The relationship between media and an athlete is an important one, where both parties can benefit from building your story and telling it across any platform.
My media relations manager Kelley Korbin and my manager Heather Gerrits have done a great job coordinating dates and times dedicated to media, where there shouldn’t be any interference with my training and physical rehabilitation.
As we approach the Olympic Games, I have begun the road to Sochi 2014 by working with the media more and more. For the most part I enjoy my time with reporters, television networks, magazines, brands etc. but without a doubt there are some that are better than others! I have built some long lasting relationships with reporters who I might relax with around a campfire or hug at the bottom of the hill after a podium performance. These types of reporters respect me, my sport, my story and equally important – my time. Keep these reporters/networks/relationships close and embrace their kind nature, as unfortunately, not everyone is quite so caring and respectful of your time and schedule.
For those who are curious as to what goes on behind the cameras, it is often a small scale operation with a three to four man crew. These shoots can take anywhere from 15 minutes to several days. Depending on what type of media coverage it is, we may get hair and make-up done on location. The media technicians prepare the lighting, sound and scene as the producer briefs you on the content of the shoot. I have done photo shoots, interviews and documentary style pieces in many different types of locations, including my home, training facilities and media summits, in french and english.
My most recent week of shooting involved getting off of a plane and driving downtown Toronto for a photo shoot that will be used by CANFund (a non for profit organization that supports amateur athletes in Canada) in a calendar featuring 12 athletes with their eyes set on the Olympic Games. I threw on some tight shorts and jumped off of boxes, did handstands and stand still portraits to show athleticism in peak-movement.
The next morning I was up at the crack of dawn to welcome the SportsNet film crew to our home who arrived in branded SUV’s and a ton of filming gear. I kicked off the interviews in a room called our ‘treehouse’ (check out the shoot that airs in October and will be playing up to and during the Games to see why we call it the treehouse). This room was best because of the lighting and home feel that they were trying to show. The story was a feature of how I began my sport and where the name Back Yard Boys originated. Essentially explaining how our family built a big jump in our back yard and had no affiliation to any ski club. My brother was being filmed on the Olympic size trampoline, because that’s what we did as kids, while the parental units were being interviewed about my childhood and what it took to raise an athlete competing on the international stage.
I took one day off of media to go visit my personal sponsors like Red Bull and VISA before shooting for two days with CBC. The CBC shoot will be for a piece they call “It Takes a Village”. This features the town and community of Milton, Ontario that have supported me so much from early on in my career. The two-day shoot will take place in a ton of different locations, some with a lot of people in attendance to hear me speak, at my old high school and at home to emphasize the mass support system behind me on the journey to raise an Olympian. It’s nice that we were able to organize some of my shoots this week, so as not to interrupt my summer training in Quebec City.
Learn our nation’s second language to tell your story both in English and in French. The easiest way to start is to begin telling your story here on SportCafé, the TSN of amateur sport in Canada.
Follow me to Sochi! I’m @TravisGerrits on IG/Twitter/FB you can find me onsportcafe.ca/travisgerrits!