Behind the Scenes in Kansas

By

For a few days earlier this week I got the chance to work with a production crew from Al Jazeera America, a basic cable and satellite news television channel owned by the Qatar royal family’s Al Jazeera Media Network. Through an online filmmaker group I met Joe Winston who was putting together a team to cover the Kansas governors election for AJAM.

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Derek Davis, DP Extraordinaire.

The sunrise that greeted us the first morning.

The sunrise that greeted us the first morning.

Both Joe and the Derek the DP were awesome. Joe’s a producer and filmmaker having previously been in Kanas for his doc “What’s the Matter with Kansas.”

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Joe Winston talking with Don, one of the people we followed.

Derek is an award-winning cameraman for AJAM and, previously, for CNN. Camera guys usually have awesome stories and Derek is no exception. And he’s a Hoosier. Not much else to say.

We first saw the challenger Paul Davis in Dodge City at a campaign rally the day before the election in a recently-relocated one-room school house. He seemed upbeat, confident, and rested.

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Democrat Paul Davis in Dodge City, Kansas.

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Mic-ing Up.

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A little worried?

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Sam Brownback, the incumbent, seemed, in a word, tired. However, he wasn’t worried. He answered questions carefully and clearly. In the end, despite the polling data, his confidence proved well-founded.

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A gubernatorial fist bump.

A gubernatorial fist bump.

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The quiet and composed State Republican HQ.

Signs in the Democrat HQ.

Signs in the Democrat HQ.

The main characters in the story were volunteers working for each campaign. We followed them as they canvassed neighborhoods, went to the polls, and finally, as they spent the evening of the election at their respective watch parties.

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The day after the election was spent editing and cutting all the footage into a 9 minute piece that aired on AJAM that night. It was amazing to watch the crew edit video and sound into such a great piece. No one ever sees this part of a nightly news show, but it’s where the real pros shine.

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Thanks guys for giving me the chance to help out a little bit in creating a great set of segments. Hope we can do it again sometime!

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All photos by Clay Myers-Bowman. All rights reserved.

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