A Stroll Down The Red Carpet : An Editorial Viewpoint
One of the most entertaining aspects of the Emmy Award Season is about to transpire. A slew of incredible, talented craft people whose skills enhance the medium while their names and faces are seldom recognizable, will be thrust center stage amongst a swarm of cameras and mikes.
The fun begins with the questions a number of press-types barrage the nominated talent with. Undoubtedly, a number of them will be asked “Who are you wearing?” Costume designers always have an amusing or well-informed answer to this question. However, sound mixers and editors generally seem a little unprepared to speak about their outfits’ makers. I’m especially fond of the often bewildered and occasionally terse “I don’t know” reply myself.
Jewelry does tend to fair a little better, for most folks have a story related to their finest accessories, be it a family heirloom, a gift from a loved one, or a present to themselves.
Every year, I hear someone ask the below-the-line nominees “What TV Shows are you rooting for?” I always hope to hear someone respond “The one I worked on.” Or better yet, “Why don’t you take a guess?” The response I have heard to this inquiry is that the talent has been too busy to watch a lot of programming. Many of those below the line crew barely have time to rest for a day or two between projects. Often, if they aren’t trying to enjoy time with their families or knocking off some of those everyday tasks from their to-do lists like laundry or bill paying, they try to get a little vacation in, or just a general nap.
I’ve also heard some interviewers ask “Which actor did you like working with the most?” Hair and makeup artists generally do have the opportunity to speak with the talent while they are working, however instead of pointing out who their “favorite” is, they will often diplomatically speak about who they worked on the most. Composers, on the other hand, generally work with the script and edited segments, so they may comment on performances they enjoyed. Typically, this outstanding group of nominees will applaud the entire cast of actors who, along with each background craft, act as another gear of the show’s complex machinery.
It is certainly challenging when one doesn’t know who the talent is, and even worse if the content they worked on is a mystery. The safest bet, or course, would be to ask “What does it feel like to be nominated?” or at the very least, “How are you feeling about being part of today’s ceremony?” One would think the talent would get sick of answering these questions (and I am sure they do) however it’s surprising how few people actually cover the basic ABC’s.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not qualified to criticize the reporting ability of anyone. I wasn’t a journalism major, and the one journalism class I did take in college I was too shy to actually conduct an interview, so I fabricated an entire scenario. My interviewee was a freshman who came from a rural farm in Massachusetts. She grew up having to slaughter chickens, and recounted the first time she had to take a bird’s life. I never killed a chicken myself, nor did I live on a farm, however the subject was interesting to me so I researched it and crafted a character who did life that life. Fortunately for me, I outgrew my crippling fear of interviewing a stranger and relish the fact that I can be a part of the television industry’s biggest night. Each nominated individual gave their craft their all and their peers have bestowed them with a tremendous recognition.
Fortunately, there are enough dedicated reporters who understand this recognition deserves a little more interest than what brand of shirt their wearing.