6 a.m. and I’m up. Feeling pretty good despite being up most of the night. I head for the studio and they are ready for me. Straight into hair and make-up, add a microphone and I’m good to go (even hair and make up couldn’t make me soap opera worthy). I run through my routine with Charlie, my trusty guide since the very beginning and an all-round nice fella, very positive and supportive … I make a mental note to send him a Nite Hood as thanks.
The line outside the studio is long. The other presenters are also being ‘wrangled’ (TV lingo I picked up) by other junior producers. An hour later and I’m suddenly on deck! My pillow is draped with colourful Nite Hoods. I‘m wearing silk pajamas, top open to reveal a jaunty t-shirt featuring my “sleeping guy” logo. I’m feeling sharp. Decadent. Maybe even cozy.
Whoops, time for lunch. They hand me a lovely plate of salmon and rice – quite yummy. I sit next to a contestant who has a really beautiful industrial design that is totally audacious … maybe even from another planet. He is very earnest and has the demeanour of cool under pressure, then admits that he’s “sh*tting bricks”.
I’m beginning to feel like my three hours of sleep is gaining on me. I do some jumping jacks (in silk pajamas) and chat with the other presenters, getting elevator pitch after elevator pitch from each one. It does wear on you after a while, but also keeps my head in the game, and away from the dreaded “unconfident” space.
Lunch ends. Now you may recall that before lunch I was next up, but when we get back to the staging area, a whole new set of presenters has assembled. It’s a scene of enthusiasm and pageantry and nerves. I see another group is already on deck. Oh well. I practice my pitch and try to keep alert – the lack of sleep is definitely catching up. Charlie comes by and says (surprise!) that I’ll be on hold for a bit. They want to set up a last minute prop for me. OK.
Next Up. Which might mean next up. Or …
I’m back in the presenter lounge waiting for a call time. I try my elevator pitch on a stage-hand. She nods politely and seems engaged. How many times has she had to deal with this before? Maybe you get good at looking engaged. I focus on staying alert, pace around, and look out the long gallery of widows from the 10th floor.
Once more I’m called down to the staging area. Am I really on deck this time? I take a seat and my eyes droop shut. I might be napping, a good fit with The Nite Hood, but definitely not part of my pitch. Eventually I get back on deck. Now I’m desperately trying to get back into my “sparky head”. I do more jumping jacks. Then finish it with a little dance for extra measure. I’m still a little fuzzy, so I sprint down the gallery to really get the blood pumping. When I get back I notice there’s a camera guy filming this routine.
“Can you do that little dance again?”
I hesitate, but see Charlie smiling his big grin at me. Then I’m doing the dance. Hey folks, this is show biz! (Man I sure hope it gets cut.)
Charlie gets a call. Yikes! We’re moving into the studio. I get passed off to a stage hand who guides me up to the set, a mock industrial space backed up with stairs and passageways behind frosted windows which overlook the stage.
I wait some more (hey I’m getting good at this part) with my stage person. She’s chattering away on her headset with various people and confirming my readiness. I can hear the people below on the set on the other side of the windows. My stage person gives me the countdown. When she points at me, I’m to walk through the set and down the stairs to my mark on the floor … right in front of The Dragons.
Get ready ladies and gentlemen: things are about to get cozy! – see part 4