Friday, 13 October 2006

Live in five, four, three...

I just realized, now that people are watching me present, I should be more aware of how I do during live reporting. I haven't reported live in a while, but got the chance tonight after the tiny earthquake that FTV and three other stations freaked out about and sent SNG vans to the weather bureau. The guy on earthquake duty looked at us and thought we were crazy. It was a magnitude three at the strongest in Yilan and a two in Taipei. But in any case, I think I've improved since the last time, on both speaking in front of a camera live and also Chinese.

I used to become quite stressed out before going live, but after everything that's happened these past two weeks and today, the earthquake seemed like cake. Now that I'm not worried about falling apart, I guess I can start working on getting better.

Today was very stressful, as usual. When I got in this afternoon, I had to scramble to find a story to do, but failed. I've gotten so used to being assigned stories since going on the night shift, it's becoming a problem. Eventually, I was assigned a product placement story. Between getting that in and make-up, Jianguo called to tell me that I'll be presenting the 22h00 China Airlines news from now on. That's good news, but it means I have to work from 8h00 until 20h00 and then present at 22h00 every Monday. Fighting to stay awake and alert and looking fresh will be a challenge. Yuping, my assigner, wasn't very happy about it because now I'll be out Tuesdays trying to recover from the previous day. That and also she's losing control of me to something else.

After I come up from make-up, Peter, the night shift assigner, tells me to write a script for a breaking story. The Taipei district court had just announced that Sogo will have to pay a TWD 4 mn penalty to Cathay Bank for a breach of contract. This lawsuit's been going on longer that I've been in Taiwan, so I had no idea what was behind it. With this and two shows, one in Chinese to prepare for and almost no time left, I was ready to cry. I told Peter I won't have enough time and he said I work too slow. Fine, i thought, then I'll do whatever I can in the time I have. I was going to do my best, which I already knew wouldn't be enough. Cecilia, the director of news gathering, in good judgement came and told me basically what to write. Halfway through, the Xiuyue the assigner for business news came and wanted to take over, saying it was her responsibility. I was in a pinch, because Cecilia already told me what to do. I said thanks but no thanks, but she kept insisting. Eventually, she sat down at my desk and started typing away. She caught some serious mistakes, but before she finished, Cecilia walks over and asks why an assigner is doing the writing and not a reporter. I thought I was going to break into a billion pieces at that point. I prayed that these people would be rational and not get me involved in a management issue. The heavens were on the side of reason and I didn't get yelled at, or I should say, I haven't been yelled at, YET. Still praying. Xiuyue kept typing and I went over my English leads a couple times before 20h00 rolled around. At that time, there was still no rundown for the CI show. Panic panic panic. I called the production desk - the producer was out buying dinner. I thought I was going to cry. I was basically removed from an assignment, only halfway prepped for the English show, hadn't even seen what I was going to present for the Chinese show, and there was only 30 minutes left before the taping. It was one of those moments when I would have sold my soul to the devil for better Chinese skills.

Eventually, I got my Chinese leads and started going over them right up to the minute the English show taping started. I didn't even get to meet with my co-anchor and producers. The program director said there was a problem with my make-up but there was no time to fix it. Agh.

Fighting to stay calm, composed and authoritative in the midst of all this was not easy. Fortunately, the English show went well and it was off to the CI battle. To make things worse, the PD brought me to the make-up room and told the make-up lady what to fix. The lady was not happy and I ended up with lopsided eyeshadows, which I was too busy to notice. With what precious time left, I continued to go over the Chinese leads.

The show I thought went less than satisfactory. It didn't go as well as yesterday but definitely not worse than the first day.

Then on the way back to my desk, the room started shaking. If only I were so lucky that it was my legs giving out... It was an earthquake. Being on the 16th floor, the building was swaying a good deal. Before I had time to return the jacket I wore to present and take off the uncomfortable fake eyelashes, Roy, my cameraman this week, and I were already on our the way to the central weather bureau.

After the SNG van arrived and we got connected, for some reason everything but my radio wasn't working. And since I couldn't hear the director, Roy had to relay everything. Roy mouthed "three minutes." I thought, "OK, live in 3 minutes." I started prepping. Then all of a sudden, he said "30 seconds." "30 seconds?!" It was around 23h15, and the only information we had was were the earthquake hit and its magnitude. The guy on duty hadn't arrived yet, and no one had any other information. Fine, I thought. So we went live. I was done talking after 20 seconds, but he told me to keep going. Keeping going, on what?! I basically repeated everything, and it was another 15 seconds and I just couldn't think of anything to say anymore and closed the feed. It turns out that what they wanted and what Roy was trying to relay to me was THREE MINUTES of live feed. Aside from the communication problem, three minutes is an eternity when there is nothing to go on. I'm not that good yet. We did another life feed at the top of 0h00 and headed back.

What a day. What a long, long day.

Here's what they had me wear.

It smelled of really strong deodorant spray when I first put it on. Later, I realized why - it reeked of body odor. Gosh, it was so gross.

Back in my blue shirt.

Finally getting a sip of water.

And with the gingerbread cookie that the wonderful people at Wendel's sent.

Michael and Sabrina sure know how to make people happy.

Roy, my patient and courteous cameraman.

1 comment:

miNgo said...

gosh... it must have felt horrible to be put on the spot like that. next time babble about earthquake safety. suggest things people can do to prepare for earthquakes. Judging from the magnitude you could have told people that it was light and chances are that minimal damage would have occured at the focal point of the earthquake. when in doubt always talk about humane stuff. there's alway stuff to talk about when it comes to life.
sounds like you had the busiest week of your life. get some superfood or something similar with a bunch of antioxidents. also take b complex vitamins.