Saturday, February 17, 2007

The trials of a cable TV diva~


Being friendly and somewhat chatty, having opinions and a willingness to express them--tactfully, for the most part-- and showing a propensity for asking significant questions, I was "discovered" by local cable TV. Or rather, discovered by the producer of a weekly cable broadcast.

With no claim to fame, other than keeping up with town politics because I write for the local paper, I got a call from the producer, Greg, after we'd met at a cookout. Would I be willing, he asked, to appear on "Around the Table," a forum for "civil discourse" on issues that affect our town?

Always one to push beyond my comfort zone, I agreed. Never having seen the program, I assumed that I might have an audience of ten, and what was the worst that could happen? I'd appear once, and quietly disappear, never to be seen on cable TV again. Not too scary, since 99.9 percent of the town would not have seen me in the first place.

My debut was painless. I forgot the camera while our panel of four sat around the kitchen table in the host's home. Lights hung from the cabinets, the microphone centerpiece, and the TV on a tripod by the back door, faded into the background for sixty minutes. It was invigorating, challenging, and fun. I couldn't wait to watch the taped show the next day.

There I was-- friendly, chatty, expressing my opinions tactfully and asking wonderfully significant questions! I was also blinking like I had something in my eye, both eyes. Apparently I blink when I listen. Who knew? Oh, and I lick my lips, more than is attractive, I saw. There I was, blinking and tongue flicking, like a freaking lizard. I was appalled.

On return visits-- I was asked back because women who are willing to appear on cable are hard to come by, Greg told me, I controlled the blinking, and slathered on long-lasting lipstick to control the need to wet my lips too frequently. Later, I worked to eliminate my habit of biting my bottom lip when thinking, at least while being taped, and learned which seat presented my best view to the camera. I discovered the best spot for the camera lights to erase the early morning bags under my eyes. All while the producer asumed I was focused exclusively on the discussion. Multi-tasking at its finest.

I was on again today. Up early, showered, dressed with 30 minutes 'til showtime, I couldn't find my make-up. It wasn't any of the normal places it turns up when I misplace it. A look in the mirror convinced me. I jumped in the car, headed for CVS to get the basics. Forty three dollars later, I sat in the parking lot and put on a layer of confidence. I knew it wouldn't matter to anyone but, me. No one would notice one way or other. The quality of the tape is far from high-def. But still . . . it's the little things that make a difference. And .1 percent of a potential 25,000 viewers is enough of a fan base for me.

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