Yep, you read it correctly! The Canadian Tire Retail Events team (Erin in particular. She worked on the Mark’s Fashion show, Grand Openings, Cesar Millan event and so on) alongside some peeps from my team produced the The UFC Welter weight champion of the world, Georges “Rush” ST-Pierre autograph session at Sportchek (I put the whole nick-name/ title thing in there because I happen to be a HUGE fan)!
Now, I’m sure I mentioned it before, but if not…Canadian Tire recently acquired Forzani Group out of Calgary, AB. They own Sport Check, Atmosphere, Sports Experts, Nevada Bobs etc. Upon doing this, my VP became a VP in FGL (Forzani) as well as CT and Corporate Affairs (my department) assumed the responsibilities that we currently carry out for CT for FGL as well. This is very exciting for me because everything that I’ve been doing for Canadian Tire, I am now going to be doing for FGL as well. It also means growth in the company, the department, my team and potentially my role and position (maybe pay too! Oh I could only be so lucky!). But one way or another it’ll be great to see my team add a few people and see where we can take what we are doing now.
Any-who, talk about getting side-tracked, back to the GSP part of the story! So, it was a standard type of autograph session…GSP arrived under heavy anticipation (or maybe that was just me), and when he did everyone tried to act cool, or at least I did. But let’s not kid ourselves here. Meeting GSP today is like meeting Tyson in his prime, but better. So, as Georges was in the tiny back room signing the GSP paraphernalia that was left with sticky notes of the owners names on it, that’s when I did it. I briefly came out of character and requested a photo, to which he obliged as any great champion would. I had given Charles my iPhone and Brad had his 60D that he was shooting with, so I called them for the shot, and by the time GSP had finished his oatmeal I had already Tweeted the pic and uploaded it to my Facebook account (iPhones rule!).
Back into character.
GSP was here to promote his new DVD set, Rushfit. It is a p90x type of video and it looks pretty hardcore. There were 150 posters of GSP that he was signing to the first 150 people in line; a line that started at 6:30pm the night before. There were a number (not sure of the actual number, so we’ll just say “a number”), there were a number of these posters with a sticker on the back of it. If you ended up getting one of those posters you got a free Rushfit DVD set. I must have watched 20 people win one of those. No such luck for me. So after interviewing the early arrivers, taking photos of the crowd, the setup, me with GSP and the autographed apparel it was time to go to the front of the store to meet the fans.
Armed with my perfectly balanced Glidecam HD 2000 (balanced the night before using 394 plate system for speed and consistency), my 7D with a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 (aperture at 5.0 for larger Depth of Field) and an understanding of the path we’d take through the store, backrooms and isles…we were off. As we walked down this one long corridor with racks of shoes 30 feet high on both sides of us, me in front of Georges, walking backwards as the Champ marched forward, you could hear the fans lined up waiting for their hero, cheering, chanting…”GSP! GSP! And as I looked through the LCD screen on my camera at the Champ, GSP…on my camera, I felt like the steadycam operator at the UFC events that gives us that famous shot of the fighters walking to the Octagon from the changing room to start the fight. I was in heaven! My 2 favorite things had finally come together, a legitimate intersection of MMA and video production! Scratch one more thing off my bucket list!
GSP ended up staying at Sportchek for about 2 hours and I got to meet some pretty devout fans. I’m also really glad to be doing some of the Forzani stuff now as well. Keeps things changin up…like they haven’t been already. This wasn’t a difficult shoot at all. Nothing unexpected happened, it was just a smooth sailing day of work. We had our plan, we executed and lived to do it again another day.
Shoot straight! And if you have to get a picture with a celebrity when you’re working…make sure whoever holds your iPhone does.