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Friday, April 2, 2010

Sneak Peek: Liberian Amputee Soccer Team

                                             Click here to view

Editing Mariano Rivera

On Thursday of Holy Week producer Frank Saraceno and editor Marlon Hidalgo began to edit a Mariano Rivera feature.   Facing an Avid DS, they studied footage Saraceno shot of the ageless Yankee closer in his native Panama in the second week of February.
This was a labor of love for Saraceno, who grew up in Rochester and Syracuse, and for Hidalgo, who grew up in the Bronx.

This was the start of two-week process, for a piece that might run 10 minutes and have as many as 1000 edits.  
“To me, this is the most rewarding part until the piece hits the air,” Saraceno said. “You feel like an artist and this is your canvas.”
Frame after frame moved across the Avid screens, at Hidalgo’s deft command.  Saraceno scanned his index of logged shots and called out requests.

He chose shots of Rivera inside the partial construction of a new church, which Rivera financed, for the impoverished fishing village he came from.  Saraceno liked one in which Rivera shook the hand of a worker in a hard hat.
He chose shots of Rivera, with his wife and son, as they handed out backpacks and school supplies to the local children. 
 Saraceno and Hidalgo especially liked shots of Rivera, as he drove slowly on the main street, and chatted and laughed through his open window with locals.  The camera, in the passenger seat, saw the same adoring and admiring faces that Rivera saw.
A theme emerged. 
Rivera is a good man.  Saintly, you might say.  Especially for allowing E:60 a rare glimpse inside his off-the-field life.
With the Yankees and Red Sox set to open the season on Easter Sunday, even a Sox fan – such as myself - couldn’t blame Saraceno and Hidalgo for a reverent take.  

Posted by Steve Marantz, April 2, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Yaron Deskalo Liberia Journal. April 1, Wash, D.C.

I'm on the train headed north. Just left DC. On my way to New York.

This afternoon, we will finally able to nail down an interview with the U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.  Amidst all the controlled chaos that was Monrovia the past couple weeks, I actually neglected to give her (or her PR person) a call for the first couple days I was there.  I had, however, left a message at the U.S. Embassy shortly before I left to Liberia to let them know that an American TV crew was there.  I'm not sure that message ever made it across.

It was simply fortuitous that I happen to get in touch with the Embassy.  The Embassy spokeswoman just happened to be taking a walk when we were emerging from our hotel, moments away from our second shoot with the Liberian Crusaders of Peace.  You see our hotel, the Cape, sits in the shadow of the Embassy -- a mere 500 feet away.  She heard English and knew something was going on.  I told her what we were there for and apologized that I had not been in touch.  Attempting to seize the opportunity, I then requested an interview with the Ambassador.  We exchanged cards.  My instructions were to email.  She'd see if the Ambassador could fit us in.

Turns out she couldn't.  Understandably, we weren't as important as the visiting AFRICOM General or the opening of the National Elections Commission in Monrovia.  We were assured, however, that the Ambassador was travelling back to the states, and it was in DC that we'd have our best chance.

So here we are.

And it was worth the wait.

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield first visited Liberia in 1978.  Seeing the destruction and devastation now in in 2010 has always led me to wonder what Monrovia was like pre-civil war.  My only image came at the top of the Ducor Hotel, a once-five star spot that overlooks the city.  We shot scenics from the roof and even an interview, as you may recall.  One of the 'tour guides' of this abandoned building showed us a brochure of the place from the seventies.  Monrovia looked peaceful.  The hotel looked glamorous.  As the Ambassador explained, it was all that.

"Like a small American southern city."

"Savannah?" I asked.

"Yeah, but not that nice."

She told me that even though it was very provincial, Monrovia was sowing seeds of conflict. The divide between the haves and have nots was widening. It was becoming increasingly tense.  Soon, she said, there would be murders on the beach.  The situation sprialled out of control.  It would be less than a decade later before the country was fully engulfed in civil war.  One that make Monrovia hell on earth.  One that would go nearly uninterrupted for 14 years.

