Monday, October 09, 2006

Lights. Camera. Action!

I'll admit that I have long dreamt of being interviewed on TV, probably by Oprah or Diane Sawyer for my first novel. Though that hasn't happened yet, today I got my first taste of talking books on a widely-viewed television program, NBC-11, in the San Francisco Bay Area, results of which are here. (Be warned, you might have to watch a 30 second commercial first).

Timing is such an interesting thing. NBC-11 began this new feature, called The Quills, just this past August, in which they feature a five minute conversation with an independently-owned bookstore about book recommendations. They started it after a rash of indie bookstores either downsized or went out of business in the Bay Area due to a red tide of Barnes & Nobles stores.

Since moving to my new town, I made a concerted effort to connect with the owners of the local independent bookstore, Booksmart, since I assume that people who read might show up there (yes, as well as people who lurk, wander, read dirty magazines and just want to use a public toilet, but still...). They asked me to represent them on today's edition of The Quills despite the fact that no woman who is not anorexic wants to see herself on TV (you know the whole "ten to fifteen pounds heavier" rule) and I tend to get dry mouth and diarrhea before an act of public speaking.

The result turned out pretty well, I think, though I couldn't tell while doing it. Upon reviewing it, after I realized that heavy make-up has its place and that place is televison. Next to Laura Garcia-Cannon I looked peckish, dark-eyed and double-chinned, but thankfully they focused mostly on my profile so at long last, the family cheekbones I inherited came in handy.

When I got there I was ushered into the green room, which was pretty spare, though I'm not sure what was with the life-size cardboard cut out of Ellen Degeneres. About five minutes in, mayoral candidate and San Jose city councilmember Chuck Reed--a tall, suave politician with hair plugs that are growing in nicely--and his assistant were ushered in. Because I'm new to the area, I didn't recognize him, which was probably a good thing though I could tell he was in politics. Clearly a man who means business, he quickly got to work shaking me down for my vote by finding out what my interests were and then extolling the virtues of the many places to hike, bike and walk around here (wonder what recommendations he'd have had if I said I was an S & M dominatrix...). He was on to discuss the polls, in which he and his opponent, current Vice-mayor Cindy Chavez are neck in neck. After giving me his spiel, and a small newsletter devoted to his exploits, he was whisked away to be on air. I knew he was a Republican as soon as the talking head asked him about some sort of ethics scandal.

Eventually I was taken by a very nice lady to an area not far from the stage surrounded by a sea of cubicles with busy employees. I was behind the stage, so I could read the teleprompters. I always wondered what kind of action went on around the talking heads between takes and during commercials; the answer is, not as much as you'd think. It's still very interesting, though, just to see how it all operates.

Laura Garcia-Cannon and Brent Cannon (I think they're hitched) did their bits, reading from the teleprompter, improvising a little, typing things into their little tiny keyboards at their desks, then they'd go to commercial and resume normal human expressions and cadences. The one busy producer--who was literally dressed in sweats and comfy Skechers--was a frenzy of perpetual motion, running around moving chords and cameras and yelling out how much time was left between segments. I said to her at one point, "Wow, you really break a sweat, huh?" She laughed but was literally moving too fast to reply.

During takes, Laura lifted her little hand mirror to see that her hair was still in place and that no errant booger had shimmied down her nostril while she fervently discussed the woman who gave birth on the side of the road, the giant pumpkin and the pill to aid in the breast cancer battle.

Then they moved me to a little seating area "on-stage" though still to the side of where the talking heads regularly sit. The chairs are very close together; far closer than I am comfortable with, and I'm rather long in the leg so I was sure I would be kicking her the entire time. Fortunately she is petite and slender so that didn't happen. They wired me up with a microphone and then, with very little pause between the bit she'd just finished, she moved right on to me. A slew of cameras honed in on us and I tried to pretend that I was on a stage at a high school auditorium, not on a program the entire bay area could watch.

The results of our conversation can be seen at the link above, or here again if you're too lazy to scroll up.

It was an experience. Though I must say I look composed in the video, my heart was pounding out of my chest.



At 1:57 PM, Blogger Susan Henderson said...

I just watched it from the link at Ellen's. You're a natural!

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

This is awesome! You look so composed and come off as really articulate!

At 3:22 PM, Blogger J said...

You look so at ease!! I thought it was great. Although, I see your hippiness had to work in the phrase "farmer's market" somewhere in the interview.
In all seriousness though, it's a real testament to you to have a book store ask you to represent them on TV. You just moved there, for god's sake!!

At 3:24 PM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Sue and Stephanie: Thanks!

J: I was really trying for the phrase "I'm having my moon" but I just couldn't fit it in.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger Joy said...

Neat, you recommended Truth and Beauty! I posted about this on my blog. (

At 3:53 PM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Joy: I believe you were responsible for getting me to read Truth and Beauty in the first place. See, word of mouth works.

At 6:11 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

I liked Truth and Beauty too...(I think I got it from Myf? or the library?). Actually, I'd read three or four of those books! I felt quite literate.

At 6:50 PM, Blogger Ellen said...

Jordan, you are a PRO! You seemed totally calm, like you've been doing it your whole life. You were PERFECT, and you looked beautiful and THIN.

And again, thank you SO MUCH for that great plug. I sent a links to my agent and publisher and everyone is thrilled.

Did the show air live? What time was it on?


At 7:04 PM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Ellen: The show was live; it aired at about 10:40 this morning (10/9/06).

Maybe all those years of radio paid off, but I swear I LOOK a lot more natural than I felt. (They caught my thin side :)

At 7:57 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Excellent, Jordan! Those radio skills did work. You seemed as much a pro as the one asking questions.

Did they book you for a return engagement?

At 6:59 AM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

Jordan, you were WONDERFUL! So confident and composed and MEGA-GIGA gorgeous.

Is it okay if I admit that I'm a bit envious? 'Cause I am. I can't even read a stinking poem aloud, e.g., years ago, I did a reading of some of my poetry, and it was embarrassingly disastrous due to my eyeballs popping out of my skull and falling into my quaking lap. I vowed never to read my work in public ever again, because, well, I need my eyes.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Thanks Lori. It's a darn good thing my mom turned tricks so they could send me to that finishing school. That's love, I tell you.


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