About 10 years ago, I was directing a live show on national retail TV during a fashion event. The host had been on the air for 2 1/2 hours with no product guest to help carry the conversation. After you’ve been on air by yourself for that long, your words sometimes become jumbled…especially if you’re tired, like my host was. We were selling woman’s pants at a sale price of 50%. We were closing in on a commercial break and the host, in her closing words before going to commercial, made the following statement: “Ok, in a minute or so, we are going to take a commercial break. While we are in break, I want everyone to grab the phone and call your friends or run next door and tell your neighbors that you got your pants half off.” As a director, I have a small pedal on the control room floor. When I press that pedal, anything I say into my microphone is broadcast into my host’s ear. It is how we cue our talent to look at the correct camera or hold things very still for a close-up. As soon as we went to break, I pushed my pedal down and asked my host: “Where are your pants again?” In my camera monitor, I watched her face as she rewound the last few seconds of her statement and played it back to herself, trying to make sense of my question. Then the realization hit her. She had just told all of America to shout from the rooftops that they had their pants half off! She broke into hysterics! She laughed so hard that her makeup began to run from tears! One of our crew ran to grab the host’s purse for spare make-up. When we returned from our commercial break, my poor host had mascara down her cheeks. We had to show the next product with a still picture and play music until she could fix her face and speak again! When you talk for a living, eventually, something is going to come out wrong. Every host can tell you their own stories of such things. As a matter of fact, when the topic comes up in the greenrooms or halls, people stand around and laugh with each other as story after story is told. There are too many to count. That particular host had a few priceless moments. Maybe one day, I’ll write the account of how I set the studio on fire trying to be an over-achiever. The same host was sitting in front of the blaze without any clue what was happening behind her. Aaah, the things that happen just out of the view of the lens!
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