Thursday, August 12, 2010

Taping The Quilt Show

Taping The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims was an adventure.


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:


58 comments:

Sujata Shah said...

WHAT FUN! I love all the 'inside' info about the set. Seriously? same audience with different shirts and seats? I would have never guessed that!
I truly am thrilled for you and can not wait fort eh show.

Sujata Shah said...

I got so excited, left an error! I meant 'for the show!'

Brenda said...

ahhh, the magic of TV. Sounds nerve-wracking and fun. I'm sure it will be fine. and I'd like a close-up of Slither eek boo--can we see it now? please????

Tonya R said...

ya gotta love this: I don't have any photos of Slither Eek Boo. I meant to get one while it was so fabulously hanging up on the wall, but got distracted by lunch... I don't have any closups either. I know the cameraman got some for the show though!

Jennifer D said...

Oh I hope I get to see the show. I bet you were fantastic. I wanna see Slither Eek Boo too!

Great job Tonya as always. I just started a baby quilt with the free pieced word technique. I am so grateful you taught me :-)

AnnieO said...

Very very exciting, even with the nerves and stunning time lapse that happens when cameras are rolling! I'm sure you did just fine. Hope Pokey is doing well now.

Mama Koch said...

Congrats on doing the show. I would've been a nervous wreck too.

BTW--I took a class with Lola Jenkins..she is a hoot!

KnitOneQuiltTooKristin said...

Great post! I'm sure you did fine and that photo below with you, Alex and Ricky is just great. What a thrill for you. The quilts look fantastic too!

Elaine Adair said...

Oh Tonya - your description is wonderful and I am imagining I was actually THERE! And I'm so glad you didn't throw up! -- tooo funny, girl!!! Of course, your quilts look lovely as usual, but I surely DID enjoy your description of this event! Thanks muchly!

Loris said...

So glad you are home to relax again with Pokey but it looks like the show will be a hit! Can't wait till it airs. Good Job!

belinda said...

Oh Wow girl....I was just sooo nervous for you just reading this post! I could breath easy again when I got down to the kitty. Oh yes...I'm like you...I NEVER want to have to walk around up in front of a group or crowd! This was so interesting and the quilts looked great didn't they. First we are waiting for the book AND NOW we have to wait for the show!!! Good things come to those who wait.....soooo I'll be waitin' and waitin'!!! HA!

Sharon said...

I bet you did great! Your quilts are beautiful and lots of good things are coming your way. Congrats on it all!

black bear cabin said...

how exciting!!! i loved all the inside info...reading it was almost like being there...without all the fear of having to go on the air :) im sure you did great, but i have to laugh at the fact that you never checked yourself in mirror...i probably would have been obsessing in front of it :) hugs and cant wait to see the show!

Penny Schine Gold said...

It's great to see your quilts hanging next to each other in a group. Fantastic!

Victoria @ BUMBLE BEANS said...

way to go Tonya! I'm sure it was fabulous! your quilts look fabulous!
adn I bet the kitties were HAPPY to see you home! (see ya soon!)

paula, the quilter said...

I can vouch for the changing shirts and seats since I was in the audience on Tuesday for Ami Simms and the Priority Alzheimer's Quilts. I'm glad you got photos, Tonya, because they did not allow the audience to take any.

upstateLisa said...

wow! insider scoop! how utterly glamorous it all sounds LOL!

sewprimitive karen said...

Congratulations, so interesting, I'm sure you were so good! I liked the part about the audience changing shirts and seats.

julieQ said...

Congratulations! You are a star!! Can I have your autograph, LOL!! I am so glad you had a good time...

Statch said...

This is so exciting! It was great to see your quilts hanging up on the set there. Can't wait to see the show!

Jan said...

You poor thing! You sound so frazzled but I'll bet you'd do it over again in a hot tick! ha ha I hope I get to see your session some day. Congratulations!

Teresa said...

Superstar!! How fun! We are all super excited for you and are glad we know you, but isn't it funny how the kitties just aren't impressed...they are just glad you are back and wonder where the Hell you've been (and why you've stopped loving on them to type...)!

(and "where are the kitty treats?!?")

In stitches,
Teresa :o)

Gypsy Quilter said...

Your quilts look sooooo totally wonderful and creative and colorful up on that wall . . . that noooobody is going to notice fingernails. I'm glad you made it through the perspiring, ooops, I mean inspiring event and I know your kitties are glad you're home safe and sound.

Osage Bluff Quilter said...

I might just have to renew my membership.

Nifty Quilts said...

Yea!! Congratulations!! I think it's amazing that you didn't throw up or swallow your tongue or something. I'm sure I would have. Your quilts look great, and so do you. The magenta shirt is perfect.

Tilkunviilaaja said...

Thank you for sharing your exciting experience with us! It was very interesting to read about. And just out of curiosity: what is the material with the frond-like pattern in Pokey photo? Fabric? A garment? If it is fabric, it looks very intriguing!

Clare said...

Exciting and very very nerve wracking. I'd be like a jelly.

I didn't realise Slither Eek Boo was so big. It's a wonderful quilt. Keep us updated on when your interview will be shown.

Has someone been buying Halloween fabric?

Marit said...

Tonya, thank you for sharing the experience with us! I hope to be able to see the show, have to figure out how to. It is great seeing your quilts up on the studio wall!
; )

Judy in Michigan said...

Thank you so much for including us in your taping session! I can hardly wait - I'm so proud to say you are my teacher! Way to go!!!!

joe tulips said...

