Saturday, September 11, 2010
Before we left for Las Vegas we were warned that we would barely have free time, may only be able to eat while on the run, and may be working more than 12 hours a day. The warnings were definitely true.
The first week was spent producing 83 web interview videos. This meant setting up an interview room, interviewing 83 girls, some of which speak english, some speak broken english, and some don't speak a word of english. We asked every girl a set of four questions, the final one being to make several sound effects. Breaking that language barrier is extremely difficult, but we managed to do it. You can check out all the web interviews on www.youtube.com/officialmissuniverse. I thoroughly recommend checking out Sri-Lanka's sound effects.
[caption id="attachment_1097" align="alignnone" width="560" caption="Cast and crew of the Chi Ninja! Matt, Miss Russia Irina Antonenko, Chi Ninja, and myself"][/caption]
Aside from these 83 videos, our team worked to produce a handful more videos about the events, and commercials for sponsors. We teamed up for a couple of them, including the Chi Ninja, and a commercial for the new MUO Magazine. I edited both of these pieces, and they both turned out extremely well. Watch for the MUO Magazine Commercial during the live preliminary competition webcast!
[caption id="attachment_1098" align="alignnone" width="560" caption="A still from the MUO Mag commercial"][/caption]
One of the other pieces that I produced was a video on the "controversial" Fadil Berisha photo shoot. I spent parts of four days by the private pool filming girls in bikinis (and not in bikinis) being bodypainted and photographed. There were several girls who decided to shoot topless, and so it was then my job to film topless women. Then getting into editing, it was again my job to go frame by frame and cover the topless women with blur spots. So about a week of my life was spent looking at topless women.
It has really been an interesting experience. The majority of the girls are very nice, and enjoy chatting. It's pretty interesting that a good portion of the girls only recently got involved in beauty pageants, many of them within the last year or so. Some of the girls seem like they would be a lot of fun to hang out with. Ireland for example, is a riot, and she seems like someone who knows how to have a good time. Doing the web interviews and little events with the girls, you can really see the girl's personalities.
And here is a still from the National Costume parade. These things are awesome.
[caption id="attachment_1099" align="alignnone" width="560" caption="Venezuela, Marelisa Gibson and her "wing of death""][/caption]
Last night was the Miss Universe 2010 preliminary show. The 83 ladies strutted across the stage a few times in a gown and a bathing suit, and the nerves were high. Because NBC is running the cameras and everything, we were shooting the BTS (behind the scenes). So as soon as the girls left the stage my camera was in their face getting their reactions, their nervousness, and their dancing. I can tell the girls who are confident, and those who are scared. Luckily the girls understood that they could let loose and say whatever they wanted, because I'm not shooting for TV.
The webcast also featured a whole bunch of videos that I had a hand in making. The MUO Magazine Promo was really well received. It's always cool to see thousands of people reacting to your videos. The "ooh"s and "aah"s and cheering was great. The CHI Ninja ad also played.
And here is the first week of my time in Las Vegas in a four-minute video. I was at the "controversial" bikini/bathing suit/topless photo shoot. I was filming everything from hair and makeup, body painting, photographing, photoshopping, etc. And yes, there were topless girls everywhere. They all had pasties or tape covering their nipples, and most of them were completely painted over. The body paint was pretty cool, and I was bummed when some of my favorite body-paint work didn't make the final photos.
Congratulations to Ximena Navarrete on taking the title of Miss Universe 2010! Ximena (she prefers to spell her name with an X rather than a J) is absolutely beautiful, naturally too.
Ximena is the last MUO lineup change that I will be a part of during my internship, and it's been a lot of fun welcoming two new girls to the organization with Kamie and now Ximena.
So the tail end of Las Vegas was chaos. As soon as the pageant ended we produced our webcast, and then I was assigned the duty of following Ximena for the next few days, capturing her first days as Miss Universe 2010. The night after she won we went to the after party at LAX at Luxor, where after some ID/security scuffles, we got in. There were hundreds of people packing the club and we shuffled into the VIP area. It was shoulder-to-shoulder, and in these situations the guy with the camera usually gets shoved back away. And so was the case. But being pushed back away from Ximena's section of the VIP area meant I was standing three feet in front of The Roots, who has performed at the show earlier in the night with John Legend. After a crack on how security and media never can get along, I chatted with them for a bit, and snapped a couple pictures before we left the club. I really hate that I never get my picture taken with celebrities, but then again the only camera I'm always lugging around is a big professional camera that very few people actually know how to use and I would never hand off in a club...
