Thursday, September 19, 2013

First time on TV

As part of the public consultation workshops for the Samoa Aviation Investment Project (SAIP),  a major project at Faleolo Airport, I along with 3 other managers from the Samoa Airport Authority were to take part in an interview on TV1 channel. This television program is planned to air the following day at 7:00 pm (20th September).  In other words, the show is pre-recorded and there is no audience. 

We were briefed about what to expect and rehearsed at the office.  Then, off we went to the TV1 station. When we arrived, bit was so windy my skirt almost blew away! There was no fancy hallway or walkway, no m&ms in shiny bowls or cold mineral water to greet us.  There was no audience! The program was planned to air for only 15 minutes.   

I thought ..hmmm how cliché is this..15 minutes..15 minutes of fame haha, it will be over before I know it. I did not feel excited or nervous or even special.  In the back of my mind, I thought this was a program I hardly ever watch and hopefully now that I’m on it, public announcements should be something I pay more attention to.
Instead we were greeted by a plain square table with five chairs facing three large studio lights (more like hunting headlights!).  The lights had so much glare, it felt like I was under the sun with a magnifying glass on my face! Okay, maybe not that extreme but it was quite hot! I was expecting buzzing camera men, multiple shows going on at the same time..some hint of excitement. Nothing,nada,zilch,leai,meso akoa. The decor were 3 paintings that have seen better days stuck to the fake wall, the microphones kept falling off a few shirts and the news booth sat right opposite that. There was a pile of dust right in front of me. Our management team looked around and spoke about how much better it all looks on TV compared to reality.

The interviewer smiled and described that what they create in the studio was an ‘illusion’…An illusion alright, spot on.  It was all a bit weird, those 15 minutes of fame.  The chair was uncomfortable, I sat at an angle which  presented all the wrong sides to the camera.  I was sitting sideways and  it was a bit awkward not to laugh. Good thing, I don’t know the first thing about makeup and  I don’t wear foundation/concealer or those girly things that takes too much time unless on special occasions (usually overseas). Otherwise, those would have melted right then and there.

The interview was based on aviation…specific to the airport runway upgrade.  A major project funded by the World Bank that will benefit aviation in Samoa in the next year as well as in  the long term.  Sometimes we forget that the most valuable asset of any airport (or Tourism destination) is its runway because without it, no flights.  No flights, no business, no need for air traffic controllers and certainly no need for airlines or baggage handlers.  Our runway should have the following words painted on it 
“Samoa’s most valuable asset/Handle with care/Money maker/too high or too low?May be under water in the next 15 years?”

The interview began with a brief introduction of the Project, who we are and the aim of the Project. We were to answer the following questions in Samoan:
  1. What is the objective of the project?
  2. What is the time frame of the project?
  3. What actions have been taken by the authority so far?
  4. Will the usual flights be affected during this project.
The objective of the Project is geared towards improvement of airport safety and security facilities.  This includes runway resurfacing and apron, replacement of fire trucks, installation of new weather monitoring systems, upgrading runway lights, water tanks, communication equipment and security monitoring.  The objective of this TV program was to provide background information for public awareness to the above project and to reassure the public that their flights will not be affected during this project.  Our interview went well and when it was my turn to speak.  The interviewer while asking the last question not only introduced me as the Business Consultant  but a mother as well!
If I wasn't in such a hurry to get those hot lights away from my face, I would have corrected the him.  However, I shifted in my chair and focused on the question at hand. Since I opted to go last, I didn’t have much to say.  I reassured the viewers that this major project will not affect usual flight times during the project. Also the Airport Authority will ensure that all other supporting services will experience minimum effects as well.

Note to journalists/reporters/interviewers
1.       Do not assume the information you have is factual (ASK)
2.       If you are going to introduce someone, make sure you pronounce their name right
3.       If you choose to announce their marital status (which they shouldn’t for any public announcements) make sure you have the right information because all five viewers of the program will think I am nursing a baby and forgot to send out my wedding invitations!
4.       If it’s a pre-recorded show..use EDIT for crying out loud
5.       If you do make mistakes (and you will) make sure to own up to them 
 For TV interviews, tell your interviewees where to bloody look! 
Because half the time I looked at the camera man to avoid the light in my eyes

Overall it was a good experience even if it was just 15 minutes.  I did learn a few things :

  1. Not everything on TV is beautiful, example the studio seemed better on TV
  2. Not all the shows are live 
  3.   Do not wear heavy makeup or else, there is a chance of it melting off your face
  4. Make sure you take your time while answering the question to ensure you don’t miss anything out 
  5.   Sit in a posture that will make you comfortable
  6.  Speak with confidence and not with a small voice
So my readers, have you been on TV? What was it like for you?Do you dream on going on TV?

Ehhh..your grandmother was hot too!

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