School’s out

I’m sitting here wondering why it feels so much like Friday to me. I’m not a weekend hound, really, because I work most days and they all kind of run together. But today is supposed to taste like Wednesday and instead is giving me only a Friday vibe.

Wrapped up Season Two of Lemon Aid last night. Apart from my producer and tech director, I work with a crew of kids (mostly late teens, early 20s) who are in media/broadcasting programs or who want to be. They’ve volunteers with Rogers, and the gig is a coveted one. They work them hard, they learn a lot, and it’s a great place to start out. I love my crew. Each season, I’ll see about half familiar faces as some remain, some move on, and others take their place. They’re smart and they’re sweet, and I treat them as my own kids. That means they see all the mistakes, hear all the bad words, and back me up no matter what. In return, I bring them doughnuts each week. It’s not a fair trade, but by 8 o’clock on a Tuesday night, sugar is king.

I had a photographer along last night; when I get some pics, I’ll put them up. Everybody was a little chippy and hyper, like the night before Christmas, or more likely, the end of exams and the start of the summer. I thanked them a dozen times for all their help this season – so much can (and does, occasionally) go wrong, I”m lucky to have them on my side. Sometimes the prompter would slip, sending my careful words flying off the screen. I’d start laughing, because this is live TV, and I just proved it was live. Most of the show is unscripted, but the careful bits – openings, closings, counts to breaks – are scripted to tie it together. When I lose those, I have to wing it, with varying degrees of success.

We’ve had battery packs die. Try to keep a straight face while a tech is slithering – literally – on the floor out of camera range to change the pack. We’ve had cell phones go off; we had a guy snore off camera sitting in the dark a couch on a nearby set. I still tease him, because we all started laughing. How can you not? I have had my mind go completely blank as I lost a train of thought. Skidded to a halt, stared blankly at my guest and said, “man, I had no idea what I was about to say.” And then I start laughing. See a pattern here? We have great callers. Some ramble a little, some leave their TVs on in the background so there’s a bad echo and they’re watching me listening to them and they get messed up. We get it sorted.

People have asked a huge cross section of questions this season. We’ve told people to flat out not buy a particular used car they’ve been offered; we’ve had people ask for that advice and not be happy when they get it. I’ve had mechanics have to tell people it’s time to leave a car behind they don’t want to, but often the suggestions have been encouraging. There are great mechanics around, and I have some of the best on my show. The APA website recommends mechanics all over. If you have one you love, nominate them.

We had a few nights of frat boy phone calls, rude and live on air, which stresses me for the viewers above all. We got it shut down, and the call screeners – some of those kids on the crew – are now excellent at guarding the fort. If you know me, you know I do not have a poker face, so I’m sure the dirtybirds (points if you remember Stephen King’s Misery!) got a kick out of my wide-eyed gobsmacked face. I really need to be cooler.

Guests are generous in giving their time. In all weather, coming out at night after working all day, and helping us deliver what I hope is an informative, fun show. It’s cable, it’s local and we try to do shows that matter to the viewers. The fact I have so much fun with it is a great bonus.

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2 responses to School’s out

  1. Pat says:

    Unfortunately, I can’t get a Roger’s feed up here, so I’ve watched a few on You Tube. You always do a good job, looking marvelous darling! Enjoy your time away from the commute to TO. I commuted for over 20 years to TO when I was teaching. Don’t miss it.

  2. Chris Brown (not the felon) says:

    I am so pissed (you used it, so I can too) that we don’t have a Rogers option. I’m glad Pat mentioned it can be found on Youtube. I will have to have a peek.

    Glad it’s such a fun gig. There are people in this world who get a ride on the shoulders of others and then there are those that make their own damn shoulders. And then make them bigger. You deserve everything you’ve received and then some.

    Pip, pip, and all that.

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