So I’m not sure if anybody read my previous blog about my interview with CTV Morning Live regarding their Intern for a Day contest, but for those of you that did, if you are interested in hearing about how the actual day internship went, here we go (warning: I didn’t realise how long this actually was until I wrote it all. I couldn’t just write an overall recap…it’s basically exactly what I did. Jane, I hope you like this one!) :
I’ve often complained about getting up early, but I’m not so sure I’ll be complaining much more after my early morning on Thursday. I was told to be at the studio in Ottawa for 5am, and sure, that may not sound too unreasonably early, considering this is a morning show, but when you’re a girl, who knows she’s going on tv, and lives an hour and a half away from Ottawa, that means getting up at 2:15. Of course I was super excited/nervous/anxious the night before, so I barely got any sleep, yet I bounded out of bed and eagerly got ready.
It’s quite impressive how there is absolutely nobody on the highway around 3-4 am, and Ottawa is absolutely dead that early. It was almost eerie, especially when you see the Byward Market, which is usually packed with people, pretty still.
The studio was surprisingly quiet at 5am, even though the show started at 6am. I met with Ziyada (the producer I met with on Tuesday) and she gave me a bit of a tour of the studio, and I greeted Kurt, Jeff and Lianne, as well as one of the reporters, Melissa Lamb, and the anchor of the news, Annette Goerner (who, little did I know, was actually one of the spies during the prank they pulled on me). My first job was to print out the show schedules and notes and make sure that the hosts and camera guys got them. I was then given my headset, so I could hear everybody who had a mic or headset on. There would be so many people talking at once, occasionally it got confusing, but it was fine. I was then left with one of the two guys who work the main controls, and watched as they got the show on air and explained some of the ropes. At one point, Ziyada pointed to the teleprompter and told me I would probably have to work that. The thought definitely scared me! That would be quite the thing to screw up. One of the camera guys ended up sitting beside me working the prompter, and it didn’t seem that hard, but I paid close attention incase I had to do it too. I then met up with the editor, who showed how they converted tapes, and how these huge machines worked, then how he edited clips and set them up so they could be used for stories. The basic editing that he was using was similar to what we were learning in Bill’s class last semester. About a half hour or so into the show, I was told I was going on air, so I had to mic up, and go sit on the couches with the three hosts. I surprisingly wasn’t nervous, it didn’t feel like you were actually on tv, and the hosts were just so nice and easy going. They introduced me, asked how it was going and where I was going to school (St. Lawrence College’s Journalism program got a few promos during these four hours (Terry I’m sure you’d be happy to hear that!). Later on in the show they would be showing the prank video.
Right after, I was told I was off to Tim Hortons. Tim’s is a big sponsor for the show, so every morning, somebody goes and picks up boxes of donuts, timbits, muffins and bagels for the guests that will be on the show that day. I went with one of the other producers/camera guys and we took on of the CTV vehicles.
After we got back and I set up all the food for the guests, I ended up going over to the news desk as Annette was getting ready for her 7:00am news update. Ziyada told me that I would be sitting with her while she read the news. Not on camera of course! I was sitting at the other end of the desk, just off camera while she read the news, so I could see what she does. It was so cool! I read the prompter to myself to see how hard it was, and it was really neat to see the news from that perspective. Right beside the desk was another little section where Melissa, one of the reporters would do a news report, and beside her was the green screen where Jeff would read the weather. It’s quite the comparison from when you see the three segments from your tv set run one after another, to actually sitting and see how they are all filmed.
I then went over to the ‘street’, which is basically the main hallway in the studio where they film a few segments, and the two guys operating the cameras were going to show me a bit about the cameras/jib and teach me about ‘flooring’ (greeting guests and getting them ready for their segment and such.) Before I could get into that, I was called over to the kitchen section with the hosts, where they were going to show the prank video. I put the mic on myself, since they knew I knew how to do it (definitely appreciated Bill teaching us how to properly put on the mic) and joined the hosts. They introduced me once more and talked about the prank they pulled. They found it hilarious. Now that I look back on the video, I keep thinking I should have said this or done that. I didn’t feel nervous but I kept worrying that if I said a lot I might cut into the time line we had. So they put the video on, then Kurt made them turn a speaker on so I could hear it. While they were airing the video, the three hosts were killing themselves laughing while they watched what they were doing and had a running commentary. They continued it a little bit when the cameras turned back to us, then wrapped it up for the commercial break.
