Corduroy Media Summer Intern

Jul 11, 2012

We are blessed this week to have a very special high school intern working with us… Mr. Jahi Salaam – Who just happens to be my favorite nephew. At 14, he is bright, polite and willing to try new things – even if it might take a nudge or two sometimes. After spending the weekend backpacking, first time ever for Jahi, we started the week off with a long day of shooting at Berkeley’s own Nielsen Neurofocus. We were brought on to the project by Jeffrey Harrington of HDco out of Jacksonville Florida.

I asked Jahi to use creative writing skills to create a blog post about his first day on a video set – As he would say “Let’s Go!”

I woke up tripping. It was 4:30 in the morning and my phone’s alarm clock was going off. The first thing I thought was that there was no way I set my alarm that early. Then I remembered about my internship with Uncle Carl. “Be ready to leave by 6:30 Jah.” He had said last night when he passed by the guest room.

“I got you!” I had called out.

Well damn. I groaned and reached over to click the snooze button. Whoever invented the snooze button has a messed up mind. Everybody knows when you press the snooze button you’re about to be late. It’s never 5 more minutes, you always wake up 2 hours later. And, knowing that, and knowing how heated my Uncle would be if I wasted this opportunity, I sat up and swung my legs out of bed.

I was actually excited about going to watch my Uncle and his crew shoot, even if I wasn’t excited about waking up early. I thought it would be really tight to see behind the scenes and to help out around set. I never really get into things like that so I was a little apprehensive too; but mostly I was thankful.

I took my dewrag off and went into the bathroom to get ready. I was out by like 5 but I figured I could stretch that hour and a half out by watching a movie while I get dressed. I looked in my backpack and realized I had left my bootleg collection in New Orleans. That was all bad, but everyone had been on me the other day for not seeing Anchorman, so I figured I would watch that instead. You already know Uncle Carl has it.

So I was midway through Anchorman when Uncle Carl opened my door ready to bounce. I grabbed my things and followed him out the house. When we walked out the door I sized up the neighborhood. I still hadn’t got used to being in Oakland and I tended to look around wherever I went like a tourist. “Ay” Uncle Carl laughed , ”Hurry up man , get in the car.” I got in the passenger seat and we were off to Corduroy Media studio.

“I had this place twisted. When I thought of Oakland I thought of a bunch of lowriders bumping Too Short.” I had told Sean ( Donnelly ) in a coffee shop later that day.

He laughed…  A man sitting next to us leaned in and said “No, that’s East Oakland.”

Soon we got to 10th street studio and pulled into a parking spot. “You ready?” Uncle Carl asked.

“I hope so.”


The first thing I had to do was help them load the grip van with equipment for the shoot. The crew that day was Uncle Carl, Sean, Ben, and I. After we finished packing the back of the van Sean showed me how to use a ratchet strap to tie everything down tight, then we closed the back and climbed into the seats.

On the way there, everyone explained to me about the client, the product, and what I would be doing to help. Their client was Jeffrey Harrington, and we were meeting him at the Nelson Neurofocus offices. The video would basically be an interview with Steve Miller and Caroline Winnett about their new product and how it monitors consumer responses more efficiently than ever before. Then a close up video of the product itself, and then a short video from their actual office showing how the product is used.

The product was a kind of cap with probes that monitor the wearer’s brain waves. They put the cap on a consumers head and sit them in a room with a TV playing some sort of advertisement or commercial. With this technology , they can actually see how the person’s subconscious reacts to a product, if they like or dislike it, and why they do based on emotion, memory, and attention. It cuts through cultural bias because it doesn’t take consumer’s responses , it gets the brains actual response.

We pulled up in front of the building and Jeffrey was standing there with his suitcases. We all introduced ourselves and they decided to walk a few blocks down to Jimmy Beans coffee shop for breakfast. The owner didn’t speak English and the coffee burned my tongue but the eggs and bacon were good. I thanked Uncle Carl before I started eating. I spent the rest of the time in the coffee shop listening to Mr. Harrington and the Corduroy Media crew talk about past projects. Jeffrey mentioned about working with a company that made the same kind of holograms as the 2pac one Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog brought out this year at Coachella.

After everyone ate, we went back to the Neurofocus headquarters to meet everyone and set up to start recording. Sean and Ben explained to me how to set up and assemble all the equipment once we had carried it all into the office. An employee, Maria, told us we could shoot in the conference room or the warehouse. We went down to the warehouse and put everything up. I learned about everything as I helped set it up. I learned about fluorescent and tungsten lights, and that the stage lights are either orange or blue; inside or daylight. When we were standing everything up, I learned how to use C-stands. Then Ben and I set up the Seamless, which is a little like a green screen; or at least that’s how I think about it. Later, when we were taking close ups of the product, I learned how to use the Dana Dolly.

When we were finished, Maria brought in Dr. Miller and we started recording. While I watched the interview, I learned a lot not just about Steve and Neuroscience, but about business and marketing. Steve and Caroline told stories of how a multi-million dollar decision can go wrong because of a sharp angle in a commercial or a phone who’s body is too thin. While we ate lunch with Jeffrey I also learned the importance of gaining friends and connections in your business. The day ended with us loading the grip van and giving Mr. Harrington a ride to BART. Uncle Carl and I went home, ate pasta with Auntie Pilar, and finished watching Anchorman.