Thursday, June 21, 2012

EPISODE 203: Haunted Villa/Spirit Springs

For the past two weeks I've been saying how my adventures seem so much more grand on the screen than they do in my memory.  For tonight's episode, I reverse that thought.  These two cases were deluxe ones for us.  The editors did their usual great job with the edit, but I remember so much more than what I saw in the final product.  I have a feeling the audience is going to feel the schism as well and it may generate some negativity.  Is there a villain to blame for this?  No, but do remember it is a television show and there are many, many levels involved from inception to airing.  That is a buck I can safely pass off my desk.  Having said that, let's see if I can remember half of what they didn't include in the the edit...

Another sign o' the times I can direct your attention to is our mode of transportation.  Our vehicle changed a few times during the season.  We started out with this ugly 15-passenger van, then went back to our old, reliable silver Chrysler Town & Country (I get no kickback for mentioning them, I just really like their van).  Then, after much complaining we switched to a bad-ass, black Chevy Suburban. At one point we even end up in a Jurassic Park-like caravan in Jeeps.  You'll see that in later episodes though.

The first segment this week found the Collector Crew in Warwick, NY.  We got this case from one of our sister groups in New Jersey (hence why I'm the one bringing it to John at the head of the episode...see? There often is a method to the madness...), so we had a head start on the research into the past of the property.  Regardless, Aimee still had a lot to look into.  Coming into an investigation with advance knowledge can sometimes be a double-edged sword as you try to remain neutral and yet still use what you know to further the information-gathering process.

"A bottle of white, a bottle of red..."
• Speaking of gathering, in the hunter/gathering sense, now that we were back in New York, we were able to hit a proper diner for the first time in weeks.  Ziggity is a big fan of diners and he was thrilled to finally sit down in one again.  Personally, I'm not a fan of a place that has steak and lobster on the menu but is only really suited to serve burgers and breakfast, but if it makes the Old Man happy, I shut my mouth and eat.  Ironically, we were investigating a fine Italian restaurant and yet we ate elsewhere - for no other reason than we were so used to it.  Frank would spy us coming in from lunch and he'd give us that look, the look that said, you do know this is a restaurant, right?  The second two days of the shoot were catered by Frank and his kitchens and we all ate quite well.  So much so that we all wanted to nap after dinner...but there was no time to waste, there were mysteries to be solved!  This time on a very full stomach.

• Just a word about investigations on television; I feel like I repeat myself a lot, but it seems I have to for it to sink in for some.  What you see on the show is but a fraction of what happened on the investigation.  For reasons of time, content and storyline, things hit the cutting room floor.  People wonder why we didn't look into this, or why we didn't explain that and the answer to all of it is that there's a good chance we did, but you're not seeing it in the final cut.  In the Villa alone, there were mysteries and debunks that were dead-ends.  When John joins us downstairs in the dining room, notice how worked up we all are - that's because we just had a painting fall off the wall, a painting that usually was by Roy Vail's table.  We chalked it up to a bent nail, but it was still an exciting few moments.  What else?  We even got to do cool things like overnight solo missions - Jason got this one and SyFy even put some more of it on their website as a bonus scene showing what else he did during his time alone at the Villa.  The man did a good job, but of course we busted his chops for the rest of the shoots about his reaction to the noise in the hall.  "OH MY GOD!  Oh my God!!"  That's what brothers in arms do, we tease each other mercilessly.

Here kitty, kitty, kitty...

• We also looked for the felis spiritus at the Villa, which was reported to have been seen and felt in the dining rooms.  Incidentally, the ashes of the family cat are in an urn located in the very room that Roy Vail was said to have shot himself.  Coincidence?  Could there be a rip in the Vail (pun intended) in that room that allows for spirits to come through?  We didn't have any ghostly catnip to coax it out, but we searched for him anyway.  I felt confident we would find him given how much we all love animals, and personally, cats.  Nothing though.  I do believe it is possible though.  Animals have personalities and can love and if human spirits can stick around, why can't they as well?

