Strange lessons from our encounters with NPR and assorted other media

    April 20, 2009

    We've done quite a bit of media over the last few months, most recently last week and today. One thing we've discovered is that no shoot or show is EVER the same. It's kind of like having kids. The first one is born and she's a screamer. You (that would be I), tear your hair out trying to figure out how to stop her from crying. You finally discover that driving her around without ever stopping for red lights for about four hours starting at 2 a.m. quiets her. Then her brother comes along and guess what. He HATES being in the car and if you so much LOOK at the car when he's in your arms, HE starts yelling his brains out. So much for learning from experience.

    Anyway, the number one lesson I think we've learned from our media experiences is BE PREPARED FOR ALMOST ANYTHING. Here's what I mean.

    1. Today's NPR segment. We arrive at the studio and find we won't be in the same booth together. (NO one ever seems to know what to do with TWO of us.) Fortunately, we can see each other through the glass. Well, I can see Corey becasue she's tall. All she can see are my eyes, because I'm not, so if I want to get her attention, I have to not-so-subtly wave my arm which sets the engineer rolling his eyes.

    Now here's something to know about me that could be useful. NEVER tell me not to do something, because evidently I have a contrarian gene that FORCES those very words out of my mouth. So when we get hooked up with the team in Washington, DC, the first thing we are told is DO NOT SAY GOOD MORNING! OK, that sounds simple enough. I'm totally humiliated to admit that I said "Good morning" three times and they had to keep starting over! And then when I finally stopped saying those words, all I could come up with was, get ready for this, "Hi." UGH!

    You can listen to the bumbling result starting tomorrow at http://www.npr.org/tellmemore

    2. Last week we did a segment for the Seattle news. We were scheduled to shoot it "between 9 and 9:30 am." at Corey's house. I was there at 7:30 so we could get everything set up, makeup on (by the way, this is another indication of what I'm talking about--we assumed there would be lights as there had been in the past and I caked on the make up because I was told that the one time I was shot without it I looked like I'd recently risen from the dead, of course, for this shoot, no lights). Anyway, at 9:45, the guy had not shown up. Called the station, Oops, he forgot. Forgot? Come on! When he finally arrived, he had only one mic and decided I looked deserving so popped it on me. Corey was unmiked which we assume means, no one will hear a word she says. We expect this to air this week.The whole thing took 15 minutes as compared to...

    3. three hours for another shoot we did last week. We'd done a bit of work for this company last December. They'd sent a producer and cameraman and we'd shot for an hour under her (the producer's) watchful eye and were in the final cut for maybe two minutes. We, not unreasonably in my opinion, expected we'd get the two again since this was a segment about us and what we do, but nope, guess what, just the cameraman showed up. This is a segment on greening kids' parties. It involved five different set ups, lots of questions etc. The camera man turned out to be dyslexic and couldn't read the questions. We received no guidance or feedback. It was strange. We had no idea how we did, but after three hours, all three of us were exhausted. Not sure when this will run or how it came out although the original producer in DC claimed she liked what she saw.

    You see what I mean? Prepare for anything. Hope for the best. Expect the worst. Roll with the punches, don't take it all too seriously and pray for a good editor.

    Do your experiences with the media back me up or not?

    Read Lynn's other blog entries >

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