I wanted to write a blog every couple of days or so, to keep everyone updated. But while doing that, I realized that it would be easier for me, and better for you, to talk about my travels instead. During the week, I am spending most of my time editing video, and getting prepared for the weekend. If you are doing it, it is exciting. If you are reading about it, not so much.
But I digress.
And so begins the meat of the drum corps season.
This past weekend, I made the trip up to the great state of Minnesota for DCI Minnesota, the first Regional competition of the Drum Corps International season.
The trip started on Thursday. Zongwei, David, and I were planning on going in to the office a little later than usual. We were going to leave the apartment around 9:45, and make our way in. But David got a call from Mat around 8:45, and we hastily made our way into the office.
During the morning, I continued work on my big project in preparation for the weekend. I had to put together a 45-minute video of different drum corps moments to be played during hour-long intermission of the show. After talking with Jeff, I realized I had made a couple of mistakes when ripping the portions of shows from 2008 and 2010. I quickly re-burned those parts before having to load the truck with all the equipment needed for this weekend. After that, I made sure I had all of the parts off of the DVD’s, so I could finish it up on the plane.
We left the office around 1 p.m. David, Zongwei and I made our way to Indianapolis International Airport. Upon arriving, we discovered our plane was 40-minutes due to weather in the east. I thought, “Man, this can’t happen to me AGAIN this weekend!” We got through security easily, and went to the gate. Before long, Jeff, Mat, and Rich joined us. We created our own little workspace in the airport, to do some “work.”
The flight was uneventful. I was able to get the majority of the project finished, but had to stop because my hand started to hurt. Of course, the guy in front of me HAD to put his seat back, so I had zero room to work. I had to contort my hand awkwardly to do anything. Eventually, I gave up, and just listened to music until we landed.
After we got our bags and rental cars, Jeff and I went to the hotel, while the IT guys went to try and get tickets to the Royals/Twins game. It was a good thing we went to the hotel first. There was a mix-up in our reservation, and the hotel actually didn’t have us checking in that night. Jeff was able to get it squared away, and we were able to check-in, as well as save rooms for Mat/David and Rich/Zongwei.
Once we were settled in, we met up with the guys at the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Minneapolis. After a great dinner filled with laughs, we ended up going back to the hotel. I was able to get my project finished, and let it render FOREVER (because FCP 6 doesn’t have background rendering. Lame.).
In the morning, we got up around 8 to head to the stadium. It started to drizzle, and we knew it wouldn’t be good from there. After trying to find an IHOP, but instead, being led to a residential neighborhood, we headed to the stadium. We ended up stopping by a McDonald’s for breakfast. I guess I like hash browns now.
We got to the stadium around 10 a.m. I started compressing, while the internet and set-up started. Mat was making fun of me because I said I was working on compressing, while watching ‘Community.’ I love compressing a 45-minute movie, more time to watch the show.
Over the course of the late-morning/early-afternoon, the rain started picking up. I was glad I was in a press box. The storm was really weird, bringing many waves of rain over the stadium.
The Blue Devils were putting on a System Blue clinic in the stadium that day. They were constantly off-and-on the field during that time. Eventually, it started to downpour with thunder and lightning, so they retreated inside. It rained constantly for a good portion of time. The field looked in bad shape. (I later found out that there was between 5-7″ of rainfall in Minneapolis. INSANE!)
I don’t if you can tell, but the field was severely soaked, and started to puddle. But fortunately, the rain stopped around 2 p.m., in time to go to lunch. As always there is a BWW near the stadium, so naturally, we went there.
After lunch, we finished up the set-up. We got all of the computers hooked up, tested, and tested again. Since we were doing a live broadcast, everything had to be set-up right. How many computers does it take to put on a live-stream and capture VOD”s?
We were done with set-up around 7 p.m. Jeff and I went back to the hotel to drop Ed off at the hotel close to us. We met up with the IT guys at the Mall of America. We played some pool, had a great time. After pool, we went to T.G.I. Fridays to grab some dinner, since we had such a late lunch. We ended up getting back to the hotel around midnight. And with my luck, Independence Day was on HBO, so I had to watch it. It ended up being closer to 1:00 a.m. by the time I got to sleep.
Wake-up came a lot faster, and suddenly, then I had expected. We were supposed to leave around 7:30, to meet up with the audio guys. But the funny thing was, Jeff and I both woke up at 7:54. Oops. And the funny part was, I got a text from David two minutes before I woke up saying they just had as well. After a hurried gathering of things, we headed to the stadium. When we got there, everything was good, and we started getting things ready. We had a short time, since the show started at 1:30 p.m. David and Zongwei ordered pizza, so at least we had something to eat before the show.
