Between the Covers is a local PBS show featuring authors and their books. Every summer, they do a streaming series featuring authors who live in Florida. I NEVER thought I'd be invited on, but to my great surprise I was! I love TV studios. I haven't been in very many, but I've seen a few tapings and I've always found them fascinating with all the lighting and camera equipment and set designs. They're so full of energy and expertise, and it's really magical to see how they produce what we see at home.
Anyway, I arrived at the studio early and was escorted back to the Green Room - the Green Room! Me! - where I met the host of the show, Ann Bocock, who I've seen on TV many times. I also met the Senior Director of Television Services, and the highly skilled makeup artist. Ann was in the makeup chair when I arrived and we chatted until she was done. Then it was my turn to sit in the chair. What fun to be made up by a professional! I'd done my usual makeup at home, which she said was great because it made her job easier. She smoothed and filled, highlighted and shaded, and wow - what she did with my eyebrows! She also smoothed and tweaked my hair a bit. I wanted to take her home with me.
Finally, it was time to go onset. I admit I was very nervous. I've done lots of interviews, booksignings, and zoom chats over the years, but I knew THIS would be different. The studio was large and dark, with various sets set up around the perimeter. I could barely see them. The ceiling was covered in lighting equipment, and Ann's set, the set of Between the Covers, was in one corner, very brightly lit - did I say BRIGHTLY? The lights on us were so intense I couldn't see beyond them. That's a very disconcerting feeling if you've never done it before, which I hadn't. But I recognized the set immediately from having watched the show so often: the white, geometric design of the backdrop, the two chairs angled just so, so that the camera can see you while Ann and I could see each other easily without having to crane our necks.
To my great delight, we were both wired with tiny microphones, with the wires taped to the chair backs behind us so they wouldn't show. We both had to count to ten as a sound test. There was a large monitor behind me, which I couldn't see it without twisting. Ann was also fitted with an earpiece that allowed her to hear cues from her director.
When filming started - yikes! - Ann gave an intro and welcomed me on, and then we chatted! She asked me questions about the series and my connections to Newport, and I babbled on - at least, that's how it seemed to my nervous brain. I'm hoping not, lol. I'm hoping I was coherent and poised and all that. There were no second takes. And then it was over! We were un mic'ed and walked out of the studio together and back to the Green Room. Another author was getting ready, as there would be interviews all afternoon for the summer series. Ann walked me out, and at the door to the lobby gave me a hug. A hug from Ann Bocock! She's an absolutely lovely, down-to-earth person, but I was a little star struck nonetheless. In fact, the entire process left me star struck. Here's a picture of me in the aftermath, feeling happy but also a little relieved, if the truth be told.
My interview, alas, won't be on TV but will stream from their website and the many other places I plan to post it once I have the link. I'm incredibly honored and grateful that I got to take part in the show, and I thank Ann and the wonderful people at PBS for this and everything they do!