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Yesterday was my shoot day for "That's Clever," -- and what a day it was! Here's a few of my thoughts on the experience:

The Crew

The crew of four (producer, director, camera guy and sound guy) arrived just after 3 p.m. Since they'd already done one shoot that morning & hadn't had a break yet, eating lunch was our first activity. And that worked out really well. It gave me a chance to get to know everyone on a casual basis before the actual filming started.

I was totally impressed with the whole crew. Everyone was very down-to-earth and friendly. And it was neat to watch other creative people in the midst of their process, as they came up with ideas for things to add to the video or photos. I love being around creative people!

I thought it was interesting that they use local folks for audio & video. It makes sense from an equipment standpoint, but it must be hard to have a new crew every couple of weeks.

And speaking of two weeks, I can't imagine how they do two segments per day, 14 days in a row. I mean, I was exhausted after just my portion (which ended around 11 p.m., btw) -- and that was just half of their day.

The Workspace

Since they'd told me on prep day to add more color to my workspace (examples of my work, tools, etc), we ransacked the house looking for stuff. We finally got things in place on the wall less than an hour before the crew arrived... and then the first thing they did was to get rid of the stuff we'd put up! Turns out our living/dining room paneling reflected light, causing video problems. They needed to cover as much of the paneling as possible, so they completely rearranged everything. And they did a good job -- the end result looked a lot like a studio. Just wish I hadn't stressed so much about putting stuff up!

The Taping

Audio: They were very concerned about background sounds. They unplugged all the noise-makers in the house -- buzzing lights, refrigerator, & even the air conditioner. That last one was kind of a biggie since I was sweltering under their huge lights. I'm hope it wasn't too obvious how terribly warm I was!

On a side note, I wasn't the only casualty of the heat. My clay got too warm & was really sticky. Between having really warm clay AND having to use my pasta machine left-handed on a rickety desk, I couldn't get a decent sheet of clay on any setting above 3. Fun!

The Project Instructions: Since they hadn't given me a script ahead of time, I was a little nervous about how I would say things. It turned out to be really simple, actually. As I worked through the project, they asked me (off-camera) what I was about to do. I told them. They then rephrased my words into a couple of concise sentences, and I'd repeat that back to them on camera til they were happy with it. Then I'd actually do whatever the next step on the project was. It was always "say, then do." That worked much better than how I'd practiced -- I had trouble trying to explain while I did things.

Something I thought was interesting: they insist that everything be said in the first person. So it's not, "Now you roll your clay on the pasta machine" -- it's, "Now I roll out my clay on the pasta machine." One reason they do this is to limit their liability: they're not telling the viewer how to do it. They're just filming a crafter explaining how they do it.

The Intro: We shot the intro on a side street near my house. We had to keep stopping & re-starting as cars passed by -- I don't think that street has ever had that much traffic! At some point during the intro shot, I managed to get a huge mosquito bite on my arm -- & had to cover it with makeup before we continued. Since they didn't use our front or back yard, all that prep work won't show up at all... Oh well!

Poker Chip Coasters Project: They shot the Act 4 segment (the little project they come back to at the end of the show) first. That worked for me since I'd gone through that one a few more times -- it was the one I presented in front of my Toastmasters group. I felt like this segment went well -- they didn't really have me do anything silly. I did feel like I was doing sloppy work on camera, though. Hopefully that won't come across too much. They loved that we had one of those poker table toppers they could use for the beauty shot at the end.

Mailbox Desk Set Project: They did have me do some silly stuff for this segment. I felt a little uncertain about it, but my husband (who was sitting behind the director, watching the video monitor) said it all looked good. Hopefully it'll come across okay.

Air Date

Apparently the show is going from airing 5 days/week to 2 days/week, so it looks like my segment won't air until Spring 2008. I'm supposed to call closer to that time to get a specific air date, which I'll post here.

Overall Impressions

I was totally impressed with the crew -- everyone was very professional and did a great job in a short time. Granted, their efficiency stressed me out at times, too. I like to have everything in its place, so I'd get frantic when I couldn't find something they'd moved out of their way. And horror of horrors -- people were touching my unbaked clay creations & putting unbaked clay on my wood furniture! Thankfully my husband was there to help me find things & just generally keep me settled.

The project instructions themselves went much better than I'd expected: the way they broke it down into small segments was really very helpful. I was a lot less nervous than I'd expected.

Of course, I'm glad it's over. My back's complaining about all the extra hours of work. And after weeks of prep work, I can honestly say I'm looking forward to a little break from crafting!

Overall, I had a good time, and I found all the behind-the-scenes stuff very interesting. Regardless of how it turns out, I'm really glad I did it.


that is so awesome!! i'm excited to see it. keep everyone posted. :)

Thanks, leanna! I'll be sure to let you know. And thanks for your help in Toastmasters -- don't think I would've had the nerve to try something like this before I joined the group!

Can't wait to see you on TV! What a thrill!

Way to go Angela! Thanks for sharing a very clear account of your day filming. I smiled the whole way through reading it. I can't wait to see the episode! And a pat on your husband's back for being there and being supportive.

Thanks, April & Treasurefield! And yes, my husband definitely deserves that pat on the back -- even the crew was impressed with how helpful he was!

Hi! That's Clever is coming to shoot me on June 5th so it was comforting to read about your experience. I'M SO NERVOUS, but it sounds like a pretty low-stress process. You must live semi-close to me because I know they've been in the area for a little while now.

Hi, Jessy -- love the dolls! I'm in OKC, & it looks like you're in Maryland, so maybe they have multiple crews? Anyway, don't stress too much over the shoot -- and best of luck to you!

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