Columbia Grad School of Journalism Covers 2008 Service Nation Summit


Photo Credit - Joseph C. Lin Photo Credit - Alexandra Cheney

Welcome to Columbia Graduate School of Journalism's coverage of the 9/11/08 Obama-McCain Presidential Candidate's Forum on the Columbia University Campus.

Browse through the topics at right and be sure to check out the photos, audio, and video.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Roone Arledge gets dressed for event

A variety of crews spent the day Wednesday preparing Roone Arledge auditorium for Thursday night’s events.

(Below is an audio clip from Wednesday’s preparations)
video

That made things a little tricky, noted Brian Flynn, 55, a freelance scenic designer. He said sometimes with so many crews — sound, lighting, set, television, etc. — things are harder to coordinate because perhaps the set crew can’t put something up until the lighting crew finishes its work in that area and so on. Making things trickier, Flynn said is that everything had to be set up Wednesday because the Secret Service would take several hours to inspect the building on Thursday and you can’t make the Secret Service wait while you finish something up. That said, Flynn noted that most of the crews present Wednesday have worked with each other before so coordination was easy.

Flynn and his crew have spent about two weeks designing and creating the American flag set that will be behind the candidates. He and his staff went through three different designs with the members of ServiceNation before deciding on the right one. It’s made for a busy couple of weeks for Flynn. “It’s been hell,” he said, noting that he’s sacrificed a couple weekends. Then he laughed. He said he enjoys events like this.

Most of the people setting stuff up Wednesday were not fazed by the magnitude of the event. Several workers said they set up events like this all the time. Dan McKendrick, 56, the lighting designer has “lit” all of the Presidents since Gerald Ford. Thursday night, he’ll be scrutinizing the event from the production truck making sure the lighting promotes flattering images of candidates. The key in setting up the lights, he said Wednesday, is finding the right mix of bright lights and softer lighting.

McKendrick watches television differently than the rest of us, always scrutinizing over the lighting. In fact, he said, it took his wife about three years to get used to watching the tube with him. He and his buddies are worse at the movies.

Meanwhile, Thierry Laurent, 34, and Lucanus Lackey, 31, did electrical work on the auditorium’s roof and Tommie Gonzalez set up camera stands. Gonzalez, who has been working at Fashion Week, normally does sound stuff but wore a different hat on Wednesday in order to help a friend.

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