Yesterday we taped the first regular episode of NOW PLAYING with an hour-long duration. The first show we ever did, way back in 1997, was an hour, although it was an Academy Awards preview and Best of 1996 review special. How odd is that--our first show was a special episode and not a normal one.
Anyway, a half hour program that, on average, features eight films is over and done with before you realize it. Due to problems with the station's production schedule, we weren't able to tape on December 22. With an abundance of holiday films to review, we crammed eleven of them into last night's hour-long taping. Talk about the luxury that the extended time gave us. Our discussions and reviews felt more complete, which shouldn't come as a surprise with double the time to talk about each film. Granted, we were discussing some really good films whose complexity demanded longer explanations and evaluation.
Time seemed to move very slowly yesterday, and it slowed down even more during taping. Silly as it sounds, an hour-long program, 54 minutes of which is the show, is a lot of time. For that matter, two and a half minutes seemed like an eternity when you're usually whipping through discussions in half that time. Not that this was a bad thing. The interesting thing was noticing that I was gassed by the time the taping was finished. Keeping up your focus and concentration for that long, especially at the end of a busy day, can take a lot out of you, even if it is just talking about movies.
Of course, time seemed to stop when the teleprompter decided to start spitting out glitches. We didn't stop taping--much to my chagrin at the time--when my review of PAYCHECK kept returning to the beginning after I read the first line. So there I am, metaphorically naked since we didn't have b-roll, blank as can be. (It didn't help that I wrote that review back on December 22 and pulled lines from it for the show. I didn't know it as well as those I'd written more recently.)
The prompter crapped out two more times, once on Paul's toss to the CALENDAR GIRLS clip and on my review for THE YOUNG BLACK STALLION. Ad libbing a toss isn't too difficult, and Paul did just fine. Luckily, my review of Disney's pretty but vacuous IMAX film was in broad brushstrokes--not much happens in its 45 minutes to get specific anyway--so I could wing it without a lot of trouble. Being covered by video helped too.
The moral of the story for those of you not in TV Land is this: when the person on-air looks like a jackass--which I most assuredly do in this case, although you won't find me looking at the tape to confirm my suspicions--it's not necessarily his or her fault. The talent is at the mercy of the crew. Is it embarrassing? You better believe it. I prefer to look like a buffoon from my own mistakes, of which there have been enough but not on this occasion.