Today’s subject matter is a rather interesting one and perhaps a little different from what we normally do. We’ll be visiting the Shaw Cable studios in Calgary to document, behind the scenes, the TV program Soul Work. Hosted by life coaches and spiritual guides Jeni Cousins and Kimberley Buckler, we’ll be a fly on the wall watching not only what they do, which itself is quite fascinating, but also how the show is produced.
We’ll simply wander about shooting the people and equipment that together make it happen. Exciting and hectic, with perhaps a wee touch of the surreal, making Soul Work was thirty minutes of controlled chaos which we’ll do our best document here. Fun, entertaining, enlightening, if nothing else, we had a blast watching hows it’s done!
Soul Work has been on the air for a couple years now, with new episodes shown weekly during its seasonal run. It’s broadcast live while recordings of old shows can be found on YouTube. Each year perhaps 35-40 installments in the series are made. It’s produced at ShawTV (Go! – community programming) in northeast Calgary and appears on their channel 10 lineup most Wednesdays around dinner time. While the format on our visit was that of a call-in show, sometimes special guests are brought in for compelling interviews.
Keeping the machinery running is a big team of players, each with a unique and crucial role to perform. With a few exceptions, most are volunteers – the whole channel and all the programs they produce here are volunteer driven. Given the budget nature of community programming, one might expect the facility to be ill-equipped, but that’s not the case at all. Everything appears modern and efficient.
The studio is laid out in an open fashion with the filming area and office spaces sort of blending together. It’s smaller than I expected. An enclosed sound proof booth houses two controls stations, one that commands the various community TV feeds across the Shaw network, and the other for the show being produced on at the time. A huge number of screens, control boards, computers and panels complete the scene. Managing it all is a director, overseeing a good number of specialized technicians. In total there were ten crew members present, three camera operators on the floor and the rest in command central.
Of the three cameras, one is equipped with a boom for impressive high or low angle shots. It’s manned by Rob Cousins, Jeni’s brother and someone I went to junior high school with. It was he who arranged this shoot to happen.
Bouncing between the studio and control room is the floor manager, the youngest member of today’s crew, yet one who clearly knows what he’s doing. He relays information to the hosts and sets the overall pace. No small task, it’s handled expertly.
For this shoot we had no set plan. Instead we quietly wander about, doing our best to blend into he background so as not to disturb the hosts or crew, capturing slices of time as the show plays out. And it seemed to work. It was amazing to see the hosts do their job. Clearly Jeni and Kim love what they do and care deeply for those they connect with. And the crew, there is no doubt they have fun too.
Callers are helped with what ever spiritual type problems they may be having. It’s quite simple really. Call in and what’s tell them what’s bothering you.
Given all that’s asked of the crew, and that’s a lot, one would expect the production to be pure pandemonium, but instead it was orderly and oddly calm, each hard working member doing their job quietly and efficiently. Though most are volunteers, they were all true professionals, which speaks volumes of their dedication to the craft.
And as quick as it started, it was done. It’s a wrap, the lights were switched off, equipment was put away and the crew and hosts disperse. The studio goes silent. So thoroughly enjoyable, the whole show unfolded in what seems like mere minutes. In fact half hour had passed. It was that entertaining. You know, time flies when having fun.
I had a chance to speak with Jeni briefly, to get a little background on how she came to be the host what is most definitely a very unique show. While there is no way I can condense her story into this article, it’s far too broad in scope, know that she loves to help and has a gift. When the chance to expand into a TV was offered to her, she of course jumped at the chance.
Jeni lists herself as as a clairvoyant, esoteric spiritual teacher, counselor, past life akashic reader, intuitive life coach and medium. That’s quite the job description. Tune into Soul Work sometime, even if you are a skeptic, and learn something about the human condition.
Kimberley will be leaving the show at the end of this season. Jeni’s new co-host for the upcoming season will be life coach Rick Titan.
While the studio itself is well lit, the behind the scenes area is not and this made photography a huge challenge. Overtly bright and dark spots combined are about the worst thing possible when capturing an image. Movement blur from slow shutter speeds, noise from high ISO or extended exposures, extreme contrast were all problems that had to be dealt with. It’s a very difficult environment and overall we’re mostly happy with the results (we’re hard on ourselves).
A special thanks to Rob Cousins who inspired us to do the article.
To contact Jeni Cousins…
Soul Work with Jeni
Kim can be reached here…
Spirit and Soul Healing Clinic with Kim Buckler
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If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!
Date: May, 2015.
Location: Calgary AB.