There was a request for me to do this almost a month ago, I am finally finding some time to get around to it. I am a freelance Cinematographer that has been a part of the show since the end of season 2. In 2007 I was nominated for a cinematography Emmy for my work on the show. The work is rewarding, emotional and sometimes more crazy than I could have imagined.

PROOF. This should suffice.

MORE PROOFINESS. Here is my IMDB page.

And my website.

EDIT. I have to step away for a bit. I will be back at 12PM PST.

Time for bed, I will try and answer more in the morning. Thanks for all the great questions.

Comments: 1888 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

kearneycation1170 karma

Thanks for doing this! A few questions:

  1. I remember seeing one episode about a girl who would cut herself, a lot. There was a "scene" where it was just her and the cameraman, and she had broken a mirror and was cutting herself with it. I guess this was a regular occurrence, but I imagine it's gotta be pretty fucked up for the camera person. At what point do/would you have to intervene if the person is doing something unsafe like that?

  2. How awkward is it being there during fights? Or what about the actual intervention when the family is putting everything out there?

  3. What's the craziest thing you've had to film?

  4. What's the funniest?

  5. Were there any people who've had a lasting impression on you? Like someone who's life/issues still float around in your memory today.

  6. Have you ever felt unsafe? Is there off camera security nearby in case shit gets out of hand?

  7. Would you ever mingle or hang out with the subjects when the cameras weren't rolling?

Thanks for doing this, and sorry for so many questions.

csbaron556 karma

I will do my best to answer these.

  1. I was there, many things I have filmed have had a lasting effect on my life, positive and I am sure negative, some things take a bit of time to get over, but I would say that I believe that being compassionate and showing the outside world that these people are just as human as the rest of us, they just might need a little more help. This is what makes it such a rewarding job. I will always put down the camera and do something if there situation becomes imminently dangerous, for the subject or for the crew.

  2. Fights can be awkward, but most of the time I just hope that they don't escalate to the point where I have to put the camera down. The hardest one for me was when the subject was going after her mom and the mom started calling out for me to help her, that hurts.

  3. There are many different types of crazy. The one that pops in my mind is filming some "land boating" at a meth compound in the deep south. Snorting pills on the sidewalk through a tampon was a bit crazy, going waist deep in an alligator filled swamp to follow a crack addict also enters my mind.

  4. Funny, that is a hard one. There tends to be some gallows humor with the crew from time to time. A coping mechanism that you get dealing with things that are awful. Nothing comes to the top of my mind except the phrase "Cheese and crackers", someone might remember that.

  5. I will always remember Coley, we bonded and kept in touch for a while when he got clean.

  6. There are definitely moments that I have felt unsafe. When I first started working on the show I was more fearless than today I think, I have kids now and that changes your perspective a bit. We do have security occasionally if we know that there people or situations that we find ourselves in are going to be particularly dangerous. We just make them out to be production assistants, not to draw any attention to them.

  7. Yes, I have grown close to many subjects while working with them. They are human, some are great people that are a pleasure to hangout with addiction and all, and some are not. I have played Wii with drug dealers, and had a great time. I just hope they are able to find their way.

kx2w299 karma

These deserve answers. If we don't get them someone should intervene...

chewitt293 karma

"If you don't agree to answer these questions today, our relationship will change in the following ways:"

tottietime286 karma

"I will no longer supply you with upvotes."

falconear153 karma

"You will be forced to pack up your AMA and move it off of Reddit. Although I love this AMA I cannot live in a house of lies and evasions."

MasterDeBaitor80 karma

You and Woody Harrelson will become best friends!

csbaron265 karma

I am not going to pull a woody on this one.

csbaron175 karma

I have had a nightmare where my family performed an intervention on my, which I had no need for. They would not tell me what they were intervening about, just that I needed to go to treatment for 90 days.

csbaron793 karma

I have to say that I am thankful that I was not on this story.

