Behind the Scenes: “Your Life Calling” Meets A Sand Sculptor

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The following is a guest post by Kim Sedmak, Executive Producer of Your Life Calling TODAY.

Santa Cruz, California is quite a place! Even Jane admitted that after all these years, she doesn’t take her job for granted. Who can complain when you’re sent to to such a beautiful location and spend the day working on the beach?

The first night we arrived, the most glorious full moon rose over the Pacific Ocean. I sat on my hotel room balcony jutting high over the beach and was dazzled by the brilliance of the orange and golden colors of the moon reflecting off the water. It was a perfect night. So much so, the crew wanted to shoot the moon (literally of course – no pun intended) and I of course had all the tape stock with me in my room. Thus, my reflective moments of solitude were soon zapped into reality – reminding me there was work to do. This was our 25th segment for the NBC TODAY show. Time does fly when you’re having fun.

Our story features Kirk Rademaker, whose life at age 60 is all spent on the beach. He went from being a carpenter and cabinet maker to becoming a professional sand sculptor. Now, he spends his days turning piles of sand into amazing creations for a myriad of events, clients, and competitions. His structures include everything from sculpting cathedrals, iconic cars and flying dragons, – all out of sand! He’s now traveling the world with his “new life calling” and is in great demand.

How do you manage to become a professional sand sculptor? You’ll need to tune into TODAY on July 17 or visit www.aarp.org/jane to learn more.

Your Life Calling and Jane Pauley strike a pose by the TODAY show sand castle.

Despite the fact we secured beach permits for shooting, we couldn’t control it all. When word spread Jane Pauley was on site, people with cameras, dogs, surf boards along with even the local fire department showed up. We had a perfectly gorgeous day for working outside, but I’ve learned one thing in shooting 25 stories with Jane – privacy is everything.

The best part: Kirk and his assistant Morgan arrived very early the morning of the shoot to work on a surprise for Jane. They built a special sand castle just for TODAY! Little did we know Jane had been up since dawn and spent a good part of the morning spying on them from her top-floor beach-front hotel balcony. “This is hard work!” Jane exclaimed to Kirk when she met him for the first time that morning.

Kirk’s dream of making a successful living by making sand castles on the beach makes me believe anything is possible! On our way back to the San Francisco Airport, our lighting director Bob Lloyd – a huge surfing fan – met his all time hero, Jeff Clark. We drove by Maverick Surf Shop, and Bob couldn’t restrain himself. He begged us to stop the van so he could go inside the shop. When he came out, there was a mile-wide grin on his face!  Jeff  was minding the store with his wife, and Bob got to meet Jeff and talk to him. “He’s just one big kid,” someone else commented when they saw the look on Bob’s face.  Aren’t we all!

For whatever reason, the beach seems to remind us we are all young and romantic at heart.

Watch our segment on NBC’s TODAY show July 17  at 9:15a.m. ET.
Also, join us for Jane Pauley’s live internet radio show “ASK JANE” at 10:30a.m. ET on July 17. Listen at: www.aarp.org/Jane