Friday, May 14, 2010

The Reality of TV

I happened to notice that we are now in May! Where did April go? I have been working on a steady basis on television commercial shoots, hence my tardiness in updating my postings. Working TV is very different than stills, there are more people, more variables and the days are much longer. Personally, I really enjoy them both - the diversity, the camaraderie and ultimately the satisfaction of a job well done in either situation.
The shoots that I just came off of include many firsts for me: working with rotten foods, a 20 hour work day, a cat wrangler and talent having to eat high fiber cereal & bars for many, many takes.
Without naming names and products, I can say that I have recently worked on a shoot where we worked with insanely rotten and moldy foods - latex gloves and face masks were made available! The other stylist actually cultivated them for a few weeks. The product is an all-natural substance that people will be able to place in their fridges and it will reduce food spoilage.
The twenty hour day: after two prep days, I started out Day 3 at St.Lawrence Market at 07:30, (officially they open at 8:00 on weekdays but they really are there earlier) and that glorious four letter word "w-r-a-p" was not uttered until 03:10 the following morning! We stayed a little longer and put a few things away, I think that I sat for the grand total of an hour during the entire 20-hr day. No complaints though, things were no different for the two other stylists with whom I was working. In the end, the client got what they wanted and needed. Four 0n-air celebrity chefs + 16 recipes = lots of shopping + loads of equipment and lots and lots of food & prep.
Another recent shoot had us working out of a moveable kitchen in a truck, street-parked in a very upscale neighbourhood. At one point, I was outside with a propane torch "grill marking" chicken thighs which must have appeared a little odd to the unaccustomed. On the "crew list" I noticed that there was a cat wrangler listed to be on set that day. Hats off to them if they can train a cat, I can hardly get my dog to listen to me. Later on that day and over the walkie-talkie, I heard the "cat" shot being set up. I then heard the director asking if they could PUSH the cat through the kitty door. Next I heard him say that they would take the shot from where the cat would have come through the door. So much for cat training, I wonder how much a cat wrangler gets paid?
Last week we were working with high fiber cereal and cereal bars. The cereal claims that one 52 gram serving yields 52% of one's daily fiber requirement - impressive and all the more so when the talent had to eat bowl after bowl after bowl of it in order to get the right takes! Needless to say, he was only in the shoot that one day and we had new talent for day 2.
Day 2 talent had to eat high fiber cereal bars, though not quite as high in fiber as the cereal, after one eats enough of them in take after take, they yield the same beneficial results.

Other recent projects include supplying macarons to three local caterers, including a few new flavour: pistachio and cardamom in the cookie with and a raspberry and rose buttercream filling, and a chocolate almond cookie with a dark chocolate and praline ganache. I have been meaning to get some macaron photos up - it is on the "to do" list, and will happen soon.

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