Monday, May 26, 2014

What Causes a Month's Anticipation, a Night’s Sleep, and Three Minutes of Terror?

This August past, after Intrigue published Chain of Evidence, I discovered the value of marketing. I did the usual things, Facebook, Twitter, book signings, and conferences to name a few. Marketing is very time consuming, especially when you’re just learning how to do what needs to be done. Daunting, is a word I would use. One Sunday morning I tuned into my local station, an NBC affiliate, and saw one of the WBAL-TV11 personalities interviewing a local author on his new book.

 I sat up and took notice.  
How can I do that? I wondered.

I started sending emails to the station, and any producer they had listed on their “Contact Us” email link, all to no avail. I even tried engaging Intrigue’s marketing director, asking her to send emails or make calls to see if she could manage to schedule a spot.

Nothing drew a response.
Those folks are very busy, so I gave up on the effort.

Then, several weeks ago, Intrigue Publishing secured a spot at Baltimore’s City Lit Festival presented by the Enoch Pratt Free Library. They invited me to come, but it wasn't mandatory. I mistook the festival for another smaller one, and elected not to participate. It turned out to be a good decision.

While watching my morning news that Saturday, one of the station personalities, Lisa Robinson mentioned in an “oh-by-the-way” fashion that she was moderating a Q&A for one of the featured authors at City Lit. That’s when it dawned on me. It became clear as to which festival this really was, and that a WBAL personality would be on hand in the flesh. All of a sudden the planets had magically aligned. This was far too fortuitous to ignore.

When Opportunity knocks, one must answer the door.

DB Corey & Lisa Robinson
City Lit Festival
I arrived at the festival a bit later and found Intrigue’s location within the library. The Intrigue folks are not local Baltimoreans and were unfamiliar as to who Lisa was, so I told them what I had in mind. I attended Lisa’s session and when she finished, I introduced myself. Minutes later, I ambled up to the Intrigue table with Lisa in tow. That’s when I stepped out of the picture so our marketing director, Sandra Bowman, could do her job. And what a fine job she did. Weeks later, she sent me notification that WBAL had scheduled me for a slot on Memorial Day weekend.    

Begin four nerve-racking weeks anticipating how it would go, tossing and turning the sleepless night, and the minutes of terror leading up to the spot. All unnecessary.

Well, now I can say they were unnecessary; hence the benefit of experience.

I drove to the station with the windows down so I wouldn’t sweat like a pig from nerves and arrived a full thirty minutes early. The guard, a woman with a smile that reminded me of everything good about people, escorted me to the studio where she turned me over to Lauren, the show’s director.

Lauren - Director
Lauren looked far too young to be directing a TV news broadcast, and I wondered if she knew that TV used to be in black & white. She was attractive, very friendly, and had a soothing demeanor about her that said “relax.” Well, she actually said, “relax,” and then added, “you’ll do fine.”

I wasn’t so sure.

Lauren on the News set

Enormous overhead lights lit up the set, but I found they weren't hot, as I expected. I fully thought I’d be sweating my bald head off under those things, but as I realized afterward, I didn’t perspire a lick. The famous “Green Screen” took up a full wall to my left, and three TV cameras were stationed around the news and weather sets. They moved about the floor by themselves and Lauren expertly avoided them, occasionally engaging controls attached to each unit, and I watched in wide-eyed wonder.

As I sat in a chair off-set, Lauren directed my attention to the brightly illuminated news desk. “You’ll be working with Lisa,” she said, and gestured with her hand. 

Lisa Robinson on set
I looked around the camera to see Lisa Robinson studying her notes. “You’ll be up in about ten minutes,” Lauren added. Then she smiled and went about the business of broadcasting. At sixty-five years-old, there ain’t a whole lot that can impress me anymore.

But she did.

Jennifer Franciotti, Lisa Robinson, and DB Corey
So for the next few minutes I chatted with the gal who would be up after me. She was doing a spot on doggie ice cream, and even brought a Chihuahua with her. I tried to pet him, but I think he smelled Murphy, my chocolate lab, and would have nothing to do with me. That’s when Jennifer Franciotti, the other half of the weekend morning team, walked up. She was as sweet and friendly in person as she is on TV, every bit as pretty, and walking around the set bare-footed. I found that immensely attractive in a folksy kind of way, and couldn’t help but smile. We chatted for a few minutes and she reassured me that everything would be fine. She walked me to the news desk and sat me next to Lisa. “One minute,” Lauren said. Jen offered a reassuring smile and moved off set.

At this point I would normally describe what came afterwards, but in this case, I have video, and all I have to do is say, “Roll tape.”

When all was said and done, it wasn't as traumatic as I had envisioned. Everyone said I was (insert cool adjective here), and didn't seem nervous at all.

I think, if I manage another Live TV interview, I may take it more in stride. At least I hope I will. I don't think I can take another month like the last one.

Best Regards,

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