Tuesday, October 24

On The Box

First things first: to wear that red topi was NOT my decision. Just so that we're clear that that wasn't my fault.

Anyway. So it's the day after and I've finally have a chance to write about the whole television thing. Those I've spoken to before directly will have more of an insight, but for blog purposes I'll have to be a bit more... objective. Hopefully it will be enough to give you an idea of how the day went.

I'll start with me. In retrospect, and after egocentrically watching my own footage (something I would not have usually done except for some friends who missed it wanted to watch), I don't think I did that badly during the solo call in part. Don't get me wrong: it could have been so much better and definitely did not go as well then as it did in my head. I definitely want to work on my on screen presence; I wanted to go for "normal, casual" Shak, but something seemed to have been lost in translation. It's a bizarre effect, really it is and I hope it's not due to anything other than nerves. And do I really act that gay in real life?

Apart from the obvious, the most difficult part for me (and perhaps the others too) was being conscious of the guy in front of you telling you to stand up, the guy in your ear telling you to sit down, and your own brain telling you to ignore both seeing as neither really knew what they were doing.

And that's pretty much what my co-host Sofia and I decided to do for the close. Once we started "responsibly" filtering out the dodgy direction I think that we were much better off for it; it's better to play the fool on your own natural whim than have someone force you to do it. I guess that since we were all new at this we had placed a lot of faith in those running the station to lead the creative way, and sometimes we might have been led down the garden path 'cos of that.

Not to detract from the help we did receive - there were many good ideas coming in from the channel itself that the school lot alone wouldn't have come up with - but there were things that we were made to do that made us raise eyebrows in the days leading up to the show and that we should've trusted our own feelings on instead. You know, things like being made to wear a red felt topi (although at least I managed to "lose" it for most of my time on screen).

It was pretty hard work overall, but I'm not sure whether that was because of the medium itself or our particular set up yesterday. I suspect it was the latter; Unity/Itihad is clearly a channel less mature than its peers and there were plenty of avoidable mistakes made especially on the technical front. Still, as much as I'd like to blame the gremlins, the really good TV personalities can and do deal with all that all of the time, so it's not really an excuse.

The problems were not just of the unanticipated variety though. From my brief time doing radio and just general common sense, the TV studio was a shambles. Small and practical things like being able to see your producer AT ALL TIMES and having a teleprompt would have made things a lot easier. And the red "live" light that you would have expected to tell you which camera was on didn't exist. As some of you may have noticed.

At times backstage was much more interesting than the show itself. Creative differences, high running emotions and arguments galore were present more often than not, but as painful as that all was it somehow added to the whole "media dahling" feel of the thing. It was, like, totally drama, yaar. But on a more serious note, I do honestly believe that our biggest problem was that of a particular oversized ego than the lack of media experience of the channel or the schools.

Still, we did have fun. And it was a brilliant experience and one I'm so glad to have had been a part of. The bit that went on air was just the tip of the iceberg and the concentrated efforts made in the days beforehand was the kind that just makes you feel like you belong to something big and important.

I now see presenters (especially Asian ones) and the like in a totally new light. Whereas before I would describe them as rubbish, I now consider them let down. And on travelling to the office this morning I've come to realise just how boring real work is.