Live broadcast is new to me, so naturally, I felt the need to blog about it. And publish my experience in the form of smoke signals. But this will probably get me in much less trouble with school officials.
Everyone on the staff was pretty happy to have the help. Which felt awesome. Although I didn’t have the heart to tell them that this was a class assignment and I generally don’t enjoy pissing off professors by ignoring work. So there I was.
For starters, the set up was my definition of a nightmare. We would be taping this show live. Live! What if I knocked a camera over, or accidentally started singing the entirety of Toto’s “Africa?” Would I be banned from television forever?
As I quickly realized, the first of my concerns seemed pretty impossible. I don’t know if any of you have ever been on a television set, but they aren’t messing around. The cameras are huge, and when you’re 5’2″, quite intimidating. If you’ve never found yourself facing one of these giant beasts, fear not. I drew up a scale for comparison:
When I arrived, we had 15 minutes before the show began. I was given the script and a set of headphones, which, I’m not gonna lie, made me feel hella legit. It’s like that time I dressed as Elle Woods for Halloween and couldn’t stop saying, “I object!” for like, a week.
I’m convinced that live shows live by the seat of their pants. We last minuted fan-girled because someone had pulled some strings and got Interim President General Richard Myers over to briefly speak about Veteran’s Day. It was an exciting and also humbling reminder that I should probably up my life game. General Myers served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Meanwhile I cut my finger trying to open an Amazon package this morning.
Filming live TV is almost like trying to play three video games at once. You’ve got people in your headset telling you to move the camera this way/that way/sideways if you’ve got the upper arm strength. Meanwhile the actual show is happening. Off-set, a couple of TVs are broadcasting the show with an eight-second delay. I was initially so overwhelmed and didn’t know where to look, sort of like my first trip to IKEA.
And crisis. There is always a crisis. This bit went on for too long/not long enough or our interviewee cancelled last minute or please tell me that spinach hasn’t been in my teeth the entire broadcast oh dear god no. You shake it off and move on, while attempting to casually check your teeth.
I’m walking away from this with a newfound respect for the makers of live television. I don’t know that I can watch Wendy Williams the same ever again. I’ll also probably pitch a revolutionary idea to the television industry: smaller cameras. Please!
If you’d like to see how goddam steady my shots were or how I so obviously kept it together when General Myers was in the house, you can check out the full show below.