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By 2014 Fall Intern, Travis Upshaw

Super-early mornings, our nation’s capital, a Narnia tunnel, and an outstanding omelette…

With quick, long strides. My suitcase’s wheels roll across (a mostly) deserted West Washington Street sidewalk, headed toward SLM. 5:26 illuminates on a digital clock above the Qdoba Mexican Grill sign. “Cheese quesadilllllas!” This is the only thought I can muster at this before sunrise, a.m. hour. I correctly estimated how long it’d take to get from my northern Chicago apartment down to the studio via the good ol’ Red Line. Being punctual is important to me!

The plan’s for Greg, Ed, and myself to rendezvous at 5:30, load all of the camera/lighting/misc. equipment into an adequately-sized cab, and arrive at Midway around 6:30. Success! CUT TO: A few hours later. We’re at the Baltimore/Washington airport. Greg rents a sweet minivan, which is then Tetris-like packed with all of the gear. Such precision, Ed! Off to Arlington National Cemetery! (Well, we actually had lunch first: grilled leprechaun* at an Irish food restaurant)

photo 4 (6)Arlington is just outside of D.C. The Washington Monument and The White House are visible from the cemetery. Sunshine, fluffy white clouds, and quietness. I help Ed change lenses as we walk around the military property. At The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, many World War II veterans watch as the Tomb Guard performs the ritual of taking steps down (and back again) a black mat behind the Tomb. After capturing enough footage, we head to the hotel. Jet lagged and tired, I catch-up on emails and raid the 7th floor “complimentary snacks/beverage” fridge out in the hallway.

Early Morning 2: The Revenge! We arise and hightail it to a Baltimore-area hospital to shoot a safety huddle. On the way, we somehow end up traversing through a Narnia tunnel (or black hole?) on a winding, sparsely-lit, very strange stretch of roadway! Ed maneuvers the Caravan like a pro as his phone’s map-app-voice tells him where to turn… INNER THOUGHT: “Did we just go in a giant circle?” I was pretty certain that we have time traveled and would soon see ourselves (or see ourselves seeing ourselves) driving in front of us… But, nope… Maybe next time!

I handle the boom mic at the hospital as the doctors, nurses, and staff discuss what cautions they should all be aware of. The space to move the microphone around is rather small… I tap the microphone on the ceiling tiles a few times. Greg directs and guides the medical employees on where to stand and what they should talk about. A short shoot–and we’re off to Columbia to record some “60 Seconds for Safety” segments!

The three of us set up the gear in a hotel meeting room. It looks nice! I operate the teleprompter as the on-screen talent delivers beneficial advice to their future audience(s). We wrap in the early evening, get a good night’s rest, and roll out to get some Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) meeting coverage. Once again, I record audio with the boom. And now to the omelette… I devour a goat cheese, mushroom, and some other deliciousness-concoction-filled omelette at a French bistro. So good! CUT TO: 45 minutes later. We begin a fun-filled afternoon of continuous “60 Seconds for Safety” recordings. Professional, good times are had by all! Gear safely stowed and off to the airport (and back to Chicago)!

Before I know it, I’m sitting in a Red Line car. It’s about (or after) 10pm. My photo 1 (1) (1)suitcase wheels are no longer spinning. In the span of three days, I’ve experienced a preview of what life’s like for an SLM intern: The coordination and logistics of transporting gear. Living out of a suitcase. Unfamiliar beds (or fold-out couches). Quick meals at many different eateries. New cities. Busy airports. Whacky, zig-zagging streets. Travel fatigue. Meeting great people. And lastly, getting hands-on, priceless knowledge of video production techniques/information that’ll help me out tremendously!

*Not really. No leprechauns were eaten/harmed during our trip.