That’s a Wrap! DVD Filming Recap.

I’m finally coming up for air after last week’s video filming in Chicago. It was easily one of the greatest weeks of my life filled with amazing and talented people and a creative process that I enjoyed so much, I didn’t want it to end!

Filming in Chicago was a bit of a gamble for me. I’m from Ontario and all of my connections are mostly in Toronto. However, someone recommended David Hunter at Greenroom Productions and I was really impressed with the quality and creativity of his work. He has a background in improv which I thought would lend itself well to the “fun factor” of making an educational video engaging for children.

Once the video company was set, I wasn’t 100% sure where to go next. I know I needed some other creative people….so I emailed the Chicago Puppeteers Guild! They kindly sent a mail out to all of their members. I had nearly a dozen puppeteers express interest in helping out. I brought on Kat Pleviak, Tom Holste and the multi-talented Bob Anderson. Bob was my right hand man with set design and painted all of the beautiful scenery. I referred to him as “Bob the Painter” so not to get confused with Bob Stoffel who built all of the amazing set pieces. He was of course, “Bob the Builder”.

When I arrived in Chicago, I headed to Bob the Builder’s warehouse – which is one of the largest supplier of children’s theatre sets and props. Had I ever come to the right place! I was overjoyed seeing my set pieces for the first time! They were perfect. We made a few cuts where we could have puppets pop through – my favourite being behind the bookcase in the classroom.

On Sunday, it was moving day. Bob S. and I sure got a workout loading up our rented Uhaul truck, then unloading it all at the theatre we rented for filming. It was a long night, but by the end , the set looked great and was ready for action the very next morning.

Monday morning- game time! One by one, the crew started to arrive:
Bob – puppeteer
Kat – puppeteer
David – Producer
Kevin – sound engineer
Rachel – lighting

At that point, I had no clue how much fun we were about to have over the next 3 days.

As the cameras started rolling, we went scene-by-scene, location-by-location. I was just so excited the whole time, I felt good about the filming – always had good energy, but definitely crashed hard at the end of each day. Bob and Kat were amazing – truly impressive puppeteers, but they really blew me away with their voices for the puppets! I actually had 3 puppet voices pre-recorded in the studio, but Kat was so talented, we made a last minute change so she could do them live.

The hardest part for me was memorizing my lines! Although I say these messages nearly every day, the pressure/importance of sticking exactly to the medically approved script made me realize how much I prefer to ad lib! Let’s just say there was not much rest after a long day of filming- just memorizing the next day’s scenes.

The hilarity when the camera was not rolling had me in stitches. Bob and Kat would give the puppets a lot of sass – and let’s just say it was more like Avenue Q at times rather than a children’s DVD! It put me in a great mood – especially if I messed up my lines and received hilarious criticism from Chef Allergie!

We were behind schedule going into the final day of filming, but we all buckled down and finished at 1:06pm – we had the children scheduled to arrive at 1:00pm . Wow that was close! Ending with kids on the set was so fitting! They brought so much fun and energy to several songs. After all, this is who the video is for!! I suddenly felt much more comfortable and in my element. They did an amazing job and were very quick to learn instructions – for dancing, singing and doing special hand gestures (for the “Hand Wash Rap”!). What a fun way to end the shoot!

The kids and their parents left around 4pm and it gave us a chance to go through the scripts in detail to make sure we didn’t miss a thing. Once we filmed a final two lines, David announced, “That’s a wrap!” This was followed by hugs, handshakes and laughs knowing that the last three days were truly an experience we’ll never forget. I think there was a mutual feeling that we all just created something really special.

It was truly a team effort where every single person was an MVP. I couldn’t have done it without them and am so thankful everything came together so well. It made me feel good about my decision to film in Chicago and drive 13 hours from home. I would have travelled much further if it meant I would get to work with this talented team.

Next step: post production and editing. I cannot wait to see the first cut!

Here are some pictures from the filming. Such amazing memories!

 

Hello Chicago!!

Hello Chicago!!

Seeing my set pieces for the first time.

Seeing my set pieces for the first time.

View of the warehouse from above. Amazing to see all of the other sets were on site.

