After my first month of working for OutdoorHub.com, I was given three weeks’ notice that I’d be flying down to Georgia with our CEO, David Farbman, to interview icons in the hunting industry. Professionals who were world-class archers, hosted TV shows and masterminds behind probably the most popular camouflage pattern in the United States – Realtree. I thought, “I’m one month into working here and I get to fly to Georgia already? Kick-butt!” I was too excited to even consider how much work this would be, I just thought of the fun adventure, the people I would meet and the new place I would experience.
For three weeks leading up to our departure on August 22nd, 2011, each day was busy with intense research digging deep into the lives of Michael Waddell, T-Bone and Nick Mundt, the three hunters who host the hunting show The Bone Collector. I would be doing interviews for Outdoor Hub with all three of them as well as the three heads behind Realtree camouflage, Bill Jordan, the founder and creator; his son Tyler Jordan; and David Blanton, Bill’s co-worker and speaker at various symposiums.
Now, I have never been to Georgia except to drive through the hip, cultural city of Atlanta on my way to Florida. I’m a city girl of European background whose closest encounter with a real American country lifestyle was at a Cracker Barrel off of Interstate 96. The small city of Columbus just barely had more residents than my university’s (Michigan State University) total student population of 47,000. Columbus’ landscape was mostly woods and fields, a few storefront streets made up its downtown. I was curious to see the real southern side of American life but worried that I wouldn’t be at an understanding with southern culture. The one comment that kept me open-minded was from a co-worker who reassured me that “at the very least, you’ll get to experience southern hospitality.”
With a ranch full of Outdoor Hub employees, a production company, representatives from Chevrolet and Goodby Advertising Agency, I’m surprised how calmly and warmly Bill Jordan welcomed us onto his property. Myself and the three other Outdoor Hub workers were at his mercy for only two days but most of the rest of the personnel stayed one week. He offered to accommodate us with anything we needed, let us use his UTV’s (Utility Terrain Vehicle) to get around his large ranch, and was always a pleasure to speak with when you could steal 5 minutes of his time.
Everyone was busy and from the moment we landed in Georgia we hit the ground running. In reality, Farbman and I began work on the three-hour flight to Columbus. We discussed what we would like to come away from the trip with. We were going to do interviews with each hunter mentioned earlier, any additional tips and advice we could get from them, and two additional videos including a behind-the-scenes video of the shoot. The reason all the hunters were collected in Columbus for that week was because of the filming of four separate Chevy Silverado commercials that are scheduled to air this October.
While the hunters were in between filming for each commercial, myself, a videographer, Farbman and a few other Outdoor Hub workers ran like crazy to set up the scene for our interviews in a process that looked like this: place chairs and the Silverado in the background, check sound and video. All set, now let’s bring in T-Bone. We do a 20 minute interview then before I know it we’re in the Silverado and UTVs again scouting the next interview location for Nick Mundt, driving through a bumpy backroad past a creek. In no time it’s done, then another interview elsewhere with David Blanton. Moments after we finish with Blanton I’m climbing a tree-stand to join Michael Waddell for a uniquely placed interview. Never had I been in a tree stand, let alone done an interview in one. That’s what I love about working for the outdoor industry.
That was only the first day. The second was even busier. When I describe to my friends how the second day looked I always say, “I woke up at 7 am to begin working by 8 am. I worked till 10 pm and we were so incredibly busy that I was literally running from one location to another because we had so much to do and so little time.” At one point I sat down for a moment… bad idea. That’s when the wave of tiredness overcame me and I realized I hadn’t even stopped to go to the bathroom.
If holding a camera for the whole day was that exhausting, I can’t imagine what it was like for the talent who were in front of the camera for one week straight. I watched T-Bone wear a snuggie for hours in a stuffy, hot cabin in near 90 degree, sunny weather. Though the commercial itself will last a few seconds, the filming takes half a day. Each angle was shot separately and T-Bone probably did 15 takes of each angle only after the crew figured out a bug with the sound and re-did takes after they realized and removed a confederate certificate from the background.
Still, I was impressed with the lively attitude of the talent. We were asking so much of them to answer all these additional questions for us when they were off camera and on break. After everything they did, they still told us not to hesitate to ask if we needed more. What definitely kept everybody alive were the numerous jokes and pelting each other with marshmallow bows in between shoots. Which you can catch in the blooper reel to be published soon.
Our goals were lofty and confident for the limited amount of time we had, but somehow we managed to come away with enough material to accomplish 100% of the big goals and 85% of the secondary ones. We’re currently working on compiling all our material together in the next two weeks to publish right here on OutdoorHub.com. Don’t worry, our outdoor enthusiast readers will be unquestionably notified of our publication. I’m crossing my fingers that another opportunity like this arises again soon. I would love any assignment just to get back out into the outdoors with an awesome group of people.