Alright, so I’m back from the excitement of the ECMAs. The simple version: Only the biggest of the big photographers (CP, Reuters, etc.) were given any real access to take pictures during the event (though the hadn’t really figured this one out until after the show started), so I was stuck in the media room taking pictures of the winners with their awards. Not ideal, but still pretty cool. The long version…

Jess, Rob Mousseau, and I left Wolfville around noon to head up to Hali. We dropped Jess off in Bedford with her friend Gail, and then the two of us headed into the city. We got to the Metro Centre and eventually found our way to the staff/security door where the media room was located. The girl gave us our media passes and then gave us some bad news: we didn’t have access to the actual Awards Show. Shit. We knew we were suppose to have access, but this girl didn’t look like she had any authority to make these types of decisions so we were at a loss. We headed out and by extreme fortune came across the head of communications for the event (he saw us with our media passes on and said hello). We told him of the situation and he was like “oh that’s bullshit, you guys can have access to the show.” Phew. We went back to the media room with him and we got the all important, and highly secure, gold star on our passes which apparently means “let these people in.” Heart attack averted, we headed to the Casino for the SOCAN Songwriters Circle.

SC All

The Songwriters Circle is where a bunch of good musicians hang out in the middle of the room and play acoustic guitar (or piano in one case) while the rest of us watch in awed silence. It was pretty cool. I hadn’t heard of any of the musicians before, with the exception of Amelia Curran, who I think played at On the Verge last semester. They just went around in a circle playing songs and telling stories. First up was Bruce Guthro.

SC Bruce

Followed by Amelia Curran, who was really good.

SC Amelia

And then there was Mark Bragg, who was kinda crazy…

SC Mark

And Sarah Slean, who was also very good.

SC Sarah

And finally Stephanie Hardy.

SC Stephanie

Photographically, I’d say it went pretty well. The lights were set up quite well so that when each person was playing, they were the only thing in the room that was lit. In some cases (mainly on Amelia), the shadows were pretty bad, making it a bit difficult to get a good shot, but all in all it was well set up for photos, which was very nice. There was space near the stage where people could sift around, making it easy to change locations and get to the position you wanted. I shot mainly with the 50mm, but a few (again, the shot of Amelia) with the 18-55 (that one was at 35mm). And the lighting was good enough that I didn’t even have to use 1600 ISO, woohoo.

SC Audience

So, with that show over, we headed back to the Metro Centre. First, we stopped by Extreme Pita for some food. Very important. Back at the Metro Centre, the Media Room was getting packed, and I was faced with some serious lens envy from the photographers from the important papers/wire services. I know Reuters and CP were there, as well as the guy from the Chronicle Herald, and a bunch of other photographers. There were a few other “kids” who obviously had no idea what they were doing or why they were there (aka me). While we were sitting there, the ECMA publicist asked me for my email so she could send me the “Embargo List,” which is the list of all the winners, with the explicit discalimer that sending it to anyone before the show is over will result in extreme discomfort. With the show about to begin, the communications guy from before brought all us still photographers into a little pit beside the CBC camera area and told us we could shoot from there. Just do not, do NOT, go even one foot in front of the booth (or you might end up on tv, and then you would be thrown out). So there was a whole pile of us shooting from there for the beginning of the non-broadcasted part of the show (the Aliant guy was the host!).

ECMA Aliant guy

A few awards were presented, Joel Plaskett won for best DVD, In-Flight Safety won something, and so did Jill Barber. There were also a bunch of awards given to people I had never heard of before, and who presumably were given awards off broadcast because no one was really interested in their category (best classical recording?).

ECMA Jill Barber

I also got to stick around on the floor for the first performance. This was Hey Rosetta, they were pretty good, and the lights were awesome.

ECMA Performance

After that though, things stopped going so well. Metro Centre security came and told all the photographers that we had to leave. They felt we were taking up too much space, and were getting in the way. So we went into the back where the communications guy came out and they all talked and it was decided that the 4 big guys (CP, Reuters, etc.) would be able to get up there, and the rest of us were screwed. They offered us seats in the upper bowl to enjoy the show from, but I didn’t feel like sitting super far away and not be able to get anything but blurry shots the whole time. So i went back to the media room and hung out there.

ECMA Measha Bruggergosman

After every award was given, the winner was brought back into the room for a mini press conference and photos. It was cool to see the behind the scenes world of something we see on TV all the time (awards shows).

ECMA Joel and Media

Because it was set up specifically for photographs and TV cameras, the little stage in the media room was extremely well lit, which made the whole thing really easy. I was using my 70-300mm lens for the whole time of the awards show (even the earlier stuff), though always the 70mm side. Normally that lens doesnt work at all inside, so it was nice to be able to use it a bit for something other than sports.

ECMA Emergency

I tried again to get onto the floor before the broadcast started, but alas, the Metro Centre lady told me I couldn’t stand there. Arg. I saw the Trailer Park Boys inside their car as it was getting ready to be driven out for the opening, but other than that I didn’t see them at all, which I thought was kinda funny (I was at the event and I didn’t even see the hosts in person). So it was back to the press room for me, where I sat out the broadcast part of the show, watching it on TV and taking pictures of the people as they came in. Not quite as exciting as I had hoped for, but it was still fun.

ECMA George

And then the show ended and it was time to head to the after-party, which was not nearly as exciting as it sounds. It was basically a reception with lots of expensive food, expensive drinks, and live music. But there were musicians there. Rob talked to Chris Murphy from Sloan while i took some pictures of The Divorcees, the first band to play at the party.

ECMA Afterparty

After that we essentially went home, picking up Jess from Bedford on our way. And that was that, the ECMAs.