View of the warehouse from above. Amazing to see all of the other sets were on site.

Bob S. with his perfectly packed Uhaul truck.

Bob S. with his perfectly packed Uhaul truck.

The set coming together. It felt like we were raising a barn at times!

The set coming together. It felt like we were raising a barn at times!

Hanging the last star from the rafters.

Hanging the last star from the rafters.

And....action!

And….action!

Cool Bracelet!

Cool Bracelet!

Talking about not sharing food with Miss DeLabel

Talking about not sharing food with Miss DeLabel

Suzie Symptoms camera debut! With Kat

Suzie Symptoms camera debut! With Kat

So glad that Kat and Bob were already good friends. They were in pretty close quarters those 3 days!

So glad that Kat and Bob were already good friends. They were in pretty close quarters those 3 days!

What a cool kitchen! This scene was explaining cross-contamination.

What a cool kitchen! This scene was explaining cross-contamination.

Placing the steps of the emergency procedure in order.

Placing the steps of the emergency procedure in order.

"Never Keep a Reaction a Secret" with Suzie :)

“Never Keep a Reaction a Secret” with Suzie :)

I just think this is hilarious - getting make-up done while chatting with Chef Allergie (Bob) and Rachel.

I just think this is hilarious – getting make-up done while chatting with Chef Allergie (Bob) and Rachel.

No running water on set? No problem!! ;)

No running water on set? No problem!! ;)

Quick line refresh with Tom before filming.

Quick line refresh with Tom before filming.

An incredible group of kids!!

An incredible group of kids!!

Kids doing cool actions for the "Hand Wash Rap"

Kids doing cool actions for the “Hand Wash Rap”

Song time!

Song time!

Kat, Kyle and Bob

Kat, Kyle and Bob

Final look of the whole set. I'll miss my little apartment!

Final look of the whole set. I’ll miss my little apartment!

The Big Finale - Food Allergies Rock!

The Big Finale – Food Allergies Rock!

Top 5 Tips on Approaching Others about Food Allergies and Accommodations (Kyle Dine)

kyledine:

A recent blog post I wrote for “It’s an Itchy Little World”.

Originally posted on It's an Itchy Little World:

Today’s guest post is from none other than Kyle Dine, food allergy role model and educator. My family and I were lucky enough to see Kyle Dine perform at a school assembly for elementary kids last year. It was awesome! Everyone was dancing, shouting out answers to Kyle’s questions about food allergies, and laughing at the antics of EpiMan (one of Kyle’s very cool puppets). Honestly, I had no idea food allergies could be so fun for anyone, much less an auditorium filled room of kids, some with food allergies, but most without. And every single one of the parents and teachers were smiling and clapping along – it was a great time!  In the end we bought two of Kyle’s CDs and jammed out to them on the way home and my kids have been listening to them ever since. Their favorite songs are “Food Allergies Rock” and ”…

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Filming has Started!

Hey Friends!

Lights, camera, action! Our video is truly coming to life this week as filming has started in the Chicago suburbs. It’s a long way from home for me, but I just knew this production company would give me the best results possible. After everything so far, I couldn’t be happier with the whole team!

Check out the set design! Two incredible people (both named Bob!) have put together a masterpiece!

The set consists of 4 areas: The Kitchen, The Classroom, The Music Room, and The Lounge

The set consists of 4 areas: The Kitchen, The Classroom, The Music Room, and The Lounge

The filming went great on Day 1! I loved working with such talented puppeteers who brought my puppets to life!

Bob the puppeteer (and amazing guy!) with Chef Allergie.

Bob the puppeteer (and amazing guy!) with Chef Allergie.

The filming was filled with fun, but we crammed in so much in one day. It was a neat experience to be on camera and I can’t wait to go through the rest of the scripts on day 2 and 3.

Rocking out recording the song "Cool Bracelet"

Rocking out recording the song “Cool Bracelet”

The one thought that kept coming to mind throughout the shoot, is that this project is a dream come true. We are going to educate SO many about food allergies with this resource. Thank you so much for being a part of this adventure!