The second segment was shot at a place called Jordan Springs, in Virginia.  Our hotel was in Winchester, VA which was pretty cool, since we're all big Supernatural fans.  For those of you familiar with that show, take a moment and compare Bobby to John.  The similarities are not a coincidence, from what I understand.  So, John has had a hand in training the likes of Jason & Grant, Zak and Ryan as well as Sam & Dean!  Pretty cool if you ask me.

Big Brother is watching...
• As you may have gleaned from the establishing shots, the place was huge! Jason and Jesslyn got to check out the attic, Chris and I covered the basement bar area as well as the third floor.  We used gear and gadgets like the Shadow Detector, the REM Pod and our jazzy surveillance system.  The place was huge, so it was well suited to an expansive investigation.  In parts, the place was a maze of hallways and back staircases.  We examined an old gravestone that had been brought in from outside.  We conducted EVP sessions in the attic around some old children's toys.  Shadow figures had been seen in the stairwell.  What did you see in the episode?  Not much.  I can say that it was heavily edited at the behest of the suits upstairs, but I can't begin to fathom the logic behind it.  I can also say that we're planning on having some Haunted Collector events there, so you'll get your chance to see it first hand!

• Another word about the editing process, if I may.  When it comes to television, the producers are trying to take all these pieces and assemble a storyline that is as entertaining as possible.  We're not a scripted show, so their work is done very much on the fly.  They pray we do our jobs and get the evidence, which as we all know, is difficult to impossible to produce on command.  In addition, we're talking about the lives of real people; ours, the client's and those associated with the locations we visit.  Someone ignorantly commented online that they had seen Tonie on My Ghost Story recently (don't even get me started on THAT tangent) and that her story differed slightly between the two shows, therefore, this astute viewer, "caught Haunted Collector in a lie!"  Sigh.  I shouldn't have to explain this, but for the sake of your enjoyment of future episodes, let me remind you that My Ghost Story is also a television show trying to tell a story and facts are picked and chosen to weave a narrative.  It 's all semantics.  When it comes to semantics, if you want to nitpick, you should put your arguing skills to good use and become a litigator.  I'll mistrust you all the same, but at least you'll be well-dressed.

"Hit me!"
• The blackjack bug bit us at the Belterra, during our KY Mansion case and we were still suffering from the symptoms.  So we found time to throw down the cards in between filming, food and nap time (such varying schedules had us all sleeping whenever we could squeeze in an hour or two).  Gambling is more fun when there are no consequences, right?  Well, that point is debatable, but none of us had money to burn on a friendly game and besides, I was the house and that would mean I'd eventually have all their money.  So, we played with sugar packets.  Regular sugar was one dollar, Splenda and Sweet N Low carried the values of five and ten, respectively.  At one point, Jason was doing so well that we had to start using English Breakfast Tea as hundreds.  During one sitting, after having taken all their "money", we ended up playing War.  Yes, a three person, six-deck game of War.  It was not pretty.  I do believe Amnesty International wants to talk to us about the atrocities committed against mankind during that game.

• We spent several weeks shooting in Ohio and during that time it seemed as if something dark were following us.  There appeared to be omens preceding us and odd occurrences happening even when the cameras weren't rolling.  Most of the time, it was a function of weather.  The joke was, "Haunted Collector is in town, time for the rainclouds to gather".  But this time, the omen was different...and in my mind, spookier.  Quick tangent for a moment to set the scene - the first night in our temporary home, I had gotten myself locked OUT of my bathroom.  It had a faulty lock and after a six hour drive, I arrived in my room to find that I still could not relieve myself.  I called the manager up and we eventually managed to get in.  This oddity caused us to be fast friends.  That being said, she would chat me up at every opportunity, usually asking me how it went at the location we were at.  So, one afternoon I come back to the hotel for my mid-day break and she calls me over with a peculiar look on her face.  She took me aside and asked, in a hushed tone, "Does anyone on your crew have any weird fetishes?"  I found the question an odd one, were it one I had to answer, but she asked me about the crew, which made it even odder - I had no earthly idea who was into what!  I began to wonder if she had a plush costume hidden in the back room.  After shrugging off the question, she went on to tell me that three separate people in our crew had called separately to report that their rooms were overrun by crickets.  Was this a biblical sign...a plague of locusts, or something?  I immediately texted the executive producer the situation and it nearly gave him a panic attack.  Remember, these TV types shoot the show, but they don't always believe and when something happens, they are ill-equipped to deal with it.  Later that night, said executive producer found his bathroom occupied by several dozen crickets.  He ran down to the lobby where he found John and myself talking - when John heard the fear in his voice, he proceeded immediately upstairs to handle it.  The rest of this story is one that I unfortunately have to keep to myself and what follows becomes very personal for several people.  Bottom line though, everything worked itself out and we stayed mostly cricket-free for the rest of the season.  Mostly.

