On Set with Paula Creamer

On a sunny Orlando morning this May, 29 kids, 4 coaches, 15 crew members and LPGA star Paula Creamer gathered on a driving range to shoot a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) for The First Tee that premiered nationally during the Travelers Championship.  The average viewer has no idea how much work went into those precious 30 seconds, but I do.  I was on that set with Paula.

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When I arrived for the shoot people were running around like ants at a family picnic, but once I saw the story boards and crew notes, I realized that what appeared to be organized chaos was actually a well orchestrated event.  I learned the key was everyone knew who their boss was and who they got to boss around.  But there was no mistaking that Paula was the star of this show.  To make sure her supporting cast was also at their best, the director interacted and engaged the kids, all students in The First Tee of Central Florida program, at every opportunity.

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“Quiet on the set” – easy right?  I never realized how challenging it would be to try and coach without speaking.  The kids weren’t even looking at me.  Do I really need to pretend talk standing behind them while they whack balls down the driving range?    “Cut”; a ski boat with its stereo blasting ventured towards us and some poor crew member is charged with making it stop.  Not an easy task when the boaters can’t see us through the dense trees and marsh.  A few of us chuckle but quickly get back to being silent.  Eventually the director is happy with this segment and moves all the people and a LOT of gear to a nearby green.

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During a dispute over an unauthorized snack break, I hauled golf bags up to a faraway tee box for the final scene.  The temperature was now pushing 90, but luckily Paula always had an umbrella person at the ready.  You might notice Paula was the only one wearing a hat in the PSA.  That’s right, no hats or sunglasses allowed for the rest of us in camera view.

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A mere five hours later I finally heard “that’s a wrap”.  Through it all, Paula was great with the kids.  Sara Rintoul is the young lady with the speaking part at the end.  Take a moment and read about what she calls “her best day ever” here.  Reading that made the day even more special to me.  What could be better than impacting kids’ lives and having your picture taken with Paula, too?

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Matt Meeker
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