Tuesday, August 31, 2010

WEG Day #15

Things have been getting more hectic since the weekend. Sunday I really tried to get out of here by noon and ended up staying until 3:00p. Not bad over last weekend. Yesterday was a very bad day as we found out that none of the camera platforms for Cross Country Eventing had been ordered. These camera platforms are essential to see the jumps and get over the heads of spectators. And they have been discussed for at least two years. And everyone was aware that they are needed but no one ordered the materials and construction of the platforms.


Then, in a meeting it was discovered that our golf cart order was reduced and they forgot to tell us. We had ordered 10 John Deere Gators, 4 4-wheel drive carts, and 33 regular golf carts. We even had to justify in writing why we needed so many. And they are planning on giving us 14 golf carts. We pointed out that we have 160 people in the compound. We have two venues 1/2 mile away. They are not walking. So they are re-assessing, and have agreed to allow us to use vans to move people, giving us a four wheel drive truck to move equipment, and probably giving us 8 Gators, 4 four wheel drive carts, and 20 golf carts. We have now changed Rosemary's title from Golf Cart Wrangler to Transportation Captain.


I was hoping today to introduce you to Harley. Harley is a horse. Harley is a hungry horse that loves carrots and really loves me. We are in a horse park and I haven't shown any horses yet so everyone, this is Harley.

Of course, the last time I visited Harley, the SOB bit me because I wasn't fast enough with the carrots.

Story of my life.

From the Horse Park


Saturday, August 28, 2010

WEG Day #12

With so much going on with our preparations, I wanted to show some of the construction that is happening. Today there are not many people here although WEG is doing training for their volunteers. The following are some of the construction work that is going on now.

Main Stadium

Kentucky Experience

John Deere exhibit

Part of Host Sponsor, Alltech Booth

Staging area

This is where Secretariat is buried. Rosemary will probably have more info on this when she arrives.

Back side of Main Stadium by the lake

More of the lake

Temporary seating going in. Currently it seats 7,000 but they are going to 24,000 for the event.

Another view of the backside of the Main Stadium

Tomorrow is my quest for horse. Yes, horses as I have not shown any yet and I am in a horse park after all. So I can show you horses.

From the Horse Park


Friday, August 27, 2010

WEG Day #11

Meetings, meetings, meetings. Just can't seem to get enough of them. I don't know if we have meetings to just hang together to feel good or we truly pass information on that is useful and then not so much. When Kentucky got The Games, there were a lot of high fives and a lot of happy parties (let the bourbon flow!). Then, it hit them they have to actually make this happen because, oh, in 30 days or less, there will be a lot of angry, disappointed people here. So there are currently a lot of people that are running as fast as they can to get things done. Over the weekend I will take some pictures of the early construction here and the efforts to catch up. Getting back to the meetings, I have a contractors meeting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to review status of the park. I can tell you all you want to know about dumpster movement and seat building. What I still cannot tell you is when I get the rest of my trailers in the compound and my catering tent. Jim went to a meeting for Opening Ceremony and sat thru a discussion on whether to give the volunteers for the show a bottle of water per hour or only two bottles of water for four hours. And should we feed the volunteers or just give them a granola bar. I don't make this stuff up, folks. Actually I can't make this up because even I didn't believe for a minute. This is my life.

So, coming in to the weekend, I have my paperwork actually caught up, budgets have been locked in, rental contracts signed, and have only two more meetings today. I am in pretty good shape.

From the Horse Park


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WEG Day #10

So a new day and we have added Trailer #3 to the mix in the compound. We have also welcomed some new staff to our group so there are 4 of us now. Jackie Moretti is one of the Production Managers that works for NBC and is here to help us get organized. Jack Shoemaker, who will be Rosemary's boss, is here as the senior runner. Yes, we have management for our runners so he is here to boss them around. In any TV production you have to have someone in charge of "pillows and wheels" or in other words, hotel and travel. Sometimes the production manager feels they want to "help" the tech manager and this causes all sorts of issues with the technical planning. Quite frankly, I don't need the help. But I have worked with Jackie before (somewhere) and she doesn't do that. And Jack, I have worked with over the years and he is very good help. So we are now 4. Brian is the next to join us.