Giving thanks to the Spirits
All is One, One is All
• To wrap up the case, because the item had it's origins in Native American spiritualism, John called in a local shaman to handle it.  Allow my derision for public opinion to shine through for a moment: yes, the guy was white, with blonde hair AND he was a shaman.  Were you expecting beads and a feathered head dress, like the guy in the Village People?  Furthermore, for the naysayers, YES John happened to know a guy in the area who could help...he's been doing this for 38 years, he HAS met a person or two in his travels.  Moving get rid of the object, John let the shaman do what he needed to - I wasn't present for it, but I do believe he burned it.  "But I thought you weren't supposed to burn haunted objects?" you'll say and my response to that is, "Yes, YOU aren't supposed to..."  But someone qualified to handle such rituals can and this guy was the man for the task.  Do take note of the secondary indication of what this shows that John knows what to do and he knows when it's best handled by others.  I think there are those out there that need to learn from this example.  Getting back to the case, afterwards, we did something cool.  The shaman suggested that we close out the investigation with a smoking ritual.  Instead of a pipe, we had special cigars to smoke.  He explained that such a ritual after a connection to the spirit world was a way of closing the session and it would calm down the energy present.  This was not something filmed, it was purely for us.  The cast and crew, along with the shaman and his friends gathered together out in the parking lot and under the pinks and purples of the setting sun, we closed the book on the Jordan Springs case.

The answers are out there
I'm not usually one to recommend such practices, being a man of science and logic, but I will say that the ritual made me feel very calm.  The stresses of the case and the frustrations of the road melted away and out there in the cool, Virginia air, I was at peace.  Next to me, Chris felt the same.  Without a word spoken, we both started walking towards the woods.  For the next hour or so, as the sun continued to set, we explored the nearby woods, feeling peaceful and one with nature.  Every so often we took pause to stop and listen and it was amazing...the sounds of civilization were nowhere to be was just the whisper of the wind and the trees.  Yes, I'm sure what we smoked was only a cigar, but man, this is something I'm going to have to start doing after every investigation.

Okay, it's wrap time for the Episode 203 blog, once again leaving out things such as my Sheetz addiction and the way I pushed their Mac & Cheese bites on the crew 24/7.  Maybe for season three I'll have a webcam on me at all times so you can all come with me on my adventures.  What you see on TV is but the beginning...step with me into a larger world.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Episode 202: Haunted Inn/Long Live the Kings

Minus our first case shot this round, I feel the furthest removed from the two locations shown in tonight's episode.  Production-wise, they were the second and third cases we shot.  We were fresh on the road, getting used to a new director, a new crew and two new investigators: Jason and Jesslyn.  Of course we were all getting along and being polite to one other, but let's be honest here - we were thrown together and any fixed marriage takes time for feelings to develop.  The Zaffis Clan (of which John says I am a part of, like it or not) didn't quite know what to make of the new blood.  Jesslyn was like an outdoor cat; we fed her, so she stuck around and now she's ours.  Mr. Gates won us over with his travel backgammon board, that sneaky devil...but I'll get to that in another post.

For Season Two, you can pretty much tell when things were filmed by the length of my hair.  I bitched about a bad cut when I first hit the road and started this blog and tonight was the evidence of it.  Unlike Samson, I gain no strength from it's length, but it's such a part of me that when it's cut I  And "off" is how I entered these two investigations.  Thankfully the rest of the team was there to pick up the slack.  But I'll try not to slack on the back-end view of this episode.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so at what exchange rate do we factor in video?  During the taping of season one, I had hoped that someone would take pictures or behind-the-scenes video to really capture what our life was like on the road.  What can I say, I guess I really am a true documentarian at heart.  But, we got home with only the episodes themselves as proof of our prior three months.  I was not going to let that slide this time.  Check out this bit of whimsy then we'll continue with the deep thoughts.