Afterwards, the guests seemed to keep coming in, so I had to put the mic on them, and help set up some equipment. There was a group of young girls who were Irish dancers, so I helped make sure they were all there, sort out their music, and take them to the makeup room. At one point I actually talked into the headset thing! Since it was before St. Patty’s day, there was also a celtic band that came in, so I helped them, and talked to their dancer. All the guests were very nice, and understood if I had to ask someone a question. It was pretty busy for a while, but I didn’t feel nervous or worried at all. While I was sitting off set reading show notes, the hosts were on air, and Kurt decided to draw attention to me, asking how their intern was doing. The camera guy who was standing near me ran and got his camera and pointed it at me. So I basically stood there laughing and not really knowing what to do while they talked about me briefly (I wasn’t with them or I didn’t have a mic, so they couldn’t hear me if I talked.) Then for a little bit I sat and talked to one of the camera men, who was really nice and a little bit older than me. He had only been there for 8 months so it was great to talk to somebody who was still new and hear what he had to say, plus they were really nice and easy to talk to. I wish now that I had gotten more of a chance to see how the cameras worked and ask some more questions about them.
I also learned how to make coffee (no…I didn’t know before then) and began to get pretty hungry since there was so much food there! One of the guests was grilling ribs and other meat outside on the street, and there were two chefs inside in the kitchen. They would make all this food then just leave it for the crew to eat. Unfortunately I was wearing a white blouse…so I didn’t try any of the ribs, not matter how good they were, since knowing me, I would most likely end up getting rib sauce on my shirt and end up on camera later.
When there wasn’t much more for me to do, I went and sat with one of the other producers who was preparing the show for the following day. Jeff came up and was getting ready for his weather update. From where I was sitting, you could see a bunch of screens that showed what was on every camera. While Jeff was off air, he would be looking into the camera making funny faces and joking around while he waited for his count. I was pretty amused. When he went on air, he started rubbing his eye and said that there must be something in it. I wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing, then Erin, the producer was sitting with, was like ‘go with Jeff!’ and Jeff proceeded to yell my name demanding where his intern was, and this is all while he’s on air. I looked at him as I was walking over and he was like ‘you’re helping me with the weather!’ It’s not like I could say no, and I was actually like…are you serious? I found it hilarious. Jeff told me where to stand, and since I never had a chance to put a mic on, I would just point. He showed me what to do, then where to move for each section. I tried my hand at doing the gestures that you see the weathermen do while looking at the radar pictures, it’s a little harder than it looks. You’re standing in front of a green screen, and right in front of you, below a camera, is one tv screen that you have to look at, where you see yourself and the weather forecast, then when you turn to your right, there’s another tv screen with another picture on it. Jeff ended up getting a handheld mic, and then asked me what the temperature was in certain areas. At one point he told me to say hi to everybody from St. Lawrence College in Cornwall…so I did. You all should feel special now.
After the weather I could only laugh about it and think about how awful I probably was. Ziyada came up and asked me what I thought of it, and asked if I was nervous or how it was. She didn’t think I would be too upset by it or anything when she told Jeff he could ambush me like that. I told her that I wasn’t nervous at all, and it was all good. It really was! I then ended up going back over to the couches where Kurt, Jeff and Lianne were closing the show, since I would close it with them. They basically asked me how it was and what direction I wanted to go in with the journalism, or if I wanted to be behind the scenes or in front of the camera. Honestly, I think either would be fine, since I really didn’t feel nervous whatsoever in front of the camera. Jeff did mention that if I wanted one of them to come down and talk to our class then they could (then laughed and added if they could find a professional out of one of them). I wasn’t sure if he was serious, but if he mentioned it then I’m sure he was.
After the show ended, I helped roll some cables (harder than it looks!) and a few people slowly came over to the seats behind the set (where the audience would generally sit when they have a studio audience) and we all talked casually. They asked what I thought of the day and then had some random funny conversations. Eventually everyone had come over to the seats, which they do every day for their post show meeting, and did a run through of what would be happening the following day. They thanked me, and gave me a little goodie bag filled with CTV things, like pens, key chains, a foam mic with the CTV logo and so on, to remember them by (like I would need something to remember that!) We then all gathered on the couches to take a picture, and everyone kind of dispersed.
