Sunday, 14 September 2014

HQ's day job on location ..

My set bag
I travel quite a lot .. mostly for pleasure but also in my role as a make-up artist. For a change I thought it might be an idea to give you an insight into my working day on location this time. Of course every job is different .. some are a doddle and others are not, but for me I enjoy them all because there's always an end result and it has to be good.

I have just returned from working at the US Open, a grand slam tennis championship held at Flushing Meadows which is situated in the borough of Queens in the city of New York. The competition lasts for 15 days and is played in the height of the summer where the temperatures can reach well into the 90's. There is also always a chance of rain and for the past three years that I have been there we have endured hurricanes, tornadoes and good old fashioned thunder storms where the rain can drench you in under a minute if you get caught in it! 

We were lucky this year with only a couple of days of rain which didn't last more than half an hour so it all progressed without much delay thankfully.

My typical day started with a 25 minute bus journey from midtown Manhattan to the site. Some days it would take longer (the worst being around an hour) depending on the day and weight of traffic but we would allow enough time so that we could have a bite to eat before starting work. After breakfast I set up my work station and then the talent I would be making up would come in one by one. I received a copy of the day's schedule the night before so I generally had an idea of what my workload would be before hand although it was always subject to change!  Sometimes we would transmit from the studio and at other times from various locations around the site so it was essential to wear shoes that were comfortable and ones I would be able to power walk in as the site is vast! There was more than one occasion where we had to cut lunch short in order to run to the studio for a last minute interview. At every entry point there is a security check and our passes would have to be scanned. My set bag which holds all my essential items from eye drops to dental floss is transparent so I wouldn't have to have it searched every time except by the most 'jobs worth' of people. 

I had to be mindful of the weather conditions and prepare the skin and hair accordingly. Some days when the humidity and heat were high I watched in dismay as the on-air talent started to drip with perspiration and there was nothing I could do in this situation until there was a commercial break or VT. On days like these there are constant touch ups and repair jobs and I now also carry with me little personal air-con units which were very helpful and appreciated this year!

Most days averaged 12 hours where we would be on standby between pre/post match transmission not knowing how long it would last and keeping an eye on the scores and grabbing lunch when we could. We did have an exceptionally long day of 18.5 hours as we were committed to staying till the end of the last match of the day. We wearily got back to our hotel at 2.45 in the morning knowing that we would have to be up again in a few hours to get that bus back to work. There's no place to complain on a job like this .. you just do it!

Fortunately the days got easier after that and we could see the end in sight. By then we were all more than ready for a much needed day off to come down from the grueling schedule of the previous 2 weeks plus. The last day arrived and selfishly for us we were glad the final only lasted 3 sets. Once it was over it was time to pack down, clear out and head back to the city.

I stayed on in New York for 36 hours afterwards to hang with good friends and give myself a very welcoming couple of mornings sleeping on way past my usual wake up time .. another great experience but always great to be home again.. until the next time.