The Ambassador, like the Minister of Youth and Sport who we interviewed on our last day in Monrovia, was certainly critical of the amputees.  The Ambassador has had contact with amputees.  She works very closely with them, in fact.  She told me how she implores the amputees to not think of themselves as ex-combatants.  They need to move on. In meeting with students at a Liberian university, she met a young man who said that he was an ex-combatant, to which she replied, "What are you doing here at the university?"

He said, "I'm a student."


Clint Dempsey Shoot April 1

After spending a day shooting at iconic locations throughout London, our crew headed to Fulham's stadium - Craven Cottage - for a Europa League tournament game against Wolfsburg FC (a German club).  The atmosphere was electric. One thing that stands out at European football matches is the singing and chanting by passionate fans urging on their sides.  Clint Dempsey showed of his skill and pace, at one point in the second half starting a movement that led to Fulham's second goal. The Cottagers (as the Fulham side are called) won the match 2-1, moving one step closer to a semifinal berth in the Europa League tourney.

Submitted by Dave Salerno

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Clint Dempsey Shoot March 31

We started a cold and blustery day at the Fulham training grounds shooting Clint Dempsey and his teammates running through some drills.  After practice, Clint took us in his SUV for a short ride through London - a quick jaunt from the training grounds to an Italian restaurant where he met teammates for lunch.  Finished the day shooting scenics at the team's historic stadium - Craven Cottage. Till tomorrow and the Europa League game between Fulham and Wolfsburg!!

-Submitted by Dave Salerno

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Clint Dempsey Shoot March 30

Despite the wretched weather, E:60 had spirited interviews with Fulham captain Danny Murphy and our main subject Clint Dempsey.  Murphy broke down Clint's burgeoning skills on the pitch, while Clint talked about everything from what he misses about Texas to the upcoming World Cup to his recent injury and the wonder goal he scored against Juventus earlier this month.  After the interview, we shot a few cool pieces of video with Clint - some at their indoor practice facility - you can see him getting ready for his close up in the attached picture!

Submitted by Dave Salerno

Clint Dempsey Shoot Photos

The Fulham shield
Fulham training grounds
Paris based crew!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Clint Dempsey Shoot March 29

I landed in London this morning and the weather - true to stereotype - was a bit grey with a light drizzle.  I took one of the city's famous black cabs over to the Fulham training grounds and met with a member of their public relations staff.  Took a tour of the grounds...much different than ths standard digs for an American pro team!  The buildings around the practice pitch reminded me of something from an upscale boarding school!

I organized an itinerary with Carmelo, one of Fulham's PR gurus.  Tomorrow, we are set to interview team captain Danny Murphy and then our second go-round with the main subject Mr. Dempsey. We will also be shooting some cinematic video of Clint in his Fulham kit!

Off to the pub for fish and chips.

Submitted by Dave Salerno

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Clint Dempsey Intro

Gutsy 27-year-old midfielder Clint Dempsey is one of Team USA’s best players.  Growing up in the humble Texas town of Nacogdoches, Dempsey began his soccer odyssey traveling 6 hours round trip to play for a club team in Dallas.

But due to low family funds and the need to spread what little wealth they had, Clint’s parents put some resources into older sister Jennifer’s burgeoning tennis career.  But less than a year later, Jennifer died of a brain aneurysm.  Clint, a skilled freestyle hip hop/rap singer (stage name Deuce), was approached to make a video for Nike during the 2006 World Cup.  The video, called Don't Tread, became one of Nike’s biggest promo campaigns during the ’06 Cup.  He asked that local Texan musicians be used and that they film in his home town.  At the end of the video, Dempsey places a flower on his sister’s gravestone.  With his sister as one of his guiding inspirations, Dempsey continued his soccer journey and flourished.

Dempsey would star for the Furman University Paladins before garnering MLS Rookie of the Year honors with the NE Revolution.  Dempsey now plays for Fulham in the English Premier League and has become a vital cog for the national team.  Regarding his tough guy approach to the game – he once played for several weeks with a broken jaw and recently scored a crucial goal for Fulham against Italian giant Juventus in his first game back following a knee injury.

E:60 is on its way to London to interview & shoot Clint, some teammates, and possibly his parents - who are visiting while we are there...

Submitted by Dave Salerno