[caption id="attachment_1110" align="alignnone" width="560" caption="Captain Kirk Douglas, Owen Biddle, and Quest Love of The Legendary Roots Crew"][/caption]
It was then an early call for a photo shoot around Las Vegas. We shot around Mandalay Bay, and then wandered down to Bellagio, where they had set up three fountain shows just for us. The fountains usually would not be running at the time, and usually runs one show every 15 minutes, but with one phone call Miss Universe had three shows back-to-back. It was very cool.
And now I'm back in New York, and we've dragged Jimena with us. It's raining. I'm happy to see water again. It's been quite a journey living out of a Las Vegas hotel room for the past three weeks, but it's an experience I will never forget. I met some great people, both production staff and beauty queens who I plan to stay in touch with, and who made my experience even more memorable.
So to end this post, here are a handful of my favorite pictures from the Vegas trip.
[caption id="attachment_1111" align="alignnone" width="560" caption="Yendi Phillipps (Jamaica) brought an autographed pair of Usain Bolt's running shoes to the National Gift Auction"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1117" align="alignnone" width="560" caption="Australia 2010, Jesinta Campbell"][/caption]
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
The first week of work at the Miss Universe Organization has been really fun, and I can tell I am going to enjoy the next 6 months. Everyone at MUO is really great, and the office atmosphere is very relaxed. Everyone seems to enjoy what they are doing. Day 1 both Miss Universe Stefania Fernandez and Miss USA Rima Fakih wandered into the New Media department to chat with Colin our boss, and we (Matt and I, the new interns) were introduced. Teen USA Stormi Henley was hanging around for most of wednesday, and after saying hi to us, threw on a remarkably realistic wig and wandered around the office.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I would like to begin this go-round by correcting an error in my last blog entry concerning Roustam Tariko. Mr. Tariko is not a chocolatier. He is, in fact, a businessman who has had dealing in the importation and sale of chocolate. According to Wikipedia, a chocolatier is someone who makes confectionary from chocolate. Curiously, this is different than a chocolate maker who creates chocolate from cocoa beans and other ingredients. Childhood viewings of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, featuring a great performance by Gene Wilder, had lead me astray in my chocolate definitions, for that, I am sorry.
Speaking of Russia, the video featuring Miss Universe and her visit to Russia is up on the Miss Universe website. It is available to view here
My video detailing Stefania’s adventures in Panama and the Czech Republic is currently awaiting final approval. We traveled to Panama for a Sony event for the countries South American vendors. 3D TV people, it’s gonna be big. The trip was quick and before we knew it we were back on a plane. We flew from Panama City to Houston, Texas and then from Houston to Frankfurt, Germany. Germany is not without their sense of humor as their airport is filled with bratwurst, sauerkraut, potato salad and soft pretzels with mustard. We dined like Kaisers. The plane trip from Germany to Prague was only 45 min and was refreshing following the non-sense of crossing one and a half continents and an ocean.
Prague is a beautiful city as anyone who has been there, or has read about it, will tell you. The Miss Czech Republic pageant that our group was attending was being held in an ancient looking factory. The inside, however, was done up in grand fashion for the evening. The idea behind the event was putting something glamorous into something ugly, much like Megan Fox in the Transformers movies. The event was intense and featured Fear Factor challenges for the contestants to complete and a stage element that shot flames into the air during the swimsuit competition giving audience members a visual metaphor laden performance. Stefania announced and sashed the new Miss Czech Republic immediately following Jean-Claude Van Damme kicking a bottle off the hosts’ head. If that sounds ridiculous check out the video that will most likely be posted tomorrow on www.missuniverse.com.
The trip home was smooth sailing as I was bumped up from coach to first class due to overbooking. The amble foot room and my chairs uncanny recline mode gave me a one-way ticket to R.E.M town. When I awoke to find myself in New York, I realized what teleporting would feel like if it were real. If you are wondering, you feel slightly groggy and have a kink in your neck.
