Thursday, July 31, 2008


This week has been a biggie. It was the first time I have been filmed to go on TV. Yes, TV. And what an amazing experience it was.

Six months ago my boss passed by my desk and asked if I would host a show for the upcoming Australian Project Hope series which would air in around 3-5 months time. The show was "My Story: His Story" and it's a 13-part series which will be shown on Hope Channel - a family friendly television network that spans the globe (so if you have a satellite or Foxtel you'll be able to see it).

It's not overwhelming at all to know that Hope Channel is aired in over 13 countries (including Aruba, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Norway, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, and United States of America) while negotiations are under way for it to be free to air in the US (apparently it's quite popular over there).

So, what is it that I can enlighten you about being on TV? Perhaps I should go through it all blow by blow...

1. Memory is pretty important. No tv prompts, no big sheets of paper. Oh, there is an A5 cheat card you can use. And yes, it's pretty useless but very nice to hold when you're nervous - which I was. Apart from the card, there is only looking lovingly into the lense like it's your best friend. Is it hard to do? You betcha.

So the night before filming I was made aware of my options and so it was a long night memorising my opening and closing lines for each break and trying hard not to panic. Probably not the best start for an amatuer tv host.

2. The set. Thinking it would be much bigger than it was, I was surprised to see it was in a pretty small room. And the walls were not even square. A little trick in camera deception which I quite thought was pretty clever. But the sets were absolutely amazing. The colours were bright, snappy and very trendy. Really professional stuff considering the walls are thin and the tables are made of board and, there's lots of foam on the walls. Fascinating to see how great it all looks on camera.

3. Cameras. Thinking there would be a maximum of two cameras, I was surprised to see a total of four. One for me, one for the guest, a wide screen, and then a closer view of the interaction between the host and guest. That means there are a heap of people hanging around during the filming. Because there are the camera guys, people taking notes on what you're saying (and correcting you), the 'go-between' guy, and then the two-three guys watching you on screen in the editing room and seeing how it actually looks on tv. (And they come out a lot to snip stray hairs, pluck eyebrows, cut cotton threads, etc.) To say it's all a heap of 'perfection' is an understatement.

4. Make up room. The make up in itself is a pretty interesting experience. It's quite lengthy, and considering I wasn't being prepped to be a monster with any 'special effects', it was still quite a rigmoral. My skin was sussed out by the Hope producer to ensure it was 'good enough' which was a little disconcerting. But on the day there was blotting tissue, anti shine cream, heavy foundation, powder, then double the 'toppings' - just to look natural on the high definition screen. It was a teeny tiny taste of why actors get obsessed about how they look. And I was fully clothed. So, imagine the fuss when an actor has to do a nude scene!

5. The first take. Okay, so you sit in your seat for a while to get used to the feel of four cameras, a tonne of lights and talking to your new best friend (ie. the camera). So, after a day and a half of filming, it is NOTHING like sitting in your lounge room despite how many times people tell you it will.

Then after debriefing and being calmed down by everyone (actually that part is great! Everyone is so relaxed and so affirming, it's awesome!), and praying (VERY glad about that bit) the first take starts. And yes, I make my first mistake in the first sentence. Well, actually I wasn't smiling enough.

So then I'm told that a vivacious person in 3D (ie. I think that was meant to be me in real life) is halved in 2D (me on tv). So, to up the ante I have to be doubly bubbly in order to seem just the usual me in real life.

So now I must: (a) remember my lines, (b) look right into the lense of the camera, and (c) smile. And then I must keep smiling all the way through the paragraph. Keep smiling. Keep smiling. And trust me, that is harder than it looks.

6. The first few shows. I became use to the constume changes, the constant smiling, but then during the course of the filming also discover (a) I must not cock my head to one side and keep my head straight at all times, (b) not giggle during a funny line (which, in fact, is hard to do when you've been told not to), (c) keep the person feeling like I am interested in what their saying so they feel okay, (d) keep smiling throughout the interview (e) AND then not let my eyes show that I am thinking of the next line (yeah, I'd never noticed that before either). Also, be on the ready with a good question in case the nervous guest (because I'm not nervous at all) runs out of things to say. After all, I am the host (Did anyone say Oprah? Dr Phil?).

7. The last few shows. My cheeks ache by the third show and I have a big headache throughout the sixth. I am stuttering through my lines and it is now taking double the takes to get it right. And yes, you heard right, we filmed six shows in one day.

8. End of the first day. I am exhausted. But am now running completely and utterly on adrenalin. And continue to do so all throughout dinner with my new tv friends and until 1am when I finally unwind and go to sleep.

8. The next day. Waking up at 6:30am the next morning (did I mention I'm already on the filming site?), I realise that my headache is still very much there, but am amazed how normal the make up routine is now. Back on the set ready to go at 8am, my lines are much better second day in. And do I feel like an expert just yet? I think so!

The interviews seem to go much quicker and the producers are happy with how its gone. But trust me. I am not racing to any commercial channel to tell them they have to hire me. It's been a great experience, and with another day of shooting in a month's time I have more to look forward to.

To see more, visit Hope Channel.


  1. Wow Kym - that sounds like a WONDERFUL experience and I'm sure you're going to make the show! It is so you. Can't wait to see you in my loungeroom!!

  2. Aaaarhhhh!! I feel totally freaked out at just the thought of all that, let alone the reality of it all. I was interviewed about scrapbooking for a program that went into a lot of Asia Pacific countries, and that was hard enough, I just babbled non-stop and tried hard to ignore the camera stuffed in my face! Thank goodness for editing.
    All your references to constantly smiling and trying to be at ease....who are they kidding!! LOL!

  3. Well, as your agent, I must say that Kerry Stokes just keeps ringing me - HE WANTS YOU. Mell and Kochie are in Beijing, and Berretts is lonely- he wants a lovely lady...
    who just quietly, has amazing shoes! Noticed them in the photo!

    Well done, your people must speak with my people - Kell

  4. I LOVE THOSE SHOES. My favourite. Bought at Zu in Rundle Mall. I love Zu...

  5. I also noticed the shoes.....
    Way to go Kym! Famous TV personality....I will have to watch out for it! It did sound a little nerve wrecking though, and not at all my cup of tea....I am sure you carried it off perfectly though!!!

  6. How. Exciting. Thanks for sharing your experience with us - a great insider story. And thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro.

  7. Wow. Well done!

    I've been filmed for a couple of things recently, and I felt ok, but a little awkward. One of them I was asked question, so I just answered - not so bad. The other I had to learn a 'script' and by gosh - I realised how BAD my memory is! I used to do speech & drama and had no problem learning lines when I was 16 and 17. Now? Forget it!

    I'm prob being too hard on myself, but it's not as easy as it looks.

    Great insight to the world of telly!

  8. I've been interviewed a few times for new stories and I have to admit I'm totally out of my depth so you have my admiration :)

  9. oh wow, exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time. Tip of my cap to you:) Jen

  10. You're just too brilliant for words, Kym. I kinda always knew you were camera-ready, but nerves of steel too? My superwoman! x

  11. OMG - this is just getting better and better!! Look at you!! phft! I am lost for

  12. Oh wow! How did I not know about this? My blogger account wiped me as part of some Google App thingo and I've lost all my fave blogs to frequent.


Thank you for your thoughtful and positive words and taking the time to comment. Love Kymmie. xx