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[PODCAST EP04] Working in live sports with Melissa Ward

live sports melissa ward
live sports melissa ward

In this 4th episode of The Production Channel, Stephen Bowles and Clem Harrod chat with Clem’s longtime friend and co-worker from the Orlando Magic, Melissa Ward. Melissa is a freelancer who mostly works in the live sports industry in various roles, such as audio, labor management, production management and more. She also spreads her talents into the entertainment and corporate world. In this episode Melissa will explain the nuances of working in live sports and how it can be challenging and rewarding.             

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After suffering an injury as a student athlete, Melissa started working in the sports information office at the University of Central Florida. In the 1980’s sports jobs for females were not plentiful, however, one day she was given the opportunity to become a paid statistician at a basketball tournament. She loved the job, and the TV crew loved her. From there, her career in live sports began, and she was given the stats job for 15 more games. Melissa’s sports industry path stayed in Orlando, and she became a member of the broadcasting crew for the Orlando Magic in 1989. She’s one of over a dozen crew members still working with the Orlando Magic from day one. Her networking skills have led her to partnering with large sports outlets such as ESPN, recently covering the NCAA Football National Championship.

When asked about the difficulty of working in sports, Melissa says that unlike corporate work, there are no rehearsals. There is one shot to get it right in sports. You anticipate or you miss the play. She tries to be proactive when covering a game. She states, “This is my plan A, if everything works and everything goes as it should, we’re golden. But my plan A needs a plan B…I try to have multiple plans and go through the possible scenarios of failure so that I can be prepared.” Melissa says that the crew members working sports develop a special mindset. “I think people who do live sports and do it well have to be some of the smartest, brightest, most reactionary people because you don’t get that second chance, you don’t get that second take…”

Being a woman in a male-dominated field may be intimidating to some, but Melissa is not shaken. “I think I’ve spent my whole career not really thinking of myself as a female in that situation. I don’t want someone thinking ‘that’s the token female so that’s why we are going to hire her.’ That’s never been my aim or goal. I want to be hired because I can get the job done.” She says being a woman as an A2 has advantages, especially when working with female talent. Also, she says that the network of females working professional audio in live sports is very close-knit. “The funniest thing is that we’re all friends…we will dump work back and forth to each other as much as we can, especially because we have to have each other’s backs.” Melissa mentions that women still aren’t always considered for the high-profile events. “At the network level, traveling or big show type of audio person, it is a very, very minimal market for females, legitimately.”

Melissa tries to mentor the next generation of production professionals. She helps them out, male or female, whenever she can because she sees an overall trend in today’s crew structure. “We are a work group that is aging out. If you look on shows and you look around at the average age, you see that age rising and rising as far as broadcast technicians in live remote situations.” She realizes that due to the physical and mental capacity of production work, younger people are not wanting to get into the business of sports and live shows. “The business is changing a lot, so it’s changing how the opportunities are available.”

Listen in this week as Stephen and Clem get a unique perspective from Melissa Ward as she speaks her truth about being a working mom, adapting to the changes in live sports, and prioritizing life along the way.  

 

Full Podcast Transcript

 

Stephen Bowles:
Three. Here’s our podcast recording with Melissa Ward.

Clem Harrod:
Episode 11.

Stephen Bowles:
That’s right, episode 11.
All right everybody. Welcome to the Production Channel. I am super pumped about today. We got a whole new voice and part of the industry we get to take care of, but before I am joined by my co-host, Clem. Welcome, Clem.

Clem Harrod:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. What’s going on, Bowlsey.

Stephen Bowles:
Oh, man. Plenty. Everything. I feel like every single week we’re either cuing up another awesomepodcast or publishing another awesome podcast and I don’t know, man. This has been fun. I’ve really enjoyed these last couple of weeks.

Clem Harrod:
It’s been so much fun, man. You know, I was just talking with Shane Smith yesterday-

Stephen Bowles:
Oh, I know Shane. What’s up, Shane?

Clem Harrod:
Yeah, yeah. Hey, Shane. He was just saying how he has enjoyed listening to podcast and reading the articles cause it’s something that was needed in the industry. This community, this place for us to kind of just go and hang out and to learn about one another in so many different ways. It was needed. It was needed, so it’s cool to know that there’s people out there listening and they’re enjoying it.

