Thoughts on Doing Live Television

So, yesterday I did my first live TV appearance, on Sky News (big in the UK and Commonwealth, apparently). By now I’ve done several radio appearances and plenty of web video, but never live TV, and I was nervous as a cat at the prospect.

One thing that took me by surprise — SkyNews is owned by Rupert Murdoch and shares space with Fox News, so when I showed up a little before the interview, I suddenly ended up in the realm of the Fair and Balanced. Was a little freaky. Thank god I had my “computer bag” with me, an ammunition bag with a big red star on it — a (play) rebel’s gotta REPRESENT!

The process itself is more straightforward than I expected, and also a lot more like doing radio than I realized, since I was speaking with a host in Britain. The main studios were in use, so they shot the segment in a tech room behind the scenes (low-rent, just the way we like it here at e.politics). I got there late enough not to have much time for makeup (and I’d shaved an hour or two beforehand, not wanting to pull a Nixon), but under those lighting conditions it was fine to go bare.

The hard part is that you’re staring into a camera lens, with an earpiece on, talking to a spectral voice in a different part of the world. You can’t see the other person or what they’re showing on screen, so you can’t read any visual/emotional communications cues. One advantage: the topic was Paris Hilton’s response to John McCain, part of which they played before I went on, so I started out smiling and never had a chance to lock up.

Overall, I think it went well — I spoke in reasonably complete sentences and managed not to have any deer-in-the-headlights moments. It was also over relatively quickly — a few minutes and you’re done, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am (the television beast prefers a snack to a full meal). Next up: America’s Election HQ? Or the Best Political Team on Television?


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Colin Delany
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