Earlier this month I had the surreal experience of being a guest on a TV show, for an entire 30-minute episode, to talk about my art! The show is “Talk Art”, a local cable program that focuses on San Francisco bay area artists. It’s sponsored by Silicon Valley Open Studios, in which I participate. My episode focuses on colored pencil–a short survey of materials, tools and techniques, along with samples of my work where I used them. I’ve never really been on TV before, so I didn’t know what to expect. If you’ve ever wondered how TV happens, read on….
Weeks before the taping, I met with the producer, Nance Wheeler, to learn how the shows are constructed, how the taping would proceed, and how I should prepare appearance-wise. She in turn took notes about what props I might need (easel? table?) and proposed a basic outline for the interview. I sent her JPEGs of the images that would be shown as overlays, and she sent me a questionnaire to help the host, Sally Rayn, know what kinds of questions to ask me on air. Later, I spoke with Sally on the phone so she could learn more about my art and what I might want to demonstrate.
The evening of the taping, I arrived at the studio and as soon as I saw the set and the control room and all the people who would be involved, I started getting nervous! What if I went blank on an important fact? What if I got a tickle in my throat and started coughing? What if I stammered or said something stupid? There weren’t going to be any “takes”–it was going to be filmed straight through in one shot. But Sally put me at ease; we sat in our places on the set and while the sound and lighting crews prepared and the three cameras were positioned, we did a little rehearsing. It was just what I needed to forget about the setting and just have a conversation.
Suddenly it was “Quiet on the set!” and it was time. The next 30 minutes flew by. I didn’t really have any awareness of being “in the spotlight”, I was just explaining materials and techniques to a friend. After it was all done, everyone said “Great show!” and a couple of the crew came up to take a closer look at some of my artwork, which decorated the backdrop, and asked “This is really all colored pencil?”
A few days later I received a DVD of the program, and it was also posted to “Talk Art”s channel on YouTube. I held my breath as I watched it the first time; I’ve never been very photogenic and I have no idea how I look or sound to others. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn’t appear nervous at all, and didn’t stammer or rush. I actually did okay! I made working with colored pencil sound interesting, fun and worthwhile, which was just what I’d hoped.
Since then, I’ve shared the link on Facebook, and as I write this only five days later, my episode is already one of the most-viewed of all the “Talk Art” episodes. The UK Colored Pencil Society (of which I’m a signature member) picked up on it and my mention of them and advertised it on their Facebook page, which has opened it up to overseas viewing. And Ester Roi, whose Icarus heated drawing board invention I demonstrated in the show, picked up on it and linked to it on her blog and Facebook page, which has expanded its reach, too. I’ve received wonderful comments from folks thanking me for the great overview of our favorite medium. A couple even suggested that I’d be a natural as a teacher!
I’m really glad I had this opportunity, and the nerve to take it. Anything that exposes more people to my favorite medium and inspires them to try it, is a good thing.
Here it is so you can watch it yourself!