May 5, 2011

What Not to Do During a Television Interview

Mom and I just taped our first television interview about our novel on Monday. There are several things we did right. First and foremost, we practiced over and over again the questions we were given and knew our answers cold. We also practiced in front of a mirror, painful but helpful. I seriously don't know how people do live television. Without this practice and knowing our questions beforehand, I would have puked for sure (see #4 below).

Still, there were several things we learned:

1. Don't Use Someone Else's Beauty Products

My mom has very coarse, dry hair while I have my Dad's thin, oily hair. So it should have dawned on me not to use her shampoo for dry hair the day before a television interview. It didn't. The next morning, I touched my hair and wondered why it felt so oily. I started to panic. I started styling, but the more I touched my hair, the greasier it felt. Mom's attempt at teasing, which could easily be listed as Mistake #1 all by itself, only made matters worse. I finally rewashed my hair with the "God awful soap the hotel gives you" as Mom said. We made it to the interview on time, and now I know to bring my own products. Stick with what you know works for you.

2. Don't Assume you Know Anything about Television Production

I did my research. I watched the show many times and noticed when the host was interviewing two people, the guest on the outer edge of the couch got the widescreen shots. Never would I want to be on the receiving end of a widescreen shot. So, I devised a plan to sit on the inside, and jokingly (well, not completely) told Mom I would run to the couch and tackle her if she attempted to get my coveted spot. She gracefully motioned me forward. I got my spot. However, little did I realize from the beautifully edited shots I viewed in the mornings, this spot was problematic. First, I had to ping-pong my head from the host to my mom when I wasn't speaking. Whiplash and awkward only beging to describe the sensation. Then, I realized I could see the camera man as he was frantically doing the "wrap it up signal" while Mom was facing away from him and blissfully unaware. So much for trying to be prepared.

3. Resist Green Room Goodies
(otherwise known as "Eat and Drink Something Before you Go to the Set")

The production staff was so nice. They led us to our green room and told us to please have some coffee, soda or pastries while we waited. We were starving. We didn't want to eat anything before in case our nerves decided to reject it. Still, Mom decided some pastry would calm the fear that her stomach would growl mid-taping. She bit into a nice chocolate pastry, and I immediately pointed out the remnants in her teeth. She fixed it. We went to makeup and then came back to wait. Now we were thirsty. Don't want to do an interview with dry mouth, right? Have you ever tried to drink from a water bottle without disturbing your professional makeup or dribbling on your pristine and carefully-chosen outfit? It's not easy.

4. Don't Text your Husband After with a Joke

Right after the taping, I wanted to text my husband to let him know how it went. I knew he was nervous for me, plus I owed him the courtesy after leaving him with our three kids for three days. I thought a humorous text immediately followed by a "JK" text would be fun. I should never underestimate how slow I text. Lord knows my daughter wouldn't. I texted him, "Mom and I did great after the producers cleaned up my puke." I couldn't even get in the "JK" before I received, "Come on. Oh no!" Then, just to make me feel worse, I lost my signal for a couple of minutes before I could finally let him off the hook. My kids better NEVER pull a trick like that on me.

In the end, have fun and trust yourself. And, if you feel you can't go it alone, definitely take your mom like I did.

We will have a link to our interview up soon, but in the meantime, go to and check out the show. Danielle Knox was our host, and she was lovely.


Tune in tomorrow for a new feature.

Every Friday we will feature the "Favorite Thing I Read This Week and Why." It could be anything from a magazine article to a novel or even something a child wrote. Check back tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

How exciting! I hope I can put these tips to use someday :).

Tia Bach said...

Just trust your gut! Whether it's literally or figuratively!

Lisa @ Intralingo said...

Oh, Tia! That was *so* funny... I don't imagine I'll ever have a chance to be on TV, but I will definitely keep your pointers in mind if I do! What an experience, though. Congrats to you and your mom! Will you share in a post sometime how you got TV coverage for your book? I'm sure we'd all like to learn from that.

Jennifer Willis said...

Wow. I've done radio shows before, but not television. You're braver than I am! I'll look forward to seeing your interview.

Alexandra said...

I read this with interest. Congrats on being on TV to promote your book! I had read that bright colors are best to wear, but that was the extent of my knowledge.

Tia Bach said...

Television was exciting, but I think I'd rather do radio. :-) I was going with humor for the above post, but the best advice for TV: listen to what they suggest (yes, bright colors, I wore sea-green. I've never worn on sea-green, but I received many compliments) and trust your gut with your answers. As an author, especially, you are selling yourself and you want to come across as naturally as possible. But, heck, I haven't seen it yet, so who knows how it turned out. I should have an airdate within the week!

Jenni Derryberry Mann said...

Tia, thanks for the good read and a chuckle this morning. Sounds like you had a great sense of humor and perspective about your TV appearance. Brava!

Tia Bach said...

Jenni, during the television interview the host asked about the humor in our novel. I told her it was a gift from my dad and I treasure it. Sometimes it really is the best medicine. I always try to find the humor in stressful situations, though I'm not always successful. Thanks for the comment!

Shannon said...

I am thinking the next novel should be a humor story, because you alway make me smile!