Remembrance of Teleprompter Gigs Past

Headshot of RJ Yenesel wearing a black baseball cap and black shirt.

RJ Yenesel Teleprompter and Interrotron Operator.


I kid you not!  I actually did this Teleprompter job a little over a year ago.  I was at Once Upon a Tart in Soho and saw the madeleines… The aroma was intense… I hark back to that singular experience – teleprompting for Taylor Swift!



I am a lucky guy. Taylor Swift… ‘nuff said.

What a job! We were behind the scenes at a commercial shoot for her new fragrance, Incredible Things.  This is her third perfume! Wonderstruck and Taylor were her first two fragrances.  Due to her popularity and winning personality they have proven to be astonishingly successful.

I was the smiling Teleprompter operator.  I met with the assistant director for quite some time and leisurely went over cues, spacing and script changes together.

The commercial was shot at Pier 59 Studios, a multimedia complex at New York’s Chelsea Piers. It boasts of state-of-the-art technology. I was in awe of it all. This was my first time at Pier 59 and I must say that this kind of environment can spoil a person.

I looked forward to this particular job and meeting the young celebrity known not only for her singing but for falling in love often and writing about its inevitable demise.  Everything was top notch, including private bathrooms, a café and juice bar, professional baristas and bartenders, and an amazing outside lounge with a view of the Hudson River and the imposing Freedom Tower.

Inside Studio 1, the crew was already hard at work when I arrived (on time). Some members of the crew had different schedules. There was a lot of activity in and around the front room. In the closed section, photographers were experimenting with watercolors on glass and taking stills of Taylor.  She, by the way, is as sweet and ethereal as she appears on stage. I was impressed by her behavior and wonderful, sparkling, perky disposition.

Also worthy of note is the range of Taylor’s talent. It extends to art, to painting. In fact, the design of her perfume bottle features her very own watercolor art.

The order of the shoot was stills, video without sound and finally video with sound with the aid of a teleprompter. When the time for the teleprompting portion of the shoot approached, I met with the cameraman and we discussed the best way to mount the prompter.  Everyone was incredibly professional, attentive and cooperative. No egos involved. We were all there to do the best job each of us could do. I know… this is what is expected.

When Taylor entered the room she was clearly in good spirits, and greeted the crew with her seductive smile. Am certain she too was looking forward to being done with a long day of shooting.

We began the session with the voice over.

Life is full of colors… sometimes the most simple things can be the most incredible.

Just open your eyes to the beauty that’s all around you.

Bring to life the most incredible things.

Taylor then revealed the inspiration for the name of her perfume “Incredible Things”.  It is from the lyrics of one of her songs (I’ll let you super fans figure out which one). She likes the idea of showing someone incredible things and her hope is to inspire people to realize their individuality and embrace their talents and as well as their faults.

As I said earlier, the design of the bottle itself derives from her fondness of painting with watercolors. She allowed that she doesn’t paint because she thinks she’s great at it, but rather that she simply enjoys it. She loves the way it makes her feel.

She kept the shoot light with her sense of humor and even entertained the crew with some stellar Debbie Downer impressions.

Her demeanor was cool, showed no anxiety or annoyance, even after several challenging takes. Instead of becoming frustrated and recalcitrant she remained calm and seemed determined to read the teleprompter effortlessly. She nailed it!

Overall, it was a great experience. The word “professional” is sometimes over used, but in this case it is absolutely an apt word to describe the crew and Taylor herself. Everyone was spellbound by her beauty and affability. I am now a fan as well.

Happily, I am still working at American Movie Company and going out on exciting teleprompter gigs such as this one.

Teleprompting for Taylor Swift – Incredible Things Did Happen!


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