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Thursday, February 14, 2013. Two days ‘til Show of Hearts 2013.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013. Four days ‘til Show of Hearts 2013.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013. Five days ‘til Show of Hearts 2013.

Monday, February 11, 2013. Six days ‘til Show of Hearts 2013.

It’s done!

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.

It’s the New Year, and we’re back full steam, preparing for the upcoming Show of Hearts Telethon. We’re about six weeks away from telethon weekend, and programming for SOH 2013 is confirmed! It’s a stellar lineup, with Adele kicking things off and hometown boy, Michael Bublé, wrapping things up. Here is the full star-studded lineup of concerts and performances you can expect to see on February 16 and 17.


Adele: Live at the Royal Albert Hall (7-9pm)

Adele’s 2011 sold-out concert at the famed arts venue. Performing in front of an adoring audience, Adele demonstrates why she is the real deal – she emotes drama and emotion strictly through her powerful voice. Beautifully shot on film, the concert captures the deep connection fans feel with the singer.

VH1 Divas (9pm-12am)

Dance the night away with the Divas, as music’s brightest stars pay homage to dance music with show-stopping performances by Jordin Sparks, Adam Lambert, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and Kelly Clarkson, among others! As well, the Divas come out to pay tribute to the biggest Diva of them all: Whitney Houston! An incredible concert, not to be missed!


Rihanna: Good Girl Gone Bad (12-2am)

This incredible show features nineteen live performances in a sold-out Manchester concert.  Rihanna performs her #1 hits: Umbrella, SOS, Shut Up and Drive, Hate That I Love You and many more!

Paul McCartney: Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road (8-10am)

Sir Paul McCartney returns to London’s Abbey Road Studios, where most of The Beatles recordings were made, for an intimate journey through his songwriting history, from his very first Beatles song to the work on his album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. In this unique program, Sir Paul revisits his back catalog in new and revealing ways in front of an intimate studio audience.

Justin Bieber: London Live 60 (10am-12:20pm)

Canadian pop superstar, Justin Bieber, gives an exclusive interview and performs an intimate set in London for an ecstatic audience of his adoring fans. Featuring many of his dynamic chart-topping epic dance numbers, including, Baby, As Long As You Love Me, Boyfriend, and many more!

Elton John vs Pnau: Live at Ibiza 123 (12:20-2:40pm)

Elton John – one of the best-selling artists of all time – graces the stage at the Rocktronic Festival in Ibiza to play a succession of hits in the setting sun. Elton takes to the piano to play his solo classics, and is later accompanied by Australian dance duo Pnau, performing songs together. Stemming from Elton’s love of dance music, Elton John vs Pnau is a crowd-pleasing collaboration and energetic live performance.

Michael Bublé Meets Madison Square Garden (2:40-5pm)

A musical concert that captures the star in a trademark, high-octane performance. Recorded at NYC’s famed arena, this program’s highlights include a show-stopping collection of Bublé’sas well as selections from his album Crazy Love. The New York Times, Stephen Holden wrote, “Whether swinging moderately hard or crooning, [Bublé] effortlessly bridges the gaps among old-style big-band music, rhythm and blues, and mainstream pop. The cavernous Garden felt like an intimate nightclub.”

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…

  1. It’s fast and convenient.
  2. It’s free (The Producer bought it and doesn’t charge us to drink it).
  3. It makes us feel like we know how to make coffee by just pressing a button.
  4. Our office is about a minute and a half walk to the cafeteria, involving two to four flights of stairs on a return trip, depending which route we take, and going through a storage area and a studio. Even though it’s only a minute and a half away, sometimes that’s still too much exercise for one cup of coffee.
  5. It sounds cool when it makes coffee… a bit like a failed lightsaber.
  6. It’s a great place to converge to gossip and discuss the previous night’s episode of Glee (something we’ve never done before).
  7. The sweeter flavours are packed full of sugar. Helps when we really need to get some work done.
  8. We’re coffee addicts, and will drink coffee anywhere.

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:

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.

All packed up. Have a great summer everyone!

Another blast from Telethon past

The Variety Telethon… back when it was held at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.