Skillshare: Part III – Those Bright Lights Doe

What is it about fear that paralyzes the mind and blocks the spirit. With the lens focused on me, my mind went blank. Egads. This is going to be a long day.

Saturday morning, film day. I woke up at 7:30am, but lounged around in bed reading and re-reading my script. Jeremy, my videographer, had said he’d arrive around 9am. I kept trying to relax, and how an ocd person like myself relaxes, is by over-preparing.

Luckily for my ‘great at compartmentalizing self’, this is easy. Similar to sky diving in New Zealand, I had broken up this adventure into discreet tasks to make it less scary. Completing each task lead to the ultimate day of filming, but when you’re focused on the goal at hand, the scary parts seem further away and significantly less scary. Prepping my lesson plan, didn’t mean making a video yet, nor did making the homework assignment, nor did prepping the food for the next day.

8:30am. Doorbell. Shit. He’s early. I am not even ready yet. Throw on a white blouse and head downstairs to let him in. He mentions how there was far less traffic form SF than he expected, and asks to survey the space. I let him have at the kitchen as I head back upstairs to put on makeup.

He heads outside to lug in a huge dolly loaded with giant Pelican Cases. I’m reading my script in the living room now, and clearing out the kitchen for the intro and finale which we’d film first. We do a bit of mis en scene to make the kitchen more visually interesting. He then takes a dining room chair and positions it for the interview portion and begins to set up the lights.

Me: Can I take photos of you setting up? Do you mind?
Jeremy: As long as I don’t have to look at the camera.
Me: Fine by me.

I took these photos knowing I’d use them for my blog post.

Lights ready, and he gives me a look.

Me: What?
Jeremy: Are you going to wear that?
Me: Does the white throw off the white balance?
Jeremy: Yes exactly. Do you mind going to change?
Me: Ok, what colors can I wear?
Jeremy: [Looks at my kitchen] To go along with the darkness of your kitchen you could wear a light gray, light blue, or yellow. And no stripes.
Me: Ok done.

I head upstairs and rifle through my closet and try a couple things on in gray and chambray, but then ultimately settle on my mustard colored shirt before returning downstairs to get mic-ed up. Sennheizer… fancy.

We fancy ha

We fancy ha

We begin and I deliver the intro line with not too many retakes, because I spent all morning studying it, but my ad libbing and everything else is horrible. Jeremy steals my script and tells me that I’m trying too hard to remember what I have on the paper. He can see me thinking to try to remember it all, and like a zen monk coaches me to, “Talk to me. Teach me to cook sous vide. Forget about the camera and the filming.”

A million takes later for the intro, outro and homework assignment, it’s finally time for cooking! Since the morning the lighting has changed and he’s fiddling with setup as I get my adorable ingredients set out for making the catfish and we’re on our way. Then he looks at the fluorescent lights under the cabinets and grimaces.

Me: Is it bad?
Jeremy: Hrmmm….
Me: We can remove some lights, they just pop right out.
Jeremy: Oooh is that ok?
Me: Yeah of course.

He then proceeds to remove one set of lights in each of the groupings and then eyeballs it again and pulls out some filters from his equipment bags. There are a couple sheets, one blue and one transparent like. The technical setup is explained in his blog post here. My takeaway from it was that my kitchen looks amazing under natural lighting, and that they sell daylight triangle lightbulbs. I’m so getting these as soon as I run out of my existing ones.

The recipes go by easier as there are less “talking head” scenes and more scenes focused on my hands and just explaining cooking methodology in general, which I’m kind of used to. Still I get tongue tied and keep flubbing the lines while trying to recall the ingredients.

Another trick I learned: Mixing of ingredients scenes get quiet and kind of boring, so the trick is to tell stories during the mixing as filler. Stories? I just told some random stuff I thought was funny before, but I guess I could have done better on the delivery. Nerves I tell ya. Finally I ended every video with eating the food I just made and as honest an “Mmmmm…” delicious sound as I could make, paying homage to that conversation I had with James and Girl Friday when I was stressing out prior to the shoot.

One blunder that happened was one of my bags of yams exploded into the water. I just barely saved it by reaching my hand into the water super fast, otherwise no yams would have been filmed that day. Ended up having to clean that pot out fast. If I were to do it again, I would have prepped 4 versions of the recipe, versus the two, just in case something went wrong.


9 hours later. It’s a wrap. HOORAY. Omg I hope I don’t end up sounding like a moron on the cutting room floor. Worse yet, I hope I taught a good class and didn’t forget steps for my students.

While packing up the equipment we discuss Star Wars theories of who’s child Rey is. I am clearly outclassed here as he’s read a lot of the books, which are all fan fiction technically. I’m not going to repeat his super let’s call it “creative” idea of who Rey’s parents are, but it was a a fantastical tale.

Helped him move out the equipment and then gave him a hug for teaching me all this cool stuff as well as being a great coach on film day.

While shooting the shit, he also introduced me to Video Game High School, and as soon as he left I devoured all the food I cooked and completely decompressed by binge watching the entire series. I reheated the food by sous vide, still very noms.

Next up in Part IV: Editing magic. Digital editing makes my bazillion takes look super silky smooth and considerably less awkward than I felt filming it.

By the way, if you ever need an awesome geeky videographer, I know a guy. Jeremy’s site is Here are a couple stills from the video that he took for my lifestyle B-roll.

P.S. Did you like the play on words in the title? Doe in headlights? Haha. Raise your hand if you got that. Anyone anyone? Ferris? This might be why I got voted “Corniest” in my high school for the Senior Class Bests.

P.S.S. And to sign up for 1 month free and watch the rest of my class go here and register then go back to my class and click enroll to watch all the videos.

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