Kyle Studying Script

Camp Emerson – An Extraordinary “Allergy Aware” Summer Camp

 

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I had a great childhood. I played baseball, rode bikes with friends, played hockey on the pond and played maybe one too many video games! However, there was one common connection to everything I did – I was close to home.

With all of my food allergies, summer camp was only something I heard about through movies. Although my summers were great, they were generally confined to an area that circled around a particular epicenter – my kitchen.

This is why I am THRILLED to hear of places like Camp Emerson in Massachusetts.  As a proclaimed “Food Allergy Specialist”, they pride themselves in providing a worry-free experience for campers and parents alike.

What’s really impressive is that they “walk the walk” too…and then some with incredible attention to details. Here are some of the things that impressed me most about Camp Emerson that could give peace of mind to prospective parents:

The Food Situation

  • They are peanut, tree nut, shellfish and sesame free.
  • They have successfully supported children with up to 9 anaphylactic allergies.

The Kitchen Situation

  • A team of Registered Dietitians prepare the menu with you prior to camp.
  • Parents are able to review the menu in advance and read all labels.
  • They have dedicated equipment and kitchen area to avoid cross-contamination.

 The Staff Situation

  • All staff are trained on anaphylaxis emergency procedures (including EpiPen training)
  • There is on-site medical staff (pediatrician, nurses) trained in allergies.
  • The directors have food allergies and truly “get it”.

I can go on, but I recommend you take a look at their brochure all about campers with allergies: http://www.campemerson.com/future_families/food_allergy_specialist.

It wasn’t until college that I entered the summer camp world as a staff member at a camp in Ontario. It was an incredible experience that kept me coming back – 5 summers in total! It opened my eyes to the value of camp and the countless benefits it provides children. Camp Emerson has generously supported my tour and DVD as a sponsor, and I am thrilled to endorse them, as I believe they are trailblazers setting gold standards for how camps can accommodate allergic campers. They share my belief that food allergies shouldn’t be a barrier for summer camp.

I know their spaces are filling up fast, but here are more details for this summer:

Camp Sessions:

  • 6 weeks – Sunday, June 28 – Saturday, August 8, 2015
  • 4 weeks – Sunday, June 28 – Saturday, July 25, 2015
  • 2 weeks – Sunday, July 26 – Saturday, August 8, 2015

For more information, visit http://www.campemerson.com, or pick up the phone can call:

Sue Lein, Owner & Camp Director (she’s so friendly and fantastic!)

directors@campemerson.com
800-782-3395
203-894-9663

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Allergy Awareness Poster – Featuring YOUR CHILD!

There was ONE really cool reward that was added so late in my Kickstarter campaign, it practically went unnoticed….

A food allergy awareness poster featuring your child’s photo!

Talk about a unique gift! 20 SPOTS LEFT, $25 to reserve yours + receive two 11×17″ copies. All $ directly supports DVD project.

Grab yours at http://www.foodallergyvideo.com/poster-reward.html

Awareness-Poster

Image is a mock-up. This will be created by a professional graphic designer.

 

 

 

Red Plate Foods = Delicious

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I first met Becca from Red Plate Foods at the Portland FARE walk in August. I remember it like it was yesterday, as that was the day I ate the BEST cupcake of my life! (With an nut + egg allergy, this is a big deal!) Becca offered my wife (gluten-free) and I both a sample cupcake as we left the event. We ate them while driving away, and after only a few bites, started giving each other those wide-eyed “this is incredible” looks, and the “Mmmmm’ing” out loud sounds! We realized we hit baked allergy-friendly gold!

Fast-forward to October when I was back in Portland to perform at local schools. Sure enough, I ran into Becca again! This time, more samples….cookies, cupcakes and muffins. ALL were simply amazing. I offered a few cookies to a family I was staying with, and they looked at me like I was handing over the keys to a Porche! They TOO knew of Red Plate Foods and were giddy about receiving the samples!

Becca’s company might just be the best kept secret out there. She just expanded to offer shipping of her baked goods. With the holidays coming, grab some of these treats and be the hit of your allergy-friendly holiday party! PS – please invite me and save a cupcake! :)

www.redplatefoods.com