The first segment took place in my home state of New York, in a town called Boonville.  When the producers told me where we were going and about the mob history of the area, I got excited.  I'm a big movie buff so I envisioned the opening scenes of Analyze This and all the mobsters fleeing their meeting.  If the case were half as fun as that, it would be worth the trip!  (Side note: Analyze This was directed by Harold Ramis, a.k.a. - Egon Spengler, Ghostbuster)

• One of the things we loved about filming was the evolution of the crew's beliefs.  These cats are TV people and their main concern is to get their product shot.  Their belief in the paranormal is not mandatory.  Truth be told, most don't believe in things that go bump in the night.  That is, until they spend an extended amount of time with us.  Case in point, the first night we were at the Hulbert House, we were shooting the baseline sweep.  Josh, a veteran crew member from season one, had the attic door slammed on him.  Now, he's a big guy and not much rattles him but little by little the things that go bump were bumping him and others on the crew.  When they would tell us what happened, John and I could do nothing but smile.

• I'm not sure if we're going to be holding public events there or not, but the episode could simply not convey all that was going on in this place.  Forget the paranormal for a second and just think about history, even the specific history of a single person.  That third floor seemed untouched by time.  We checked out all of them and in every one there was something surprising and unique.  I spent some time just sitting in each of them, imagining what it must have been like to call that room your own.  Thinking about what was going on in the town at that time and what that person's role was in all of it.  As the commercials say, "everything has a story" and in the Hulbert House there are many, many stories yet to be told.

Sonic Karma?  I recall a conversation we had in the van while we waited for Aimee and John to finish the walkthrough.  Chris and I heard LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It" on the radio and he commented on how amazing it was that they got paid so much to create something so simple.  I was feeling rather surly that day so I grumbled that it disgusted me that some people had to work hard for so little and others figuratively step in it.  Kind of the same mentality as the Occupy Wall Street movement, except we were in a Rite Aid parking lot so perhaps we were occupying that.  Jesslyn piped up that it was a fun song and it made people happy so therein lies the merit.  I did mention the surly part right?  So, I felt the need to argue a pointless battle over a silly song that was hurting no one.  Anyway, now that I'm home and back doing shooting and editing, I've been handling a lot of proms and what's a staple at every one?  You got it, plenty of LMFAO, including, "Sexy and I Know It" as well as "Party Rock Anthem".  And what do I do when I hear them?  Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle!  I don't work out, though...LOL

• I remember the press showing up to see what was happening while we filmed and as it turned out, I was standing outside at the time.  It's funny how the piece shows the production team as the investigators.  See?  This is the perfect example of how an edit can skew reality.  Watching this again is making me miss the crew!

Segment two put the team down in Jacksonville, Fl at a place called the King House.  A private residence, it is infamous in the area for tales of murder and spirits alike.  We rolled into town and our first meal together (cast and crew) was at a little seafood shack by our hotel.  The piles of shrimp, scallops, flounder and other marine morsels took over the table as we caught up on what the past months had brought each of us.  This was our first indication that Jason could possibly eat as much as I the season progressed, we made the concept of a doggie bag unnecessary.

• The cast of 'Collector is made up of animal lovers and we always seemed to find some who loved us as well.  This time, it was a cat named...actually, I have no idea what his name was, but Aimee dubbed him Rosa Parks (at right).  She has a peculiar preference for naming her animals after civil rights figures.  Her cat at home is named Harriet Tubman.  Weird, right?  I can't talk though, I call every cat I meet, "beadie".  Rosa was the coolest animal in the place.  The family dog was kept outside, as to not be stressed out by all the people coming in and out of the house.  In addition, there were plenty of neighborhood cats who slinked by to check out what we were doing.  Then there was the parrot...well, as you saw in the episode, the parrot had a lot to say and often times he was just screeching at the top of his lungs at Chris and I.  He was not the kind of Angry Bird I like to play with!

