It’s entirely possible we’ll be on national TV tonight.
It all depends on what the editors of Turner Classic Movies did in putting together the interview with Michael Douglas that airs first at 8 o’clock tonight.
Far more important, it depends on what they did with their audience cutaways.
Let me explain. The one-hour program, which airs at 8 p.m. and re-airs at 11, is part of the “Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival” series.
“Live” is a little misleading. We were at that event — at last year’s festival. The Douglas filming took place at the Montalban Theatre, a former Hollywood television and movie studio, from noon until about 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, 2017.
The theater was far from the other movie-showing venues at the festival. “Attendees are strongly encouraged to arrive early,” we were told. “Attendees who are walking should account for extra travel time.”
No lie. The walk was more than half an hour, as I recalled. But we left in plenty of time to be there by abut 10 a.m., and thus to be among only 500 who could get in. Fortunately, there was a Starbucks nearby — a Starbucks with a bathroom — to help pass the time.
Vicki and I were close enough to the front of the line that we got seats in the center of the lower level when the theater was finally opened. That, as it turned out, included the relatively small area of the audience that would be filmed.
And this is the part I had no idea about: Those audience cutaways you see in shows like this aren’t occurring at the same time. Not at all.
Here’s what happens:
A producer comes out and says that, now, before the event, we’re going to film the audience. Then he proceeds to ask for a variety of “reactions.” For something mildly amusing, let’s get some small smiles. For something very funny, uproarious laughter. For something thoughtful, a considering look and maybe a sight nod of the head. And so forth.
While we in the audience are mugging, camera people roam the aisles, recording these “reactions.” Later, they will be spliced into the interview footage.
I have to admit I was a bit shameless. I appeared enormously entertained. I laughed uproariously. I nodded furiously. I appeared as thoughtful as if I was listening to Socrates.
I’ve got to have made the cut.
Now, someone may deem my “performance” too “theatrical.” Perhaps I was giving more of an over-the-top performance, better suited for the stage than for the cameras.
Douglas and host Ben Mankiewicz genuinely were interesting. You’ll enjoy the interview. For us, it was indeed a very entertaining afternoon, well worth both the walk and the wait. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
But, while they were very good, I have to say, I killed it.