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CarterCenter“President Carter is in the building today” was the first thing we were told upon arriving on location for Day 1 of our recent two-day video shoot with the League of Women Voters and The Carter Center.

Not the kind of thing you hear everyday, right? Let me back up and describe what got us to that point.

When we got the call from a colleague of ours who works at the Carter Center to produce a video with them, we jumped at the opportunity. She explained that they had recently won a grant to produce a package of materials for the League of Women Voters’ election observer training program – one item of which was a video. All the pieces fell into place very quickly as we made plans and prepared for two days of shooting: we would have five actors in the lobby right outside of the “Chapel” at the Carter Center, which became our voting precinct set for the video shoot.

MakeupOur Carter Center clients wrote a solid script, which led to our cast and crew doing a fine job when the camera was rolling. This project was very straightforward in what we were aiming to accomplish, and very important. As someone who has been a volunteer pollworker in the past, this job hit closer to home for me than some we work on. It’s important to have non-partisan observers on- site during elections here in the U.S. and abroad. Election observers should be trained well and our team played a small role in ensuring that happens, which made us all proud.

Starting with a good script allowed our two days of shooting to go very smoothly. Often times, when there are as many moving parts as we had on this shoot, you’re waiting to see what problem pops up – is the leafblower guy going to show up right before it’s time to roll, is a police helicopter going to be hovering over an accident nearby, or is everybody’s lunch order going to be correct? I’m happy to say that on both shoot days all went smoothly.

ChapelTables had been set up in the middle of the “Chapel” where our cast and crew were to eat lunch. Since opening in 1986, the Carter Center chapel has hosted dignitaries and world leaders on a regular basis; it truly is a gathering place for people from all corners of the world. We were just a bunch of video people, but we were welcome and had a place to sit in that room just like so many others before us. That was a great realization to have.

But to get back to where this story began: President Carter actually was on-site for a few meetings on what was Day 1 of shooting for us. The night before I had dreamt that President Carter was there and came to say hi and tell us how glad he was to have us working on their behalf. That didn’t happen, but I wish it would have!

Despite the lack of a presidential visit, working with The Carter Center and the League of Women Voters has been a highlight of this year so far.

-Jon Milavec