Friday, May 18, 2007

May 18, 2007
Got back to Phoenix at 3:30 yesterday afternoon. Hot. Went from 71 degrees in Wichita to 101 in Phoenix. Got to my truck in the east economy parking lot, paid my parking fee ($32 biz account) and immediately got a call from Joel Klasky reminding me that we were hosting the opening cocktail part and dinner for WETA's (Western English Trade Association) annual conference at El Encanto at six.

Drove home, fed the chickens, said hello to the dogs, showered and dressed and got back up to El Encanto at six. Great party and good food. I'm hosting the awards ceremony tomorrow night.

As I mentioned, Jeff Hildebrandt from the Westerns Channel inspired me to really push the envelope on our taping at Old Cowtown Museum last Tuesday and Wednesday. One of our segments was on Wanted Posters in the Old West and Jeff had his art department whip out the following posters:

He nailed these up along the main street and it really made for a zany bit, with me doing a doubletake as I walked along in front of the camera. Speaking of the camera, here is a photo of me taping a True West Moment on how they measured distance in the Old West. We picked the working farm (in background) that is totally authentic to the 1870s, and we had two horseback riders in the background (you can just make them out back there), and as the camera rolled, I walked along and did my spiel, and at the last minute I say, "Oh, and by the way, a rod is five and a half yards and those riders behind me are two rods and closing fast." And then the riders explode by me. This was tough to do because of the timing issues, and it was Wichita Windy all during this shoot and the soundman was going crazy, duck-taping my silk scarf to my shirt and generally freaking out:

Here's my POV as I walked along. The camera is on a steady-cam rig which attatches to the cameraman's waist, and all of the power, and teleprompter are attatched to the camera. As I walked along, I could look into the lense and read the script. This works really well when it is cloudy, but when the sun is out, the words in the lens wash out and it's really tough to read, much less walk and talk naturally. I'm embarrased to admit I flubbed take after take on both days, as I tried to look natural, walking and chatting and frantically trying to read the script as it floated by in a shimmering heatwave, catching just part of words here and there. Despite all of this, we did get 16 in the can.

As I mentioned, the teleprompter guy, Jim Siebert, had his hands full as well, trying to see his Mac laptop screen (which is where the teleprompter script is stored and runs from). He has to put this oldtime photogrpahers cloak over his head to see what he's doing:

Jeff Hildebrandt told me that he and the original host of the Westerns Channel, Dennis Weaver, had been to Old Cowtown and shot all of the street stuff many times (and Dennis would knock off 30 bits before lunch! Ouch!). I realized that most of the main street stuff is all the same and we might as well have been at Pioneer, Arizona, or Old Tucson, or Arizona's Cowtown, they all look the same. That spurred me to try and find different angles and unique parts of the park, such as the Victorian house district which has beautiful two-story homes. This is where we shot the sidesaddle segment and I'll tell you about that one tomorrow.

Onion Headline de Jour
Anti-Chewing Tobacco Activists Speak Out Against Secondhand Spit

"The more authentic you become, particularly regarding personal experiences and even self-doubts, the more people can relate to you and feel safe to express themselves."
—Stephen R. Covey

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