The clock was about to chime 6 a.m. when we met up with Ingrid Backstrom, Shane McConkey and Andrew McLean at their hotel in New York, New York. We said our hellos and moments later, in typical NYC fashion, we boarded a black SUV with our driver pulling away as the doors were closing. Our destination: Good Morning America.
The purpose of the trip was to promote the release of the new movie STEEP, in a theatre near you right now. The blockbuster movie presents the history of big-mountain skiing through archive footage, interviews, and some of the best new action ever captured. For a full run down of the movie and an extensive interview with writer, producer and director Mark Obenhaus, check out this story.
The plan was to hit up four spots, all before lunchtime. First: Good Morning America.
On the air since 1975, Good Morning America is one of the two big morning shows, along with Today, and airs to around 3.5 million people daily.
We arrived at Times Square Studios (home of ABC) around 6:30 a.m., and the place was already bustling with everyone from security guards to the hosts themselves. We whipped around the labyrinth of hallways and studios until we found the Green Room, stocked with coffee, muffins and a Wii. No sooner had Ingrid picked up the controller, the “talent,” as Ingrid, Shane and Andrew were referred to as by NYC industry types, were whipped into the makeup room to have their faces plastered with orange-shaded powder.
Then, we rushed down the hall into the relatively new GMA radio show where Hilarie Barsky asked most of the questions that would later be asked of the talent later on TV. The radio interview lasted about ten minutes, and then it was back to the Green Room for more coffee and muffins.
Good Morning America is the real deal. If you don’t watch it, ask your mom… I bet she does. To prepare for their Big Appearance, the talent went through a series of preparatory meetings to make sure they said the right things, hyped the right points and covered important details. After all the hype, preparation (and no doubt lost sleep), the talent found themselves sitting on a couch with host Elizabeth Vorgas. A Christmas Tree lit up the space behind them and about 30 camera operators, directors, fluffers… who knows what all these people did… made sure the live feed went off without a hitch. And, naturally, it did.
Before they knew it, the show was over. 3.5 million people were now that much more aware of the names Ingrid Backstrom, Shane McConkey and Andrew McLean. It all happened so fast… but there was no time to think about the Big Show as Erin Bruce, the publicist taking us all on this tour, loaded us back into the SUV to head to CW11, a local news station. After a five-minute chat on live NYC TV with host Emily Francis, an avid skier herself, we loaded the SUV once more, this time to Sirius Satellite Radio.
The crew kept their eyes peeled for Howard Stern as they entered the Maxim Radio studio. The host, Stretch, patched in from LA, drilled the talent about steep skiing, the new movie, where to watch it, and what it’s like to survive an avalanche, which Andrew McLean did this year while filming (check out the movie to see the footage). After a quick tour of the Sirius office (where the talent was introduced to some of the big-name DJs who run the stations), it was back to the SUV.
Jim Byrne of Declare Communications & Marketing then took over from Erin and the group split up. Ingrid and Shane went and ate lunch, the rest of us headed off to ESPN for one last interview. It was not yet 12 o’clock.
At the ESPN office, we headed up to 1050 am New York Sports Radio where legendary Max Kallerman interviewed Andrew about his experiences extreme skiing, about how his wife probably knows him if she grew up in New York, and whether or not Andrew extreme skis for the thrill of escaping death. Max referred to Andrew as the greatest skier in the world, and joked about getting the skier’s autograph so that when he died, it would be worth a load of money. After a hectic day of fairly serious interviews, it was a light-hearted (and pretty damn funny) way to close out a press trip that in less than six hours brought the athletes and the movie STEEP to about 5 million households (by my estimation).
Check out the photos and video, and MAKE SURE you get to a theatre near you and watch the vital documentary, STEEP.