The Big Week: 10/10/2010 – 17/10/2010

October 10th: only one week left before Australia officially gains membership in the Saint’s Club. After a few days of rest at home my dad and I drove back down to Rome. The week didn’t really start well: as soon as I got out of the car at the hotel I dropped my iPhone. Amazingly it still worked perfectly, apart from the small disadvantage of piercing my thumb with glass every time I touched the screen.

We met the Seven Network crews that had already arrived and went to dinner at the local trattoria, il Palazzaccio, which became our daily eating spot.

We set the alarm for the next morning at 5 am (and unfortunately we didn’t change it once during the whole week).

Up to this point I’d been gaining experience as a soundman with Mark; this week my job was helping out in any way I could: carrying bags and tripods, holding reflectors and microphones, translating Italian for the Aussie crews and in general running around. I worked mainly with the main News team from Channel Seven: reporter Damien Smith, producer Meggie Palmer and cameraman Paul Walker. They were all great guys, except for the small fact that Damien and Paul (for some strange reason) felt an urge to sing Psalms at 6 am while heading to work in the van.  It was a terrific to experience how a News team works, and Paul especially taught me many tricks of the trade.

I also got to work for Seven’s “Sunday Night” team: Italo-Australian cameraman Frank Maurici, soundman Matt Brown and reporter Rahni Sadler. We filmed a piece on the Swiss Guards and the Pope’s General Audience in St Peter’s Square on Wednesday.

There was strong competition between the various Australian television channels that were in Rome: ABC, Channel Ten, Channel Nine, SBS, SKY, not to mention the other Australian media. Everyone was there!

There was even competition between the various Channel Seven programs…

To be recognized as a Saint, Mary MacKillop had to be credited with two miracles after her death. Her first miracle was curing Australian woman, Kathleen Evans, of a metastasized lung cancer, but the recipient of Mary’s second miracle had remained anonymous for 50 years. All that was known was that she was a woman. “Sunday Night” tracked her down, and she decided to reveal herself in honour of Mary’s canonization. It was a scoop for “Sunday Night” and it had to remain a secret – even to other Seven Network programs. We couldn’t even talk about it to the News team. They finally got wind of it the day before the ceremony, but although the mystery woman was in Rome (indeed, in our own hotel) they didn’t find her. Veronica Hopson revealed herself exclusively on the “Sunday Night” program.

The day before the ceremony Rome didn’t feel like Italy anymore; Aussie pilgrims were everywhere. Vast groups of them wandered the streets, recognizable by their yellow hats. There were even didgeridoo players in St. Peter’s Square.

Sunday, the big day – the Canonization Ceremony! I didn’t see much of it because I was too busy running around with the News teams. We had a stage set up in front of St. Peter’s Square for anchorman Mark Ferguson, who was reading the News live from the Vatican, while the “Sunday Night” program was also being hosted live, on a rooftop overlooking St. Peter’s Square. And the Square was packed!

After the ceremony we shot a press conference: Sister Maria Casey, Sister Anne Derwin, Australia’s Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, the Deputy leader of the opposition Julie Bishop, the Archbishop of Sydney George Pell and the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See Tim Fischer declared what a great day it was for Australia.

So we were virtually at the end of a tiring and exciting week. Fortunately everything went well, and we finished off a long day with an extremely funny dinner, where we met a hilarious group of drunken Swedes who entertained us by singing ABBA and Creedence Clearwater Revival at the tops of their voices for hours on end.

Monday was the final day: the News crew had to do a couple of reports about the aftermath of the ceremony, and guess what time? 7 am.

That night after we had another hilarious celebratory dinner, but this time it was us singing at the tops of our voices :-D.

I had a great time being part of Seven’s News coverage of a major event and definitely learned a lot. But when I got back home on the Tuesday after it was all over, I felt like I needed to sleep for a week,

Brendan

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~ by brendo91 on 22/10/2010.

One Response to “The Big Week: 10/10/2010 – 17/10/2010”

  1. Hi Brendan, really enjoyed reading all your blogs. I am looking forward to reading your African stories. Enjoy the trip and the work. Say hello to Dad from us. Leonie & Mark Venable
    ps – don’t suppose the starts will be any later in Africa!!

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