Our Show of Hearts Telethon Producer has a thing called the “Gold Star/Black Mark Book” that she carries around with her. How it works is simple - and you can probably guess. Gold stars are rewarded when you do something good and black marks are branded upon you when you do something bad… or unhelpful… or dumb… or by mistake… or simply something irritating to the Producer.
The book etiquette is equally simple: ONLY the Producer can hand out gold stars and black marks. You cannot ask for or suggest a gold star or give yourself a gold star, nor can you start your own “Gold Star/Black Mark Book” and hand out gold stars and black marks to other people lest you wish to give yourself a black mark. And to be fair, the Producer will not give herself either a Gold Star or Black Mark in any situation.
This reward/penalty system is not limited to our Global BC crew, either. Certain individuals at Variety BC have also been graced and punished by this subjective form of control from our Producer.
We have no access to the Gold Star/Black Mark Book, so the details of who is leading in either column are unknown to us. This information is kept strictly with the Producer, and only on certain occasions would we get a glimpse of the standings and how we got Gold Stars and (more importantly) why we deserved Black Marks. Arguments always ensue.
If I were to guess the overall standings so far, it would look something like this:
Gold Stars (from most to least) - Felix (Production Manager), Floyd (Director), Larry (Lighting), Craig (Camera), Geri (Writer), Roy (Programming), Shelley (Communications), Patti (Co-Producer), Jamie (Editor), tie - Carla and Tami (Variety BC)
Black Marks (from most to least) - Craig (Camera), Floyd (Director), Larry (Lighting), Roy (Programming), Patti (Co-Producer), Geri (Writer), Tami (Variety BC), Jamie (Editor), Carla (Variety BC), Shelley (Communications), Felix (Production Manager), Ralph (Audio - the one and only Black Mark ever given to an Audio guy)
Surely, there are many other individuals who have been rewarded, branded, or both, but these names are kept under tight secrecy and the world will never know the truth. Perhaps one day, like the Holy Grail, the secrets will be uncovered, and an outlandish movie will be made about it starring a future Tom Hanks and directed by a future Ron Howard.
Many families that we visit for the Show of Hearts Telethon always tell us, “you film so much, but the stories are only a couple minutes long.” Often times, our response is a simple “yes.” But we rarely talk about how these two to three minute stories actually come together. Here’s the recipe.
1 super-duper cute Variety child with a compelling and heart-warming story A whole bunch of video footage and photos Several computers with video-editing software AND internet 1-2 writers 1 editor 1 heartfelt narration 1 emotionally cringing script A pinch of intelligence and creativity A dash of humour 3 pots of coffee, minimum
After corralling our TV production crew away from our stuffy TV station to film with our featured children and families around BC, we return to the Global BC station with a stack of cards (not tapes) with all the footage we’ve shot. This gets handed to our editor like a hot potato… “Just take it off my hands, please!”
Our editor then proceeds to compile and create video files of all of the footage, which, through the magic of the internet, is emailed to our transcriber in another province to transcribe all of the interviews into a Word document. In the meantime, back here at Global, we screen all of the footage and list them shot by shot on paper.
Once these two documents are prepared, we’re ready to start cooking. Take one to two writers and strap him/her down in front of a computer with the transcribed interviews and list of shots. Brew three pots of coffee, and let him/her simmer for one to two days, or until the script is complete. Flailing bodies and red eyes may appear near completion. If the desired result of the script if not reached, repeat.
With the completed script that outlines all of the interview clips and visual elements in order, record a heartfelt narration (if necessary), using a Global BC anchor for heightened effect. Place the editor in an edit suite and chill for seven to eight hours with the emotionally cringing script, heartfelt narration, music, photos, and video footage. The editor will begin editing, following the script, and together, add a pinch of intelligence and creativity, and a dash of humour into the mix. If the desired effect is not reached, repeat. Once the story is cut to a heart-wrenching texture, say “YES!”
Next, the edited story is magically whisked away to our Global BC’s Sound Mixer to clean up the audio and add that final touch with music and sound effects that make these stories so beautiful. Combine the cleaned-up audio and picture together, and serve.
I took this picture recently because it was a great photo op. It wasn’t staged. I happened to see the boxes like this on a table one day. But then I realized, “Wow! We drink a lot of coffee.”