AngryBobRoss355 karma

Hypothetically, would you sit there and, you know, record it?

csbaron673 karma

hypothetically, yes. but for not 10 hours and I would close my eyes and have to go to my "happy place"

BudMoore1234992 karma

Chris What's up?!?! I'd first like to thank you for assisting in save my sisters life. We are from south Jersey and Angelina was on your show;documented in September of 2008. I'm almost positive (I couldn't find a picture to confirm) you were at my house with a few of your co-workes because I remember my Mom LOVED you. It must be a pleasure working with Candy Finnegan and touching so many peoples lives.

A few questions I always had:

1) You guys are crazy for following my sister in Camden. Have you ever almost shit your pants when you thought you were in trouble? I know if I was a dealer in Camden and saw your rented out white van taping me I'd def shoot your car up.

2) If one of the persons you are taping OD's and there is no other family member around do you call an ambulance? I know there are a lot of things you couldn't do which must of made you job pretty stressful.

Anyways Ang is doing wonderful and is still clean!! We just got back from her Wedding in Mexico last month and I have never seen her so happy in her life. I appreciate what your show has done every day. You have no idea how stressed I was that she would die anyday and I'd never get to see her again. Preparing yourself for a loved ones death is the worst feeling in the world. Thank you so much, I always wanted to thank you in person after everything was said and done but never got the chance...

csbaron395 karma

I remember Angelina and your family very well. I am very thankful for the small part that I might of played in helping your sister get into recovery. Candy is awesome.

  1. I have to say that Camden is one of the most insane places I have ever been. We had security with us, but danger felt close. Someone need to help that town out.

  2. Yes, we definitely call. She did give us a scare.

Thank you for your kind words, and thanks again to you and your family for letting us come into your lives and share your story. I will always remember it and I am sure it touched many other lives.

Phelms215192 karma

I am from South New Jersey as well, can A&E do an intervention for the city?

csbaron71 karma

You might be onto something.

[deleted]440 karma

Did you film the guy with the best cry ever?

csbaron455 karma

No, but my buddy did.

smokinjoints299 karma

That lucky bastard.

csbaron357 karma

I will tell him you think so.

Milieunairess90 karma

Do you ever ask people to do it again? Or ask someone to push a sensitive question to prompt an emotional response?

csbaron252 karma

Many times in TV you ask someone to "do it again". Like can you walk around the corner again, can you tell me that again, I was not on a good shot. But many of those rules do not apply to Intervention. I can't asked someone to do drugs again because I did not have a good shot. It is the truest cinema verite documentary show that I have worked on. And I have worked on a few.

trexjess287 karma

After all of these years on TV, how do you/the producers still convince the subjects that they are being filmed for a "documentary" instead of for an intervention?

csbaron299 karma

Because we are filming a "documentary" about addiction, they just don't know it is Intervention. As the show has become more popular it has become more difficult.

1niquity185 karma

As a follow up to this, how often do people realize that they are on Intervention early on, refuse to continue the show and you are unable to make an episode out of it?

csbaron323 karma

Hardly ever. The only time we really pull the plug is if we find out that they and the family know and are working together to just get free treatment. In those cases they don't need an intervention. They just need to go get treatment. I have been of 3 stories that we had to pull the plug on for that reason. And in each of the cases, we worked hard to provide them with treatment anyway.

Zoro11031180 karma

If I recall, there was one episode where the subject figured it out and didn't show up for the intervention.

csbaron335 karma

Dillon was one, he found out who we were after the first day and he ran. We filmed his family and worked with him to track him down and do the intervention anyway.

BlowsYouForFreeStuff242 karma

What exactly is the legality of you guys recording people doing drugs or buying drugs (although you guys don't usually film the actual drug buying process, just a picture of a house and say, "They're buying drugs,")?

Do you ever feel unsafe while recording?

How many of the people on the show do you genuinely believe have a chance at recovery?

