JDtR Mission: Arkansas PART 1

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JDtR or Just Down the Road, is the TV show on which I crew.  By crew I mean I run camera, sound, carry things and occasionally boss people around.  I enjoyed the bossing around this last experience, but I found out that my muscles are sad.

Really, really sad.

But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

I’ve worked on JDtR since the fall of 2012.  For those of you who know your stuff, that means I’ve been with the show for about a year.  Through the show I’ve been able to film shark fishing, stand-up paddling, people jumping on trampolines, airboats going 50+ miles per hour, manatees, dolphins, beaches, the Kennedy Space Center and a famous barbecue competition.  I’ve met Guy Fieri, a NASA astronaut, tons of awesome entrepreneurs, PR people galore, and really the nicest people around.

I have a fun job, eh?

Last week we set out to Arkansas to bring the gorgeous Southern state to TV stations nationwide.  We have a 5-person team and we piled into a 15-passenger van with all the equipment.

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Our first destination was Hot Springs.  We made it without much incident, except some possibly disturbing dancing in the van and an annoying betrayal from Darth Vader (our GPS).  After a good night’s rest we geared up for some zip lining at Ouachita Bend Adventures.

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Yep, I even had my camera.  But before you wig out, just know that the big camera didn’t actually come on the zips with us, we had smaller ones for those.

Zip lining took my breath and words and balance away.

……..

Exactly.

The closest word I can think of for the experience is this:  EPIC.

Taken by our guides at Ouachita Bend Adventures before we zip lined.

Taken by our guides at Ouachita Bend Adventures after we zip lined.

Stay tuned for more JDtR missions and links to the show!

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The Return of the Crew

Did anyone watch the Oscars?  Oh good, I wasn’t the only one who didn’t.  I’m happy to hear that Jennifer Lawrence won though.  I thought she deserved the award two years ago for Winter’s Bone.

Yesterday the crew from Just Down the Road and I flew back from Florida.  Me, the other camera person, our producer/photographer, the two hosts and the spouse of one of the hosts settled into two rows of the plane, with our fearless leader behind me.  The flight was easy and low-key.  I totally bought a giant coffee in the airport to prep for it and it was completely unnecessary.

I know, the flight didn’t have to be hard.

We were in Florida.  On the beach.  Getting sunburnt.  Then we returned to Kansas City, the snowpocolypse capital of the USA.  There was still a foot of snow on the ground.  Some of the roads are full of drifts 2 feet tall.

It’s like a fantasy land, but maybe not the good kind.

Actually, I don’t mind snow.  I didn’t even mind the first week of snowpocolypse, which I endured right before the crew and I left for Florida.  It was exciting and fun.  We sledded into a church parking lot.  We trumped through the woods.  I watched someone build a snow alien.

But there is nothing like the ocean.  Nothing.  Standing on the beach, listening to the waves hit the sand…

There is nothing like it.

Filming was great that whole week.  We had some misadventures, which I will chronicle in another post.  Mainly everything worked out.  Even when things seemed to be going down hill because of the GPS or awkward guides or loss of able crew, the captains and business owners and manatees and weather turned out just what we needed.

We filmed 4 outstanding episodes.

And I can’t wait to see them.

Florida

Guess what I am doing on Sunday?  That’s right!  I’m going to Florida.

Why?

For work, of course.  I mean, filming a travel show in sunny Florida while all of my friends bravely fight off wind, ice, snow and sleet here at home is way too hard to be a vacation.

I love my job.

Ya’ll remember American Royalty?  The TV show I work for, Just Down the Road, filmed an episode at the American Royal.  We had the opportunity to interview Guy Fieri and his BBQ team, the Motley Que Crew.  In the following episode we ventured out to Legoland and Sealife.  Then we spent a day at Sky Zone and I totally jumped into a foam cube pit.

Oh the joys of a film career.

Now we are headed to deep sea fish, parasail, swim with manatees…visit NASA…

When I started on this road, this I’m-going-to-film-school-and-I-might-never-stop-working-at-Starbucks road, there were people who said, “I wish I was brave enough to do what I loved, but I need to think about my future.”

Hey now, you can have a future doing what you love.  It’s possible.  There’s no law against happiness.

Actually, it’s an American right.

It’s not gonna be easy.  You have to give up a few things.  Like new clothes, fancy food, time, pride, embarrassment, cruises and well, certainty.  You’re going to have hard days and you might not eat much.  You might have to live with your parents for a little bit longer than some of your friends.  You’re going to be scared sometimes.

It’s okay to be scared.

I’m going to Florida, to work at doing what I love, with a group of folks I deeply respect, admire and hope to seriously prank at some point.  I’m not a serious person, and I won’t be able to live with myself if I don’t mess with the hosts and crew, just a little.

Go forth and do what you love.

Kansas City American Royal

My boss asked me to be the camera person for his TV show–Just Down the Road–this weekend.  It’s a light-hearted travel show featuring my boss, Jeremy Wood, and his co-host Diane Robertson.  They have a lot of fun trying out close and inexpensive things to do, either around KC or another U.S. city.

This episode features the amazing and magnificent Kansas City American Royal, specifically the barbecue competition.  And boy, did that food smell good…

We arrived early and fought the cold with tenacity, stubbornness and many, many layers.  As we made our way to different competitors like Johnny Trigg and Rod Gray, my boss commented that it would be pretty cool to get some footage of Motley Que Crew.  If you don’t know them, that’s okay, you might know their white, spiky-haired leader.

Guy Fieri.

Yup, the Food Network celebrity.  And he was definitely the big celebrity this weekend.  We didn’t expect to get an interview with him–we’re just a modest show at the moment–but my boss thought it would be epic to get the crew at work.

And maybe Guy in the background.

Despite this, he told one of the other crew members that if we managed to get Guy to say a few words on camera…Well, maybe I shouldn’t say what he was going to do.  So, we set about getting a celebrity.  It couldn’t hurt to try, right?

We made our way to the tent with Motley Que, and the crew welcomed us with smiles and handshakes.  We had met them the day before.  We arrived at the perfect time–Guy Fieri was standing just to the side of the tent, his handlers not far off.  We asked the crew if we might be able to get an interview with them and Guy.

And we did.  Guy Fieri sat down next to his boys and chatted along, hat pulled low on his head to stave off the cold.  He was gracious and really low-key.

Then he agreed to get on camera with the show host and say something by himself.

We played it cool and filmed the whole thing.  Afterwards, Guy and his crew signed the hosts’ hats.  We trudged away with smiles on our faces.

And just as we passed out of sight behind another trailer, my boss leaped in the air and shouted with happiness.

It’s gonna be a good show, folks.  A lot of thanks to the Motley Que crew, Johnny Trigg and Rod Gray and everyone else who made it out to the American Royal yesterday.  It was cold, sure, but it was also the largest BBQ competition in the world.  There’s another reason to love KC.

Bring on the BBQ.