Stephen Bowles:
That’s awesome. Yeah, actually to piggyback on that I was talking with some people I know from a production company here in Orlando and they were sharing with us, they were saying, “You know, I first saw your podcast and I wasn’t quite sure what to think and I kind of was just saying, “Oh that’s cute. That’s kind of cool, and then I listened to it on the way home and was genuinely surprised that it had original and awesome and relevant content in there.”

Clem Harrod:
Yeah.

Stephen Bowles:
And I was like, “I think I’m gonna take that as a compliment. I’m not entirely sure, but I think I’m gonna take that as a compliment.”

Clem Harrod:
Right. Right. Thank you?

Stephen Bowles:
Cool.

Clem Harrod:
Yeah.

Stephen Bowles:
So for anyone who’s listening for the first time, this is the production channel. It’s Clem, it’s me, and it’s really everyone, anyone who wants to share from the industry. We try to bring together the best voices from the various different parts of the industry, audio, video, lights, broadcast, sports, [inaudible 00:02:05], and we just want to get on here and we want to chat and just kind of talk about, you know, what their particular lens view is into the industry and so really excited about today because we get to touch into broadcast and we also get to get just different voices on here. Clem, introduce for us Melissa.

Clem Harrod:
Oh man. Melissa Ward. You can tell when there’s somebody who’s dear to my heart. [crosstalk 00:02:32]Melissa on the court
Ah, man. As I’m rubbing my heart because Melissa and I have had a relationship with working together for so many years. We understand each other. We’ve been around each other. She’s just like that person that I’ve clung to over these years and working with the Magic and I’m just happy for us to be able to tell her story as a female in this industry. I’ve worked with her as an audio, an A2 and also she’s stage managed a couple … I remember some screen training days and Melissa is definitely somebody who understands different facets of this industry.

Melissa Ward:
Hey guys. How are you?

Clem Harrod:
Sorry.

Stephen Bowles:
Just do a real quick, Clem, so welcome Melissa and we’ll take off from there.

Clem Harrod:
Yeah, okay. So, welcome, Melissa.

Melissa Ward:
Well, thank you. Thank you, guys. Glad to be with you today. I think this should be fun.

Stephen Bowles:
Glad to have you here. That’s awesome.

Clem Harrod:
Yes, yes. So Melissa, please tell us how did you get your start in this industry? From where did you come?

Melissa Ward:
From where did I come? I played sports through middle school, high school, college. My degree is actually in the business believe it or not. I’m probably one of the few people in the business who’s working with a degree in the business.

Stephen Bowles:
Seriously. Actually most everyone we talk to doesn’t have a degree. They kind of just sort of fell into it accidentally.

Melissa Ward:
I fell in because I played sports and I worked in the sports information office after an injury in college and I-

Behind the scenesClem Harrod:
Where’d you go to school? Where was college?

Melissa Ward:
At UCF.

Clem Harrod:
Okay. Uh huh.

Melissa Ward:
So working in the sports information office, I had worked in the training room. I had always been around sports, played sports and back in the 80s females in sports, there wasn’t really much opportunity or anything at that point, but after an injury I ended up working in the sports information office and I was working a basketball tournament keeping the official book for the tournament and the TV people came to me and were like, “Our stats person didn’t show up. Is there anyway maybe we could put this headset on you and you could do stats for us for the game?” And I was like … And then they said, “Oh and we’re gonna pay you.” And I went, “Oh yeah. I’m in.” Put the headset on-

Clem Harrod:
Right. Right. Right. Because I wouldn’t have said it.

Melissa Ward:
Locked my key open and went … Called, you know gave them the stats for the whole game and everything and they came out after the game and they were like, you know, “Can we get your address and everything for, you know, to be paid,” and I’m like, “Really, you guys are paying me for this? That’s ridiculous.” And they were like, “Yeah, and by the way we really appreciate you doing this and you’re really good at it. Here’s 15 more games. Would you happen to be available?”

Clem Harrod:
Oh wow.

Melissa Ward:
Oh yeah. I can make myself available for this. So I had been working at UCF doing college, doing stats, doing that type of thing, working in sports information. I already had a lot of contacts in the local media for post-game interviews and that type of thing, knew a lot of the shooters [inaudible 00:05:44] and stuff. So I ended up working for what the precursor to Sunshine was and Pass Sports and all of that and that’s how I started. When time came-

Clem Harrod:
Who was the precursor?Melissa on the court for Fox Sports

Melissa Ward:
It was pretty much an independent. It was Sunshine Network.

