My community TV show, Prose Jam, is debuting tomorrow night. Our community station (BCTV) has graciously given me a half hour monthly slot. Right now it’s more like every other month, but that’s only temporary according to the program director. I think we’re waiting for one of the regular producers to either take their show national or kick the bucket. Basically I’m just grateful for whatever they give me.
The purpose of Prose Jam is to promote book reading as well as highlight local authors. Local meaning Reading, PA. For tomorrow night’s show, I’ve invited Clemson Page (Up Home Book One: Stedman) to be my guest. I also went out and videoed a bunch of residents as to what they’re currently reading. It was a lot of fun and I snagged a prize for the show’s Name That Book contest. Carol, the proprietor of Sweet Surprises in Reading, is donating a pound of their wonderful homemade fudge for the contest. I have to say these folks are quite creative in their fudging. I found them last Thanksgiving when I was out shopping for thank you gifts and at that time they had this incredible pumpkin fudge. I’ve been hooked on this store ever since then. Around Christmastime they had cranberry. The last time I was in there I got some of their cappuccino fudge. These people are geniuses and I really wish I could participate in the contest myself, but since I already know the answer, I guess it wouldn’t be fair.
Tomorrow night is not exactly the first episode of Prose Jam. I did a pilot for the show back in February. I was very nervous for that show. Now that I’ve seen the taped version of that show, I’m no longer nervous. Now I’m appalled. I’ve done a lot of stage performing in my time and there’s a lot to be said for never seeing your performances. On the live stage, you really don’t care how you’re coming off. You can’t care. You’ve simply got to plow through, get to the end of the script or itinerary or set list. When it’s over you go get breakfast.
Not so with film or video. With film and video you get to see the travesty. And if you’re particularly masochistic, you’ll watch it over and over until you’re either suicidal or totally desensitized. At the first viewing, though, you mostly cringe. Like the first time you heard your voice on tape. What you are seeing now is not what you were seeing in your head as you did it. This, this lumpy, flaccid performer with the high-pitched laugh at inappropriate times is not what it looked like in your head. If you thought you would look like that you would never have considered inflicting yourself on an audience. After a number of viewings, though, you get numbed and convince yourself that all you really need is a decent hairdresser.
I suspect that over time I will get used to my video self just like I got used to my record voice. I can actually listen to my CDs now and not wonder who it is that is singing and talking. I probably still sound different to myself, but don’t notice it because I’ve heard that funny voice so often. I guess after hundreds of nights spent with my voice blasting back to me at high volume through onstage monitors has left me either used to my voice or just plain half-deaf.
Hopefully some day I’ll be either used to my face or just plain half-blind.
To watch the live travesty unfold tomorrow evening, tune in to BCTV (In Reading: 13 on Comcast; 19 on Service Electric Cablevision; On the Internet: www.bctv.org) at 8pm EST (daylight savings time in effect).
See you then!