It got pretty quiet pretty quickly! Ziyada realized she never gave me the full tour, and I had plenty of time to kill before my train left for home, so off we went. The building used to be an old mall so it’s quite big.
The downstairs level consists of the big newsroom, which includes the three sets for the newscasts and the weather, and the control room for the morning show (it’s all very open concept though.) There are also numerous little editing booths and offices as well. The controls for the mid-day, the evening, and the 11 p.m. news are on the other side of the hallway since they are a bit of a bigger production. I should probably note that because the morning show is a bit of a smaller production than the 6pm and 11pm news, everybody has more than one job (for the other newscasts, one person is devoted to one job). The producers may work the cameras sometimes, or take care of the guests as they arrive, or the camera guys may work the teleprompter go get Timmy’s ! They are all such knowledgeable and interesting people.
There is also a small little diner where everybody can go to get food. The diner is actually original to the building, and was the one thing that was kept there from the conversion between the old mall and the studio. I also got a tour of the whole equipment rooms, where all the huge machines are running, and where all the wires connect to. It’s so impressive. Some machines are connected directly to Toronto, so if something goes wrong, all you have to do is flip a switch and somebody from Toronto is waiting to help you. Also, all the wires are hand-made by the technicians themself. It’s crazy.
Downstairs also has a few offices tucked away where a lot of the commercials and technical things essential to the show are run out of (it was pretty quiet in that area and everyone was very focused on their jobs), as well as this room where all the tapes of all the shows for the past many, many years are stored. I was so interested to see everything.
Upstairs was a really cool too (if you haven’t caught on yet…I think everything is cool), and was where the four radio stations were broadcasted out of. The main offices were tucked away upstairs, and the big boss got the office that looked right down on the newsroom. The amount of lights and equipment that are over the newsroom are incredible, and it allows them to shoot from anywhere and have good lighting and all.
The radio station rooms are really cool too. Each room as two thick doors right next to each other to make sure it is sound proof. I went and sat in one of the recording booths, then went through this big room which was super quiet with a bunch of people sitting at their own desks. Just regular desks, but with a mic at them, so they could go on air just sitting there. We then went over to the room where Magic100 is based out of, and Jeff, the weather guy/host from the morning show was on air. After he finishes the news, he usually runs upstairs and works the radio from 10-2 or so. I wanted to say bye and thank him, so Ziyada and I went and sat with him while he was just playing music. He showed me a bit about their equipment and how he did certain things. It was awesome.
Shortly after that I got ready to leave. I mentioned to Ziyada that I would be having an internship to do next January and if it would be possible to do it there. She said I would have to email Human Resources for that and they would talk to her or something, but since I already have a little bit of experience there it would probably work out. I was really hoping going for the Intern for a Day contest would be a good way to get my foot in the door, and I think it did help.
By this time it was probably around 11am. I got so much done and learned so much before noon! My train left at 2:30 or so, so I had plenty of time to kill around Ottawa. Ziyada said if I got bored I could definitely come back to the studio, no problem. Everybody wished me luck on my studies and were all super nice!
Oh, and throughout the show and online they kept mentioning that on March 23rd they would be having a live studio audience (they don’t usually I guess) and to email to book a spot. While I was saying bye to Jeff, I mentioned that I was considering coming back for it and both he and Ziyada were like ‘oh you should!’ So sure enough, I’ll be going back to Ottawa tomorrow. I figured it would be great to show up and see everyone, and it will show that I’m definitely interested in the field. I talked to one of the camera guys, and he’s willing to answer questions or help me out if I’d like.
I’m so thankful that I got to spend the day with them. I felt I learned a lot, both about the field and about myself, and developed some really great contacts.
If anybody wants to see the video of the prank they pulled, you can click on the link below. It’s only a small portion of the whole thing, but you get the idea. It looks like a pretty obvious prank when you watch it, but honestly, when you’re going for an interview at a huge place like CTV, meeting with producers and news hosts, you really aren’t going to expect them to trick you! Plus come on, peanut allergies are a big deal these days, I didn’t think anything of it!
To anybody who actually read this all the way through, I’m impressed. I think I just wrote a novel. There was just so much to tell!