, and on, um, Anna Faris when we were shooting with her on, overboard.

Yeah. When we worked with her, she had to be in the Fraser river, which is, you know, quite cold. So we actually got a free diving center made for her, you know, in and in, in flesh colored. Um, Neoprene that she wore under a costume that’s totally invisible, but was so warm and just so buoyant for her. And we just did that.

You know, we used a lot of free diving, a wetsuit manufacturing technology on the haunting of blind manner, which we finished. Yeah. Which was shooting, you know, outside all through the winter with snow and everything with all of our lead cast in the water. So

Brett Stanley: [00:54:23] Oh God. Yeah, that sounds intense.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:54:25] It’s amazing. What you know, and the thing is too, is that I working with actors and stunt performers, I’m constantly blown away by just their ability to just focus through anything.



they’re very talented. And a lot of people, you know, as looking from the outside might think that they don’t have the fortitude, but it is amazing what they’re willing to do and put

Brett Stanley: [00:54:49] Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And one of the things that I love about this podcast is that I get to speak to people like yourself and actual talent and the crew and the things that we take for granted in a lot of these, these productions.

To find out how hard that was to do and how amazing it was for the cast and the crew to be able to push through and do this thing.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:55:10] Yeah, totally. It’s it’s it’s incredible. I’m blown away. You know, we get some of these very young actors, you know, and yeah. They just, they just, they just do it. You say, okay, we’re going to be doing this. We’ll build up to it. And they’re like, all right, we’re going to do it. And on the day they just show up and do it.

It’s, it’s pretty cool to watch. It’s pretty. And then of course we have a lot of support afterwards. That’s super important. The other thing that I would state is that you commonly see when we’re doing cold


People wanting to put an actor right in hot water, right. In a hut afterward. And that’s something we don’t do in Vancouver.

Like all of us were pretty aware of cold water issues. You don’t want to be putting someone from cold water into hot water and especially not from. Cold water. Okay. Warm up and let’s do another take in cold water, just the strain you’re putting on the heart, which is like constricting the blood vessels and then dilating them super hard and then constricting them again.

You’re just putting so much pressure on the heart

Brett Stanley: [00:56:07] Mark,

Roberta Cenedese: [00:56:08] that, um, you know, it’s, it’s super dangerous. So we always have hot tubs on set. Like we work with, um, Uh, Crosby Marine, which is like a fantastic company up here that provides everything. But the performer doesn’t go into the hot tub until first of all, they’re done for the day.

And then we monitor how they enter the hot tub and it’s not going to be a full immersion, like maybe hands and feet only once again. You know, let the body warm up slowly and naturally allow those blood vessels to dilate and naturally allow that cold water blood to interment mingle with the hot or with the warm blood in your system.

So that you’re not shocking your system by opening those blood vessels immediately. And then, you know, maybe risking cold blood traveling to the heart. Um, So it’s just being really, really aware of the issues, really being aware of the signs of hyperventilation, how to warm people up safely, how to make sure that they enter the water safely.

These are all really big issues around here, and we have an amazing stunt community here. And, um, they’re very aware of issues like that.

Brett Stanley: [00:57:11] Yeah. And I guess that’s, that’s the, the skill of having people like yourself on set or involved in these productions is that you have the experience with this stuff because you know who else is going to think about those things?

Roberta Cenedese: [00:57:22] yeah, no, it’s, it’s great. It’s great. Being able to use this to make something work on camera. I mean, it’s all in service of the performance. Ultimately, everything we do is in service of. the performance, trying to make the actor feel comfortable or the stunt performers so that they can do what is required of them.

And yeah. They pull it off

Brett Stanley: [00:57:40] Yeah, exactly. And then we have these amazing shows and movies that we enjoy.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:57:45] and images.

Brett Stanley: [00:57:46] Yeah,

exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it all goes into photography as

Roberta Cenedese: [00:57:49] And then people look at that and go, Oh, it looks so peaceful. I want to try it. It looks so easy and beautiful. And you’re like, Oh, you have no idea what this person is going through to make themselves look completely relaxed and beautiful.

Brett Stanley: [00:58:02] Yeah. Yeah, no, that’s great. Roberta, thanks so much. This has been really educational. I’ve gotten so much from this, um, and just hearing the techniques and everything. It’s just been great.

Roberta Cenedese: [00:58:12] thank you very much. It’s been really fun.

Thank you very

Brett Stanley: [00:58:15] very much.

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