Surreal. It met my expectations and exceeded them. It was fun, challenging and rewarding. I laughed at all the quirks I was exposed to, and how many television clichés are actually true. And my head is still spinning about how it all went down.
What did I learn first? The television industry moves FAST. Within a mere thirty-six hours of receiving “You’re on!” James and I had landed in a beautiful snow covered New York City, primed for action. As our limo whisked us away from the airport towards the posh hotel, I had to smile. I loved it.
James and I were raring to go to the CNBC studio at eleven the next morning, which was actually located in New Jersey. As our limo pulled up astride others, the realness of the whole event hit me: this was it.
James and I were escorted to the green room, the backstage room all the members of the show can hang out, relax, eat, and watch other guests perform with Donny. Hang out? Relax? I did introduce myself to the other man who’d be featured on the show, Bob Walker, but in reality, I was pacing the floor like a caged animal. I shook out my shoulders. Did I want to sit? No. Did I want to eat? No. I wanted to work with Donny and try and rock this thing!
“Steve! We like your energy – we’ve changed the line-up of the show and you’re on first,” the executive producer ran up and informed me. She and I briefly went over the script and acted out a mock interview. It went well! She promptly left, and I was left wondering, “That’s it?! Can I just grab that from you…” No other preparation? Both my nerves and my excitement rocketed. It was time for hair and make-up.
And then it was go time.
I walked on set and disco music was blaring. “Disco music?” I asked the crew. “Disco Donny,” they replied with a grin, as the man himself appeared. He was fantastic. Personal and jovial, relaxing me and making small talk, but sharply professional – it was very clear Donny was in total control, always. The interview itself went pretty smoothly. It was just funny, just weird, that the segment I’d watched and studied so many times was now happening. And furthermore, I was making it happen.
And then it was over. Back to reality and back to work. If this story makes me out to be some superb or super confident speaker, don’t be fooled. I hated speaking in front of crowds. Surprised? Years ago, I flubbed a huge presentation to Coca Cola company; it was somewhat spur of the moment, and I was totally unprepared to deal with it. It scarred me. I decided that I never wanted to feel that way again. Even if it killed me, I’d be able to work a crowd. And even then, my first experience on television was pretty horrible – so bad, in fact, that a friend in the Bay Area that happened to see the segment informed me that I was in desperate need of some help. So was I ready for “The Big Idea”? Yes – the preparation has been an ongoing process for years and years now!