To many people, myself included when I first started this job, the thought of doing live television is daunting and fills them with trepidation. I think it’s the fear of the unknown; anything can happen, and things can and do go wrong.
To try and mitigate these possible disasters, we guest demonstrators spend an awful lot of time at home doing ‘prep’. Prep takes many forms but mainly it’s a combination of working with the products we are going to demonstrate, to the extent that we become very familiar with them. Then there’s designing and executing our ‘makes’, so we can show not just the finished item but sometimes the various stages that led us there too. There’s also the need to get the relevant facts stuck firmly in our heads that you, the viewers, will want to know about the various products we’ll be demonstrating. And there are lots of other aspects to ‘prep’ too…
But basically, we prepare so long and so hard in order to make sure things run as smoothly as possible. It reminds me of that famous quote from a professional golfer, I forget his name, when he was accused by someone of being lucky to win a major tournament. “It’s funny”, this golfer replied, “the harder I practice, the luckier I become.” It’s the same with ‘prep’…
So we arrive on set fully rehearsed and practiced, facts and figures firmly in our heads. We know what the product can do and we know we are able to demonstrate what the product can do. Nothing is left to chance.
Or so we like to think!
The other weekend I was demonstrating the new Tattered Lace bundle of Art Deco products, and we all know from experience how popular they are with the viewers. My many long hours of preparation had been done and I was ready to demonstrate what this new range of Art Deco dies could do. Unbeknown to me, older Art Deco dies were displayed on the show page of the website, and perhaps it was the sight of these that inspired a lady I only know of as ‘Bren’ to email the show to ask if we could cut the Vintage Vector card shape die, which is part of a previous Art Deco Collection.
I could have simply just cut the die as Bren had requested, but to settle for that would have been uninspiring to say the least. So, OUT went all my plans, OUT went all my long hours of preparation, and live TV being what it is, I had less than a minute to adapt my demos to incorporate Bren’s favourite die.
This is the finished card I came up with. I hope you like it!
And I have to say, I LOVED the challenge and the sheer buzz of having to adapt to such a radical change in such a short space of time. It was great, and really satisfying to have pulled it off.
I am comparatively new to this job, but I learned a lot from Bren’s email. We demonstrators absolutely need to do all our many hours of prep… but we also need to retain that spark of creativity so at the drop of a hat (or in this case, on the receipt of a single email!) we have the flexibility to turn everything on its head and come up with something fresh, to speed down a road we never thought we’d encounter. That’s the kind of thing that keeps us all fresh and on our toes, and above all, that’s the stuff that makes this wonderful job even more exciting than usual.
Thanks Bren, I owe you one!