Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Series of Unfeminine Yet Very Delightful Shoots

I consider myself to be a Barbie girl, not a derby girl. So I never in a LIFETIME imagined I'd end up at a Women's Roller Derby game and a Motocross race all in one weekend! These past two days, Aaron, Brittany, and I trekked around with our two cameras in the California heat to capture these two events on film, along with an African mission trip fundraising event, "Walk to Africa". Mark had assigned each of us interns to oversee and direct one video shoot while working together with the other

(To emphasize the mixture of girliness and fast athleticism, I
decided to a create a shot pulling focus from my stilettos to roller skates)

As rough and tough as it was, I was really excited that I was assigned to produce the Roller Derby video! One of the script supervisors for Entertainment Tonight is a member of the Angel City Derby Girls, so Mark made the connection. I had never been to a game before, but I heard that these women were hardcore…yet fun and semi-girly (emphasis on the semi). When I got there, I found both to be true...they were covered in tutus and tattoos, glitter and bruises. It was a pretty hilarious mixture...
Getting on the ground in a skirt and heels is sometimes necessary to produce a good shot...
Many of them proudly exclaimed how they love to "crush and kill" opponents...And, similar to WWF, they all had hokey names, like "Hitney Fears" (Britney Spears), "Viva La Trouble", and "Reno Revolver".When I got there to interview these women, I was so excited to find out that my purple and black outfit coordinated perfectly with their uniforms!!

They were great to work with and had a nice sense of humor, which was good because I was very goofy. I have never filmed sports before, so the fast-moving shots were fun to capture. One of the refs was really excited to show me his "Sex in the City" sunglasses, complete with a faux-gold inscribed case. I had to feature the sunglasses in exchange for an interview.

ET's Jamie, aka "Knocksberry Harm"

Earlier that morning, Brittany had directed the "Walk To Africa" event. Mark Steines's church put on this event to raise money to support "Miracle Medical Missions", mission trips to Africa. Mark has already been on one (with other friends, including Everybody Loves Raymond's Patricia Heaton), and he is a strong supporter.

It was really rewarding to be able to capture a nonprofit event with so many good people! All participants walked 8 miles, and the goal was that, with 1000 participants, their cumulative distance covered would equal the 8000-mile distance it is from here to Africa! Brittany was a charming interviewer, as she had built up experience from her past two semesters' participation in her college's TV course in California.

An extra plus!?? They had FREE COFFEE AND BANANAS!!!

I was able to stock up on nanners since there were extras. And some people already know how I occasionally side-step the "only take one piece of fruit out of the dining center" rule at UNI…

This morning, we woke up at 5:45 to film a motocross event. (This morning thing is totally encouraging my coffee addiction...)

My knowledge of Motocross pretty much consisted of the 2001 Disney Channel Original Movie "Motocrossed", where that tomboy girl chops off all her hair so she looks like her brother. That really used to upset me. It wasn't like that today…there were racers of all ages and sizes, from cute little boys to a stud-ette girl racer (named Gina!), to a man over 70! It was HOT OUTSIDE!!

Aaron, the boy intern, did a great job directing this shoot. Our job was to feature Andy, the son of a Key Grip at Entertainment Tonight. (Starting to see the connection?) We shot two races. Again, it was a fun challenge to capture the fast, athletic sights and sounds…revving of engines, sweat pouring off of their brows, the clouds of dust after the bikes raced out of sight. OH and the GIANT DISGUSTING SCAB Andy got after he was run over by another biker during the first race. He won first place in his class the second time around. I guzzled so much water that I felt like a rolly-polly waterballoon about to burst.

One of the best parts of the day? I finally figured out to make the perfect cup of coffee with our apartment's coffee maker! And I've almost used up this stupid can of pinto beans, too. I am really not a cook. I miss the UNI dining centers.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Beginning of a Diva's Dream Come True...


First, I was a curly-haired five-year-old girl who sang and danced on the coffee table, wanting to be a movie star. Then, I was a 16-year-old girl who gave up her dream because she realized she lived in Iowa. Then I was a 21-year-old girl who realized that just because she lived in Iowa doesn't mean she couldn't ever reach Hollywood. And that's where I am now.