No other dramas and issues for today. Three people have canceled meetings with me today so I can catch up on yet more paperwork, this being fiber management (yawn). The Park has a brand new infrastructure of fiber put in exclusively for us. Then they have come back to ask if they could use some of it. Indian Givers. So I have to do a fiber count to make sure that I have enough for our broadcasts and can share with others. I don't share well so that is why I need to make sure I have enough and can let them on our network. Boring stuff but got to be done.

From the Horse Park

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

WEG Day #9

We are now settling in to our new compound and getting ready for the office trailers to come in. The TV trucks won't be in until Sept. 19 and that will be an interesting adventure in itself. I haven't shown all of the park yet and will but today would like to concentrate on the TV compound.

In Torino, if you remember, I had a small portion of the TV compound for NBC. This time, as Host Broadcaster, I have all of the TV compound and am responsible for its layout and location.

I am not sure how the drawing looks but there are going to be 6 TV trucks, 3 satelitte trucks, 4 offices trailers of various size for operation, and 9 small trailers for use by the Broadcasters coming in from all over the world. As you can see, it is a little compact. And they keep trying to add more trailers and TV trucks in to my compound. Another thing about this compound is its location which is centrally located within the park. SO, it has been used as a dump, parking lot, storage area, and just a nice place to hang out. These are the issues today as I have trailers #2 and #3 coming in and everyone parks here; or dumps there "stuff " here.

Notice all of the workers' cars and tools

Notice all of the pallets of temporary flooring that aren't mine

And notice the truck that has been parked here for the last nine days and I haven't a clue as to who owns it.

One thing that is in the compound with my office trailer is our power for the event. These are 4 500KW generators that will give us power for all of the games. Yes, we need this much and they will be running in tandem, redundant for the extent of the games. I can power a small town with these babies. And if you can see the dark gray box in the back, that is a 2,300 gallon tank that will be feeding the generators. We will need re-fueling every two days.

So, Dear Readers, I am off to chase more people out of our compound and make ready for my office trailers. AND finally tomorrow, we are getting some more people in here to help; Rosemary's boss and a production manager.

From the Kentucky Horse Park

Monday, August 23, 2010

WEG Day #8

Yes, Yes, I know that I haven't posted anything for awhile but the last three days have been very busy with meetings and late paperwork. Not saying we are behind but both Jim Carr, the executive producer, and I have been tortured with other projects non-WEG. This has given me the opportunity to really catch up and be more productive regarding the technical side of the broadcast for WEG.

I am not going to venture in the world of organization quite yet. The WEG people are scrambling now to get things organized. We have had our requests in for over 6 months and they are just now dealing with them. Again, more on this later.

The Kentucky Horse Park is a beautiful facility that is owned by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It was originally a breeding farm and eventually donated to the Commonwealth. Probably I will have Rosemary write more about the Park when she gets here (remember, Ms Golf Cart Wrangler).

This is the view of the Main Stadium. It was built about two years ago and was replacing a ratty old building that should have been condemned years ago. They did an outstanding job of this building as it is a true showpiece. A lot of the events will be happening from this venue with Opening Ceremony, Dressage, Jumping, Eventing, and Closing Ceremonies.

More pictures later but I will leave you with a funny story. We had a very ugly pine tree within our TV compound that needed to be removed. Where this is a state park, you need legislation to get it removed. Truly. So, in one of our many meetings, I asked about the tree and there were some looks from the WEG people that there was something up. The told me to "not worry about it. It was dialed in". I am getting tired of that term "dialed in" but said okay, I will wait. Sunday morning, very early, I was in my trailer making coffee when I heard the sound of a chain saw. There were 5 people outside quickly cutting the tree down and getting rid of it. I was so excited, I ran to get my camera BUT I just locked myself out of the trailer! So much for getting excited over destroying a tree.