Clem Harrod:
Okay. Uh huh.

Melissa Ward:
And prior to that we were with a company called Pass Sports which was just an amalgamation of infant baby sports networks across the country [crosstalk 00:06:10].

Clem Harrod:
So Pass Sports became Sunshine Sports who became Sunshine Network who then became Fox Sports and then now FSN Florida.

Melissa Ward:
Exactly.

Clem Harrod:
Exactly, so you’re before all of that. You’ve got some history coming up.

Melissa Ward:
I … Yeah. I was actually before. The biggest accomplishment … You mentioned, you touched on the word ‘Magic.’ I started with Magic in October of ’89 because I was already working for them so I basically have been with The Magic from day one.

Clem Harrod:
Wow. Wow. You’re Orlando Magic broadcasting since day one.

Melissa Ward:
Yeah, and there’s not a lot of us left at this point. They did, on the 25th year, which was like two-three seasons ago, they did an anniversary kind of lunch for all of us that had been around from day one and there was only maybe a dozen and a half of us left from the very beginning so that’s kind of-

Orlando Magic and MelissaClem Harrod:
Back at UCF you’ve worked your way up through and just kind of continued to grow in the industry and continue to move up from client to client. How does that work?

Melissa Ward:
Because I do different … I started in Scotts, moved to stage managing, learned audio from there, then I’ve also gotten to the point where I do some crewing. I do some production managing. The process of this business is making contacts.

Clem Harrod:
Mm-hmm.

Melissa Ward:
You get those calls and somebody goes, “Hey, can you do this? Can you do that? Can you help with this?” This business is so contact built.

Clem Harrod:
Right.

Melissa Ward:
And so as you end up with different clients, they get used to you being a certain thing for them so it gives you more of a break. I do a lot of things. I do production and I do technical depending on who the client is. I do a lot of sports. Probably 85% of my stuff is sports, but then I do entertainment, I do music, and I do corporate work as well, so it keeps you fresh. It keeps you new. As a freelancer, you don’t get really bored because it’s not like you’re getting up and going to the same office every morning and, you know, I love freelancing. I love what I do. I love the people I get to meet. When you have a bad gig or it’s a rough show it makes you appreciate more the good, easy ones after that that go smoothly. So that’s kind of where I am.

Stephen Bowles:
Gotcha.

Clem Harrod:
Yeah.

Stephen Bowles:
So then I got a question for you, Melissa. Give us just kind of the quick overview of what your role looks like in one of these sort of sports-related gigs, right? So, whether it’s The Magic or somebody else, I mean what does your day look like. What kind of roles are you facilitating specifically there?

Melissa Ward:
In sports my two primary contacts or clients would be ESPN. Specifically I do a lot of college football and college sports for them. Just finished doing the National Championship.

Stephen Bowles:
Oh yeah? Cool.

Melissa Ward:
[crosstalk 00:09:03] yeah.

Stephen Bowles:
There you go.

Clem Harrod:
I saw some pictures on Facebook. That was fun.

Melissa Ward:
Yeah. It was awesome. It was an awesome experience. We had an amazing crew, great technical crew, great audio crew so it … When you’re working with people who are good at what they do, and it was just a fun atmosphere.Melissa gigging

Clem Harrod:
Yeah. For sure.

Melissa Ward:
And then The Magic and I A2’d primarily for both of those two particular clients. So our day, when we get booked, we’re booked for a 10 hour day minimum and we come in, truck is there. We use remote trucks. Unpack the truck, get all your gear out, get it ready, get it staged, take it into the arena, unpack it, build all of your stuff, whether it be your booth with your talent headsets and stick mics for interviews, that type of thing. Putting in all of your effects mics so that the people sitting at home hear the sound of the, you know. If you turn on your TV and you can hear the announcers call the game and you can here the ball hit the room or the guy get tackled, then that’s my job. That’s what I’ve done.

Clem Harrod:
Or some of the fans out there screaming, “Ah, you suck!” Or “Yeah.”

Melissa Ward:
That’s when I go and I turn the microphone 90 degrees.

Clem Harrod:
When you can hear that one fan all the time.

Melissa Ward:
The aim in life is to never hear the one fan. You want that nice, you know, ‘Aaaah,’ you know, the roar of the crowd. You don’t want that one guy because you always get that one guy who ends up right in front of your microphone. So there are a few little tricks there to detract from that.