• Now remember how I said that strange things began happening to the crew to assist in them all becoming believers in the paranormal?  Well, at the King House one of our sound guys was forcibly persuaded to consider those possibilities.  Allow me to set the scene.  At right is a picture of how his audio kit looked like.  It's basically a bag loaded with his mixer, batteries, lav receivers and tons of other odds and ends he needs for the job.  It's not light, so he has it strapped on him via the contraption shown.  Notice the carabiner holding the bag to the strap.  As any mountain climber can tell you, the carabiner is important and it's designed to hold a lot of weight and it's not something that would "just happen" to come undone.  But, as he was standing there, that is just what happened - his bag lifted up, came off the carabiner and the shift in weight distribution caused him to fall into a nearby table, causing quite a racket!  Chris and I witnessed this from the adjoining room, where we were stuck while John filmed a segment down the hall.  The audio guy (I withhold his name to protect his integrity) was clearly shaken up.  He's a pro and something like this just does not happen. The carabiner was securely fastened when he put his rig on and for it to disengage like that was inconceivable to him.  Inconceivable!  "There's that word again...I do not think it means what you think it means..."

• Speaking of that room, there was activity reported there that we spent some time looking into.  A mysterious handprint was reported to appear on one of the window panes.  The owner claimed that it would return even after being cleaned off.  Sound like the famous handprint in the Old Jail at Jim Thorpe?  Well, since that place denies access to their handprint, I was excited to give my debunking skills a go here in Jacksonville!  Chris and I got glass cleaner, paper towels and really gave the window a thorough cleaning.  My tagline from season one was resurrected: "We get all the fun jobs".  Not to disparage the owner of the house, but that room was quite dirty - a smudge on a window would not seem out of place and I certainly wouldn't assign it a paranormal origin, but we had to give it it's due attention.  We placed one of our IR cameras on it all night to see if a handprint would reappear, but none did during our time there.  There is another lesson to be taken away from this example.  Our investigations head down many avenues, but when they lead nowhere, they are prime candidates for the cutting room floor.  So when you watch the show and think, "Why didn't they try this or that?" stop for a moment and consider that we probably did and it made for BORING television! :)

Well, this blog entry has been pretty packed and I know there is a ton I'm forgetting.  But, I'll pause here until next week when our adventures in collecting take us to a case that I'll have a TON to write about!  For you five faithful readers, I leave you with my traditional sign-off; "Never Stop Searching".

Thursday, June 7, 2012

EPISODE 201: Haunted Mansion/Ghost Mill

This building is going DOWN!

Haunted Collector, Season Two premiered last night.  Amidst excitement and trepidation, I sat down to watch it with a Frito pie, in honor of some friends made during Season One.  The opening shots began to roll with the VO, "This season on Haunted Collector..." and I got the chills - the good kind!  Once again, I have to say I was pleased with what I saw.  As an editor, I have a shaky trust with footage I'm in that I'm not editing myself.  Ten years of doing my own documentaries will do that!  Anyway, I promised you a behind-the-scenes look and that is what I plan to give you.  Will it always be interesting?  No.  Will it always be honest?  Absolutely.  Call me the Anecdote Collector.

