ACTION:   Mr. Miller confers with Director

of Photography, Ric Okoniewski, on the

angle of a shot, during the Elvis

performance at the Hard Rock Cafe.

BACKSTORY:  Hurricane Hunter Chad Gibson is also an Elvis tribute artist, and we were there for his special command performance at the Hard Rock Biloxi, where he gave more than one shout-out to the Hurricane Hunters in the audience, and dropped more than one gem of a one-liner about the life-saving mission of the Hurricane Hunters.  And Mr. Starkey and Mr. Miller were there to help capture it.

ACTION:   Mr. Starkey guides the Director of Photography, Ric Okoniewski, on his shoot track during a backward walking interview on the flight deck with Hurricane Hunter Chief Meteorologist Lt. Col Jon Talbot, picking a sight line that allows for maximum compositional punch. 

ACTION:   Prof. D’Andrea and Mr. Starkey employ some body movement shot kinesesiology for an establishing shot of the water rescue filming sequence.  Yes, we were shooting a sign.  But it’s a very compelling sign!

ACTION:   Mr. Miller swaps the Nikon for a GoPro, and gets in the Gulf of Mexico to shoot waterproof-cam segments during the downed-plane water-rescue sequence with the Director of Operations for the Hurricane Hunters.  Mr. Starkey posts up aft and captures production stills, while wondering “where did this great soundtrack come from?”  [Note: the soundtrack to this video was not added... it is merely the cool ambient noise that always follows the Hurricane Hunters wherever they go.]

ACTION:   The gang mugs for the camera.

ACTION (Above): Sam Starkey deftly wields the Sony Z7 and chooses his shots as Elvis’s wife puts the finishing touches on The King’s makeup and fights to secure a runaway sideburn.  Mr. Starkey and Mr. Miller were 2nd Unit Directors on a number of scenes like this one, empowered to make the call on key storylines, run interviews, and stage shots.

ACTION (Below): Mr. Starkey was there as Chad Gibson’s dressing-room pre-game jitters evaporated, and he transformed into the King.  Chad says that when he puts the suit on, he stops being Chad, and starts channeling Elvis.  Is he telling the truth?  Watch the below reel, shot by Mr. Starkey, and judge for yourself.

ACTION (Below):   Mr. Miller deftly manages the boom mic during coverage of Elvis’s running commentary as he gets ready to perform.  This particular Elvis is a fairly witty gent, and as a result, the normally whisper-quiet professional demeanor of Mr. Miller disintegrates momentarily into a fit of mirth.

ACTION:   The stars of our show, doing their best Top Gun impersonation.

  1. MISSION: offer much more than the typical internship

  2. give students professional experience on a network TV shoot

  3. empower students to be hands-on, contributing to the production and collaborating on story design, shot choice, technical elements



ACTION (Below): The film crew and the Hurricane Hunters line up as The King takes a bow, and -- in a tribute to his Hurricane Hunter comrades -- prepares for takeoff.

                       ACTION: The crew enjoys a lighter moment... as a Hurricane Hunter and his daughter both get custom facepaint work done at a birthday party in Biloxi.  We have reason to believe it’s the first time the Hurricane Hunter logo has been rendered in facepaint.

ACTION (left and below): Mr. Miller takes a turn at the Panasonic HDX 900, helping frame a shot he’s had his heart set on, during the Elvis shoot. 

Can we assume, Mr. Miller, that you found the shot you were looking for?

ACTION (right and below): Stills from b-roll shot by Mr. Starkey reveal the unfolding story of water rescue training for downed aviators.  Test your knowledge of aquatic water rescue procedure, and see if you can guess what’s happening.

ACTION: Prof. D’Andrea captures some on-wing acrobatics as a C130 mechanic demonstrates the structural integrity that allows these birds to withstand hurricanes.

ACTION: The West Liberty Crew takes advantage of a few minutes of down-time in between shoots, during yet another 14-hour day, and does its best impersonation of a suntan commercial.

ANSWER:   It’s a downed aviator emerging from under her parachute canopy in the sea.

West Liberty University students Seth Miller and Sam Starkey are flown to Biloxi, MS, to join WLU Professor of Documentary Film, Christian D’Andrea, for the filming of his new documentary-reality TV series, HURRICANE HUNTERS, in production for The Weather Channel.  Mr. Miller and Mr. Starkey are more than just interns; they’re on the job.