How I fell into a reality TV show
Nick Catania and I have been fast friends since we first met - in fifth grade. We've always shared a love of music and art; the first band I was ever in was with Nick on drums, and we were both marching band geeks. We grew up supporting each others' creative endeavors, and to this day enjoy the unique rapport that comes with knowing someone since childhood. So, when Nick, who is New York-based, told me work was bringing him to Oregon, and asked if I would like to drive down from Seattle for a visit, I said yes (of course).
Nick is the Director of Photography for the TV show Hotel Impossible, in which host and hotelier Anthony Melchiorri "revamps and re-motivates the staff and transforms the hotel." Filming for this episode was to take place at The Vagabond Lodge in Hood River, Oregon. I asked Nick if there was a chance of tagging along on the set, considering how long it had been since I'd seen him, combined with my curiosity about how a TV show gets made. He said he would make some inquiries with the producers and see what might be arranged.
Nick not only made inquiries, he got me on the show. When he mentioned my background in art, an offer was made: if I was willing to paint a mural in the lobby of the hotel, I would be provided with room and board, and could stay for the duration of filming. Done and done!
TV people work very hard. 12 hour days are standard, and schedules are tight. Although I got used to seeing people running everywhere, I also noticed that TV production has its share of hurry-up-and-wait moments. The atmosphere was very collaborative, with everyone pitching in at the drop of a hat. Many times I found myself at a scene, standing by with a lighting stand or some other type of equipment, without any clear recollection as to how I had come to be in possession of the gear in the first place.
Shooting was finished in five days, and the hotel was visibly better for the attention brought to it. The crew flew to their hometowns for a brief rest before filming for the next episode would begin, and I packed up the car and headed back to Seattle.