Tassimo is the fast food version of every café that exists. Also, it’s not very environmentally friendly. So why is our office stocked full of this stuff? Because despite it all, we still LOVE it! I know this doesn’t have any relevance to the Show of Hearts Telethon, but bear with me. For some reason, I felt the urge to write this.
We have a love affair with the Tassimo machine in our office. Not in our station. In our Telethon office! So, if you’ll indulge me, here are 10 reasons why…
Ahhhhh… I had two more reasons. I forget what they were, now. I think I need a coffee.
Our Global TV crew waited patiently at an art gallery in White Rock for the arrival of Mr. Robert Bateman. We were ready for another interview with the world-renowned painter whose scheduled arrival was at 3pm. As expected, he was early – ahead of schedule by 15 minutes.
We’ve conducted a new interview with Mr. Bateman almost every year for the past decade in preparation for the Show of Hearts Telethon. Each time, we chatted with him about his thoughts and listened to his stories behind the paintings that he donated to Variety to raise money on the Telethon. We met up with him again this year during his visit to Vancouver. And if you think we would reveal this year’s painting here, you couldn’t be more wrong. You’ll see it on February 16!
After a bit of catching up with the crew, but not before he walks us around to his other paintings that are up in the gallery, we were set to begin. And like always, Mr. Bateman commanded the room… and everyone else. Out of us all, only he spoke up and shushed everyone who became too noisy or made any noise when the camera was rolling.
Viewers only get to see a snippet of these interviews after they are edited. A lot gets left on the cutting room floor (a phrase that’s totally irrelevant now, but still sounds good). Mr. Bateman not only talked about the painting that he is donating this year, but also digressed and went deep into the issues that we and the world face everyday. At times, he digressed so much, you kind of wonder how he got on to certain topics. It’s all relative.
It was a great pleasure to just sit before Mr. Bateman and listen to him speak so candidly about his work and learn about his ideas and techniques. Like many people, we have nothing but the utmost respect for his work and goals in life.
After the interview when all of the lights and camera turned off, Mr. Bateman informed us of his fight to save McLellan Forest in Langley. Once again, he’s standing behind nature. Here’s the story on Global BC: http://bit.ly/11u51k2
We drove to a nearby neighbourhood, close to our Global BC station, to meet Megan and to film her story for the upcoming Show of Hearts Telethon. When we arrived, we met a happy girl with a BIG smile that showed her growing big-girl teeth. She was bright and smart, and looked about as typical as any other child we’ve met. The difference with Megan though, is she suffers from a disorder called Prader-Willi Syndrome.
Listening to her parents in the interview, we found this condition more and more compelling. Prader-Willi Syndrome is characterized by a delay in motor milestones and is known to be the only genetic cause for childhood obesity. Children like Megan suffer from a number of challenges including low muscle tone, short stature, cognitive difficulties, problem behaviours, as well as a chronic feeling of hunger. As a result, they continually search for food to fill their stomach, whether it is edible or not. Combined with a low metabolism that is a result of the disorder, it is easy for these children to become obese if their eating habits are not carefully monitored.
The Foundation for Prader-Willi Research Canada provides insight and helpful information on Prader-Willi Syndrome, and links to more in-depth knowledge.
Without giving too much away about Megan’s story, it was interesting to hear how her family has to manage and monitor her activities. It is literally a 24-hour job, which also requires locking up food to keep it out of reach. It is why PWS is sometimes referred to as “an invisible disease”. And just looking at Megan, you wouldn’t suspect anything was wrong with her health.
To see Megan’s story, tune in to the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon on February 16-17, 2013 on Global BC.
We’re back! Well, actually, we’ve been back for a while. But our first blog post of the 2013 Show of Hearts Telethon!
Where have we been? If you have seen us on our Facebook page or followed us on Twitter, you may have noticed we were rockin and rollin right off the bat in September. And we haven’t stopped. We’re not saying that’s an excuse for the tumblr-MIA, of course.
Since we’ve been back, we have gone on three road trips to Cranbrook, the Okanagan, and Vancouver Island, and filmed stories of most of our featured kids on SOH 2013. We’re also now filming stories of kids in the GVRD, and editing on the telethon began yesterday!
And now that our road trips are complete, we’re getting comfy and cozy in our Global BC office, working out the details and putting together the upcoming Show of Hearts Telethon.
And we’ll be here until February. So here we go.