Ernabel, my publicist and good friend, excitedly sent me a text this past Monday to inform me that she had booked a TV interview for me on The PBS Network that would take place that Wednesday. Of course I was excited, but talk about short notice – I had to juggle a couple of meetings and cancel a few appointments for Wednesday’s 2:15 pm taping. The show is called ‘Asian-Americans’ and subject matter, ‘Entrepreneurship’. I was honored to appear, and such an exposure never hurts. When Ernabel told me it was going to be a 27 minute long segment with no commercial, my first concern was , will I have enough interesting things to say to fill up this time? But I did not let this worry me too much! I was excited.
I arrived at the studio at 1:30 pm to give my body and mind time to relax before facing the camera. As soon as I entered the studio, I was surprised to hear the show’s producer, a frantic middle-aged Asian woman, telling me I was late. Late? I was 45 minutes early. What is she talking about? After a brief exchange, I found out that they had emailed me the wrong time slot. The notice should have stated 1:15, not 2:15. Well, the problem now is how to make up for lost time.
I was rushed onto the set, a microphone clipped to my dress and a makeup artist hovering over me and checking my forehead for shinny spots as the producer shouts out instructions for the crew. Along with that, there was this intense heat, not the mental kind preparatory to ‘performing’, but from the three-dozen or so huge light fixtures hanging over me. I tried not to let this bother me and did my best to focus on what I was supposed to discuss on camera. What ever happened to the quiet time I had planned for me to compose my thoughts? ‘Quiet, please, 30-seconds to air-time’, someone shouted. Then came the famed countdown, 5,4,3,2,1. Was I at NASA and a rocket is about to be launched? What happened next was one big blur.
To my surprise, the minute the show started and I began answering questions, I have never felt so natural and comfortable. It was as if cameras were not even there. Quick as a wink went the 27 minutes and I heard someone say “cut, great job everyone…”. Only then I tried to gauge for myself how I did and before I could say anything, Ernabel rushed over to say how fabulous I was on camera. To top it all off, the producer asked me if I had had media training. I have never had media training so I guess you can say I am a natural? Nevertheless, I did not let their compliments get to my head… I was just relieved and happy that the taping went well.
So what’s the lesson learned? Whenever you are going to an important meeting, whether be a sales meeting or PR opportunity, take it seriously and get to the destination not just on time but little ahead of time. Of course don’t become the annoying early bird, rather find an appropriate balance. I took this appearance seriously and got there way early, which saved the day, because when the clock is ticking and time is money, the camera does not wait for anyone!
Oh, one more thing, just remember that you don’t know where your next break may come from, but always be ready. You just may hear, ‘Lights, Camera & ACTION!’
Aysha in City Dress from Fall 2010...perfect interview dress