The Making of Shark Tank

When I first got this job in August of 2009, one of the first events that happened with the Voyage-Air Guitar family was the viewing of an ABC reality TV show called “Shark Tank.” This is a show where contestants go to pitch their products or their ideas, and then six self-made billionaires offer them money for a percentage of the company. That, or they get laughed off the show. One of the contestants, for example, wanted to pursue his idea of permanently implanting a blue tooth wireless device in someone’s head so that they wouldn’t have to wear a headphone. What a bad idea!

In early February, I flew out to Los Angeles for the filming of the Shark Tank follow up show. Jeff Cohen, Josh Cohen and I met at McCabe’s Guitar Shop, in Santa Monica, CA. McCabe’s was instrumental in getting us on the original show, so we decided to film the follow-up show there. This is a great guitar shop: McCabe’s has a regular clientele of musician giants, and you never know who you might run into at that store. The staff is knowledgeable, talented, and just really cool cats! One of their sales people is Pete Steinberg. Pete was recently the Southwest Finger-style Champion, and he loves our Voyage-Air guitar!

We all showed up there at 9am to meet the make-up artist, a lovely young lady by the name of Britnee Bagley. Highly recommended by a model and Voyage-Air Guitar player, Lorelei Shellist, Britnee proved to be the pro that Lorelei said that she was. So as ABC TV’s production crew was setting up the equipment for this filming, she was applying make-up, and fussing with hair and wardrobe. Rumor has it that Josh even got guy-liner! But I’ll never tell!

As filming began, the producer, Becky Blitz, got up next to the camera, standing on up a box. Hm. I suppose so that she was eye-level with the guys, so that they weren’t looking down while speaking on camera. I never asked that question but it makes sense to me now.

It was a fascinating process, and I was mesmerized. Cameras everywhere, camera guys, audio guys, and I’m not even sure what all of them do, but everyone seemed very busy. Realize that McCabe’s is a busy and popular store, so we had to cease filming every time a customer came in to look at guitars. Now this is the Los Angeles area, so these customers didn’t blink an eye at the massive equipment involved with the filming: they just went about their business like we weren’t even there. Senior sales associate, and long time employee Nancy Felixson guided them through the showroom and even sold a Voyage-Air Guitar during the filming! Thanks, Nancy!

We then moved out to the street, where they filmed the outside of the store. They filmed Jeff and Josh going in and coming out. Over and over. It’s an interesting process, how they capture different elements that go into telling the story. Then we all went to the ABC studio, where they filmed some trailers and did some other stuff.

For example, the director wanted Jeff and Josh to stand right in front of the camera with the guitar, vertically between them. They put the headstock right in front of the camera and as tape rolled, they were to pull the guitar back. Well, apparently they were both pulling it back and it knocked Josh hard, right on the forehead!

It was hysterical! We were all laughing so hard, I was afraid that Jeff wouldn’t be able to stop long enough to finish the piece. None of us could look at each other without bursting into laughter again. It was one of those special moments. After a long day and over eight hours of filming, we were all a little punch drunk, I guess.

All in all, it was a very cool day and an experience that I won’t soon forget. Don’t forget to tune in! Friday night, May 13th, 8pm, 7pm Central time!


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