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Bloopers and fails in retail TV…do we sink or swim?

Monday,Nov 04,2013

Bloopers are all over the web from shopping channels. When you are live 24/7, 364 days per year, mistakes are certainly going to happen. All things considered, the crews and talent in the world of television shopping are very good at what they do. It’s amazing things don’t go wrong more often! That said, I have had my fare share of blooper moments in front of the camera lens. The thing to keep in mind when bloopers happen is that the talent now has an opportunity to shine! Let’s set the stage, shall we? You are the talent. You have prepared for weeks for the next 10 minutes on air. You know the progression of your presentation intimately and you have it timed exactly for the clock that has been set for you and your item. Many eyes are on the screen. You have been granted the privilege of being the face of a national network. Your image is being broadcast into well over 100 million homes. The multitude watching can be very unforgiving and in this age of social networking, mistakes go viral. The company who made your product is watching as well…usually high-ranking officials who are counting on you and your expertise in high pressure circumstances. They need you to sell a bunch of their item and they are paying attention like hawks. If you fail to perform, it could be the last time you sell that item and this is your livelihood! In addition, the network has its own eyes watching. You are on their broadcast and it is not community television.
It is a nationwide network and they can cherry pick who they let walk in front of the camera and who they don’t. There are many who would love to be standing in your spot. You are one of the privileged few, but don’t get to big for your britches! The network watches closely and critically. They must. Do you think Disney let’s just anyone wear their logo on TV? Same thing. Don’t get too far afield or the red phone will ring. You do not want the red phone to ring. The crew, host and producer are all counting on you. Success is measure in dollars per minute and every second counts. Now, imagine something goes terribly wrong. How is it handled? This is it. The moment when you must step up and make something out of failure. The clock doesn’t stop, the nation is watching and the show must go on. What do you do? Ready for the answer? You become human. You embrace the mistake. You own it….confidently and with a light heart. When you are on TV, you can be this far away thing to people…a voice in their glowing box of glass and plastic. When you slip up, you step right into their living room with them and become their neighbor. They are laughing with you as life becomes real. You are just another person who needs lunch or a nap…who must pick up his kids after work or pay the bills that evening before bed. You are real and nothing grabs people on the other side of their TV than another person who becomes very real. Many talented TV personalities struggle for years to emotionally resonate with their audience. It’s easy to talk to someone in person. But try talking to a piece of glass that gives you no facial expressions or feedback of any kind. It is not as easy as you would think. A mess-up makes you real in a way that you cannot rehearse. It is a moment when TV talent, with the right perspective, can shine. That said: We always do our best NOT to mess up! This is a career, and bloopers need to remain rare and genuine mistakes!


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