THE ANATOMY OF A TELEVISION INTERVIEW

A look behind the scenes of any performance, be it stage, radio, or television holds a certain fascination. It was in the spirit of documenting an interview that I approached Cheri Lasota, author of Artemis Rising, and Veronica Esagui, author of The Scoliosis Self-Help Resource Book, Veronica’s Diaries and host for the television talk show, The Author’s Forum. Having received that permission, I want to introduce Veronica as she shares some thoughts about her approach to The Author’s Forum.

Veronica Esagui

“Once a guest is scheduled for an interview, I read their book or books, and compose questions as varied as the author’s genre. Most personal information is obtained from the author’s website or blog, or the back cover of the book. Some guests like to be surprised and leave the questions up to me, but others prefer to make a list of their own. Either way, it’s important to promote their work in the way they desire. The introduction and closing words are basically the same with every show. I like to help the authors relax, and try my best to make them smile before the lights and cameras go on.”

To give equal time to the author’s point of view, I asked Cheri what sort of preparations she made.

Cheri Lasota

“I spent most of my time choosing book excerpts, making sure they were short—a couple of minutes at most. I practiced reading slowly and as engagingly as possible. I wanted to emphasize the storyline rather than the mechanics of the delivery. I was pleased how Veronica drew attention to what makes my novel unique, both in terms of marketing strategies and setting.

During the taping, I felt quite relaxed, possibly due to my background in film. Since Veronica gave clear instructions as to what she needed and wanted, I tried to make sure my responses were genuine and not a “fake TV” image of myself. It was a lot of fun!”

Getting cameras & guest in position

Now I must mention the awesome staff at Willamette Falls Media Center studios. Karen Sorbel is both producer and editor, while Linda Jane Becker, operates the cameras. Linda wears headphone during the taping so that Karen can speak to her from the control booth overlooking the set.

Control screens

The main room itself is spacious, and contains several sets, including the one for The Author’s Forum. Three impressive cameras provide separate angles, and Linda receives directions from Karen in the control room. This technical tie-in is crucial for getting angles, close-ups, or broader views just right for the finished product. Screen shots must have smooth transitions from one speaker to another. During these preliminaries, bright flood lights are switched on.

View from the control booth

Host and guest are positioned in their respective set chairs to see how they fit together spatially. Because of differences in height, camera adjustments are necessary. Next, collar microphones are attached and checked for sound. The producer listens to voice levels to achieve the best mix of tone and audibility. The guest learns to look for the red light that indicates which camera is being used. The main advice, however, is to forget the cameras and speak as naturally as possible.

During this procedure, the question arose about the best way to display Cheri’s Apple iPad screen on camera. Because Artemis Rising was not yet available in print, Veronica hoped to show the book cover to the television audience. After several adjustments, the issue was resolved, and the countdown began. “Lights, action, camera.”

Ready to Roll

Veronica begins as the central camera’s red eye lights up, and the interview is underway. Cheri’s interview will be aired mid-April or so and will also be available on Veronica’s website.

Learn more about Artemis Rising or contact Cheri at http://www.cherilasota.com. The book is available in all digital formats and can be purchased at SpireHouseBooks.com, iTunes, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and KoboBooks.com.
Links etc.

Books by Veronica Esagui can be found at: bookstores, Amazon.com, Smashwords, and also directly from her website.

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In the Spotlight

Tuesday, January 18th, was a big day.  I’d been asked to be a guest on The Author’s Forum, hosted by Dr. Veronica Esaqui, author, publisher, and chiropractic doctor.  You can view her numerous accomplishments in depth by visiting her website. You will not be disappointed!

When I arrived at the studio, Veronica greeted me warmly, helping to dissipate my uncertainties. Lisa Nowak, my personal support person, snapped pictures as Veronica and I sat in our wing chairs while sound and lights were tried and adjusted. I was instructed how to recognize which camera was “on,” but cautioned to not look for the red light unless I wanted to speak directly to the audience! As if! Finally we got the signal from Karen Sorbel, the show’s producer.  We were on!

Getting instructions for the cameraman

I stumbled on the first question but under Veronica’s gentle guidance forgot about the cameras and began chatting. She gave me leeway to remark on my first ideas for Wrenn, my Egyptian experience, and why I had chosen the Edwardian period as a setting.  Some of the things I’d wanted to say weren’t said, while other things were.

After the virtual curtain came down, I had time to wonder if I’d been too relaxed. Had I prevented Veronica from introducing topics that would have kept me firmly on track? “No, you did fine,” was her lovely assurance.  “You were good,” Lisa and Karen said.  But once I was home, doubt set in.  I went from a cautious euphoria to “interviewee’s remorse.”  What a night of second-guessing!!

The following evening, PBS aired a BBC sitcom showing an unsocial doctor being interviewed on a radio talk show. If I’m the poster girl for the runaway mouth, he gets the prize for monosyllabic replies.  I think that makes me feel better.

The Author's Forum crew

Until I view the show, I take comfort from knowing that Veronica was the impeccable host, poised, gracious, and organized.  I just hope I didn’t let her down.  Thank you, Veronica.  Thank you, Karen. Thank you, Lisa.

Published in: on January 23, 2011 at 11:02 pm  Comments (4)  
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