I was so nervous beforehand, despite reassurances from fabulous producer Shelly and "Cruise Director" Lilo that it was all going to be fine. Sure, maybe for other quilters, but not me - I'm not prepared enough, I'm shy, I'm nervous...
The show is taped before a classic "live studio audience." Two shows are taped in one day and here's a secret: it's the same audience for both. They have them change shirts and sit in different seats. This is what it looks like empty.
My aunt Janet and I got to go to the studio the day before my taping to drop off some of my quilts and to watch a couple of hours of someone else being tortured. (Janet and I sat in directors chairs off to the side.) The guest turned out to be surfer dude Rob Appel. He was so relaxed and casual - made it look easy. Plus, they did some retakes so I knew that if I screwed up I could do it again - whew, that's a relief.
I was amazed to see they don't use cue cards at all. So whatever intros Ricky and Alex do, they have to remember them. It did make for some funny bloopers - I'd love to see that reel sometime. Alex would get frustrated with herself and say something like "C'mon, Alex, you're a professional, not Ricky Tims." Which made everyone laugh and relax.
It's a mad house behind the scenes because they don't have much room to work in. Quilts for the next day's two shows are placed on shelves in the prep area. I wasn't smart enough to photograph my own shelf, but look who was taping the day after me:
Jo Morton. I know some of you are big fans - her show will appear the same season as mine - in 2011 - as will everyone else who taped during this week. I think.
The quilts are later laid out on a table so that they can relax during the night. Once again, I didn't get a photo of my quilts, but these are Lola Jenkins' who was taping in the afternoon:
She was a hoot - I'm sure her taping went well.
So Janet and I arrived at the studio a bit more than an hour before taping. I then worked with the TQS folk to figure out which quilts were going up on the walls. And let me tell you - there isn't much room. It was much smaller than I had realized when watching the show.
This is setting up in the morning. In this photo you can see Alex on the left in the "bistro area" preparing the demo she was going to do in the episode. Ricky is at the Bernina sewing machine (thank you, Bernina, for sponsoring TQS) while a cameraman shoots a closeup. There is a flat screen monitor on the right where everyone can see what the camera is shooting. There are actually four cameras on the set.
And another angle, with Alex smiling:
Alex's husband John hanging Happy Halloween:
Set designer Jeff Bilyeau working on Slither Eek Boo (yes, I got it finished and Natalie Carlton did a great job with the longarm quilting):
Alex and Ricky before the taping began:
Unsurprisingly I have few photos after this point. I sat down on a chair over in the "living room" area in order to get out of the way. The day before I'd noticed how much "in-between" time there is during the taping, so I brought LAWS with me to hand quilt on - nothing soothes my nerves like hand quilting. I was able to focus on my stitches instead of holy cow what the heck am I doing here? anxieties.
Usually the guest is introduced and walks in and sits down. I knew that would freak me out - having everyone looking at me. Eek, so I begged to be allowed to start the show already seated working on the quilt and that's just what we did.
The whole thing passed by in a blur. I was told (as was the audience) "smile like an idiot" and look at Ricky and/or Alex - not the camera (eek) or audience.
I didn't even think about it until afterwards, but I never even looked in a mirror nor did a brush my hair. Hope it wasn't too goofy. My nails were in terrible shape. Per Siobhan's advice I did get a manicure beforehand--probably several days too early--but managed to chip it pretty quickly and then it went downhill from there - when I'm nervous I chew at my cuticles.
As far as I know the whole taping went fine. The demo ran a bit long and we didn't even use half of the material I'd prepared. I know I managed to get in some of the points I wanted to make but there were a whole bunch of others I didn't. Wow, that time goes by fast.
After it was over I admitted the whole thing went well enough: I didn't faint or throw up or act like a complete idiot. I know that's not setting the bar very high, but that's what I was hoping for.
More thoughts on this later, but I've got to get back to my kitty lovings. Pokey had to spend the week I was away in jail and she's in extra special cuddly girl mode. Here she is holding down my suitcase so it doesn't get away: