It’s this feeling that… from the moment you stepped into their main lobby, till you exit an hour later, you’re just so fascinated by the sights and sounds around you.
The Guest Relations Officer brought us up from the carpark to the waiting area. I walked past the radio section and saw the DJs with huge panels and gigantic microphones in front of them, and I just let out a WOAH. Clearly fascinated eh. Then the Producer came to meet me and brief me on the plans. Vincent used to be a DJ at SPH, then he joined Mediacorp a month ago, and he’s going to be a newscaster next month. His voice right, even over the phone before I met him, was that of DJ quality. Not kidding.
He brought me into the news recording studio. Before we entered, he apologised to both my bosses who had accompanied me there – ohyeah they were like my nannies bringing me to school and fetching me after – for forgetting to inform them that they were not allowed in the studio. One of them looked at me, concerned, and said, “You’ll be fine, right?” I replied jokingly, “Even if I’m not, I have no choice.” But yeah, that’s the way to life isn’t it. Vincent then assured her, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of.” Maybe he realised that sounded awkward. We entered the studio.
That was a huge room. Three cameras facing the hosts on the platform. Many screens showing what was going on on TV. Tons of lights with different tones shining in all directions. I looked up and that whole place was just filled with things (I have no idea what they were) hanging from the ceiling. I would have loved to take
a few photos a photo of that place. Everything’s so new to me; never in my life have I seen anything like this before. I can’t even find the words to describe it – or maybe it’s just because my vocabulary fails me, as always.
I was invited to sit with the newcasters on the platform. Like, isn’t this the newscaster whom I’ve always seen on TV when I was young, and there, she’s a real person sitting right in front of me, HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH ME. I sat there and allowed them to ask me questions. It seemed like the show hasn’t started, because they were rather casual with the way they spoke to me, and touched up on their make-up several times in that conversation. Yes I mean several times like, she held up the mirror, tidied up something, put down the mirror, then other newscaster took over and did the same thing while the other carried on with the conversation, and then the first one held up the mirror again. That was what went on in that 20 minutes.
I was there just answering their questions and asking my mountain-tortoise questions, yet fearing that the cameras would reel at any time. So I spoke softly and rushed to finish my sentences – as if that would help if the cameras were to start reeling. Finally, I blurted out what I had wanted to ask since the moment I stepped into the studio, “Isn’t this a live news?” Both of them giggled and told me that newscasters were in the other room were reporting the news for the day. I see.
At about 6.55pm, we had to get ready for the camera to roll. So I stood behind the camera and watched the newscasters gave a brief introduction to the discussion topic of the day before entering into a commercial break. As I stood there, I asked the camera girl (pardon me, I have no idea what’s the right term for the role) about how they would select which cameras to take the image from, to which she replied that there was a director in a room within the studio handling this.
As we entered the commercial break, I was invited back to the platform to prepare for the discussion segment. I had the microphone clipped onto my blazer, and the newscasters carried on with doing their make-up and hair. The girl whom I spoke to then gave me a brief of the to-dos (like looking into the camera when I’m introduced, to count from 1 to 10 to test the microphone, to face the newscasters during the discussion) and the not-to-dos (like not leaving the scene until I was told to do so). The newcasters and I carried on with our chat in the last few minutes.
“5, 4, 3, 2, 1…”, the camera girl counted down. And everything went live. I watched the screens showing what the audience would see. You know those animation thingy that flies in and out when you return from a commercial break? I was expecting for the usual news music; I thought newscasters hear that and use that as a cue to begin. But there was none. The studio was silent until the newscasters started speaking. Which was so unlike what we see on TV where there’s always some music in the background.
What I thought would be difficult to last for 10 minutes actually overran – just like this. Must be the nerves. There was one point the newscasters asked me a question and I forgot what would have been my answer. As she went on with the question, I was like a crap, my head’s empty. So I MMMM, and thank God that by the time I finished my thoughtful sound (thanks, O’level orals prep for teaching us how to buy time), He had put in some words and reminded me of what to say. Phew.
The experience was. Wow. The previous two times, it was interesting to be a part of a production and understand how they work. This time round, it’s the experience of being in the studio and having familiar faces talking to me when I had never imagined that happening. Wow!