On the Road to Orange County Choppers

Tech crew once again for my sister to capture the story.

We had received a call the night before to go to the Orange County Choppers World Headquarters in Newburg, NY to interview Paul Sr. and tour the shop for my sister’s last summer Sports Illustrated Kid Reporter blog. My younger sister Joely, (she’s 12) needed my camera skills once again, and of course with an opportunity like this, I said yes. While filming, I knew my main goal was to get the NY Giants bike the OCC crew made.

You’re probably wondering how we got this gig. Well, my sister wrote a letter to Paul Sr. and he replied to the letter in person, he just showed up a day later at our homeJordan01 with his wife Beth while they were out on the road again riding their bikes. Just a few days after, we got to visit the shop. When we arrived at the OCC showroom in Newburg, I knew I was going to have to do my best, not get nervous and just have fun so I didn’t mess anything up. I know behind the scenes filming and writing is where I want to be, so this was what I wanted to do.

We both had that feeling in our stomachs that this was going to be huge. When we got in to the shop, Discovery Channel was there as well, they wanted to film the interview and tour with us all! They told us, just do what you normally do, and pretend like we’re not here. I knew I couldn’t get nervous because if I got shaky, it could mess up the footage. So here’s Tip #1: When something unexpected happens, just tape like it’s just a regular recording, and don’t shake! Using a tripod will eliminate shaky cam.
 
Before the whole taping actual started, I wanted to double check my camera and make sure everything was working. I made sure my battery was fully charged, my card was good to go and cleared, and that my video camera was on the video/camera mode so if I needed to take a quick picture I could. Tip #2: Always keep your camera on video/camera mode so you can take a quick shot when needed.

The best parts of the day come when they’re not planned so tape everything.

So, I turned my camera on immediately and the interview started. My sister started asking Paul Sr. questions about his bikes, family, the New York Giant’s bike, and what he likes to do. Everything was going smoothly for me, until Paul said something really funny, and I laughed. Right into the microphone on the camera. The one thing I would tell my mother not to do, I did. It’s alright to make quiet noises, but the louder ones can always mean more editing time. So Tip #3: Always refrain from making loud noises because, the louder the noise, the more work it becomes for you in the end when editing the audio. Which takes us right to Tip #4: Make sure to use headphones to monitor the audio. You don’t want to get back to the studio and then realize your sound is too low, or even worse; you don’t have any!

I couldn’t let one little thing mess me up, so I just kept taping. My sister asked Paul Sr. a question about riding motorcycle with his wife, Beth. Beth was in the same room that we all were in for the interview (thank goodness because she is super sweet) , so while Paul was talking about Beth, I scanned over to Beth so they could see her, and she would be in the interview as well. Tip time (#5): Use your resources and capture the other people in the room to help enhance the whole room experience, and make your viewers feel like they are behind the scenes with you.
 
During the interview, my sister made sure to ask Paul Sr. about professional athlete bikes he made and teams he’s made them for. We both knew going in to the interview, we had to focus on sports. Since I was the one recording, I knew I had to get at least four good sports scenes. After the Q&A we moved on to touring the shop. The shop was really cool, and looked just like it did on the American Choppers TV show. It was cool how once the machine shop guys heard Joely was from Sports Illustrated Kids they talked about athlete’s bikes. Jim Quinn showed us the metal plate with the word “PERFECT” cut out, this was for flashing neon lights to show through the letters and it was made for Mark Beuhrle from the White Sox as a gift from his wife after he pitched the perfect game.  I liked that because I could see the sports angle of the story coming together easily.
 
Jordan02Once the tour was over, there was one more thing that Joely really wanted to see, the famous NY Giants bike, and we did! Paul Sr. got some of the guys from the crew to wheel the bike into the shop because it was out in the showroom. That was the biggest part of the whole day, and I knew I had to get it perfectly. So, I kept my camera on record and taped everything regarding the bike. I got my sister sitting on the bike, and pictures of my sister, Paul Sr. and the main guys who helped build the bike like Rick Petko and Mike Ammirati using my video camera because I had my video/picture mode turned on.  Rick and Mike are both funny guys and I liked having the camera on them. I could see how putting in clips of these guys joking around would make the video much more fun to watch plus Mike did bunny ears behind my sister’s head in the picture, kids like that stuff.

After the interview and the tour were over Joely asked big tough Paul Sr. for a hug! Most people would have turned the camera off recording, thinking the interview was over, not me. I knew I had to keep my camera recording the whole time, so I got everything I needed. Another tip (#6) The best parts of the day come when they’re not planned so tape everything. Start recording early during the setup and keep recording until after the goodbyes.

All the guys in the shop were really down to earth, and funny. We thought they were all way cool, they all seemed to make my sister Joely feel like she was a big deal when we thought it was the other way around.
 
Don’t forget to check out my sister’s video blog at www.sikids.com/kidreporter and search for the next new one for Behind the Scenes at Orange County Choppers!


JordanWorkingJordan Rice is a junior in High School in upstate New York. She is a member of the National Honor Society, a member of Cortland County Youth Leadership, Co-Captain of the Varsity Cheerleading Squad, part of the Rotary Youth Leadership, a member of drama club where she acts in school plays, and treasurer of French club.

She is Editor of her school’s district newspaper The Lion's Roar sent to 1,900 readers. Jordan has been published in 2011 and 2012 in the Syracuse Post Standard for Student Voices. Some School Video News blogs include stories with the New York Giants, Orange County Choppers, Ironman 70.3, and Courtside to Get the Shot at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. Jordan hopes to attend college to pursue a career in sports journalism.