Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Internship [part 3]

I was equally as nervous on day 2 as I was on day 1, so much so that I just wanted to run away and not turn up but my hostbrother dropped me off and there was no way I was turning back. Shaking in my boots I asked for Arturo at the newdesk and soon enough he came through and told me I could watch whilst one of the newsreaders, Katie Marzullo, did the 'Pound Puppy' segment. I watched as Katie held a little Jack Russel puppy and ran through the whole segment first time without a single mistake. As soon as she was done she rushed off to her next engagement. I stayed behind and spoke to the women from the dog shelter who'd brought the pup. I was telling her how I had a Jack Russel myself but that she didn't look like "Milo" who was white with brown and black patches but instead is tan with white socks on her feet. The shelter worker told me that was exactly how Milo's brothers and sisters looked too but they didn't pick them for the segment as it was thought they wouldn't 'sell' as well. That's kind of sad really as they're all puppies and are no doubt adorable but I guess the world revolves around aesthetics and there's no escaping that.

I spent the rest of the time working the teleprompter and I was feeling pretty comfortable with it considering it was only my second time working it but then my worst nightmare happened...the teleprompter screen kept rolling backwards and as much as I tried to turn it the other way it was just doing its own thing. I felt sick to my stomach as I thought it was something I was doing wrong and would be in huge trouble as this was being aired live and could haven potentially been a major embarrassment for the news station. Luckily one of the newsroom operators told me it was just a technical issue and not caused by my rookie teleprompter skills. At this point Arturo was doing the news segment and he just had to ad-lib which I was super impressed with. I'm sure many people assume that being a news reader isn't difficult as you're just spoon fed everything like a robot but these anchors know exactly what they're saying and are capable of speaking without the teleprompter if the need arises. I even discovered that at times the newsreaders will diverge from the script and use their own lines so the segment appears more authentic.

Thinking the technical errors were over I started to relax again but then someone shouted that old scripts were coming up on the teleprompter which the newsanchor was reading off of. To make matters worse the footage on  the screen was from a current story so all of a sudden the technical operators deleted all of the scripts from the teleprompter which completely confused the newsanchor who was mid-way through a sentence. Thankfully they put on some pre-recorded footage for a couple minutes while they transferred the new scripts to the teleprompter. Live television may be fun to watch but for the people behind the scenes it's hard work, stressful and involves a lot of risk as so much can go wrong and every mistake is broadcast to thousands of tv sets in the community.

When it was time for me to go home I went to collect my things from the desk where Tom worked and I found a big poster rolled up with a post-it note attached reading "Welcome to America - This is for you!". It turned out to be a promo poster for some new tv show(some drama about dinosaurs that I'm quite sure never made it past the first season). I couldn't have been more grateful and was extremely grateful that my existence there was even acknowledged.

I was due to come back the following week and I had every intention but didn't have any transport from my host family so I had to get there on foot. It turned out to be a very long walk and I wasn't really sure where I was going, I just had to go off memory from when we'd driven to the news station so I kept walking along this street and there was no news station in sight but all these buildings I didn't recognise at all and there weren't even proper paths to walk on any more. I started to get scared too as it didn't seem like the safest part of town and I kept seeing all these creepy men. It was getting super close to the time I had to be there at so I decided to head back thinking I must have completely got the roads mixed up. I knew then though I wouldn't be returning, they wouldn't want someone who didn't show up and I didn't have Arturo's number to call him and apologise. They needed someone they could rely on and I knew I couldn't walk back in there again knowing I'd let people down as they would have been assuming I was coming in to work the teleprompter for them.

Secretly I was glad to have an excuse not to go back there again. On the bright side I was extremely grateful to have had the two day experience and thinking about it I would have been really nervous if I had to go back each week as there weren't that many people to talk to me as everyone seemed too busy so awkwardness would have been aplenty. I really hate awkwardness. Another reason I was glad it ended so soon was that I didn't really want to have to walk such a long distance on my own in the unsavoury part of the city, two days a week.

 Had I done the internship at a later stage in my life I think things would have gone better- I would have been more confident in my self and not been so afraid of making mistakes and upsetting people. I knew I probably upset Arturo as he went out of his way to get me the internship and then I bailed on him. I did try to make amends by sending an email of apology but it never received a reply....

 You live and you learn.

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