We'll start with the first segment, which took place in Warsaw, KY.  This was not the first case we filmed this season, so we'd been on the road for some time already and had gotten ourselves into little routines.  Pack, unpack, populate bathroom sink, gripe over lack of refrigerator or microwave in room, compare room numbers, etc.  The prior three cases were all located in Ohio and the hotel accommodations varied from town to town.  But when we rolled into this case, we found we were staying across the river in Indiana, at the Belterra Hotel & Casino!  The casino itself was situated on a riverboat, supposedly to get around some specific gambling laws.  Holy luxury, Batman!  The rooms were cushy and comfortable and mine was on the fifteenth floor, so I was able to look out across the river and survey all the sun touched.  Quite a change from seeing the parking lot of whatever Holiday Inn Express we'd been in prior to that.  My room was the perfect pad for an exhausted investigator to come home to each night.  Apparently, not all were so lucky.  John and Jason's first rooms were on the other side of the hotel, where there was no hot water.  The management explained that since this was their off-season, they didn't bother to turn on the boilers on that side.  John changed rooms once, Jason changed rooms twice.  Meanwhile, I enjoyed a jacuzzi tub with a television in the washroom.  On our off time, we found ourselves in the casino.  I'm a frugal gambler.  That is, I have no money to lose, so I seldom bet much and I get out the minute I win anything.  I will say though that I did conduct a few surgical strikes on the blackjack tables and came out comfortably ahead with no losses or feelings of crushing remorse.  Jason subscribed to my methods as well and we delighted in him winning five dollars on an "Aliens" slot machine while I screamed, "CASH OUT!!"  Meanwhile, in another part of the casino, Aimee won a considerable sum of money with a few pulls on a "Kitty Glitter" slot machine.  This instantly made her MVP for the whole case and earned her a new nickname.  We had a lot of laughs on this particular case, which was a nice balance to the sometimes stoic march of the investigation process.  Because the mansion was in Kentucky, we all called it the K-Y Mansion, which had it's own slippery connotations.  But on to the particulars of what was left out...

Evidence or coincidence?
• What do we have here?  While we waited for the camera crew to switch to the astroscope lens (night vision) for the nighttime investigation, I snapped a few pics of Aimee and Chris sitting on the couch.  Notice the light anomaly to the right of Chris' head.  I immediately saw it on the camera and showed the two of them. Time-wise, this was before that, "Oh my God" EVP they got in that very room.  Click on the picture, examine it, ponder it and leave comments as to what you think it is.  This is your homework for next week...LOL

Five Statues
• There were five bronze cowboy-themed statues around the house.  During the baseline sweep, John noted that the MEL he and Jesslyn were using was getting crazy readings off of one of them.  Did it have something to do with the metal it was made out of?  Was it the room it was in or it's position in the house?  The other four statues gave off no EMF.  On the surface, the only thing that made the one statue different from the rest was that it was the only one placed by a window.  So, to try and duplicate the errant readings, I moved another of the cowboys to a night table by a window.  I let a few hours pass before checking on it again, but the displaced statue failed to take on the properties of his set mate.

"What's in the box?!"
• We also had some odd occurrences centered around an old steamer trunk Charlet had gotten from an estate sale.  Random EMF variances, temperature fluctuations as well as an odd smell alerted Jason and I to something possibly going on in that room.  While we got nothing conclusive from further examination, it did allow me to say my favorite line in the OTF: "What's in the box?!" For two seasons now, I've been trying to slip the Brad Pitt quote from Seven into the show casually (or even deliberately) with no luck.  Even when it makes sense in the scene, the director or the editors see it and go, "HEY, he's doing it again!"  *CHOP* goes the footage.  Now if there were a head in that trunk they'd feel pretty foolish, wouldn't they?  WHAT'S IN THE BOX? COUNT: 1

Moving on to the next segment, we found ourselves in Huron, Ohio.  This was really a very exciting case.  There could be no "TV magic" distortions of time, this place was going down in 48 hours, so we were under a time crunch.  If we missed a spot or the crew didn't get a shot, there was no going back after the fact.  It was a live (de)construction site so one of the rules was that we had to wear reflective vests, safety goggles and a hard hat at all times.  It was annoying at first, but we decided to act like we were in a Beastie Boys video at all times and that made it us, anyway.  I also got to walk around with a sledgehammer so it made me feel like an American Gladiator.  No complaints here.

"Would be nice to get clean..."

• One of the main things the episode didn't convey was the conditions of the place.  First of all, it was the beginning of January in Huron, Ohio and it was COLD!  We all were wearing layers upon layers upon layers (the astute viewer might notice I was wearing my SCARED! uniform beneath my safety gear ) and when we weren't on camera we hid out in the heated trailer office.  Second condition was the mud.  It was everywhere.  Upon returning to my room each night, I'd spend at least a half hour cleaning my boots and then showering before I could relax.