Stephen Bowles:
So what happens if you do pick up something that’s inappropriate or, you know, what’s your responsibility at that point to mark it, to make sure it doesn’t get out into broadcast? Is there anything that you can do there or are you more just setting it up and then the producing team has to make the call?

Clem Harrod:
I mean, it’s just kind of that live event, though, right?

Melissa Ward:
Yeah. Exactly. In live sports, you don’t get that seven second red button like you do in radio or something, that and talk radio. In that type of thing, your board operators got his button and when he hears something he reaches over and hits his button and it buys you four to seven seconds and then it rejoins and it’s a pretty seamless thing. In recorded television if you’re watching a talk show or something and somebody throws your F bomb or something, they can go and go “beep” and they’ll give you that and you’re like, “Oh, I know what you said, but they can’t say it.”
In live sports you’re just kind of, it’s there. It’s just there and there’s nothing you can do about it. There might be situation in a re-air if it was really obvious, they might try to fix it, but it’s in the most part in live sports, it is what it is. People are who they are.

Stephen Bowles:
Right.

Clem Harrod:
Yeah. You know, Melissa, I want to touch on something real quick because you and I both have sports and corporate experience. You know, an extensive amount. You know, one thing that I noticed from just shooting sports versus the corporate and just being in the different environments like you’re saying, it’s just live. It is what it is. There’s no rehearsals. There’s no … You just have to be always anticipating, always thinking about what’s gonna happen, how things, you know, work. You don’t have that rehearsal time and that, “Hey, let’s do another cue to cue.” This is-

Melissa Ward:
No.

Clem Harrod:
You have one game. One event.

Melissa Ward:
Mm-hmm, and it always cracks me up that … That’s it. In live sports, I guess, Clem, you guys probably try to do the same thing I do. I try to go, “Okay. This is my plan A. If everything works and everything goes as it should, we’re golden.” But my plan A needs a plan B. “Okay, if this takes the crap, then I’ve got this sitting here next to me that I’m gonna go to.” “Okay, if that happens then I’ll rearrange it and re-patch this way.” I try to have multiple plans and go through the possible scenarios of failure so that I can be prepared. Which I think people who do live sports and do it well have to be some of the smartest, brightest, most reactionary people because you don’t get that second chance. You don’t get that second take. You don’t …
If you have a camera guy in the baseline and Lebron James has just bowled over the top of you, you know, that’s not rehearsed. He didn’t plan to do it. You know, you [crosstalk 00:13:21].

Stephen Bowles:
Can we take that again, Lebron. Can we take that again?

Melissa Ward:
[crosstalk 00:13:25] Hey. Stop. But, on the flip side in the truck, they’re like, “Oh my gosh. That was phenomenal tape. Rack that back. Let’s see that.” You know, “Let’s watch you go in [crosstalk 00:13:34]. We’ve all seen that. We all it know it.

Clem Harrod:
Oh my god. No. No.

Melissa Ward:
There’s a camera guy [crosstalk 00:13:38].

Clem Harrod:
I’ve experienced it. I’ve experienced it.

Melissa Ward:
[crosstalk 00:13:40].

Clem Harrod:
Like you’re talking about it and I’m envisioning the plays happening in my head over and over again.

Melissa gigging for the NBAStephen Bowles:
That’s funny.

Melissa Ward:
That’s because we’ve all been there. We’ve all been there. You know?

Clem Harrod:
Oh my gosh.

Melissa Ward:
You’re standing behind the table and the guy comes running full out and he jumps and like your … You know, and there’s more times like you said, I stuck my hand up to keep the guy from landing in the crowd. You know, you use your body [inaudible 00:13:58].

Clem Harrod:
[inaudible 00:13:58]

Melissa Ward:
But then at the end of the game, you’re in the truck going, “Hey. Let me see that. [crosstalk 00:14:04].

Clem Harrod:
And checking Sports Center, checking Sports Center. Maybe I made Top Ten [crosstalk 00:14:08] Really made it. Look, mama, I made it. I’m famous.

