Or, well at least Lilly
has been waiting for it.
As many of you may remember, or not, I was the production assistant for the crew sent by Juma Entertainment to film the first day of many for the finalists of the Chevy Challenge. The day for the lack of a better word was interesting, very interesting. I guess I'll start at the beginning. I picked up the crew at San Jose International at around 8 AM. There I met the producer Marie and her video guy Robin. Both were tired from the early flight out of LAX but were both excited to be out here. We got their luggage and we went to my small car. Amazingly enough all their gear fit in the hatchback, good thing I got that 12in sub out the night before.
From there we went to school. I honestly had no idea why these people were here so I asked. They were to film the reactions of the people who were selected as finalists in the Chevy Challenge. And surprisingly enough, I remembered what Lilly had said about it and suddenly regretted not joining. But moving beyond my regret, we get to school faster than I thought we would and were now looking for something to eat. We walked by the Jazzland Cafe near Sweeny Hall? I'm not quite sure. What really got me was their reaction to premade food. They didn't like it, not all at. I found that kind of strange, I don't know, its just whenever I'm on a trip fast food is my friend, but I guess its not the same for everyone. So I led them to the Novel Cafe on the first floor of the Library. They grabbed some food (still didn't like it) and we went to Lilly's office.
Once we got there, they had some talks about what was going to go down that day and what not. I was just standing there for the most part currently wondering what I was going to do that day. My girlfriend said to me the night before I was probably going to be a lackey for them for the the day, and at this point it really did seem like that. They interviewed Lilly and got some action shots. It was cool seeing the behind the scenes of the filming process. I felt really kind of useless during the beginning part of the day. I didn't do much just standing around and trying to keep out of the background in the shots they were taking.
After the action shots with Lilly, we headed outside to take some b-roll. B-roll stands for background roll, just some extra stuff they shoot as filler whenever they need something random. For example a narrator speaking for just something to show between shots. We shot a good amount of b-roll. After the b-roll was shot, we headed back to look for Lilly and maybe look at our classroom. So here's a little neurosis on my part, I really can't remember for the life of me when classes start and end, especially if I don't go to class. That day was no exception. I look into our classroom and think, hey its almost empty. I look to my watch and think yeah classes should be over. So I walk in with Marie and Robin and the professor was still there and he said to us, "what are you doing, we're still in class" and at the point I think my face turned a nice shade of red. Haha, well that was bad, but it was okay.
Soon after the fiasco, we start getting ready to film within our classroom. As people start to walk in, there's kind of a strange tension in the air. I don't know how to quite explain it and for the most part I thought it was just me. But it was really cool to know what was going on before everyone else knew. Right before our "press conference" I was given a crash course on how to operate the boom microphone. A boom microphone is essentially a "shotgun" microphone placed on the end of a stick. It seemed simple enough to do and I was excited to finally get to do something. Now I know what you're thinking and no it is not as easy as it looks. It's actually quite hard holding something that long, steady for than a few minutes at a time. I now have a new found respect for the sound guys that hold boom mics for hours at a time. I could barely do it for the few times they had me doing it through out the day. Maybe I just wasn't used to it, but damn my arms were all shake-y, and I felt really weird. Also it might have been the fact that I didn't eat anything through out the day. But other than my tremor filled arms, the shoot felt like it went really well. So I stood around with boom in hand ready to jump at anything robin told me to focus at. So we did that in the classroom for a few minutes, actually the entire class time. But even more after the class time was up. So we moved to several different locations doing interviews and meeting new people.
Actually, the day went by kind of slow. Everyone else had a lot to do, but there I was just waiting on my next instruction. Then we came to the conference call with the local radio station. There I was instructed to use my head as kind of like a fulcrum where I would balance the boom on my head and control it with with my arms. Who ever invented this position was a genius and at the same time a lunatic. This position by far was one of the hardest positions to keep still and not make any movements. The interview over the phone didn't last very long, 10-15 minutes max. But those few minutes were hell for me and my tremor-y hands. But it did pass and after we went to film some more shots from Lilly.
This is where it felt kind of strange for me. Lilly speaks of how a reality show is shot and it is as far from reality as it could get, and I witnessed it for the first time that day. Were filming Lilly again and this time it was supposed to be before we had made the announcement. Mind you this is like three or four hours after the real announcement. Lilly made all kinds of references to time and everything, like saying around 12 etc. etc. But the thing is, the sun was setting behind her. Well not exactly behind her, but the lighting was not exactly 12-noon lighting. It was more like "hey the sun's setting we need to get this shot before it does." But hey thats how things go, reality is never really real.
After that scene with Lilly, some more b-roll was shot and eventually we headed over to Gordon Biersch to kick back with a few beers and finally some food in my stomach. There Marie, Robin, Lilly, and myself got to know each other just a little better before I had to drive Marie and Robin back to the airport.
After all was said and done, like I said before, it was quite and interesting day. I learned a lot about the behind the scene work and how it was to be a producer and the skills necessary to be a good one. Looking back now at it, I would have liked to do more than just be the lackey and hold the boom around. But I did have fun doing the job and thats what matters right?