So after a rocky few weeks we arrive in April. On air in the studio is basically sweet, the one area where shows flow and the presenters seem to take over without effort. That’s not to say there isn’t some personality clashes here and there… but in general on air looks amazing. Hamish had returned as a presenter as I mentioned, and Anna had returned and then left…. but the run of presenters that made the show work that year – no understatement – was amazing.
Jez Brown was probably the most obvious presenter choice of the group. During Orientation we’d copied the idea somewhat from the year before and had people audition down at the Uni Campus during the daytime daily fair. Jez did Radio hosting at the student radio station, was obviously an ideas guy, and just perfectly fit the idea of a presenter and this came across as soon as he auditioned. He contained to do slots on the Radio1 Otago Student station as well as coming into to host 3 nights a week… but it was his humour and ideas that made him stand out without question. Any chance I had to help make a skit or something with him at the time was worth jumping at.
Helen O’ Leary had also been a presenter audition. Her brother had been involved with/friends with some of the COW guys from previous years including Cam and Matt in ’04, but why and how she ended up auditioning I’m not sure. But she was great, especially with Jez on screen which had them bouncing off each other. What was also great was often how game she was to often break the image of innocence or normality that she would otherwise have on screen. Jez often made great use of this, especially in one of the highlight videos of the year – At Home With Helen.
After Anna Hegarty dropped out of being a main presenter again, we quickly found a replacement. Ironically there was a connection to 2004 here as her eventual replacement was Tineille Charteris. She was a presenter audition from 2004 and she had stuck in my mind simply due to an incident where we took her on a flat raid to someones house as a possible presenter and she’d a) handled the situation amazingly, but more importantly b) had pulled out a dirty stained “cloth rag” from under some random guys bed and then proceeded to question what it was and why it was under the bed. She didn’t get the main gig in ’04 of course, but this later incident had stuck in my mind and when Sarah had asked about any other possibilities early on… so I mentioned her, Sarah got in touch, and she was added.
Joe Hackshaw, yet again presenter audition. Joe wasn’t a main presenter as such, but focused on Music and Sports stories and interviews. He would fill in on set when we were short a presenter, or before or after his segments. When not there instead he worked as crew with the rest of us on cameras and so forth.
Ben Wallace took Hamish’s spot as the Night and Day news presenter later in the year. I don’t remember much of his background other than he was friends/flatmates with Callum and had an exceptionally dry sense of humor. I often ended up shooting Night and Day stories with him and/or Callum over the year and they were always a blast.
Personalities clashed of course. Jez and Hamish didn’t really get along, and was seen on screen often with occasional awkward outcomes. With Helen getting on well with Jez, she also didn’t work that well with Hamish but was often the balance between the two that somehow made the three of them work on air. Joe Hackshaw also got on the wrong side of other presenters as well from time to time. Everyone else seemed to work well, and on air they mostly tried to keep it smooth. What probably helped however, as I mentioned, was a more common problem – the show’s producer, which kinda also bonded the crew together a little more.
By late April, the Uni Games was due to take place over the Easter Weekend. This year’s location was in Auckland, specifically on the North Shore. Sarah arranged for her and Hamish to attend via sponsorship (Hamish was picked not just on his persistence but also the fact he was the early presenter choice and this was organized quite early on).
When they returned Hamish returned with unflattering stories about various incidents in Auckland, including Sarah’s ability to vanish for long times and not really producing large amounts of content from the trip alongside some other more scandal filled comments I won’t bother repeating here. Indeed the proof was there in the former at least which was a limited group of interviews and sports montage materials from a very slim number of sports (even though there was almost 30 sports you could see at the games). This progressed later the following month when Channel9 was invited by Taranaki TV to come be involved in the “Farmers Games” and again Sarah and Hamish went. Why Hamish went I’m not sure, but again this event only provided more divide on issues with Sarah when they returned to Dunedin. In this case thankfully they weren’t expected to shoot as much, with the (now long defunct) Taranaki TV providing all the coverage.
I hadn’t been entirely blind to the other local issues either being complained about. Sometimes it seemed like we could just go out and shoot anything and Sarah was keen to include it. Other times she had a specific schedule she wanted us to fit into even if it didn’t really work. As the weeks went on every show was scripted into specific segments and events, this worked fine, but when it came into forcing pre-existing material or making stuff no one wanted just because it was selling some perfume by Britney Spears from the Farmers department store – things got more difficult.
When it came to live shows Barry found her difficult because she’d often take over Directing behind him, so he was turning up less often to do it… leaving her to direct the shows. This was a two fold issue because Barry was a great director, better than her, and yet it meant Sarah was even more controlling than usual about how the show ran. She was certainly far more controlling of all the roles than other producers, and also more likely to say no to us going out to shoot an idea even though it wasn’t costing anyone anything but their own time.
Between this though I did have fun events. I covered the Leith Bike Race again with Ivan, news segments with Ben, music and sports stuff with Joe. I went out and covered the Destiny Tavern incident plus the actual Destiny Church visit to the Uni with Hamish, made a fake Star Wars trailer for the release of the 3rd of the Prequel films that year, filmed the Jaffa Race once more – which we were blocked from, mostly because we were late but we made it about something else, and of course filmed plenty of Walk of Shame segments. The latter was often with a variety of presenters which made it interesting more so than before where we’d only used a couple for the whole year. Again, outside of producer problems it was the presenters and crew that made the work fun.
I’d been doing all this while I was doing 3D animation study at Aoraki along the street, again each day I walked the short distance to the studios to work on the News later to help work on COWTV stuff. It helped now I lived near town as well, however in late May my relationship broke down and I moved back across town to my parents place, which meant it was a long distance to come and go late at night and work on the show. After all the issues combined with my recent personal woes as well I considered dropping off the show at this point. But somehow I was talked into sticking with it… why I did I can’t remember, maybe it was due to the relationship thing and needing a fun distraction at the time, but I made a choice to do so. So as June began I continued coming on in to help with the show, mostly for the benefit of other other amazing crew and not so much the producer…
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