One of the truly amazing things about humans is our ability to organise resources for a sole purpose. What appears to be a smoothly running operation on the face of it is made up of so many individual people doing the right job at the right time. 7 Days Out: World’s Biggest Events is a documentary series that goes behind the veil in the lead up to important events. All so we can sneak a peek at the impressive amount of work that actually goes into ensuring things go off without a hitch.
The title ‘7 Days Out’ refers to how we join each event one week before the main event. A calendar flashes up on screen at intervals to the sound of a ticking clock, as days are marked off. The events themselves vary wildly. You can’t really compare the difficulty of a tense NASA mission control as the Saturn Cassini probe reaches the end of its lifespan and is purposely burned up in Saturn’s atmosphere, versus the lead up to e-Sports North American final of the League of Legends video game tournament. And yet they are equally compelling because the show manages to find the very human element each time.
Regardless of the event itself, there are real people working flat out to ensure that everything goes ahead as it should and it is their perspectives that give us fascinating insights.
The opening episode of 7 Days Out focuses on the Westminster Dog Show held in Madison Square Garden. In amongst the professional breeders and dog event goers we follow one humble couple who has acquired a rare ‘harrier’ breed, Emmy, which has changed their life utterly. Winning several dog shows has meant they’ve taken it up as a full time living, and the Westminster Dog Show is the big one. There is something very endearing about a man buying his first suit from a thrift store as he starts to rub shoulders with the old guard.
If the weirdness of the very exacting criteria for show winning dogs doesn’t do it for you, then episode two focuses on something easy to relate to – refurbishing a world class restaurant (Eleven Madison Park) and rushing to get it ready for opening day. Some of their challenges are business breakingly major whereas some are amusingly trivial. A phone call just two days to go until opening where they learn they have failed the necessary inspection to get the gas turned on is the sort of thing you wouldn’t expect at such a prestigious venue.
But this is also contrasted with a very particular owner fidgeting on the new seating and claiming the material is spiking him. Exasperated staff spend the next few days steaming and ironing the plush backrests to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the ‘world’s best restaurant’.
Other episodes cover the Kentucky Derby – where horses only get one shot in their entire lives to race – through to the CHANEL Haute Couture 2018 summer fashion show. Again, your interest or not in the events themselves may prove secondary to the show’s ability to record nuggets from the people behind the scenes.
Amongst all the jockeys and horse breeders I’ll bet you wouldn’t expect a temper tantrum from a grown man when his daughter steals his pork crackling snacks from him. “Go get my grits!” he yells, as she laughs. Similarly, much time is spent with the hard working seamstresses (known as ‘ateliers’) who hand make every single garment of clothing. Yet you can’t help but smile as walking Fashionista Karl Lagerfeld (CHANEL’s Art Director), with permanent sunglasses and crocodile skin gloves says, “I’m working class,” with a straight face – adding, “I work with class,” after a beat.
7 Days Out is a simple and engaging show that always finds a great balance between the practicalities of the event itself and the nuts and bolts of what the people who breathe life into it have to go through. Great for relaxing to of an evening, and I recommend you do!
Words by Michael Record