Hello Everyone!, Ann Arbor Tonight has decided to start a blog "Ann Arbor Tonight Behind The Camera" with the goal of giving you a behind-the-scenes look into our production. I've just published my first post about the beginning of our journey! It would mean the world to us if you would click the link, read this post, and then come back here and share your thoughts with us. Thanks!”
My name is Zach Damon. I am the host and producer of "Ann Arbor Tonight" Ann Arbor, Michigan's Own Late Night Television Show.
Many have wondered how it all started. However, before I begin with the backstory please know that I present everything to you in the most humble way possible.
To be quite honest my performance and media journey began before most kids even knew what they wanted for breakfast let alone what they wanted to be when they grew up.
It was the summer of 1992 and at the age of five, when my mom and I were walking around the world-famous "Ann Arbor Art Fair"
I can vaguely remember the phrase "Can I take your picture?" as I slowly looked up at the tall dark-haired woman with the thick black camera. As she smiled at me I smiled back and "bang" the shutters snapped.
A year later, I found myself a "Goodwill Ambassador" for the March of Dimes Organization. What is that you ask?
A Goodwill Ambassador is an honorary title, and/or authoritative designation that is assigned to a person who advocates for a specific cause, in this case, Babies with Pre-term babies such as I was born with Cerebral palsy (CP).
-My Mother and were not at the "Ann Arbor Airfare" but rather at a walkathon fundraiser when an Ann Arbor News photographer thought I was a poster child for a local charity. (I was not and was a volunteer participating in raising funds.)
-March of Dimes, advocacy to prevent birth defects and preterm births
Newspaper Articles, Radio Spots, and Public Appearances become part of the normal schedule.
Meeting Figures such as but are not limited to:
Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mia Hamm, Archie Manning, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Terry Bowden, Steve Yzerman, Scotty Bowman, Charles Woodson, Juwan Howard, Bill Laimbeer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson,
Frank Beckmann, Mitch Albom, Greg Gumbel, Richard Petty, Shane Battier, Kathy Ireland, Dorothy Hamill
This led to being a part of "The National Athletic Awards" at The Historic Fox Theater in Detroit as a presenter.
Being a part of that production and in the audience seeing the "behind the scenes" of a working production for live television was magical. It was then that I had made my mind up. This was what I wanted to be a part of.
Fast forward to high school and as a member of the high school Wrestling Team as well as the Film and Video Club as well as the high school morning announcements crew for the school TV Station it was then when the idea for "Ann Arbor Tonight" was born.
It was the summer of 2004, my junior year, that I sat on my bed in my room with my friend and fellow videographer sitting across from me at my desk.
We were talking about where we wanted to take his part-time video business "Ann Arbor Video" as I had recently come on as a partner as a cameraman for him to video local Pioneer High School Hockey Games as well as The Under 18 USA Hockey Program.
Talking of different shows, films, and other media we enjoyed we went back and forth creativity on what we could produce that would set "Ann Arbor Video" apart.
Having watched "The Tonight Show' every night as well as "Saturday Night Live" in the den with my mom every weekend, I had an idea that suddenly lit me up like a lightbulb.
I looked up and said "What if...Ann Arbor had its own Late Night Show?"
My friend initially said "That would be pretty cool!" as we tried to come up with a title for the idea.
"Late Night Ann Arbor?", "Live in Ann Arbor?, "Ann Arbor Live?" It was almost there but nothing quite fit yet...
"Ann Arbor Tonight," I said. We thought about it.
My friend said the name didn't seem original enough...then started retracting and saying things such as "A Late Night Show is a Big Production" Where are we going to get the crew? Where are we going to produce the show?
You see, at the time "Ann Arbor Video" was mainly just him and I...and maybe one or two other volunteer camera people here and there.
After attempting to go over the logistics my friend said, "Ann Arbor Video" is just something on the side" You want to go big but, I want to keep the projects small and manageable and keep "Ann Arbor Video" local.
That day the idea and concept were "put on the shelf" as I was determined to find others who were open to the idea of "Ann Arbor Tonight"
Only time will tell...
Like the "Ann Arbor Tonight Behind The Camera" blog? It would mean the world to us if you would follow the blog and come back here and share your thoughts. Thanks!”