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The Direct Approach - Behind The Scenes at SUSU Elections 2011

7th March 2011

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The week's first task was to capture as much footage from the relentless campaigning all over campus. Trying to whittle down an entire week of political cajoling into a series of 'Best Of' videos was an endeavour that gave me a newfound respect for the editors of X Factor and Big Brother, mercilessly hacking bits and pieces from the week in order to present a definitive picture of events on Results Night. Once these were complete (a staggering 42 videos in total), attentions turned to fine tuning the running order for the final broadcast. By Wednesday evening, despite the rehearsal not going quite to plan, we had schemed and tweaked enough to enter Thursday with a sense of optimism. 

As is apparently customary in the sphere of live television, the day began with a sense of mild panic, apprehension and excitement. With the Cube still under construction and the SUSU Cafe occupied by unsuspecting diners, both of our filming locations were out of action, rendering our second rehearsal unfeasible. We whiled away the afternoon scripting cue cards and joining the candidates for the end-of-voting countdown. For them, the hard work was over, a surreal juxtaposition to the hard work that was ahead for the crew.

As 9pm came, and thanks to a Herculean drive from the events crew to complete the impressive staging, we were ready for take off and waiting for the nod from our tech team. 5 minutes, 6 minutes, 7 minutes ticked by; eventually, I hear from the gallery that the many thousands of viewers trying to tune in had melted the player. 

Oh. No.

The time was 9.45, and it was looking like we would have to abandon the live broadcast and leave viewers worldwide to follow the live text updates for the night. Suddenly, the voice from the gallery came through and uttered the beautiful sentence 'look's like the problem has been fixed, we're good to go.' Almost an hour behind schedule, we were able to cue up the night's first video and swoop into the Cube with our newly acquired crane camera, the room well and truly buzzing. The next three hours of 'please do not swear', crowd surfing smurfs and 'hold it there camera three, you're live' would surely have to rank as the best of my student media career to date. 


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