Host of Entertainment Tonight (And University of Northern Iowa alum, woot woot!) Mark Steines, decided to take three interns under his wing this summer to mentor.

There's Brittany, Aaron, and myself--we are a team, and this summer we are working together to produce video projects, shadow producers and directors, and learn as MUCH about the Hollywood industry as we can in two months.

(check out his website HERE !!)

Day 1…and Meeting Mark

First, we met Mark's personal assistant, Texas-born-and-bred Kirby. My first impression: she looks like Princess Belle! Which is totally a good sign. She gave us a whirlwind tour of CBS Studio and introduced us to a million gaZILLION people. My head was spinning! We got our "Official" CBS intern badges.

[Brittany, Aaron, and Me]

That night, Mark invited us to his LA home where we then carpooled to the Los Angeles Film Festival. Even though I had already heard what a nice person Mark was, I was still thrilled with his completely warm and genuine nature. I instantly felt at ease, and realized that we were in for a real treat! Even though he happens to be viewed by millions of people every day on national television, he's extremely down to Earth.

The LA film fest was SOOO fun! On the ride back, we discussed the film that we had viewed, drawing creative inspiration from the documentary editing.


Entertainment Tonight is the best-rated Entertainment News station on television. This has its perks!! Why? Well, because ET has maintained friendly relationships with many stars and publicists, they mostly always have first dibs on red carpet premieres. This means that stars come to them FIRST with the news.

Brittany and I at the LA Film Festival. OK--I'm NOT wearing a glam

dress, and it kills me inside. But I decided to go quaint and conservative--

it was my first day, after all...

Thus; needless to say, a lot of the top people in the industry are working here. And WE GET TO SHADOW THEM!!! WOHOOO!

I LOVE video editing, so I am BUBBLING over the top with questions. It is really fun to sit in the edit bay with editor Michael Klein as he teaches us how to make natural cuts and edits, and how to package the news stories so that the audience, which mostly consists of gossip-hungry women, hang on every word.

We also get to go into the voiceover booth and listen to Mark record voice-overs that will be laid over celebrity footage. This--called "tracking"--is a part of Mark's daily job. Brittany and I got a shot at reading some of the tracks!


Get coffee for all employees and wash their cars. Not! We get assignments, shadow experts, and Learn learn LEARN about whatever our specific interests are. Everyone here is willing to ask questions…they aren't the hair-slicked-back, "Don't-talk-to-Me" guarded Hollywood elite that people might think of. They are real people, and excited to explain what their roles are.

Mark loves his family and is a great father...

his two young boys picked out this outfit for him. :)

Mark is a genius photographer, so he uses his experience with photography to apply to camera skills.



Premiere opportunities pop up at random. We never know what might be available. Meaning, we might be told in the morning, "Hey…there's a video shoot tonight with so-and-so. We might be able to get you interns in…" And within a few hours, we might be on our way to something! This is only the first week--but we've already been to two premieres--LA Film Festival and the Twilight Premiere!

They say Taylor has good abs, but unfortunately he was wearing a suit so there's no way I could know. But we stumbled upon this event by sheer luck!! Fellow intern Brittany and I got waved into the Red Carpet of the Twilight Eclipse Hollywood Premiere by ET host Kevin Frazier just as we were about to go sit in the crowd, hundreds of feet away from the stars. Instead, we got two feet away. Video footage and details on that in a post to come...

This Weekend's Challenge

Tomorrow and Sunday we have a LOOOONG series of video shoots. Mark has assigned each of us interns to produce our own videos, so we're hitting up two events tomorrow and one on Sunday. Brittany is producing one about an Africa Mission Trip fundraising event, Aaron will be filming a Motocross event, and I am taking on a Women's Roller derby Game!

It is OVERWHELMING and FAST-PACED. But I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am SO EXCITED THAT WE GET THROWN RIGHT INTO THIS...this is how the real entertainment world is.

We haven't had more than an hour to sit (until tonight...) Brittany, Aaron, and I are waking up at 5:45 to get ready because we have to hit the road at 7 AM...and LA driving adventure, to say the least. ;p

I am so ready to take this on!