OMG, I am so excited for you!! Seeing the quilts on the set made me want to go make more letters!! They looked fabulous!
...and I was tickled pink to see my "grin" block!!

Ricky Tims said...

To all of Tonya's fans... she was fantastic!! Whatever insecurities she had didn't show one bit!!!

Carla said...

Yay, Tonya!! I'm so excited for you. Congratulations. I hope this was on your Bucket List!
By the way, I put in a good word for your book on my blog this week along with my quilt using your tutorial for letters! I am sure looking forward to it.

CraftyRachel said...

Wow!!! That's so cool about the show! Glad your signature Halloween quilts made an appearance. :)

It's been literally years since I've been in touch, but I wanted to tell you that I'm finally embarking on my second ever quilt and have learned so much from you. Thanks again (and I still have a thimble you leant me in Paris!)

Quiltdivajulie said...

What an incredible experience - thank you for sharing with all of us!

(after seeing the stage, no wonder the monkeys were left behind)

HUGS to you!!!

Kim said...

Oh wow Ricky left you an "You rock girl" message!

I bet you did too!

Okay and I have to say seeing my little contribution to your quilt (Slither eek boo) was a little thrill for me too :0).

Can't wait to see it......and get my hands on your book!

Happy sewing

Julie in the Barn said...

I'm so excited for you. All the inside poop is such a hoot. To think....I'm a cyber friend of a TV star!

Applique Pattern Tim said...

Congrats on your experience. You always look & sound better to other people than to yourself so I'm sure the show will turn out fantastic.

Tim

Em said...

I am so tickled for you!!!!

jmbmommy said...

Wow, wow

I love that brown w/green fabric that Pokey is sitting on...

Wow, you are like a famous quilter. Your quilts look great on the walls of that studio. I am going to figure out a way to see that show. Good for you!

Lynda said...

I was thrilled enough to see my 'gurgle' in the middle of Slither, eek, boo, so what you must have felt like, I can hardly imagine! Great to have a 'behind the scenes' peek. Looking forward to seeing the show!

Gail said...

What a great experience and opportunity for you. I've always liked Alex Anderson and when she had her show "Simply Quilts" itt was one of my favorites. Can't wait to see your show when it airs in 2011.

Having a book published and beng on TV--Wow, what an accomplishement. Congrats, Tonya.

Kristin L said...

There's a lot to be said for not throwing up! I keep hearing from friends that do segments on quilt shows that the finished product looks so much better than they expected -- we all thing we blather like idiots! I'm sure you did great. :-)

Mary said...

How exciting! I'm sure you did great but I can relate because I'm nervous just speaking at guilds about HeartStrings. There's something about walking into a room full of strangers and standing up front by myself that makes me really nervous, I'd be a wreck if you added a camera into the mix!

Katie said...

How exciting! I'm so glad it went well. :-)

Leeann said...

Can't wait to see your show, you look great in the pink top too. I'm sure to will be great! You'll have to watch it with Pokey.

Kris said...

Congratulations!! Now you are a star. Thanks for sharing all the behind the scenes info. It was so interesting. It will be fun to see the actual show. What a treat to see your quilts on the set. You must have been over the moon.

Jackie said...

I can't wait to see the show!! This is so exciting!! Congrats!!

Cheryl Arkison said...

Love the behind the scenes footage! Enlightening. (But I did notice you didn't say much about Alex and Ricky...)

Mama Spark said...

I am so excited for you!! I bought your book (pre-ordered it) I'm sure you did very well. I made it as a finalist in the McCall's design contest, so some excitement going on here too. You are an inspiration to me. Thank you so much for sharing all the wonderful things that are happening for you. Congrats!!

ANudge said...

A great post on how a show is done. Very informative, but what I liked most was seeing your quilts. I'm new to your blog and saw some I had never seen before. You do marvelous work.

rebeka y esperanza said...

Hi Tonya! I´m from Spain. I´m looking your blog much time. I like so much your abecedary´s quilts. I have made an enter of your page in my spanish blog, so you are invited to see it. rebekapassionpatch.blogspot.com. Bye!!!

Diane said...

Thanks for the behind the scenes tour of "The Quilt Show". I know you must have been nervous (no cue cards!) but I'm sure you did fine. What a great idea to start the show already seated. Your quilts look fabulous and make a striking backdrop.

Sharon said...

I'm so proud of you! On The Quilt Show! . . . and you didn't throw up! I would have been, cuz I get so nervous in front of people. I'm sure you did wonderfully, and I can't wait to see this!

The behind-the-scenes peek was fascinating, and I loved seeing your quilts! (and especially enjoyed seeing my blocks in them - even the giganto "Woooo" looked good!) I've met Alex before (she lived not too far from me when I lived in CA so got to see her at some events), and she is so sweet.

I had to laugh at the photo of Pokey on your suitcase - there's no clothes there, only fabric!! You MUST be a quilter! hee hee!

Carol E. said...

I'm confident that you did a fabulous job, and I hope I manage to see the show! I don't even know when, where, which channel, etc... probably it's on cable, which I don't have? I'll try, somehow, to see you.

Pam said...

How exciting. Looking forward to seeing your episode.

A Paperback Writer said...

Love, love, LOVE the Halloween quilts!

ArtGirl said...

that's awesome!! i'm sure it went fabulously. it's interesting to see the photos of the set, it looks so different when you can't see all the background.

Adele said...

Don't you just LOVE Shelly.???? She is a friend of mine ! Glad you had a good time !