From Kentucky Horse Park

Thursday, August 19, 2010

WEG Day #4

Now that we have gotten the trip over out of our system and the bird that landed on my car, I would now like to re-educate all my favorite fans on the Blog as to what I do.

I work in TV. I have been doing it since 1972 and I am still doing it. This particular job that I am on is very unique for me as I have never held an overall position of authority to running a multi-venue event. I have done Olympics over the years but I have never held ultimate responsibility for an event and had Tech Managers look to me for the answers. I have always been one that has been directed but not to direct. Now, it is my turn and this is my last. Yea, yea, later.

Let me take you back.

I was in Torino doing that Olympics when I was approached by an old friend of mine, Jim Carr, who was producing Downhill for NBC. I was tech managing Cross Country (that Blog is still active in this site) for NBC and he said in passing, "Call me when you get home, I have something interesting to talk to you about". I did and he told me about WEG and what he needed; he wanted me to technically produce the show for the world feed. I would have a staff of about 125 technicians and have two or more Tech Managers working for me to do this. I thought about this for about 3 seconds and said sure, count me in. That was over 4 years ago.

I have done some pre-WEG shows for Jim and his company, Carr-Hughes, to prepare for this time. As Rosemary and I had horses and I knew some ins and outs for the competition, I was ready to take on the challenge of covering the events and making sure that I could handle the challenges of international broadcast and making a good effort towards local broadcast feeding NBC and their affiliates. I was back to doing top quality production with some star talent.

I now needed to build my staff. I needed two top tech managers to cover the events that were based around the venues that we were going to cover and some other parts of the park. I am still holding off on describing the competition as that will be another Blog for another time. I am also holding off talking about the Park as that will take a long time to describe. I want to focus on building my staff. The first person I wanted to have help me was Brian, my son. Yes, there are many other more qualified people that could have done a good job but Brian brings a good attitude and an aggressive disposition to the party and I needed and wanted that. This is not a tough project but it is one that is long and most lose interest and attitude as it goes on. I didn't need some prima donna but someone that just gets the job done. Brian fits the bill and I put him is as the primary Tech Manager. The second person I asked was an experienced hand in tech managing but was one that was looking for the secondary role and not wanting too much stress. I hired him as I knew he could do a very good job but in a secondary role to Brian. And he was okay with the fact that Brian was taking the primary role. Unfortunately he had to do a job with Carr-Hughes on a show in NYC and that one didn't go well as it was more difficult then he was ready for. I had to let him go. Now the search was on for another secondary Tech Manager. In my search, I contacted an old friend of mine who runs the Olympic Unit for NBC who I asked if he could help me find someone to fill the spot. There was a pause on the phone and then this small voice came from him asking, "what about me? I can do it because I am doing nothing until London Olympics. I can if you want me." I hired him then and there. Chip Adams is one of the best Tech Managers in the business and there is a reason why he runs all of the NBC Olympics people; he is that good. I couldn't believe my luck. I needed to make him the Primary tech manager and Brian totally agreed to the change status. I had my staff.

With the building of my primary personnel, I was ready to take on the challenges of this new project. I know of dealing with host broadcasting from entities built within this country. We do a terrible job at organizing a major event and next I will be now discuss the events leading up to where I am today.

From the Kentucky Horse Park

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

WEG Day #3

Well, as promised, I couldn't do anything with the Blog due to the fact that since getting here, I have been tied up with meeting after meeting. My life is a meeting for this event. I obviously want to take time to describe what is happening in the next few weeks but this time has been truly tied up with helping this event to happen and they look to us to help them with what we have all done over the years. So the meetings, and more meetings, and more meetings. And now, becuase we have moved in to our new operation trailers, the WEG people come to our trailer to hang out. Plus the leather couches we have don't hurt the image. Yes, we have leather couches, real offices chairs, and a refrigerator stocked with water, drinks, and snacks. We are real popular. One of the WEG people said in amazement, "gee, I wish we had this". Hmmmmmmmmm

Yes, there is a lot we need to talk about. The event, the Park, the work, the accomodations, and the attitude. But not tonight.