Melissa Ward:
And people laugh, but we all know that’s a thing. “Hey, yeah, I was Sports Center yesterday. I was number three.” And your like … And the guy at home who doesn’t know anybody may not know it, but if you’re in that market or you’re friends with that guy, you’re looking at his Facebook page and it’s like, “Hey, I made three on Sports Center.” Which as you’re sitting in a dark ballroom cue to cue and you’re watching somebody’s VP walk across the stage to the microphone for the fourteenth time to say his name, you’re like, it’s not quite the same feel.

Clem Harrod:
Yeah.

Stephen Bowles:
So, real quick on that, Melissa, I want to touch on something you said there earlier. You, when you were talking about how, you know, anyone who works in this industry really has to be one of the more proactive and less reactive sort of thinkers and I think that you’re straight on there. Particularly, audio, a classic one is, all right, he’s got a lavalier and that more in the corporate world, right. So you’ve got a wireless lav and often will be double miked up there, will have two lavs. [crosstalk 00:15:15] Yeah, exactly. And then someone’s usually got a hand-held, sort of chilling just stage left or maybe down on a sort of assistant stage manager or sort of [crosstalk 00:15:26] Exactly. And then there’s always like the total fall-back which is a regular, you know SM58 on an XLR, which you have to coil the 100 feet just chilling at the corner of a stage just waiting for those worse case scenarios, and I think that goes across the board, right?
So Clem, with projection’s got, you know, doing double stacks if not triple stacks at different points, thinking about sort of fall-backs, and then also cameras. That’s like, that’s what I’ve done, my background’s all directing cameras for shows and absolutely, like if I only had one camera pointed at something to me, I feel a sense of vulnerability there, right? Because if that camera goes down, what are my options right? But if I have two, whew, we can do a lot. I feel totally comfortable. I feel comfortable pushing the line. I’m like, “hey, go ahead and give me that, try to sell me on that one shot because I know I’ve got a head-to-toe just waiting back here I could fall back to.”
So-

Melissa Ward:
Right, I mean you’ve got your tight guy shooting the face but if something happens you’ve got that cover shot. [crosstalk 00:16:27] That wider cover shot that you can cut off of and cut to when-

Stephen Bowles:
Yep.

Melissa Ward:
You know. And it’s always been my contention that you can take people that are used to shooting in a live environment, Clem, myself, you know, those-

Stephen Bowles:
Mmm-hmm.

Melissa Ward:
You can then put us into a situation such as a corporate or I can go into a studio situation or-

Stephen Bowles:
Mmm-hmm.

Melissa Ward:
On to a stage or something like that, and because in those situations you have more of a luxury of time, and the pressure, I don’t want to say is lower, but it’s different, because we’re so used to doing everything on the fly and doing it immediately, when we have that luxury of time where we can plMelissa at a baseball gameay it a little more-

Stephen Bowles:
Right.

Melissa Ward:
I can take any live technician and put them into a situation like that. The opposite can’t be said. I can’t go to my local affiliate for a network and take a guy who is used to shooting three heads on a desk in the studio and put him out and go, “Okay, you’re now the game camera for a football game.”

Stephen Bowles:
Right.

Melissa Ward:
It’s a totally different atmosphere, style, pressure, that type of thing. So I think if you take guys, girls, technicians, whatever, however you want to refer to us. I use the guys as ambiguous across the board to cover anybody. You have a lot more options, should we say?

Clem Harrod:
Mm-hmm.
So speaking of ambiguous, how do you see you know, the female role in the live events industry, cause, you know, we were speaking earlier, we were speaking yesterday, that there just aren’t a lot of female A2s out there. Or just in general, how do you see that on a tech side?

Melissa Ward:
On the tech side, I think I’ve spent my whole career not really thinking of myself as a female in that situation. I don’t want somebody to go, “Oh, that’s the token female so we’re going to hire her.” That’s never been my aim or goal. I want to be hired because I can get the job done.

Stephen Bowles:
Mm-hmm.

Clem Harrod:
Mm-hmm.Melissa working for FOX Sun sports

Melissa Ward:
That being said, at the network level, travelling, big show type of audio person, it is a very, very minimal market for females. Legitimately … The funniest thing is too, we’re all friends. We all know of each other, we all know who each other are. We will dump work back and forth to each other as much we can, simply because we’ve got to have each other’s backs.
I don’t see that the treatment is really any different. Sometimes it does work in my favor. You’ll have a client come in who, they know they have female talent or there’s some type of situation where they would be more comfortable having a female person. I think in a lot of situations being female makes it easier to work one on one, especially if you have some talent, they’re just more comfortable with a female. We’re a little more detail-oriented sometimes. It’s just a different approach, and that has worked in my favor getting jobs sometimes. They’re like, “Oh, they’re bringing in a couple females, they really want a female there because they’re more comfortable.” As you’re miking them, and you guys know what I’m talking about, you know, sometimes your hands and the mic cables go places that people don’t see on TV and there’s a reason for that.

