For me, yesterday was a bit more free-form than a “typical” day. We had scheduled an hour-long conversation between Charlie and former Vice President Dick Cheney in Washington, D.C. I happened to be in New York, but can shed a little bit of light on the process of an outside shoot.
When our team works on a shoot, much of the legwork is done in advance. Planning with a crew that is not our own, establishing the logistics of the location of the interview, nailing down the technical, determining any visuals the producer may want – all becomes extra important when you’re outside the comfort of your own studio. We are often “on location,” in various locations, during the week of the UN General Assembly in early fall. It is a mad dash around New York City hauling tapes and cameras and cue cards and makeup bags through gridlock and the inevitable bobbing and weaving through high level security. That week is perhaps the week that is most concentrated with outside shoots and is good (hectic) preparation for a relatively straightforward shoot like Cheney.
On the day of the interview, the team who was traveling with Charlie was likely concerned with the last few details: getting to the location on time, making sure audio was working properly, getting the guest situated, making sure the cameramen were framing them correctly, and the myriad of other details and last minute questions that come up. Once they are into conversation, the producer is taking notes and considering how the final piece will come together.
I happened to be back on the homefront. It was a day for catching up on the loose ends from Friday (answering calls and emails, opening mail, etc.) Devoting concentrated time on catching up on correspondence is precious because a “typical” day is broken up into three parts, so it can be difficult to gain and maintain momentum. But more on that tomorrow.
Here, I am first and foremost support for our EP, Yvette. She happened to be traveling that day so monitoring her to’s and from’s was a part of my day. Our impending “Oscars Show” was also on my mind. It’s a compilation show – selects from the segments of all the nominees Charlie has had on the program in the previous year – and a team effort. Clips, graphics, a script, marked transcripts, a concept, a theme, a location, time, love … are just some of the things that go into producing the Oscars show each year. This year I am straddling the editorial and production aspects of putting it all together, and lending support wherever our team should need it.
This job, this work, and this workplace keep me on my toes – you don’t have time to get comfortable or complacent at one speed. That is the aspect I’ve continually sought out in the workplaces I’ve found myself in during and since college – somewhere that is challenging, that fosters creativity and is willing to teach. Paul Reynolds, in the Communications department at BC, taught a class called Studio Television Production. I say “taught” but really he guided us, supervised us, explained how to use the equipment, and sent us into the studio to collaborate, inspire one another, and create. I often think of that class as having been a terrific primer for working at Charlie Rose.
I became interested in video editing at BC as well. Conventional wisdom in the Comm/Film departments at the time was that students should be taught to be “Predators” (producer/writer/editors) if they hoped to find jobs in the industry. Accruing as much knowledge, and practical, technical skills as possible, would make us as marketable as possible in an overly competitive field. As frustrating as that last part was to hear, there was and is a certain method to the madness, and I often find myself paying that bit of advice forward. Learn to write for news AND the screen. Learn to use a camera. Learn to use a handful of different types of cameras. Learn how to operate a prompter. Learn how to edit on Final Cut AND on Avid. Learn everything. Be a sponge.
At worst, you’ll be overqualified. At best, you’ll be attractive to employers looking for motivated people who have tons to offer.
Thanks for reading!