So with free afternoons and a lot of grand ideas of helping on the production, I was thrown straight into helping. Cam was brilliant and was always telling me more about shooting for sequences, editing tips, and cut downs. Some of the earlier things I did were far too long and needed better editing, but this was also helped by better shooting plans.
I ended up shooting with Hamish for the Night and Day News segment quite a bit, and Hamish seemed to enjoy having someone to shoot for him that he didn’t have to direct much, that I could be expected to go off and shoot the content and cutaways needed outside of his pieces to camera and interviews. Otherwise being around during the early evening meant I was also asked to come shoot Flat Raids and other such events too, plus any other crazy things in and around the station for that evenings show. I also ended up doing the shooting for the Walk of Shame segment after a couple of months, and Cam gave me great feedback on the material I brought back. The experience there also led to me working on a few paid jobs for Channel 9 itself and eventually rolling into working on the News in a variety of ways.
On top of this I continued my studio shoots for Cow in the evenings too. More and more often I was doing handheld camera work and enjoying every moment of it. For the first few months I didn’t miss a single show, and so 5 nights a week I was there no matter what.
Sun, Rain, or even snow. The first snow night was cold, and we went out and shot students being crazy in the sea level snowfall. Some of the out of town students had never seen snow that wasn’t on a mountain. It could only be called snow madness what we saw. The studio was so quiet that night that Ivan and I were the only crew for the two presenters, and we built a fort for the presenters to use. Aside from the snow content, we played recent highlights because little else had been shot. For some reason, other than the photos I have from the night, this sticks out as a clear early memory.
It wasn’t until probably late April before I missed any shows. The only one I did at first was a debating show for who knows what, and I still watched it from home. Around Easter I went back up to Wellington for the long weekend, missing the Tuesday night show. But after that for the rest of the year until just after mid July I didn’t again miss a single episode. I was hooked, and most of the time I was in on camera, on the studio floor, having a blast.
Shoots out of the studio though were a blur after a while. I did some event at the Meridian Mall with Nathan Rarere being interviewed, numerous Night and Day stories with Hamish, more Walk of Shame’s including one on a particularly frosty morning with Ivan as my presenter after a major Rugby game between the All Blacks and British Lions. Music interview after music interview, usually with Craig Easson interviewing, flat raids with Rob Dixon, Who Dares Wins Beers with Jim Bush, plus sports interviews with whoever was there to do them. The Hyde Street Keg party (where I got hit with five month old rotten milk while filming, thanks to William Miller), 24 Book Sale coverage, New Zealand Idol coverage, talked to Politicians. We covered the Leith Bike Race, Jaffa Race, setup a Supermarket Trolley race and filmed it as an event, did milk challenges outside on the street by the studio live, filmed events at the Uni Games which was in Dunedin that year. Went to pubs and shot bands. But then also Lip Syncing and Air Guitar competitions at student pubs as well, and many many many more.
After Gwyneth Paltrow filmed a movie in Dunedin (the movie Sylvia) Hamish, Ivan, and I visited Corstorphine House, the most expensive accommodation in Dunedin, where she stayed. And compared it to a scummy student flat on Hyde Street. Hamish and Ivan did some inappropriate things in the Russian Room and Hamish jumped onto the beds, climbed into empty baths, and slid down stair railings. The owners weren’t impressed apparently.
One of the events we filmed at the Oriental Tavern (‘The Ori’) was a talent competition which introduced us to Callum Macdonald. Callum was studying Television and started to come into help on the show. From then on until just last year in 2013 he was a face you’d see around the station a lot.
Studio shows weren’t slacking often either. From hallway jousting, cooking segments, setting up former CH9 news reader and TV3 reporter Shaun Summerfield (walking through an old CH9 new promo banner with his face on it), a ‘pin the tail on the honkey’ game (Don Brash inspired, pic above). We had bands play (including one punk band which overfilled the studio – probably should have got us in trouble on the weight and fire hazards no doubt), setup a Female Boxing bout between Sasha and Anna somehow, had Highlanders Cheerleaders in the studio (cheering for anything and everything on that episode), plus numerous other celeb guests and sports stars in and on as interviews between anything else Cam could get in each night. So many I could probably go on and on if I could just remember them all.
Sadly it couldn’t last forever, for both me and others. In around mid July I left for a couple of weeks back to Wellington, and out of some luck secured some paid contract work while I was away, it didn’t start for a month or so though. I returned to Dunedin in early August and continued to help on the show for a few more weeks until I was due to be back in Wellington for the job. At the same time Cam had also found other work outside of Dunedin and left as the Cow producer in early August. Matt took over now presenting and producing the show.
I can’t comment much on what happened after I left. The biggest highlight for the guys was probably a whole saga with presenter Rob Jackson’s flatmate calling up and playing random midi music frequently, being labeled the “Musicman” and then a Beastie Boys inspired Cow Squad thing trying to hunt him down. William Miller got in trouble for helping himself to a large amount of beer trying to secure an interview with a famous international rap star who visited Dunedin (he didn’t get the IV but the singer got the beer). The guys got on the final episode of the show Sportscafe being filmed in Dunedin and literally tore the set to pieces. There was probably much more again but I never saw much of it.
By the time I returned just before Christmas the year was well over, and because I had so much fun in 2004 I wanted to come back for the 2005 year. Little did I know just how different it would be.
To be continued…