On the fly: Ad man jumps into filming

"I'm sort of water obsessed, I guess," admits Jamie Howard, whose five-year plan includes tarpon fishing, examining the erosion of the Mississippi delta in Louisiana, and studying a massive, stagnant buildup of plastic waste found floating in the Pacific.

The latter seems to get him particularly stoked.

"I've never been in any place on earth that didn't have plastic in it, and I've been in some of the most remote atolls on earth," he says. "I think it will probably be the next big environmental story of our time."

And he hopes to be the one to break it, along with the slew of other looming environmental issues for which he seems to want to take responsibility.

"I wish I could do a TV show called 'You won't believe it, but...'" he says.

Howard, 34, recently led the ad agency, Payne Ross, to a "Best Print Campaign" award from the local chapter of the American Marketing Association. The gold award recognized Howard's "We know how you feel about racing" advertisements for CDOC, an auto racing supply house.

On the heels of his success in advertising, Howard is now training his wit and his eye for detail on filmmaking. It's not idle artistry, though.

His most recent project, In Search of a Rising Tide, filters its general perspective on bonefishing in the Bahamas through a decidedly green lens, and he made a point to lace howardfilms.com with links to the environmental group working to maintain the area's ecological balance.

"That's why people make films," he says, "so that the word gets out."

That is, of course, assuming that he can actually bring himself to actually turn it loose.

"I was kind of notorious when I made commercials for being the guy who would never leave the set," he says, recalling his many violations of union policy. He spent six months editing In Search of a Rising Tide, which debuted last month at the Jackson Hole Film Festival, clocking in at just 25 minutes long.

"The film was incredibly well received," says Jackson Hole resident Kim Vletas, who also helped coordinate the filming process in the Bahamas.

Dana Sara, the Wyoming festival's program director, even hopes to add a fly fishing division next time around as a direct result of the buzz generated by Howard's film.

"This film has a lot of plot-driven, character-driven development that made me like it even though I don't like fishing," she says.

That's about as compelling a testimonial for a fishing documentary as you're likely to find anywhere.

Jamie Howard