St. Louis, Missouri - While running around on the final day of the NRA Convention in St. Louis, I was having trouble locating one of primary Annual Meeting interview targets: Top Shot Season 4's Gregory Littlejohn. With only a couple of hours left in the show, I reached out to my buddy Eric from Haus of Guns for a little help. A few minutes later, I found Greg and readied for the scoop from the towering giant of Season 4.
With a huge smile and sturdy handshake, we said our hellos and got right to the meat of things. To summarize, it was not a friendship bracelet. Then to the show.
"I applied too late for Season 3 so my application went straight to Season 4. I made it through the cuts, they invited me out for final casting, I made it through that and the next thing I know the invitation to the show arrived."
But it couldn't have been as easy as that. Couple of interviews and you're on the show? Please. There has to be more to it then that.
"Actually they put a whole lot of work deciding who they'll accepted on the show," Littlejohn explained. "Psychological, physical, how you react to questions. They hit you up pretty hard. They put you in front of cameras to get your blood going to make sure you can handle the light in front of a camera."
Dealing with cameras can be tricky. For those of you who've never been in front of one, I'm tell you that it's a frightening spot. All of a sudden, your blood turns cold, your brain turns off and every other word out of your mouth is an "uhh" or "umm".
"The first couple of days when you walk into that house, there's cameras six inches from your face and when you're shooting there's cameras six inches away … it's a distraction. When there's something in your peripherals, when there's a camera out there and you see it, it's extremely bothersome. And then, all of a sudden, you're passed it."
And that's to be expected. Those who find their way on Top Shot are among the best shooters in the world. That means they know how to deal with pressure, how to calm the nerves and how to perform when the whistle sounds.
But it's not just the competitors dealing with the cameras. There's also the cameras dealing with the competitors. Getting in for the shot without getting in the way. Walking backwards with thousands of dollars worth of electronics on your shoulder waiting to trip over that rock or fall into that hole and watch the production budget go down the drain. Somehow, however, they all find a way to comfortably coexist.
"You just go with it," said Littlejohn. "Eventually it's like the camera isn't even there. It's pretty unique how it works because they just fold out of the way. Every once and a while they trip or fall while getting out of your way, but they never trip you or get in your way. They're like magicians, I'll tell you that."
There'll be more with Greg and his time at the convention next week.