You can't pause live video...

Oct 14, 2020 8:36 pm

I was volunteering on a live movie set when the weirdest thing happened that I've seen in a long time. Maybe ever.


Before the show, they asked for a couple of volunteers to help with a 5-day live program that was 30-minutes long each morning.


I think I was selected because if anything computer-related went south, they would have a nerd there to fix it.


That was a probably a good choice, except that it wasn't the computers I had to fix, it was the sudden, unexpected nudity...


YeeHaw!

It was the opening coverage of the Calgary Stampeded where there was a show each morning to go over the days events and where today's pancake breakfast was, etc. It was 7-:7:30am each day.


This wasn't a big production, it was basically the B-team. Maybe the C-team. That's why they needed volunteers, because they didn't use the normal crew for this show. It was the post-morning-show and sandwiched between the regular morning crew and the syndicated morning shows.


After a few days of knocking it out of the park without a hitch, we all met up later on for Happy Hour down at a bar in Eau Claire near the Calgary Waterfront.


The C-Team and I knocked back a whole lot of ciders and pints, and then things escalated quickly.


To make a long story short, by midnight there were upside down margarita shots from half-naked cowgirls at a bar call Cowboys, trays filled with shots or "shooters" as they called them. It ended in a late night rickshaw ride home after hours of two-stepping and a stop at the hot dog carts, which we affectionately had named "Street Meat."


Jackie Wasn't Well

Getting to work on time was a long 16 block walk through downtown, wearing what was left of yesterday's clothes and stopping for a quick coffee and bagel - for those who could handle solid food.


My head felt a bit foggy but I was doing better than most.


Jackie (name changed for this story) looked like she was developing a case of jaundice and she wobbled a bit when she walked. She thought she was walking straight but she was sort of walking on a regularly corrected slant down the busy morning sidewalks.


The whole crew got in pretty close to on-time and a few people hit the craft services desk to scarf some breakfast and black coffee to try to get back on their game.


Jackie just went straight to her camera and did whatever it is people do who run those big old school TV cameras.


The show started, and all was well until after the second commercial break. They went back on the air and that's when I noticed Jackie starting to make these weird involuntary chest heaving motions.


I reached out to tap someone next to me to show them what was happening, silently, but no one was there. The others were all either doing what their jobs were or they had abandoned the set for restrooms.


Jackie wasn't going to make it.


I dumped the ice-bucket holding the little butter and cream cheese packets and I ran on my toes like a cat burglar over to try to catch the impending mess that began to spew from Jackie.


She held her hand over her mouth but not to keep it closed - but to keep it from hitting the camera and directing it downward.


I slid the bucket under the small waterfall and managed to get the worst of it in the bucket. Jackie kept running the camera, her eyes wide and blinking rapidly from tears.


When they switched cameras, she looked at me and looked at the show, and then in one strangely fluid single-handed motion, she just ripped off her vomit covered shirt and threw it in the bucket.


I stood there for what was probably only a second or two shocked, but in my mind it felt like minutes in disbelief at what I just witnessed, and now the topless Jackie, directed the camera back toward the show anchor.


I still don't know what happened to her bra - perhaps it was a casualty from the previous night's debauchery.


I did my cat-burglar tiptoe run and dropped the bucket in a garbage can next to the fire exit door and grabbed my jacket on the way back to help Jackie get her arms in the sleeves. I zipped it up for her and she looked over at me for a just a second and whispered, "thank you!"


There was some quick cleanup and before the director and supervisory staff were back in the room, no one but the crew and I had any idea what had transpired.


The Show Must Go On

After the show was done, there was a little grumbling about "working hungover" which was swept under the bed as something that is "bound to happen during the [Calgary] Stampede."


But overall, the show was a great success and had excellent reviews.


I never saw Jackie again for more than a passing "hello" in the foyer of the building, but someone later that year submitted me for an "exceptional service award" at the company.


I was given a $50 gift card and some cable company swag.


I was pretty sure it was Jackie. And not just for helping her clean up and cover up, but also for not mentioning it again.


The best good-deeds are the ones that you do without needing to tell anyone that you have done them. And sometimes the story you don't tell is the most valuable one.


Now get out there and be profitable, and whatever you do, don't celebrate too hard on a school night, even during the greatest outdoor show on earth...


~Matt


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