One of the joys of being in this teleprompter business, is getting calls from past clients.
This last week was quite the “remember us?” scenario.
In the space of one hour, I was moving my schedule around, finding people to sub for my other local jobs, packing my gear, packing my clothes, and getting a red-eye plane ticket to Florida for a week.
The BBC was in Orlando shooting a daily live show for the 2016 Invictus Games when something unexpected happened with their local teleprompter operator. Luckily, members of the BBC crew remembered me from last year. I had worked with them on the Bafta award winning, “Big Blue Live.” I was honored when they chose me over flying someone in from the UK.
I was offered the same teleprompter gear I used for the 2015 SuperBowl, or using my own laptop and software. I chose the latter since I’m understandably faster on my own gear for setup and edits, which is what they really, really needed. FYI, I used Presentation Prompter teleprompter software on my twin Apple laptops, fed through a Datavideo DAC-70 cross converter to the truck’s HD-SDI system.
I really enjoyed working with the BBC as what they call an Autocue operator. Their professional attitude and grace is quintessentially British. The enthusiasm and experience they bring is genuine. It was great to see some Big Blue Live alumni too. Susi in script and James in EVS as well.
The Invictus Games highlight wounded veterans and their competition against 14 peer countries. These include Jordan, Afghanistan, Georgia, Norway, Canada, plus the friendly(?) rivalry of the UK and USA… It was just awesome to see these veterans take on their sport with such energy. Some do multiple sports!
Wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, rugby (aka Murderball), seated volleyball, shot put, track & field, swimming, cycling, andindoor rowing were just some of the games. Oh, and the archery was amazing. I think the world’s record for the longest accurate shot is from a guy using his feet instead of his arms!
Prince Harry is a huge supporter. Because it’s not the Olympics, the World Cup, or the SuperBowl it is relatively low key. I even randomly walked with 15 feet of the Prince on my way to the cafeteria! Very casual here. It’s also tremendously positve, with typically two family members flown out to support each athlete.
Some of these competitors will be in the Paralympics. The Invictus Games differ from the Paralympics, however, in that these were not paid, professional athletes. The Invictus athletes often still had to support a family after their injury. Some said they found sports as their way to recover their feelings of worth and achievement after surviving their wound or PTSD.
The way they play basketball and rugby was anything but pitiful. They were masters! They turn basketball into a very different sport than what we are used to, playing with hoops at the standard height even, and still making three pointers with ease. The fluid way they move is like the rapid changes of schooling fish.
Having Prince Harry take time to visit our set was also pretty amazing! His presence and supportive love for the whole contest was obvious.
Seeing the ultimate in adaptive sports technology had me thinking about San Francisco’s Environmental Traveling Companions. I volunteer for ETC as a trip leader, taking kids with disabilities out cross country skiing. They also offer adaptive sea kayaking and whitewater rafting trips.
The Invictus Games 2016 Orlando are now over, but I had the best time, working on teleprompter there! Tons of talent in the crew from the BBC and local folks, too. I’m super grateful for the referral that got me this unexpected flight across the country, to play with such an awesome team on such an awesome project.
The genuine camaraderie of the participants, their supportive families and well, Prince Harry smiling throughout it all, was just amazing.