I want to talk about the bird. Yes, the bird. I was sitting in my trailer finally able to settle down and do some work. No distractions, no one to ask questions, no meetings, and I can finally settle down and do some work and planning. Until one of the WEG people ran in and said there was a bird on my Porsche. Not looking at him, I said go tell the bird not to poop on my car. He said, no, you have to come see this bird. Sighing, I get up, trudge out to me car and this is what I see.

So, obviously it is a baby bird and obviously fell out of the nest and on my car. What to do. I finally get another person, we coax the baby on to a stick and put the stick in the tree. Except the bird had other ideas and wanted to stay on my car. So every time we move the stick, the bird keeps jumping back on my car. At least he has taste in good cars. So, after several attempts, we did get him in the tree and he hopped his way back up to home.

After this, I fled back to the hotel, giving up doing any worthwhile work for the rest of the day.

From the Kentucky Horse Park


Monday, August 16, 2010

World Equastrian Games Day #1

Welcome back, oh followers of David and Brian's Excellent Adventures. We are back for yet another adventure in the world of TV Sports and particularly of WEG. More on WEG later but we haven't written one together in a long time because we haven't done any shows together in a long time. This will be my last big show (yea, yea, I know you have heard this before but it is true, this is it). And this time, Brian is not here in a lowly maintenance role but as a Tech Manager. More on that as well. This is time to share again, a father and son's careers and adventures together whether they will be fun or not is left up to the imagination of you, dear readers.

So what has been happening to us since the last submission. I looked back on the last time which was Brian going to sea (yet again) with Bob Ballard and his merry band of scientists. Guess where Brian is currently? With Bob Ballard and his merry band of scientists. Brian has his video log at http://gallery.me.com/brianraynes#gallery I don't care for his style of how he is reporting each day and that is why I am listed in the credits as "Critic".

So, what have we been doing?

Continued running Little Bay
Built 2 more Game Creek trucks
Built a truck for the Japanese
Built a truck for Corplex that didn't go well
Built some smaller control rooms
Sat on our butts for 1/2 year wondering why we were in this business while the economy tanked
Built a big church control room in Baton Rouge....at least God had money
Built a fly away system for a PBS station in Tennessee
Ticked off a bunch of people
Sold a lot of cameras which kept Little Bay alive
Built a truck for NCP

THEN, finally, getting ready for WEG

What is WEG? WEG is the World Equestrian Games and it is the Olympics of the horse world. It is an event that is usually held in Europe and happens every 4 years. All countries compete in each event and has now, finally, come to the US. Carr-Hughes was chosen to be the Host Broadcaster and I was chosen as the senior tech manager. I have been working on this event for over 4 years. I was actually asked back in Torino Olympics to do this and now we are getting ready to stage the event. AND Rosemary is going to be a part of the team as she is destined to be the transportation captain (look it up, all movies have one). But we have been calling her the golf cart wrangler. So she will be contributing her thoughts as well as a staff person. And of course our final thoughts each has as to how it went and how it effected each of us. I did forget to mention where I am which is Lexington KY at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Now the ground rules; I am here for 2 months so I doubt I will be writing every day. Or writing long articles of what has happened. Don't look for it. No pictures or videos today but we will try both again for this event. The park is gorgeous and the surrounding areas even more so. So there will be information shared on this as well. Brian joins me the first part of September and Rosemary comes in mid-September. Where we are staying is another source of a story.

So, as I tell my friends when I give them a ride in my sports car
"Get in, put your seat belt on, shut up, and hang on".

From the Kentucky Horse Park