Cut Off

Once I had some presenting experience, the doors were opened for more presenting auditions – corporate gigs, internet “TV shows”, etc. I tried imaging my career taking the trajectory of Greg Kinnear’s – working my way up to presenting on E! and then landing a career-defining role like his portrayal of a gay artist in As Good as it Gets.

I got a job doing some “man on the street” interviews, or vox pops as the marketing types call it. I had to ask people about their online behaviors, where they spent time online, whether they were concerned about security and most importantly – it was for American Express, after all – whether they used their credit cards online.

Doing the on-camera work and memorizing the questions were both easy enough. The hard part was nabbing passers-by for “a short interview” which I had to assure them was “for research, not for TV.” Plus, the interviewees had to fit the brief – successful local business people, age 30 - 50. So I could forget about the easy pickings, e.g. tourists or wannabe media types and other apparently jobless people who had nothing better to do than lounge around Golden Square at 3 o’clock on a cloudy Tuesday. But, I had a job to do and a minimum of 20 interviews to film.

The cameraman neglected to bring a body mic, so I took the giant fuzzy grey squirrel-tale-like mic he provided, summoned up my inner American and marched right up to my first victim and asked for an interview. Surprisingly, a lot of people were willing to give their opinions without much persuading. I think it’s the camera thing. It makes them feel important.

We finished after a few hours and went to a Starbucks to watch some raw footage. I’m no Larry King, but I thought I did a pretty good job of probing for details and getting info out of people. But after watching two or three interviews, I realized the camera had not been on me at all. Most of the time, the camera man had zoomed straight into the person’s face. I guess he wanted to dramatize their true feelings about online banking.

In the wider shots, I was on screen – well my nose was, along with the squirrel mic. It may not help me get a gig on E!, but at least I got paid.