Stephen Bowles:
Yeah.

Clem Harrod:
Yeah.

Melissa Ward:
So, you know, that’s a comfort-level thing. I think a lot of not seeing female audio and a lot of female shooters, camera operators, which are kind of the dirtier positions. We’re out in the elements. We’re hauling gear around. There’s a lot of physicality to the job. And even if you look at some of the truck people you don’t see a lot of female video and a lot of female tape people.

Stephen Bowles:
Mm-hmm.

Melissa Ward:
I don’t know if it’s perception of the whole STEM issue, you know, the whole science, technology, engineering, and math, which is a place where we lose a lot of kids. Young girls who might be interested in those types of things still at some point get the feeling that those are guy-dominant positions not female-dominant, and so you just don’t see … I think it’s part of the whole education process and the whole … in coming up where you just don’t see as many females that are interested in those type of positions.

Clem Harrod:
So, when you see a young one, a young female interested do you encourage them? Do you try to mentor them to stay in?

Melissa Ward:
Yes.

Clem Harrod:
How does that work?

Melissa Ward:
Yes. At this point, any time I see somebody young who comes up and they express an interest in the business, male or female, I try to work with them. We are a work group that is aging out.

Stephen Bowles:
Mm-hmm.

Melissa Ward:
If you look on shows and you look around at the average age, you see that age rising and rising, as far as broadcast technicians in live remote situations.

Stephen Bowles:
Mm-hmm.

Melissa Ward:
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of young people who are wanting to come into the business. It’s a lot of work, physically, mentally. The business is changing a lot so it’s changing the way the opportunities are available. So any time I see somebody young, if they’re interested, I’m more than willing to try to share and mentor. And Clem, you know –

Clem Harrod:
Yeah.

Melissa Ward:
Being younger than I am, there are a lot of guys in this market who I’ve known since they came in as utilities and they’ve worked their way up and up and I enjoy that part.

Clem Harrod:
Yeah. I can honestly say that I have felt the love and the … from you. You know, I’ve just appreciated it through the years because I know that … You know, I have a very strong relationship with my mom and my mom raised me, and I definitely felt that from you, like you cared about me. You know, you helped me to see my way through, you know, this industry, so I just want to say thank you for that.

Melissa Ward:
You know, you’re welcome. And why should I not if I have the benefit of the experience and can throw you a little tip here or there timage6hat’s going to make your life easier, make what you’re doing look better. You know, a lot of people are like, “I’m not going to train them because I’m just training them to take my work, be my replacement.” And there is a lot of that. I mean, we’re in a situation now where we are losing work to the young kids that are coming out who are not as well trained as we are, who don’t have the experience. You know, we kind of joke when working professional audio in live sports, we say ‘they don’t pay me to plug stuff in’. I can teach pretty much anybody. It’s not that difficult. What I make my money at is doing it well and being able to trouble-shoot and fix the problems as they come up and anticipate.

Clem Harrod:
Right.

Melissa Ward:
But on the flip side, if they’re going to pay somebody half of what they pay me and hope they plug it in correctly and nothing happens, until they get really burned, until there’s a problem, we are losing work. You know, we’re seeing that go to other place and other people and people without the experience and stuff.

Clem Harrod:
Now, with experience though, you have to put your time in, right? You have to put your time in in order to get that experience and feel how the event works, and for that event and that speed and that pace and that anticipation and all of that has to be a part of who you are. Okay? I mean, I know you get that cause we did this career together. Now as …
Congratulations, by the way, because I know your son is now enrolled in college. Beautiful.

Melissa Ward:
Thank you.

Clem Harrod:
How do you manage that, though? You know, that’s a huge thing. Like, we’re just talking about how much time you have to dedicate to your job in order to be successful in it but then also the time and dedication that you have to put into being a mom and being there for your kid and to make sure that they’re successful.