Oh, and if you have proof, that would awesome too.

csbaron197 karma

Going with a theme. I am a cameraman not a lawyer, so I am not sure what the legal workings are. I will say that we will always shoot a drug deal if it does not endanger the life of the subject or our lives. Usually that is not that case. The current recovery rate for the people on the show is high, around 70-75 percent I believe. Much higher than someone just entering recovery. And once again proof.

xevatceh66 karma

There was an A&E camera crew in town over the last few weeks. Are you part of the team filming the upcoming "Gone To Pot" series? From the title of this show, I'm wondering if A&E plans to cast a negative viewpoint on the subject.

csbaron67 karma

I was not there. A&E has many production companies that they work with. I will see what I can do to find out more.

croquetica52 karma

Do you guys keep a bodyguard (or a very big producer) around just in case?

csbaron161 karma

Every once in a while we hire security, then we make them act like our production assistant. I remember shooting in Camden, NJ. I had a security guy with me that was an off duty cop. He told me he was on Americas most wanted. Apparently he was shot in the face a few years before, right were we where shooting and they never found the person who did it.

duke_perry230 karma

did you film kristi? watching her fight her sister naked is ridiculous. how was filming that?

csbaron601 karma

I did film her. The hardest part was finding a place to put the mic on her. She also spit chicken on me, which was awesome.

[deleted]46 karma

Were you the one whose phone she borrowed? I kind of don't want to know what happened to it.

csbaron85 karma

Ha, that was my friends phone. She threw it and busted it. I let an other subject use my phone a few years again and I never saw it again, I am sure it was sold for drugs, lesson learned.

whiteyx223 karma

Intervention is definitely one of my favorite programmings. My wife and I wonder:

Do you catch contact highs from the crack smoke? And how do you handle some of the stinks of combusted drugs?

Please, please please answer this.

csbaron475 karma

I do believe that I got a contact high off of someone smoking heroin in a closed car. I was a little too relaxed.

burnzkid199 karma

What is the worst act that you've seen? (Dudes blowing dudes for crack, infected heroin injection wounds, etc.)

csbaron272 karma

There are a couple things that stand out, Someone ODing in front of me, thankfully they made it. Another person trying to kill take their life in front of me, again thankfully they made it. I always remember the times that I have to put the camera down.

modus149 karma

Why do you put the camera down? Because it's inappropriate to film or because you need to assist the victim?

csbaron268 karma

To assist, called 911.

Squeetard158 karma

What is the one thing that you can say that addicts seem to have in common?

csbaron302 karma

I think that all addicts have some unattended emotional pain in common. I am a cameraman not a therapist, but in my experience addiction is largely a result of using a substance or experience (gambling) to cover up emotional damage that you want to hid from. Genetics does not help the cause for many people either.

pan0ramic136 karma

My brother is an alcoholic and it's really hurting my family. I had considered contacting the show, what sort of cases do the show look for? I don't want to lie on the "application", but it would be useful to know if he is a good candidate for the show.

Edit: I wonder if the down-votes are from my redditor brother trying to dissuade me, lol.

csbaron37 karma

I am sorry to hear that. I would just suggest that you be honest and that you get your family on board.

American_Greed135 karma

A lot of people I know who have seen the show say it is mostly staged, or the subject/family members are just actors paid to act crazy. Can you shed some light on people's skepticism of the show?

csbaron319 karma

I have worked on many other shows and I can say truthfully say that Intervention is the most honest show that I have been a part of. The subject nor the family receive money, other than an opportunity to get help. The craziness that you see is real, addiction is crazy. More often than not, there is we capture stuff to crazy for the TV audience.

AVDisco111 karma

Such as?

csbaron338 karma

I went to a meth making compound deep in the south. I filmed two teakers as they went "land boating" They hooked up a jeep to a boat and gave each other rides. One would ride in the boat as the other would drive the jeep over the rocks and through the trees. The boat soon fell apart. We then went for a ride on a cow. I was always bummed that never made it to the TV.

abenton66 karma

So A&E pays for the treatment though, right?

csbaron175 karma

The treatment centers scholarship the subject. In return they get featured on the show.

