Sunday, 24 June 2007
Taiwanese anchoring, take three
This time, I anchored the 10h00 Taiwanese news with 張筱芬 Sharfren Chang. It may have looked just peachy on-screen, but was a hilarious mess off-screen. The reason we were paired together was probably because then I wouldn't have so much to cover and bear so much pressure by myself. However, the problem was that Sharfren isn't a Taiwanese speaker either. She's Hakka and is still learning Taiwanese, like me. She is better than me, though.
After anchoring the 8h00 Mandarin news, I shot like a rocket out of the studio and landed right into the seat next to Sharfren, who had been prepping since 7h00. For the stories that we were going to present together, she'd already translated the Mandarin into Taiwanese for me. All I had left to translate were the stories I was going to read myself.
Luckily, we had Taiwanese editors Liao Tianen 廖天恩 and Chang Lanchi 張嵐綺 sitting next to us, teaching us how to say everything. I appreciate them so much because they did it out of the goodness of their hearts. Tianen was usually on his way home by then and Lanchi was supposed to be prepping to anchor the 11h00 news.
Before we went in, Sharfren and I agreed that she'd control the teleprompter and speak first, which meant she had to keep advancing the teleprompter for me as I continued the lead. However, she kept forgetting keep scrolling and I had to keep looking down at my paper copy. Every time she realized that she had forgotten to keep going, she'd nearly jump out of her seat. This happened a handful of times, and I didn't mind it that much because I felt almost no pressure, since it seemed like she was soaking all of it up. To me, it was just funny to watch her jump up and down and swing her hands up and around in between stories. The first block was really rough, because we were still trying to get used to each other. Then between forgetting to keep stepping on the teleprompter pedal for me, an accident happened on the freeway and the editor/producer stuck in an anchor-only lead. The program director told Sharfren to read it and while the reporter tape rolled, between shrieking and getting help from Tianen who came into the studio with us, she figured out how to say it and then delivered it very nicely. Then disaster struck. Originally, she was supposed to go straight into a story about sun screen after the car accident flash, but she overscrolled the teleprompter and it jumped to the story after that - my story about drowning children. First, she had no idea what in the world she was reading because the story wasn't hers and second, I rewrote the lead using a bunch of English characters to help me pronounce some of the words. I have no idea how she made it through, but she did and when the tape rolled, it was the tape on sun screen! We both freaked out, because she just read something that came out of nowhere and had alien language in it and the tape that followed what she read had nothing to do with what she read. Between the jumping up and down in our chairs and squeaking between gritted teeth and paper copies flying around, the director quickly told me to explain that the images we just saw were of sun screen safety and then go on to read my next story about a politician's campaign banner getting stolen. I didn't even notice her counting down and by the time I realized that it was my turn, I was already on screen and was practically fumbling through my paper copies. Somehow, I came to quickly enough and made it through. I was so so so worried that our squeaking got aired, but Sharfren assured me that we magically came to our TV senses and stopped right when the PD said "three, two, one." God, it was a mess. Two squeaking girls can really escalate matters, but two professional anchors can really recover fast. Whew.
One really nice thing during our hour was that KMT presidential candidate Ma Yingjeou had just announced his running mate and we had two long live reports from the scene.
What a mess, but what an experience. That was probably the first time they put two female anchors together, and most definitely the first time they put two non-Taiwanese speaking people up there, anchoring in Taiwanese.
Surprisingly, no one complained to the FTV anchors' forum...yet.
Big thank you's especially for Sharfren for keeping me covered, Tianen and Lanchi for helping us with Taiwanese, and PD Kunguan for taking these pictures.