Friday, November 27, 2009

My (cable) Television Debute

Imagine my surprise when I received a telephone call from Judy Sheehan of the Artscape Cable show inviting me to be a guest. She asked me to come speak with her about my Wire Jewelry classes and about the Round Hill Arts Center. After I picked my jaw off the table, I told her I'd love to! Ms. Sheehan asked me to bring along something to demonstrate as we spoke.

Everyone I told about the upcoming interview asked me when and where it would air. Not knowing, I called the studio and asked. I was told it would repeat throughout the month of January and part of February on the local (Ashburn?) cable network. Everyone then encouraged me to try and get a copy of the interview from the studio.

So on Monday, November 23rd, I was to drive into Ashburn to the Comcast Cable Studio. I have to admit, I was pretty nervous. That morning, Ms. Sheehan called to remind me of the interview. As if I'd forget! I asked her was was best to wear - would I be seen from the waist up or full body? She said we'd be viewed from the waist up, and she was planning on wearing jeans, so I could as well. Whew. I decided to wear a nice shirt and tailored jacket over my jeans, and of course, wore jewelry that I'd made. I wore the new copper and sterling flower pin that I'd just finished and the heavy copper bracelet I'd made out of 1/4" pipe. I topped those off with my pounded penny earrings.

As nervous as I was, I gave myself plenty of time to arrive. Good thing. I did get lost briefly. I arrived with some time to spare. I met the director, and as I was to be the first guest at 3:00, he showed me to a break room to wait for our hostess. He asked me what I'd brought with me and verified my personal details such as name spelling, web address etc. He explained briefly to me how the interview would go. He reminded me that the show wouldn't air until the first of the year, so not to make any references to Thanksgiving or Christmas. I then asked him about getting a copy of the interview and he said to talk to him after the taping. He then went off to do important studio things. Finally, at almost 3:50, Judy arrived, having had some sort of emergency at home. Needless to say, the waiting had made me nervous as a cat.

The director collected me from the break room and we went into the recording studio. Bright lights and large television cameras were aimed at a "stage" consisting of two chairs with a small table between. Ms. Sheehan came in and introduced herself and I was a bit dismayed. She wasn't wearing jeans, but a lovely - what looked like a cocktail - dress. Oh great!

Before the taping, she asked me several questions about myself and made notes. As I sat there fidgeting (should I cross my hands in my lap, or should I put them on the arms of the chair? Is my hair okay? Will the camera show my jeans? Should I cross my ankles or keep my feet flat? Oh, why didn't I check my hair and makeup while I just sat in that break room??) I could see the director in the glass booth. He appeared to be giving directions to the two camera men in the studio with us. One of the men seemed more important and he had on a head set on that the director was giving instructions through.

The lights were pretty bright in the studio, and I couldn't see the second camera man very well. As Ms. Sheehan sat studying her notes the camera men adjusted camera angles and hooked up my microphone. We did some sound tests and once the director was satisfied, they did the countdown and we started. Judy introduced me and asked me the first question. I'd just started my answer when the headphone camera men stopped us. Evidently, the director noticed some sort of problem, and wanted to start over. Eek!

When Judy started again, she kept stumbling over her words, so we had to start two or three more times. To be honest, by that time, I don't know whether I did well or not. I was so nervous throughout the interview. I was told I'd have a total of 8 minutes. I'd felt like we were pretty rushed to get though it all. I was asked several questions, then we "broke" and I set up the demo I'd brought. I think they said I had two minutes for my demo, so I was a little panicked to rush through it. The next thing I knew, the headset camera man thrust my briefcase and my purse into my hands, unplugged my microphone and pushed me out the door. I stood in the hallway a moment a bit dazed and realized it was time to leave. As I headed out the door, the director stopped me and gave me a form to fill out and to return with $20 to get a copy of the interview. I asked him if it seemed to have gone well and he said "yes, yes, thank you" and off he went. As I left, I saw them rushing some woman into the studio. I imagine she was the next guest. And so, the show goes on!

Now, I just need to order my copy of the interview, and hope I don't look as foolish as I felt. I guess Andy Warhol was right. Everyone has their 15 minutes of fame - or in my case, 8 minutes. Who knows? I could come across brilliantly, and get a lot of students from the broadcasts.

Hey. It could happen.

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