Univirsul124 karma

I can at least tell you for certain that the interventionists are really interventionists. My grandma had Jeff Van Vondren (The older bald guy) come to my moms intervention so I know he is legit.

csbaron162 karma

JVV (as we call him) also did an Intervention on a family member before he was on the show.

silenta59 karma

Jeff is the BEST.

csbaron313 karma

Every year Jeff makes the best maple syrup for us. He called it. JVVs pancake Intervention. "You are going to love it like crazy"

yourdadsbff118 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA!

Do you and the Hoarders cameramen ever sit around and exchange horror stories?

"You filmed her going to give a blow job for meth? Psh! I filmed eight dead cats in this one woman's kitchen, rotting beneath a pile of empty Hungry Man dinner containers, moldy ham sandwiches, and porcelain angel figurines she bought at a mall back in the early nineties."

csbaron177 karma

We do. But, I have the luxury of shooting both shows.

LegitAlmost84 karma

Do you have any protocol as to when its okay to call the police/paramedics? Also, I've always wondered with the heroine addicts, do you guys just sit there filming their entire trip? Do you guys just baby sit them, waiting for them to come out of it?

liberalwhackjob99 karma

Yea I'd love to know if you would lose your job for calling authorities/emergency for some situations.

There was one episode where a guy in the hospital started drinking hand sanitizer. I would've called a nurse over right then... Shit'll fuck you up.

csbaron155 karma

Yes, the nurse came over and they pulled all alcohol based products from his room. That was a close one.

frugalfran21 karma

I saw an episode in which the producer called paramedics for one woman who was trying to kill herself by having taken a bunch of sleeping pills. They do appear to intervene when the situation is life-threatening.

csbaron25 karma

I was there. I tried to reach out and stop her once I realized what she was doing. We called the paramedics, then her family. The messed up thing is that since she was refusing to be assisted by the paramedics we had to wait until she passed out to rush her to the hospital. It was awful. She barely made it.

[deleted]79 karma

Has anyone ever freaked out and threatened you for taping their lives basically falling apart?

csbaron110 karma

I would not say they freak out for being taped. They signed up for being taped. But many freak outs happen, mostly because they can't get what they are looking for.

kwade74 karma

Do you ever get to find out what happened to the addicts years down the road? If so, how many relapse?

csbaron115 karma

Yes the show does its best to keep in touch and check up on everyone. I believe the shows current recovery rate is around 70%.

ANormalSpudBoy69 karma

I hope to be a cinematographer when I graduate, what advice would you give to a college student who hopes to do what you do?

csbaron84 karma

Find a camera and go shoot. Build a reel and share it. Find an opportunity to shoot things that people we see, at first you will work for free then someone will start paying you to do it.

NonWittyUsername64 karma

-Have you ever felt your life in danger because someone in the show was so high on drugs? -What is the scariest thing to happen to you on the show? Thanks for the AMA, I love Intervention!

csbaron134 karma

I have found myself more than a few situations that made me wonder what I was doing. I have never had a weapon pulled on me, I have been kicked and spit on, been in the middle of a huge bar fight and had group dealers through bottles at me. Luckily they just hit the rental car. When I first started working on the show I was more fearless, I have kids now and they change your perspective on things. My wife still claims I am a bit on an adrenaline addict.

the88n125 karma

do you need an adrenaline intervention?

csbaron16 karma


xowasabi24 karma

Please tell me you filmed at least of of these people Marcel & Sebastian, Christy, Linda or Allison.

If you were whatever happened to Linda?

And how crazy was Christy? and did she ever try to seduce any of the camera men for money or alcohol?

Did Marcel and Sebastian get the help or did the relasp?

And how is Allison doing?

csbaron13 karma

I filmed Christy, Linda, Marcel and Sebastian, but I was not there for Allison. From what I hear Allison is doing great, I will have to look into the rest.