A Day in the Life of a “CBS Sunday Morning” Interview

By Ashley Boarman, account supervisor

I spent a day in the redwoods with CBS Sunday Morning and LCI client, Save the Redwoods League. Here’s a photo essay of my very busy – and tons of fun – media day.

6:15 a.m. – Driving from San Francisco to the shoot location at Joaquin Miller Park in the Oakland Hills. We issued a press release for the League at 5 a.m. and my inbox is already buzzing. I pull over to speak with a KCBS Radio producer who wants to interview the League’s president, Sam Hodder, at 9:30 a.m.

7:00 a.m. – I meet with the production team, which includes a producer, camera operator and sound technician. We trek into the woods to find a suitable location for filming. We soon find the perfect log, which serves as the ideal backdrop to conduct the sit-down interview. I text Sam our location and provide details for his radio talk. I take a few more minutes to craft message points and email them over. I have one bar of cell reception. Phew!

7:30 a.m. – We begin the laborious task of hauling the camera and lighting gear from the van and into the woods. Good thing I’ve been working out.

8:45 a.m. – We’re set up ahead of schedule. We spend the next half-hour simply enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

9:20 a.m. – I scan for additional media coverage from this morning’s press release and check in with Sam. We secured the reporter’s questions in advance, so I send those to him. All is set and I’m feeling good.

9:25 a.m. – We have some unexpected visitors: about 12 adults and 20 young kids begin setting up just 20 feet away from us, carrying with them a half-dozen acoustic guitars and a chest full of toys. We kindly ask what’s going on and they say they’re part of a local school that will be completing some outdoor lesson plans. They plan to wrap up around 12:30 p.m. Gulp! We realize this isn’t going to work. We need to find a plan B location – and fast.

9:30 a.m. – The producer and I sprint into action (literally) to begin searching for a new location. Time is of the essence, so we begin running in and out of the forest – we’re scheduled to begin shooting in one hour. I work up a sweat and we aren’t finding good options.

9:45 to 10:30 a.m. – We run into a park ranger who suggests a new spot and the crew goes to investigate. (It happens to be the same place where OneRepublic shot its “Feel Again” music video.) Twenty minutes later, we receive a text that says, “We’re a go.” We race to pack up and hustle to our new location. I call Sam to see how his interview went and explain the situation. I drop a pin from my phone so he knows where to meet us at 11 a.m.

10:45 a.m. – Lee Cowan, the CBS journalist, arrives. We review the interview content to ensure we’re on the same page. The producer and I serve as stand-ins for the crew to adjust the lighting, sound and background.

11:00 a.m. – Sam arrives and everyone exchanges hellos. I pull him aside to review what the interview will cover. I ask if he has any outstanding questions. He has a few and we go through them one by one.

11:20 a.m. – The crew continues to tweak the lighting. The sun’s rays are creeping through the trees, casting shadows on Sam and Lee’s faces. The lighting tech sets up an overhead canopy.

11:30 a.m. – The interview begins – finally!

11:45 a.m. – We’re constantly starting and stopping because of overhead plane noise, which wasn’t an issue until now. Grrr! Everyone on the crew is getting frustrated because of the long and chaotic morning, but Sam is as cool as a cucumber. Go Sam! Way to remember what we reviewed during the media training session.

12:00 p.m. – Sam and Lee are really into the rhythm of the interview now. Sam offers fantastic sound bites about the League and the importance of its redwoods restoration work.

12:30 p.m. – We pivot to the “walk and talk” portion of the filming. The producer wants an overhead drone shot of this forest conversation. Sam helps us scout a new location that is ideal for this desired aerial view. We spend 15 minutes walking to our new site to capture the remaining footage.

1:45 p.m. – The crew has everything it needs, and we wrap up Sam’s portion of the interview. Everyone says their goodbyes.

2:00 – 2:45 p.m. – We pack up. I go with the crew to other areas of the park to capture b-roll of families and hikers enjoying the redwoods and park space.

3:00 p.m. – I say my goodbyes and thank the crew for an unexpectedly eventful – yet awesome – day inside Joaquin Miller Park. I’m tired but exhilarated at the same time. I can’t wait for the piece to air.

What are the most enjoyable on-site interviews you have been involved with? Leave a comment below or tweet us @LandisComm.

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3 Comments

  1. David Landis Reply

    Ashley – being a PR pro always means being flexible and being able to pivot, doesn’t it? Can’t wait to see the final product when it airs on CBS. Good work! Cheers, David

  2. Polly Ikonen Reply

    You’re a rock star, Ashley! I’m so glad everything worked out and that you got to spend a day with a crew from one of your favorite news shows. That’s a much more elaborate set-up than we usually field from local affiliates. Can’t wait to see the segment in July!

  3. Sean Dowdall Reply

    Great photos Ashley! What a great place for an interview.