The Great Wall of Grannon
• Inside the afore mentioned office trailer, we spent hours waiting for John's segments to be done; the client walkthrough, his OTFs and other bits.  The trailer was divided into three portions, a main section with two smaller rooms at either end.  At one end was the production office, the other end was where lunch was arranged and in the middle was where we hung out. It was essentially a large, rectangular box, so we had to find ways to entertain ourselves.  We played Apples to Apples, Milles Bornes, made silly videos on VidRhythm and doodled all over our safety gear.  Eventually, we turned on one was quiet in the trailer.  Too quiet.  I seized the opportunity to do some redecorating while trying not to alert Chris Grannon in the production office.  Stacking every chair in the main area up to block the door, we cleared out of the trailer and turned off the lights.  Chris had been working diligently (or playing Words With Friends, I'm not quite sure) in the office room, so he only roused when the lights went off.  Let the prank war begin!

There Won't Be Blood
• During the baseline sweep, right after I noticed the substance on Chris' hard hat, I somehow took a misstep and twisted into a position that caused one of my ribs to dislocate.  For anyone who's done this before, you know that this is pretty painful.  For the uninitiated, allow me to describe it.  It starts off as a dull pain in your chest, small at first but then radiating outward to an arm, making it tingle and then go numb.  Breathing became hard and you are forced to take shallow breaths to avoid aggravating the rib further.  The first time this happened to me, I thought I was having a heart attack.  Not fun.  There is nothing you can do to accelerate the rib popping back into place, you just have to wait it out.  When I first started feeling the pain and the tingling in my hand, I took a step back and leaned on the wall, trying to be as nonchalant as possible.  The director noticed right away and asked if I wanted to stop.  He even radioed the production office, telling them that they might need to get an ambulance over here, but I waved him no.  We were waiting for John to arrive from the upper floors anyway and I didn't want to hold up the shoot, so all I needed was a moment to rest.  What the episode could not convey was the horrible smell of animal feces all over the floor of this level and the adjoining silos.  The last thing I wanted to do was spend any more time in there than I had to, so the show must go on.  The later shots I struggled through gritting my teeth and ignoring the pain until it began to subside.  My inspiration for this was Sylvester Stallone, who often hurts himself during his movies, in more life-threatening ways than I and he always makes it through.  Thanks, Sly!

• There was a lot more urban exploration that what you saw in the show.  I was there, so of course I wanted to explore and see every part of it!  I climbed every staircase and tower that I could get access to - half the time with the camera crew lagging behind.  At one point I wanted to cross a gantry from the main building to the silos and the film crew had stood down as they waited for instructions from the director, who was downstairs.  So, I climbed across anyway and yelled across for them to get it on film.  The looks of terror on their faces at both the height and the condition of my perch had them all begging me to come down.  From my point of view, I thought such shots would make for great TV.  On this, I do know what I'm talking about...back in the early days of SCARED! we'd always have people telling us they were so afraid for us watching the show and the things we did were crazy.  I know SyFy likes to play it safe, but if I'm going to do it anyway, they might as well have cameras rolling, right? ;)

There you have it.  Some tidbits that round out the experience.  Honestly, as I see this entry get longer and longer I can think of other things that made us laugh or that startled us.  For more you'll just have to ask us in person.  We won't bite, we promise...see you all next week!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Premiere Night

The Three Amigos

It's finally here, the night we've all been working towards the past six months...Haunted Collector returns to the air following a season one marathon.  So what's new?  What do you have to look forward to?  What episode is the above picture from?  Why do I ask so many questions rhetorically in my own blog?

There is so much to talk about beyond what you'll see in the episode tonight so weekly I'll be posting audio commentaries for the previous night's episodes here as well as detailing the funny or fearsome things that hit the cutting room floor.  When I started this blog, I began taking photos and video with the intent of sharing and then I realized, "I can't share any of this until the show airs!" and it took some of the wind out of my sails.  But, the time has come and now I can finally speak.  Will it be scandalous?  I'm sure I could stir up some, "Brian is dead" controversy by pointing out the hidden clues we left in the episodes to try and reach our fans letting them know I'm really a double...oops, I've already said too much.

So, I have some work ahead of me tonight, so for now, enjoy the marathon and I'll see you in the morning!