Monday, March 15, 2010
I recently returned from a trip abroad to Russia. Miss Universe, Roston Ogata, our security guard Nelson and I were put up in the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow, which beautifully overlooked the Kremlin. After a day of getting settled and adjusting to the time difference, we sat for a barrage of interviews from the best and brightest of the Russian press before we recollected ourselves and prepared for dinner.
We were whisked away by town cars with our lovely guide, Irina. Our mission was dinner and out host was a mister Roustam Tariko, a wealthy chocolatier and owner of the Russian Standard brand of vodka as well as the Miss Russia Organization, among other things. The dinner was held in a room adorned with hundred-year-old woodwork and included a gigantic fireplace adding cozy warmth to the Russian bite outside. Champagne and conversation flowed as we met the soon-to-be former Miss Russia as well as Preston Mendenhall, the coordinator of the coming night's event. Roustam made his appearance, and the feast was on. We dined on a delicious assortment of caviar, latkas, dumplings, salads and cooked lamb all the while being serenaded by gypsies. Heaven existed, for a night at least, in that room in Moscow.
The next day our group received a tour of the Kremlin and Red Square. We viewed, inside and outside, the famed Russian Orthodox Churches with their golden rounded tops and ancient paintings of epiphanies and miracles. These churches and the beautiful architecture of the buildings around us provided ample opportunities for snapshots. We moved onto Red Square and viewed the Tomb of Lenin. Red Square was packed with men and women old and young alike making a day of it with an ice skating rink and various balloon and tchotchke vendors. Due to the freezing air and the impending event, we retired to our hotel to freshen up and prepare for Miss Russia.
The pageant was held about thirty minutes outside of Moscow. Stefania, Miss Universe, was to be a judge in the pageant, a first for her. The pageant was much more visual and entertaining than I imagined it would be. Towering LED panels covered the entire stage and blasted out tele-pop light beams while Russia’s finest rockers shredded and pounded the collective viscera as goddesses walked amongst us.
After a long night out it was time to pack up and leave for a ten-hour airplane flight where, left with my thoughts, I could only wonder if the past two days were real or a very lovely dream.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Fadil Shoot Part 1 (shot by Andrew and Nicole, edited by Nicole)
Fadil Shoot Part 2 (shot by Andrew and Nicole, edited by Andrew)
Same Sky (edited by Nicole)
Salsa Part 2 (edited by Andrew)
On Thursday of last week I got to go with Miss USA on a trip to West Point, which was amazing! The campus was beautiful and filled with history. The cadets led our tour and told us all about what life is like at a military academy. It was very inspiring, but it also made me happy that I go to a normal university and not a military one. One of the highlights of the trip was the train ride up the Hudson river. It was refreshing to get out of the city and see all of the beautiful scenery that surrounds the academy. Video coming soon!
The other cool event I went to last week was the Viennese Opera Ball, which was the fanciest event that I will probably ever go to in my life. Held at the Waldorf Hotel, there were all kinds of foreign dignitaries, debutantes, and celebrities there. Even some of the cadets we had met at West Point the day before were invited. Right now, I'm working on a video about Miss USA learning how to waltz for the event. The night was filled with ballroom dancing and performances from opera singers and ballerinas. I even got to snatch a steak dinner from an empty seat at Miss USA's table. It was a long night, but I got a lot of great footage! Again, video coming soon! Keep watching Missuniverse.com for more content.
I hear that everyone back in Ohio got covered in snow last Friday and then again today! We luckily missed the first snow storm, but we definitely got hit today. The MUO office had to close early so that everyone could make it home safely. The snow is still falling, so let's hope that tomorrow we can still make it to work. So much to do!!
