Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Experience on the Blog Show

Being called "the talent" was something that made me giggle and took some getting used to, but it was said with such seriousness by some of the staff on hand that it actually started sinking in that I was going to be on TV...in front of a live audience...and millions of viewers! O. M. G.

Feedback since the show has aired has been very positive and apparently I did not appear to be nervous at all. (You can see my segment at the end of this post.) Appearances can be deceiving! I was not trembling or blushing, but my stomach was somewhere between my left lung and my esophagus. The key is to just ignore it. Once you pretend you're not about to faint, you don't! And then it just becomes a conversation. Honestly, the worst case of nerves happens just before the show goes to air, those final moments of countdown and scramble before the cameras start rolling.

Guests Alexis Stewart, Jennifer Koppelman-Hutt, (me), Martha, Pim Techamuanvivit and Jeff Blumenkrantz

All of the guests that day were so wonderful: Jeff Blumenkrantz of Jeff & Martha, Pim Techamuanvivit of Chez Pim, Jennifer Koppelman-Hutt and Alexis Stewart of Whatever fame. Jeff and I hit it off instantly and we camped it up in the green room, fondling Martha's Emmy Awards (we were told we could!) and sharing stories about our lives. Jeff is a songwriter, performer and actor in New York. He even lived in Toronto for two years starring in a production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. I did not get to talk much with Pim, although she was very sweet and charming in the scant moments we did get to speak. Because her recipe was being used and would be on the website, she had much more paperwork to do than Jeff and I. She was ushered around the offices and had to help prepare the dish in the kitchen before her segment, so she was very occupied.

Jeff Blumenkrantz and I holding up Martha's Emmy Awards, after our performances on the show. Lenore explained to us that the wings had to face the heart, which is the Emmy tradition.

Jennifer Koppelman-Hutt is a wonderful person! She was so funny and so interested in meeting me, as I was interested in meeting her. We chatted at length about Anthropologie (she's a big fan of the housewares) and about my interest in all-things Martha. I was flattered to know that Jennifer is very aware of my blog and considers me "the Martha guy." She was very sweet and I sincerely enjoyed meeting her. She even gave Jeff and I a private performance of "Let's Get Physical" in the green room with her little purple recorder.

Jennifer is lovely and so funny.

At the beginning of the show, as those of you who watched know, we had a round-table discussion about blogs. This was supposed to be a segment reserved for news anchor Brian Williams, but he could not make it to the show because of the earthquake in Haiti. Jeff, Pim, Alexis, Jennifer and I were all to be seated with Martha at the table. Just prior to going on, we all gathered in the little room just offstage. Martha walked in and introduced herself to all of us. She was so charming and engaged. She said it was nice to "finally" meet me and I told her that I was having the ultimate Martha moment, which made her giggle. We didn't chat long before the doors opened and we all went out. The audience went crazy for Martha! We all sat around the table (I got to sit next to her!) and the countdown began...

All of the segments, by the way, are rehearsed before the show begins. My producer, Lenore Welby, stood in for Martha during the craft rehearsal and we went through the basic format of the segment, a little tutorial about the craft, what I should and should not mention if there was time to mention it, etc. The gist was to let Martha guide the segment but to feel free to be conversational and vocal. The key is interraction and dialogue. Before the cameras were rolling, Martha and I chatted briefly about the situation in Haiti. She expressed genuine concern for what was going on there and mentioned that she had been to Haiti several times, each time noticing that the situation is more depressing than the last. I noted that I was impressed by the relief efforts that were taking place and that it gave me hope for those still in need. She agreed and seemed to take heart in how people were coming together to help the people of Haiti. I also mentioned that I was impressed that all of the plants on set were real. She responded, "Oh god, yes! Nothing is fake here!"

Martha then tested the glue dispenser to make sure it was not clogged and that it was working correctly. She wiped up the glue with her finger and cleaned it with a paper towel. She observed the set and did not like that there was a big paper bag at our feet and hastily had an assistant remove it: "What's this doing here? This doesn't go here. Take this away." The assistant wasted no time!

It all happened so fast! Backstage again, we waited until the show was over hoping to see Martha again, but she had several promos to do and then it was off to radio. (She is one busy lady!) We packed up our things and said goodbye to the producers. I left my gift for Martha with Lenore and she took it immediately into Martha's office.

I must say that every single person on staff there is such a sweetheart. My one regret was not speaking to Alexis, since I've always felt she is a very brilliant woman. But I was too chicken to approach her!

I want to thank Lenore once again for being so accommodating and warm and so helpful to me. Her assistant, Sarah, was also great. Noel Rosselli is a true professional and keeps everyone well managed and on target in a way that is calm, always maintaining a light air of humour and wit. The director, Joey, is also very kind and accommodating. I was heartened to hear afterwards that they all thought the show was successful and that all the guests did well. I gave Lenore a big hug (and thank-you card) and did the same with Jeff and his friends. Tomas and I were led out by Sarah and we said goodbye to the front desk staff and the security guard, all of whom were very nice. We left in a sort of daze of delight... not fully believing what we had just experienced.

Backstage, my partner Tomas and Jeff's friends hung out in the green room, watching the show as it aired live. Tomas took several photos of the television. It was surreal seeing these photos for the first time.

After each segment a professional photographer named Nick quickly takes photos of the guest with Martha, which are then sent to the guests in high-res format. I was given a basket of Martha Stewart Clean products (one of each item) that had a beautiful "Martha" logo made of yarn. It was SO lovely! Someone worked very hard on that! I was so happy to receive it that it prompted me to kiss Martha! These products and the sign, along with the card I made with Martha (autographed by the lady herself) will be sent to me by mail. I couldn't take them on the plane, naturally. I told Martha I hadn't seen the products yet but that I was looking forward to getting them in Canada. She gave me a little product knowledge and mentioned that they have no scents and that they are "very efficacious." She told me to leave the card we made and that she would sign it for me later. And so, without further adieu, here I am on the Martha Stewart Show:

No comments:

Post a Comment