In this thread I asked a factual question about what the ‘reasonable and customary’ fee is for a live TV broadcast. Now, the rest of the story:
As I said in GQ, a producer from FOX called the studio and asked us if we could go to Couer d’Alene, Idaho to cover a breaking news story about missing kids. Their regular crew and other crews they contacted in Seattle were not answering phones. Holiday weekend, and all. So they called Shutterdog. Jerry wasn’t sure we should do it, but I convinced him it would be fun. He stressed out during the entire 400-mile trip. I told him, ‘You gotta stop with the negative waves, Moriarty!’
When we were about half-way there, he thought about lights. ‘What if they want lights? All they asked for was a camera, two guys, and a microphone. Do you think we should have brought lights?’ Then there was the weather. ‘What if it’s raining? We don’t have a cover for the camera!’ Worry, worry, worry! We didn’t even know what we were going to shoot. Press conference? A long shot in front of the police station?
We got to Couer d’Alene as lightning slashed the sky. We were asked how long it would take for us to set up – you know, lights and stuff. Aiyiyi. Just the things Jerry had worried about. Turns out, we were to shoot the on-air personality in a field at the fairgrounds, and also shoot interviews with the police, another guy, and the waitress who recognised the missing girl and kept her occupied until police arrived. Jerry has lots of friends in Spokane, but there was no time to obtain a lighting kit. We ‘hit the ground taping’, as it were. The best we could do was for me to go over to Home Depot and get some painter’s floods. How embarassing! :o There are the other crews out there with their Moles and whatnot, and we’ve got a bloody twin-halogen! And in case you don’t know, there’s this thing called ‘colour temperature’. Daylight exteriors need ‘blue’ lights (5,600ºK). Our lights just made the FOX guy look tanned. Oh, the pain!
I have to say that the producer was very understanding. He knew that we are not an ENG team, and he knew that the producer who called Shutterdog did not provide any detail about what’s going on. He, the guy in the satallite truck, and the on-air reporter were all very nice. Jerry told everyone up-front that ENG wasn’t our gig, and the producer said, ‘Jump in and swim!’
The footage looked good on the monitor. Jerry manned the camera and took orders from New York. He could tell the director was pleased. Whew! Everything worked out! FOX got their footage, and it went out live.
The on-air guy (I wish I could remember his name!) said, ‘You’re staying at the same hotel as us, right?’ Nope. The woman who set this gig up hadn’t booked us. We just jumped in the Jeep and drove. No worries. Jerry has friends in the area, as I said. We met Jerry’s ex-g/f and headed over to her place. I followed in my car. Jerry called to say that the regular crew had shown up, so we were done. Seems they did check the answerphone after all. The producer-guy seemed a bit embarassed that he had a crew out there (us), and that the people they always worked with were now out there as well. It’s okay though. We were to have had an 0400 call for today, we would have had to have tracked down lights from Jerry’s friends (on a Sunday in the middle of a holiday weekend), and we would also need gels or filters to balance the colour. It was a relief.
All in all, it was a good experience. Lesson learned: Always bring ‘all’ of your gear – even if they don’t ask for it. The producer-guy seemed to appreciate that we jumped right in and pulled it off. (It was frustrating and fun that we had to ‘MacGiver’ the shoot, but it worked!) He said he’d hire us again…
But next time, we’ll be better prepared. At the very least, I’m going to get a couple of dichromatic filters to balance my light kit to daylight. Had we brought the lights, we would have had to make-do with blue gels – better than nothing.) Better yet, I’ll have to look into getting a small HMI light. We had fun, we learned a lot, and we know know enough so that we look forward to doing it again.
After hanging out with Jerry’s ex for a bit, we hit the road at 2300. I ‘dozed’ for an hour, but every time I dropped off, a song came up on the iPod that I didn’t want to hear or I started snoring and woke myself up. We swapped seats, and I drove us the rest of the way home. I dropped Jerry off at the studio at 0430, and I was home and in my rack by quarter-past-five.
And so went the first live boradcast by Shutterdog Media!