Archive for July 31st, 2007

My television debut occurred at the age of 6, when I was poster boy for the local March of Dimes campaign. My only qualification was being at a speech therapist when no one who was deaf happened to be (my problem was a difficulty pronouncing a hard “k”, and the experience left me with a precise way of talking that many people mistake for an English accent). The experience brought only brief fame and no fortune, and was memorable mainly for the reaction a few weeks later, when my older brother looked up and exclaimed, “Bruce is on the television!” and my mother replied, “Well, tell him to get off it.”

My only other experience with TV was as an extra in a crowd scene for a locally shot movie with my wife and sister-in-law. At the time, it was an easy if tedious $80, and I never did learn if we were visible in any shots. In fact, now that I think, I can’t even remember the name of the movie.

One way or the other, though, I’m about to increase my TV experience. Next week, I’m scheduled to appear on the Lab with Leo cable show to talk about the GNU/Linux desktop for five or six minutes. The reccomendation came through Free Geek Vancouver, one of whose coordinators is scheduled to appear on another couple of segments.

Like many people, I have the idea that I appear overweight and gauche on film. And I know that I often talk too fast or mutter. I could get away with these tendencies when teaching but I suspect that idiosyncrancies are less forgiving on TV. I would very much like to solicit the opinion of someone with some experience on TV, but I’m not on speaking terms any more with the only person who might be worth consulting.

Instead, I’m on my own, doing my best to approach my adult debut in the spirit of adventure, not in the least self-important, but curious about the experience.

Already, it’s proving interesting. The show has a list of colors not to wear: No blacks and browns, because they blend into the set, no white shirt because either my torso or face will suffer from the contrast. No shorts, either, because the show might be shown in winter time, and would look out of season if I did. The color restrictions alone has me mentally thumbing through my closet in a way that I rarely do.

I also have to write in advance an outline of what I am going to discuss, along with any biographical information or any web sites that might illustrate my stint.

Visions of failure nibble at the edges of my self confidence, but I keep telling myself: one way or the other, it’s going to be an interesting experience. But “interesting” is such a neutral word: Proving a natural and coming across as an idiot could both be described with it. Unsurprisingly, I find myself apprehensive and anticipatory at the same time.

So why go through with it? All I can do is answer in the time-honored way, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I wonder if I’ll feel the same way after the spot is shot?

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