Monday, February 1, 2010
There was also a lot of press there. Here are a couple of articles about the shoot:
NBC New York
Another project the MUO film/web team (consisting of me, Andrew, and our boss Colin) started is a Video Blog series with all three girls. Here are the blogs that we posted today:
Miss Teen USA
Other videos Andrew and I have created or helped create lately include:
Salsa Lesson - Part 1 (edited by Andrew)
Hearts for Haiti (shot and edited by Nicole)
Fan Contest - Twitter (group effort)
So as you can see, MUO has kept us busy with lots of great projects! This week, Andrew is going with Miss Teen USA to a couple schools upstate while she talks to various D.A.R.E. programs. I am looking forward to Thursday when I go with Miss USA to West Point Military Academy. Keep watching www.missuniverse.com for more videos!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Hello, Dear Readers, Andrew here. I just got back from a 5 day 4 night trip to the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. Miss USA traveled to the sunny local of Paradise Island to work and pal around with kids from the islands who were benefiting from the Butch Kersner Foundation charity which helps at risk youth in the Bahamas…Oh and Michael Jordan was having a golf tournament as well. The Michael Jordan charity golf tournament invites sports and entertainment celebrities to come down to the Bahamas to raise money for foundations like The Make A Wish Foundation and the Butch Kersner Foundation. Oversized checks were dropped like dollar bills on good causes. The weeks events included a Versace Fashion Show, Jerry Seinfeld stand up, Michaels eponymous gold tournament, and a celebrity softball game pitting two teams of well known’s against each other with coaches A-Rod and Jeter calling the shots. Yes, I saw Spike Lee round second and slide into third only to be tagged out by Jerome Bettis and yes, it might be the most ridiculous I have ever seen in my life.
The Atlantis resort is a Vegas hotel located in the Bahamas instead of a desert. It is supposed to be the uncovered city of Atlantis featuring artifacts, sculptures and ancient paintings. They even have Casino’s and rocks that have speakers in them so you can listen to Jimmy Buffet, just like the ancient Atlanteans. We were treated to an exceptional stay overseen by our most gracious host Cecile. Alas, there was video work to be done so the dolphins will have to wait until the next time I’m back to swim with me. I’ll miss you guys.
Look for the Bahamas video to be up within the next couple weeks at www.missusa.com. The pictures from the trip should be up within the next day or so.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Andrew and I with our boss Colin
The view from the office on the 16th floor
Talk to you again soon!
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Nicole and I have tackled our first week working for the Miss Universe Organization. All in all, I have nothing but good things to say about our experience thus far. Our boss, Colin, is an outgoing lover of life who, above all things considered concerning this internship, trusts Nicole and I to deliver professional work. There is no looking over shoulders or handholding--a true work environment. We have creative freedom to pursue what we think will work for the company and our youthful outlooks on the changing media landscape are appreciated.
The MUO staff is nothing but jolly and friendly as Nicole and I were accepted into the ranks with a nice large carryout Chinese lunch on our first day. So large, in fact, that leftovers are still floating around in the kitchen's fridge. I had the opportunity to shoot one of Miss Universe’s English lessons and have spent the week creating a video from the footage and brainstorming for videos to do in the coming weeks. The freedom and trust we are given are amazing, and I truly feel like a part of the organization.
More on the New York experience in future posts. Trust me, there will be pictures next time.
So, dear readers, till another day. Stay Healthy.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Can't wait for another exciting day tomorrow at the MUO office!
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Today I flew into New York City. It is my first time in NYC, and I love it already! I am staying in a women's dormitory in Manhattan where I get a small room and two meals a day. There are also other OU students here which makes me almost feel like I am back in Athens. Living here for 6 months is going to be a blast, though right now it sounds like a very long time.
Tomorrow is my and Andy's first day of work with the Miss Universe Organization and I am very excited to get started. I spent hours tonight deciding what to wear just in case tomorrow is the day that we meet Miss USA or Miss Universe. I am looking forward to meeting all of our new co-workers including OU alumna and president of the Miss Universe Organization, Paula Shugart. I also hope to find out where Miss USA will be traveling soon. In case you missed it, Andy and I will be following with Miss USA as she travels around the world raising awareness for her chosen causes. I cannot wait to see more of New York, but I am also ready for some international travel!
Being new to New York, I am a little nervous about getting lost. I walked around the city today looking for the building where we will be working and found it eventually. Along the way, I passed through Times Square and detoured over to Rockefeller Center. To my surprise, the Christmas tree was still standing there, which is something I have always wanted to see. I cannot wait to see what else the city has to offer!
Wish us luck for tomorrow!