Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My Job, An Introduction, part 2 of 7

In my previous post An Introduction to My Job, Part 1 of 7  I said I would share how to successfully tape cables down so they would not be a dangerous tripping hazard.  It is a closely guarded, top-secret business tip, but I will share.  We use Gaff tape for everything.  I am not selling it or making money, just stating my opinion.  The wider tape is a special cable path tape which means it only has glue on the edges.  The center where the cables go is not sticky so it won't stick to the cables.  It is strong enough to hold the cables down without ripping up the carpet, or pulling paint off of the walls and does not leave a sticky residue behind.  This is important when you are working in high-class joints and want invitations to return.

In addition, there are other great uses for rolls of Gaff tape such as coffee cup holders.

Most importantly, it is a fabulous choice when attempting an individual, creative fashion statement.  As a jewelry accessory, it coordinates with any casual work outfit, comes in all colors, even camouflage and will add that special touch to create the perfect look.

Reese making a fashion statement.
Taping down miles of cable so no one trips is an exact science and must be taught to a younger apprentice by an older, more experienced instructor.  

Jim teaching Dustin how to tape multiple cables at once.

It requires detailed instructions which must be peppered with tales of unbelievable imagination and bravado.

"I saw it myself," stated Jim.
"Mom, is Uncle Jim teasing me?" 
Then comes the final inspection by the Great Wise Inspector General.  We are a relaxed crew and no longer salute.

Howard straightening out a wrinkle.
Some places cannot be taped and other tricks are used to ensure everyone's safety.

After the cables are run, taped down and connected to the cameras, don't expect to sit down, relax and watch the show from a cozy chair.  A comfortable spot is an exception, not the rule.  The hard work continues.

Usually, the cameras are placed behind the audience on top of the bleachers or in the back of the room.  They are positioned to avoid blocking anyone's view if possible.

Dustin and Reese

This setup required hauling the equipment up to the top of the closed bleachers.  Next, the Inspector General instructed the young folk to "monkey on up".  The janitor offered a ladder for the other crew members, but the monkeys, I mean the young 'uns didn't need it.  It gives new meaning to the expression, "sitting in the nosebleed seats."

This setup required the operator to squeeze in the tight aisle right above the people's heads and work the camera from the side.  There was not enough room to move.  In some auditoriums, the floor is slanted down toward the stage which causes your feet to slide to the front of your shoes.  After a few hours, your toes become numb.  I bet no one reading my blog knew that!

Sometimes we hide the camera on the back of the stage especially if it is a graduation ceremony.  This allows us to shoot the graduate's face as they receive their diploma.  

Ron hiding inside the library to get a good shot.

This is one of the most difficult setups because the operator is working two cameras at one time.  It requires serious concentration and eye-hand coordination.  Mentally this is taxing because the operator must stay alert.  

"Everybody else is working hard.  Are you going to stand there and take pictures all day?" asked Inspector General.

Howard causing trouble.
"Yes, I think I will.  And if you irritate me, I will get revenge on my blog.  Tee Hee Hee."  I quipped. 

Next, you get to see the best of all!  ME!  My job.  I sell DVDs.  It requires me to guard the "football which holds the nuclear launch codes."  Jim found the briefcase at a thrift store years ago and had to buy it because it has the letter "J" on the front.  He figured it was made especially for him.

It looks rough because it has taken a beating over the years.  Even got burst apart by the bomb squad. Really. We were working an event in a huge theater.  One of the performing girls had just broken up with her boyfriend and Romeo was mad.  He wanted to get revenge and ruin her evening.  Since he was uninvited and stuck at home he decided to call in a bomb threat to close the building.  It worked.  The fire alarm went off, I quickly grabbed the cash box, left the briefcase behind and evacuated the building with the rest of the people.  No one was allowed to return back inside until the bomb-sniffing dogs cleared the area.  When we were finally allowed in, the football briefcase was thrown wide open and all of the papers scattered across the lobby like a tornado had hit.  I suppose it did look like a suitcase nuke sitting on the floor under my table.

What about the forlorn Romeo who caused all the ruckus?  Never heard.  Guess we never will.

This is the inside of the football.  All the launch codes are hidden deep within the pockets where they are safe.  It is a big secret, don't tell anyone.  The big note "Take Sign" is to remind me to take down our company sign.  I kept leaving it behind.  Jim got tired of printing new copies so I put a big note to remind me to pack it.  Attention to details is not my strong suit.

This part of my job amazes young children...and creates nostalgia in older adults.  We still take credit cards the old fashioned way, with an imprint machine.  It drives high tech people crazy.  We need to upgrade they say, buy all the expensive equipment then download the apps which can be hacked and only used where wifi is available. We are in many places without wifi.  Old fashioned can't be hacked and works good for us.

Here I sit looking "official" and sometimes I even pass for knowledgeable.  The monitor behind me is a live feed from the truck or the rack and it sells the DVDs better than I ever could.  One close-up of Momma's little one and they rush to buy, I oblige.    

We take cash, checks, credit cards.
If you think taping cables down was exciting, wait until you see my next post.  The crew will show how to shove everything necessary for a three camera shoot into the back of Jim's jeep. 


  1. I must tell the Saver about Gaff tape.....he's a musician and wires upon wires are a part of that. Besides, if he buys some, think of all the wonderful and inventive things I can do with it!

    1. Your husband, the Saver, will like my next post. It will show how the crew sticks the used tape onto their clothes to avoid leaving any behind during teardown. I get to pull it off before I do my boys' laundry.
      I would love to see what you can invent with it!!!

  2. This is interesting, Jeannie! Thanks for sharing about your life! And I never knew that Gaff take wasn't sticky in the middle. Live and learn!

  3. Hi Jeannie

    How come you had me snorting AND interested with stories and pics of Gaff tape??!!!??

    I like the way you and your family work as a team with your brother and his crew.

    Now pardon my asking :P but seeing your picture: first I found you quite elegant (that's not the nosey part, just you wait), second: have you got some Irish blood running in the family?

    Have a great sunny day!


    1. Thanks for the compliment! My brother is awesome, although I would NEVER have said that growing up. I like him better now that we don't live together and he writes me checks.

      I do not know my genealogy back very far. My Mother's side was German, we think by the surname, and my Father's side was British, once again guessing by the surname. We here in the USA, seem to be mostly mixed mutts. My husband has a red beard so we wonder if he might be Irish? It is all guesses. I have thought about tracing my family tree; but, I fear I would probably find horse thieves and outlaws.

  4. We French are mixed mutts as well (and as a nation, we're all very proud of it).

    Now, the one and only person I know whose family's been French-French for three generations is my husband!!!! He's the rare bird. That's why I treasure him :D


  5. Great to see what goes in to all of the prep work. Thanks for sharing with SYC.