ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE
By Producer, Tom Vitale
A few months ago when the first cold front hit New York, I was contentedly sunning on a beach in Greece. I\’ll admit it, I have a great job. Whenever the topic comes up with new friends or acquaintances, without fail the first question asked is \”Do you need an assistant?\” The next is invariably \”Do you have to eat all the gross stuff that Tony does?\”
Contrary to popular belief the vast majority of the food we encounter is far from bizarre, it\’s delicious. Still it\’s true; occasionally I\’m forced to eat something I find kind of nasty, like that steamed shark\’s head in Singapore. In the interest of not offending our proud and generous hosts, the crew knows when faced with this situation, to smile and politely choke it down. Not such a big deal. Refusing, as Tony says, would be to \”bring shame upon the clan.\”
Everyone makes mistakes. One of my particularly memorable missteps was on the aforementioned shoot on the Greek island of Crete. I\’d arranged a sheep slaughter and alfresco roast with a rough and tumble group of shepherds high in the mountains outside the village of Anoyia. Just another day at the office. In these admittedly uncomfortable situations I try to comfort myself with the knowledge that it\’s a part of life and whatever animal we are offing is treated with infinitely more respect than factory farmed livestock. But this time it wasn\’t just the lamb to the slaughter …
The evening before, we had filmed a raki making/drinking scene. For those of you not in the know, raki is a supercharged moonshine distilled from the fermented by products of the winemaking process. Suffice to say it is powerful stuff. As the hours passed the crew and I all drank shot after shot of this stuff at an ever-accelerating rate. To decline would be an insult. Our polite protests of \”we\’re working\” and \”o.k. just a little!\” were, by the end of the evening, no more than slurred utterances of thanks. You can see Todd and me \’taking one for the team\’ after the first commercial break.