Friday, November 23, 2007

Now live on SkyNews.Com

It's a picture of the Ninentdo Wii. So what's this got to do with theatre and film, I hear you ask ?

Well, it was just one of the six stories I was given one hour to read and digest and comment on as part of last night's News programme. They take some of the rising stories on the internet in terms of hit counts, and get someone in the world of the internet to comment on them.

I was called yesterday afternoon and the conversation went something like "Mr McFarlane, we liked your interview on Sky last week and wondered whether you would be interested in doing a regular monthly slot on one of the evening programmes." Nice I thought. It's a good way to get more audiences clicking on UKTheatre.Net. I agreed. "I also wondered whether you would be available tonight", the researcher added.

This was my second time on live television and the nerves still kick in. They are the same nerves you get before an opening night performance, as you are waiting in the wings getting ready to come on stage while the audience take their seat. I welcome the butterflies as I know they are merely a preparation for the mind to kick into action, and it does.

It's a strange experience being on live TV. The atmosphere in the studio is very relaxed, and everyone smiles and says hello. You head for make-up first and a team of busy women, some in the middle of eating their dinner on the hoof, welcome you like a friend and delicately powder and brush your face before you return to the green room. The producer arrives, "We have six stories for you and here is the running order" he says before he walks out and on to his next activity. I noticed my stories are in perfect reverse order from the notes that I'd taken, so I number mine from the bottom up so that I have reference points.

Here's what I was faced with:-

Babies May Hold Social Judging Skills
Wife Busted After Wii Proves Affair
Plastic Shopping Bags On Their Way Out
Hunger Levels in New York Rising
Swiss Army Knife Sets Record
Jellyfish Wipe Out Salmon In Northern Ireland

The floor manager came to collect me and put a mike on. "There's a lot of cables on the set so just be careful". I was introduced to Martin Stanford (pictured below), who said that he was just going to do a few minutes on the top stories and web videos before coming to my bit. 5 - 4 -3 - 2 ........ we're on air.

I sit waiting for Martin to come to my bit. He's talking live to millions of people, reading from an autocue as well as a monitor in front of him. There's videos he's commenting on as well as images of the top stories and then it's "over to Douglas McFarlane of UKTheatre.Net"

I'm relaxed by this stage. I've sat up straight in my seat, shaken loose, made sure my face doesn't look as nervous as my inner thoughts, and start a casual conversation about six topics which I knew nothing about an hour ago. I opened up well with the baby story and quipped "it brings a new meaning to throwing your toys out of the pram". Martin smiled and we moved on through all the stories, with quips like "I think you'll need another golf bag to carry the knife" and "an entreprenurial Scottish salmon fisherman may call and help out with the Irishman's customers".

It was over in a few minutes and I waited until I got my cue to go off set. I shook Martin's hand and the floor manager said it was great, she took my mike off and I headed for my chauffeur driven car back to normality.

It was great fun and I look forward to the next one.

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