Melissa Ward:
I think … First of all, let me say, Clem and I are both used to being on the road. You become road warriors. You have to have a good support system whether it’s your parents or your spouse or friends and family. It truly becomes a situation where it does take a village, if you are in this business, to raise a child. Simply because there’s always, again, the unexpected where, you know, all of a sudden you get sick, or they get sick or whatever. You make choices to adapt your lifestyle. You change your priorities. I made a decision when my son was young, if I couldn’t take him with me somewhere and basically go in jeans, I wasn’t going. I mean, I was like, okay, I’m not going to go out and party and hang out. The time that I have is precious to me and I want to spend that with my child, with my family. I think those are conscious choices. As your children age, depending on what they’re into and where you are in your career, you have some …
It’s a great situation because in some ways we have so much flexibility to say I can’t take this show, or you know, I won’t do that.
And I hate to say it, he is now also doing some stuff in the business. He’s doing some utility work. You know, we spend all of … he’s a freshman in college and he spent all season doing utility and he’s picked up some stuff at the college and everything like that. And he’s –

Clem Harrod:
And where’s he going to school?

Melissa Ward:
University of Alabama. Can I get a roll tide?

Stephen Bowles:
Roll tide.

Melissa Ward:
And absolutely loves it. It’s a great experience. And yes, it’s an NCAA football school. We love that. So, I’m also blessed that I know I have a very special kid. He’s smart, he’s very goal-oriented, he’s focused. I’m very, very lucky. I say my prayers and thank the Lord on a daily basis for that.
But, you know, then he’ll go, “Oh, mom.” Cause he’s an engineering major and he wants to go off and do other things. At least, when he want to school that was the plan, but now that he’s been doing some [inaudible 00:26:29] he’s like, “I should just drop out of school and do TV. This is, you know, fun and easy.” I’m like, “No, no, no. If you want to do TV, that’s fine, but please get your degree. You can have a degree and a skill [inaudible 00:26:40]. I have no problem with that.”
But … And he’s like … And I hear this, this is a business where you have a lot of second-generation kids that are coming up in the business. I know a lot of guys who have kids in the business. I was talking to another female friend of mine who’s [inaudible 00:26:58] and her son’s kind of did the same thing. Our kids are the same age and over the summer he utilitied. And they are used to … you never have a weekend off, you never have a holiday off. You know, oh, your birthday’s Friday. We’re going to celebrate your birthday on Tuesday. Oh, we celebrate Christmas on Tuesdays. You know, you make those adaptations, so at least the kids are completely used to that kind of thing.

Melissa and her sonStephen Bowles:
Hmm. Yeah.

Melissa Ward:
This is not a lifestyle if you have always pictures the, you know, 2.2 kids with the white picket fence and the dog and the mini-van in the driveway. It’s not going to really suit that type of person.

Stephen Bowles:
Yeah. Well, Melissa, I’ve got to cut us off but I want to keep talking with you. I mean, I just really enjoyed hearing from you today. So, we’ve got to get you on for part two so you can tell us more about –

Clem Harrod:
I think we should definitely get Melissa back on.

Stephen Bowles:
That’s right.

Clem Harrod:
Definitely. [crosstalk 00:27:49] so much

Melissa Ward:
Well, you guys are awesome, and I think the project that you’re doing is amazing. It may help us get, like, some of those younger kids in and change their focus and give people better understanding of what the reality is really out there, because it’s not really what you learn in school. [crosstalk 00:28:04] in the program and work in the program. They’re not really related at all, I guess.

Stephen Bowles:
No, they’re not. Well-

Melissa Ward:
But, you guys have got a great package here, and I appreciate the invite. Had a lot of fun.

Clem Harrod:
Thank you for being here. We, I definitely appreciated it. I just wanted to highlight you for the person that I know that you are in this industry. So that was my main focus, so thank you.

Melissa Ward:
I appreciate that. Thank you.

Stephen Bowles:
Well, that’s it for us today. Again, if you have anybody you think or you know should be on here with Clem and I, please send them our way. If you yourself have an awesome story or just a role or lens view into this production industry and you want to share it, please send it our way. We’re always looking for people to join us on this podcast, help write articles with us on Production Channel, and even do some gear reviews and just sort of, in general, pro tips series about how you can be awesome in this industry.
So you can check us out at production-channel.com, get all the latest episodes-

 


Learn more about Shoflo at https://shoflo.tv
Learn more about clemco.av at https://www.facebook.com/CLEMCO.AV/

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