Karen Slade-Harrell – BET Rip the Runway
BET Rip the Runway was one of my thrilling experiences in show productions. Since I am the owner of Elite Image International I get outsourced to work on various productions. I was called by a former business associate that worked for Ground Crew to assist her with BET Rip the Runway castings, call backs, fittings and productions. Since I have a very crazy schedule I had to fly in on the day of the castings and hit the ground running. Once off the plane I headed over in my cab to the casting location. Once I arrive I see a line going around the corner of hopeful wanting to make the cut. We saw over 800 models. After that long day we start the selection process and call backs, which can go through the late hours of the night. Finally after 3:00 am I hit the bed only to have to wake at 5:00am to catch a train back to the location to start my day at 7:00 am. Once there I barely have a chance for a cup of coffee. I have to go into a production meeting with the team. This is one of three meetings daily to go over production details making sure to alert us of changes. After our meeting we break out to the fitting area to start sign in models for call backs and fittings. We have two castings one for the models and another for our celebrities. By now I have been assigned five interns to be my goffers because I cannot leave my area. I meet and set up the designers and tell the models where to sit until they are called. We stagger our call times in order to not get over whelmed. Designers want a certain look and sometimes they ask me to keep an eye on a certain look and walk that model back to them with no wait.
I send one of my interns to get me food and vitamin water because the day is getting long and we are barely finished. I have to cool off hot heads because a lot of designers and models do not have the patience to deal with a massive production. The bad thing for them is we are making a mental note to not work with those models or designers next year.
Finally at 2:30 am we are getting kicked out by security because they have to lock up so we finish our work outside in the cold. Yes the cold it is February in New York. We are usually finished within 20 minutes but if not everyone will just call each other to wrap up details. I take my car service back to my room and call models and leave messages to models that were cut. I finish my calls around 3:30 4:00 am and then go to bed.
The next day is rehearsals. We have to line the models up on the right or left side on the stage. We set them up by designers. We have to show them how to walk using some style because it is a runway slash music production. This will go on for another two days then we are assigned our roles for the show. I was in charge of the left stage meaning everything on the left side of the stage the models, designers, hair and make team. I have to make I know where all 200 plus people are at all times and have my replacement staff nearby if needed.
The show starts that evening and is recorded to be aired the next day. I am glad I am not in charge of editing. This day the press come out we have a BET gifting suite for press, sponsors and VIP guest. About three hours later the show starts and moves very quickly but goes really well. After we pack up the backstage I got back to my room to change and get ready for the after party to celebrate our week and a successful show.
Karen Slade-Harrell with Elite Image Global Brand Management