The show kicked off at 1:30, with the Blue Saints, then Racine Scouts. I stayed in the press box for them. I went down on the field to get footage of the Colt Cadets and Legends.After their performances, I went back up during the two DCA corps.
I met Ryan, who was one of the interns at DCI last year, and was helping Chris with photography for this show. It was awesome getting to see what his internship was like, and swapping intern stories.
I just needed to get off the field. Man, it was hot. Definitely brought me back to the good ‘ole days of all-day rehearsals. It was around 90-degrees, with 85/90% humidity. It honestly felt like I was walking in a swimming pool all day. It was nasty out there. I was fortunate to be in shorts and polo though. Those kids must of been dying in those uniforms!
After the DCA corps, the world-class corps started. There were 18 of them at this regional. After the first six, there was an hour long intermission. It was awesome seeing my project on the Jumbo-tron during intermission. I definitely felt accomplished.
After intermission, I went to get interviews of fans, asking if/why they were going to Finals in Indianapolis. I couldn’t find anyone who was going, and wanted to be on camera. Everyone looked miserable. The heat was definitely affecting the audience.
I was on the field for the rest of the night. I brought the battery-charger down to the field, because I was going through camera batteries like it was my job [insert pun here]. 8-hours of performances definitely makes you go through batteries. I was able to give a passing ‘Hey!’ to Mike Woodall as he was wheeling his pit equipment off the field. Boston had gone on right before the last intermission, so they were taking their time getting off the field. I hadn’t seen him in forever, so it was nice saying hi.
The top six went on after intermission. Man, have the shows changed since I first saw them in Texas. I love seeing the different shows evolve over the course of the season. My favorite show of the night was Phantom (maybe a little bias there), along with the Cadets and Carolina Crown. Since I becoming more familiar with the shows, I am able to spend less mental energy on where my shot is, and able to listen to the shows a little more.
Finally, once the Blue Devils finished, the show was over. I went back up to the press box to grab a microphone, and went back to interview the winning drum majors. Brittni was able to help me, and hold the mic, which was a big help. After waiting around for 24 scores to be announced, we finally got our chance to interview the Cavaliers drum majors. I had interviewed them in Michigan City a few weeks back, so I felt a lot more comfortable asking questions and such.
After break-down, the IT and video department blew off some steam by trying to throw a blueberry muffin into the trash can from across the room. We were all tired, dehydrated, and felt nasty, and it was a form of cheap and quick entertainment.
After Mat finally got it in after 10-minutes, we headed down with all the equipment. We left it by the truck, and started walking. While walking to the cars, we stopped by the field. You could tell how hazy it was by just looking at the lights.
David, Zongwei, Jeff and I had some fun on the field. The four of us tested our 8-to-5 steps. David had a perfect one, while the rest of us were a little big. After, we tried going backward. As you could imagine, all of us had WAY too big of a step. After a quick 40-yard race between David, Zongwei and I, we headed to the cars, and headed to the hotel.
Jeff was able to stop at Wendy’s so I could get some food. During the show, I don’t really have time/a chance to eat, so it had been a long time since I had eaten anything. When we got back to the room, I scarfed down my food, and took a nice cool shower. I learned from drum corps that warm showers don’t feel good after you have been out in the hot sun sweating. Cool showers, now that is where it is at.
After my shower, Mat came over and we started compressing the VOD’s for the Fan Network. I set my 8 corps to compress, and passed right out. I was dehydrated and tired, which wasn’t a good mix, especially for an early morning.
Jeff and I left for the airport around 8 a.m., which was 15-minutes later than we wanted to, but still made it to the airport with plenty of time. Brittni, Allison, and Whitney were all on the flight, so it was a mini-DCI office party on the plane. We got back to the apartment around 1:15, with plenty of time until the start of the Women’s World Cup final. I was able to watch all of the first half, but fell asleep at halftime, until the 63-ish minute of the game. It was a nail-biting game, and after a lot of yelling, screaming, and agony, the game ended with a Japanese win.
After the game, we all took a quick nap, then went to Chili’s to celebrate Brittni’s 21st birthday. Chili’s was definitely a nice way to end a long weekend.
It is almost 1 a.m., and I need some sleep. Check back for what happens in San Antonio!
This weeks schedule:
San Antonio, Texas:7/21- 7/24