We recently produced a marketing video for a great organization, Friends of the Earth. In a whirlwind tour, we conducted 14 on-camera interviews in DC, NY, SF and LA, in less than five days. Normally, our team is opposed to checking any baggage whatsoever, but due to our hurried schedule, we were forced to check a few pieces of equipment. In an effort to avoid any lost luggage, we booked direct flights for every leg of the trip. United Airlines had other plans.
On the first leg of the trip from DC to LA, United Airlines lost our tripod. This wasn’t a verite project, so this was an immediate issue. As a result, we had to scramble when we got in to DC late Sunday night in order to secure a tripod for our shoot on Monday morning. Fortunately, Billy at R&R Lighting, who was already supplying us with our lighting gear, was able to accommodate us at the last minute by referring us to Karen at Voxcam. After filling out the lost luggage form in person at the airport and on the phone, I was assured that our tripod would arrive on the next flight and would be delivered to our hotel before we departed for NY on Tuesday morning.
Can you imagine our surprise when we left the hotel in DC early Tuesday morning and we still had no tripod? As our plane taxied from the terminal the flight attendant notified everyone that it was now time to “turn off all electronical items” (yes she said electronical). Before I was forced to turn off my phone, I called Alec, our contact in NY at RGHLighting and he promised to get a tripod delivered to our Manhattan interview location before we landed. In addition to shooting a few of the FoE luminaries, we were also shooting Jayni and Chevy Chase so I wasn’t very thrilled about the possibility of having to shoot their interviews handheld. We touched down in NY and I turned on my phone. There was a message from Alec: he had come through with the tripod. Outstanding.
Immediately after the interviews in Manhattan, we grabbed a taxi back to the airport and I thought I might give our buddies at United Airlines another call. Not only did they have no idea where our tripod was, they didn’t have any record of the several reports I had filed over the phone during the last couple of days.
As we boarded the plane and took our seats in the back near the lavatory, the overhead bins appeared to be full. When I lifted the latch on the last compartment to see if there was room for my jacket, a hand appeared from nowhere and slammed the compartment shut. A loud voice shrieked behind me: NO! I turned around to see a male flight attendant flush with anger as the other passengers looked on at the potential confrontation. I laughed and took my seat. This overhead space was apparently reserved for douche bag flight attendants. Next stop San Francisco.
The case of the missing tripod had gone cold. I was continually re-routed to overseas call centers where the United Airlines operators didn’t speak a great deal of English, let alone have any idea where our tripod might be. Fortunately, Ryan at First Camera in SF was the 3rd company on our tour to come through at the last minute with a rental tripod. Solid.
After wrapping up the shoot at the FoE offices in San Francisco, we headed back to the airport for one last flight back home to LA. As we checked in at the kiosk and inquired about the location of our tripod, we were told it had been delivered to our hotel and was waiting to be picked up…in Washington, D.C.