Live from D.C., it’s Friday Night!
Ever wonder how a guest prepares for a live TV interview? Some interviews take place on the street as you [try to] answer questions; others may be tightly scripted. My encounter? Somewhere in between.
Last Thursday a phone call came from out of the blue.
“Can you come to Washington, D.C. tomorrow?” asked the Al Jazeera TV producer for the show The Stream. “We’d like to interview you live about tiny living spaces.” Would I? I rearranged my schedule. After hanging up, I called my hairdresser and booked an emergency appointment. That evening, while out to dinner with friends, we mulled over my outfit based on the producer’s suggestions.
The next day at 2 o’clock the producer called to review the itinerary of what my next ten hours would include. No sooner had we hung up, did the itinerary begin.
2:15 pm A luxury black SUV magically appeared and whisked me from my apartment down to Penn Station for my 3 pm train to D.C.
2:55 pm An announcement: there was a train stuck in the tunnel, delaying my train. I texted the producer. He texted back. If the train doesn’t leave Penn Station by 4, I should return home and be interviewed via Skype. I wondered, what does one wear on Skype?
3:30 pm Penn Station. Still no 3 pm train. My excitement about being on live TV was beginning to fade.
3:35 pm Train arrived! With the horde, I rushed to the platform. Even after we left I was concerned about any other delays, fearing I’d still be on the train when the interview began. Without me.
6:50 pm Driver at Union Station in D.C. was waiting. We zipped away from the curb only to merge into bumper-to-bumper traffic along Massachusetts Avenue. We were close, but time was running out.
7:00 pm The producer met me at the entrance and took me to the Green Room where a make-up artist turned me from “me” into “TV me.”
7:15 pm On set, I slipped a microphone up my shirt, before a sound engineer handed me an ear bud. I was introduced to the co-hosts, Lisa and Wadj. After a brief preview of what was to come and where I should look during the show, someone off to the side whispered, “Five…four… three…” (Two silent fingers, one silent finger and pointed to the host.)
From there it was mostly a blur. I wasn’t sure what questions about tiny spaces would come up, but realized no matter what was asked, I had probably already lived the answer.
8:00 pm Show concluded. Another black SUV to Union Station.
12:10 am Train arrived in Penn Station where I was grateful to find the fourth SUV of the day idling on 7th Avenue and 33rd Street.
12:25 am Home sweet home. It took awhile to remove the TV make up, but soon I was in bed. And as I drifted off to sleep, it felt like the day had been a dream.
(I’m not permitted to link to the show, but if you’re interested in seeing it, send me an email and I will send you the link.)