My experience of being a guest on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” really took off today. The Ellen producers wanted me to share some of the things that I do on a day-to-day basis, so viewers can learn about how I’ve lost the weight. So, from about 9am until 2pm, I was working with a camera crew, shooting footage for a tape package that would be shown during my segment. It was tiring and really fun. Here’s what went down.
Before I forget, I just wanna mention that my appearance with Richard Simmons on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” airs this Tuesday, January 11, 2010! If you don’t know when it airs in your city, go to www.ellentv.com and plug your zip code into the upper-left corner. And for everyone without TiVos, or that will be working and won’t be able to watch, or are living under rocks and don’t own a TV (gasp!), keep reading my blog – as soon as I find options for watching the segment online, I’ll share them here!
I was told a few days ago that the Ellen folks wanted to film me in my condo. My response was: “Sure! Of course!” but as soon as I hung up the phone my thoughts went immediately to: “Oh crap, now I have to clean my entire place by Sunday morning.” I don’t live in squalor, but still, it was just another thing on the to-do list during an already-busy week.
To prepare for the shoot, Kara (the Ellen producer in charge of my and Richard’s appearance) emailed me a shot list of the sort of things they were hoping to capture on tape. I’m not going to go into specifics, as I don’t want to spoil the end result for you, but they basically involved how I ate, how I exercised, and a few other things. The plan was that we’d starting filming at my place at 9am, and then go to Slimmons, where they would film me working out in one of Richard’s classes that started in the early afternoon.
Because the shot list mentioned food, I decided that I better go grocery shopping before the crew arrived. I was running low on produce anyway, plus I needed a couple other things that I like to keep around but was out of. I stocked up on Friday afternoon, going to three different grocery stores to get everything at the best prices. On Saturday, I saw Kara at Slimmons, because she wanted to experience one of Richard’s classes, and afterwards, she said, “Oh, I have a trunk full of groceries for you. I wanted to make sure you had everything for the shoot!” Now, I have more food in my house than I’ve ever had, ever. Five pounds of carrots. Seven pounds of apples. Four pounds of grapes. Two huge canisters of oatmeal. I can’t help but laugh, because I live alone! The food will surely get eaten, but it’s gonna take a while! I appreciate Kara shopping for me, and the extra groceries are definitely a nice perk!
The crew showed up at 9am this morning. Here’s the team and their equipment:
From left to right, there’s Suzanne (the director), Norm (camera operator), Chris (sound), and Aaron (field producer). The really great thing is that I already knew most of these guys. Norm was the only one I hadn’t met before. I worked at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” for 7 years, and I’ve known Suzanne and Aaron for about 3 years – they’re super talented, really fun to be around, and all-around great people. If you want to see more of Aaron, click here – a few years ago, he surprised his girlfriend Jen, another Ellen staffer, by proposing to her on the air! It was a really sweet moment, and they’re now happily married! I’ve also known Kara for probably close to 6 years now. She’s a good friend and I adore her, and for the last two years I was working at Ellen, our offices were right across the hall from each other.
For the next two and a half hours, we shot all sorts of stuff in my condo. We’d figure out what I should say, the best way to say it, and shoot take after take. I screwed up countless takes by stumbling or messing up the words, but we also re-did takes because the lighting wasn’t quite right, because of other small technical issues, or because Suzanne had great ideas on how to make it better. They brought in this big bright light that got really hot, and about half-way through the taping, Norm had me blot sweat off my forehead. Shortly after that, I noticed that I had sweated through my shirt! We took a 15-minute break while I tossed my shirt in the dryer, and once the sweat stain had dried, I put it back on and we started back up again.
Around noon, the crew packed up their gear and we drove, caravan-style, in 5 different cars, over the Hollywood Hills and into Beverly Hills to get to Slimmons. They wanted to shoot a little footage of Richard in action, leading an exercise class, and shoot me working out in the class. That, too, went wonderfully. After the crew got what they wanted during the class, they took off, and I stayed behind and finished the class (I’m not one to leave a workout halfway through). I drove home, ate a late lunch, and promptly took a nap. It was a tiring day!
All in all, the whole experience was really fun – we were laughing the whole time, and I felt really comfortable during everything. We got waaaay more footage than they’ll ever show, so I’m excited to see how it all gets edited down. Seeing it will be a brand-new experience – I used to hate watching myself on video when I was at my heaviest, and this will be the first time since I began losing weight that I will see my leaner, healthier self on-screen!
Tomorrow is the big day. Richard and I go to the studio and tape our appearance tomorrow afternoon, and it’ll air on Tuesday. I’m looking forward to seeing and catching up with tons of friends that I used to work with, and am getting really pumped over this incredible opportunity to share my story on national television.
Keep it up, David!