What a whirlwind of a week this has been! But in all the very best, amazing kinds of ways! Sitting in my hotel room with the filming behind me, I still can’t believe it happened. Or, that my face will be on television early next year.
When I was contacted a few months ago with the opportunity to share my love of gardening, cooking, and homemaking on a TV program, it didn’t feel real. I sat at my computer, reading the email over and over, wondering how, out of all the talented people in Washington doing similar things as me, they wanted . . . well, me!
Giddy with excitement, I was also nervous with a stomach full of butterflies. I mean, it’s TV! And not just any TV program, It’s Washington Grown, an Emmy winning show highlighting Washington farmers and ranchers as well as local restaurants and chefs. And they wanted yours truly to do a segment each episode on how to incorporate local produce into your kitchen, meals, and lifestyle.
(I wasn’t great at taking photos of the set or process. But I snagged a few from IG stories!)
Life Of A Content Creator
One of the reasons I love blogging and creating content is because it’s always an adventure. You simply can’t guess what’s around the corner.
To some, the volatility of this line of work and not having a complete schedule or knowing when an opportunity will present itself can be off-putting and stressful. But for me, it’s exhilarating and exciting! Each day is one where something huge could happen.
Or maybe it won’t.
If it doesn’t, you simply go about your day creating content you hope will benefit, encourage, and support others. And truthfully, if I was just doing that, I’d be completely happy. But, if something huge does happen and you’re given an opportunity to grow, learn, and share . . . what a blessing and gift that can be!
And to me, this opportunity was both of those things!
The Planning Stage = Lots of Zoom Calls
Because I was no longer in Washington, but 2,000 miles away in Tennessee, there were several zoom calls to start the process off. After the initial email, I went on a call with the producer. It was basically a phone interview. We talked about Washington, growing up there, and my connection with farming. Recipes and food was also discussed, because that’s my wheelhouse. Apparently Kara liked what I had to say, because shortly after that a contract was signed and we got busy preparing for the shoot!
We did about four zoom calls total. First to flesh out what to share. Then how each episode would be structured. From that point we figured out what was needed for the shoots, and then condense what I was going to talk about, making sure it would fit into small, minute and a half segments.
My flight was booked, and the shoot finalized.
I was made for filming . . . maybe?
When I say I was nervous, that’s a huge understatement. From the day I said yes and signed the contract until the point of filming, it was constantly on my mind. In a way, I feel like I was made for TV. I’m loud and some might say obnoxious at times. I love to talk. If there’s a crowd and it’s feeling flat, you can count on me to turn that around. I’ll find something to say or do that’s funny or interesting and get the mood going. So from that, I figured I could rock TV.
But there was another part of me that thought, what if I’m completely wrong? What if they say “Action” and I blank. What if everything I thought I knew and the talent I thought I possessed disappeared when I needed it most, and I ended up being flat and boring? If my recipes didn’t work? If what I was trying to say didn’t make sense?
However, I’m a firm believer that if you’re not being scared to your core every now and again, you’re not growing or doing life right. I also believe if God places something in your path, and you’re talking to people who believe in you and want what you offer, you need to give it a go. So I took a deep breath, and worked hard to make sure that I was prepared for what was about to happen.
The actual filming process
I got off the plane just after noon on a Monday, and was picked up at the airport by one of the sweet producers Kara. She was my point person through this whole process and so kind and helpful. We went straight to the shoot to look it over and prepare a bit. I needed to see where I was filming, and we needed to go over everything in person. It was also important to meet the crew, so we could get real, in life eyes on each other. They needed to size me up, getting an idea of my personality and how well I would work on screen.
Tuesday morning arrived with Kara at the front of the hotel at 7:30. We pulled into the home of the filming kitchen, and within an hour we were busting out our first segment. They put on my mic, turned on the cameras, and to sync the sound and pictures of all the cameras and mics, I had to clap before talking. This is basically what a clapboard does. From there, it was action!
Anatomy of a segment
Each episode segment I had to do an intro and outro, sharing what it was going to be about, and then wrapping it all up. The outros were the hardest for me. Which is funny because it’s always hardest for me to wrap up a blog post too. We all have our weak points. After a solid intro, I’d jump into the recipe or tip sharing for whatever the episode was about. (Tune in come January to see them all!)
To my complete relief, it was so much fun!
After the first was done I realized it wasn’t horribly hard, and I could really, truly do this! One of the producers who was also in charge of some of the cameras looked at me after a few episodes were complete and said,
“Eryn, thank you for not being bad at this.”
Truthfully, that was the biggest complement. They thought I was decent at this whole thing.
We had it scheduled to do an average of four episodes a day, but when we finished episode four before 11am, we knew we were on a roll and kept going. By the end of the day, we had nine and a half of the 12 episodes finished. At this rate, we’d be done the next day by noon and all get an extra day off!
Kara said later, they can usually get a pretty good read on how well a person will do behind a camera, but until they’re actually in the moment and filming, you never 100% know. Some people fumble and stutter, loose their train of thought, or just have nerves that cause them to need several retakes. I’m a very off-the-cuff person, and usually the first one or two shots are my best. After that I start overthinking and it goes downhill. So thankfully, we never had to do much more than two takes, if that!
The hardest episode I did, (don’t laugh!) was about legumes. That word was SO hard for me to say! Even though it should have been one of the easiest segments to film, I was riding the struggle bus! It was also one of the last segments we filmed that day and I think my brain was close to fried.
Day two started with catching the stove on fire. Very on brand for me, nothing can go completely smooth. I was chatting and not looking at the pot that I was stirring, when suddenly, it boiled over. Trying to wipe it up, we caught the burner on fire and everyone was rushing around to open doors and windows, and finding something to smother the fire with. Thankfully, it went out quickly, but the stovetop had a lovely burn ring around it.
Completely mortified, I apologized and felt horrible for the homeowners. They had so kindly let us film in their house and apparently it was my goal to burn it down. (Facepalm) Thankfully, they were beyond sweet and accommodating. They promised it wasn’t a big deal and it would come out. And I sure hope it did! I’m still hanging my head about the whole thing!
From there thought, it was all downhill. The segments that day were my favorites, and I think we got some good clips. It was as if I blinked and the whole thing was over. From months of prep, to a day and a half of shooting, it was finished. I’m so thankful to all the crew, they were patient with this newbie and so professional and encouraging. I was lucky to have them beside me at my first on-set experience.
Sounds like this won’t be the last I’ll be working with WAGrown. We have some fun ideas for future collaborations and recipes. So stay tuned for that!
Will you watch come January? I’ll be sure to share here on the blog when the episodes come out and also on Instagram. Make sure we’re friends there!