Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Lights, camera, guest list...just do your best darling"

Last week I took the opportunity presented to me by my sister-in-law to work as a production assistant on a two day corporate event her company was producing here in Toronto. The show was a "sales kick off" simultaneously broadcast by satellite between five cities: San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Toronto and Dublin. Lights, cameras, screens and a stage were all set up so company big wigs could interact in real-time with the sales people in all the cities. The Imperial Ball Room at the Fairmont Hotel was the site location in Toronto. Approximately two hundred people attended though much larger groups could be seen in several other cities. I worked alongside a dozen or so "techies" and was basically paid to be an extra two hands (and mind, as it turned out) for the on-site director.

The job met almost all of my expectations. I retrieved coffee and food for the director and some of the crew. I waited around and played on my iPhone. I stood on-stage and assisted with the sound and video check. I waited around some more - thank god for smart phones. I helped to acquire the internet connection needed for two laptops and a video conferencing unit being utilized to run the event. I even got to trouble-shoot those connections when they failed to meet the mandatory specifications. 

I am glad for the computer/IT background knowledge I had. Thanks to very knowledgeable friends, a partner replete with IT background and my own moxie over the years, I have probably accumulated more than your average Joe's amount of computer knowledge. I can only say, "thank goodness." I was not clueless. At least I understood the basics needed to achieve the results. Despite clearly being the least qualified person for the task considering those around me, I managed to successfully communicate with several off-site IT experts and coordinate one very long conference call. All but one of the issues was resolved in the end. We had done all we could. Despite our lack of success on that one point, the situation ended in a strangely satisfying way.

It was not hard work. It was actually very easy money. I am not sure "crucial" is the correct word for a PA but there were obvious unexpected moments the director needed an extra set of hands.  I had a good time despite the boredom of sitting around. The crew and site director were all very easy going and friendly. There were one or two moments of intensity but otherwise the show went smoothly. They all clearly know their jobs. And now I have a handle on what is going on - the flow and atmosphere. It was a good experience.


West End Bob said...

It sounds like the experience was a positive one.

We await the vision of you on the Big Screen, Adam . . . . :)

Adam said...

I have already been on the big screen, actually. One scene in one movie. I was an extra(I knew someone working on the crew). I just happened to be in the center of the room and the cameras were always shooting around me or through me (and the actress next to me, also an extra). We were the only two extras allowed to speak-react to the two main characters actions. Fun...and kinda boring.
Anyway, a year later a stranger approached me in a park during a work picnic and asked me if I'd ever been in a movie. I had to laugh, I was SO embarrassed because no one I worked with knew about it. I said "yes" of course.
I couldn't tell you the name of thee movie-I don't think I ever knew it, but it was shot in 1990, there were one or two well known TV actors in it and it was independent. I don't think a studio ever picked it up and distributed it. I would have heard.
I think that counted for about two minutes of my 15 minutes of fame. I'll shout out if I get/take any more opportunities. LOL Cheers!