The Other Side of the Screen

Yesterday morning I was lucky enough to be invited to the studios of York TV, a television station that broadcasts to 250, 000 people in our local area (though I don’t know how many were up at 7:45 am!). I was there to talk about my forthcoming novel, Deja Vu. Because it was an interesting experience, I thought I would write a few words about it.

First of all, a bit of honesty: I don’t like talking about myself. In everyday conversation, if somebody finds out I am a writer, I usually tell them a little about my book, when it will be published, and the process of editing. I’m not an especially private person, but I get bored with people who talk about themselves too much, so I try not to do it myself.

I was interested to see how I would behave in front of a camera. First rule: no swearing. Second rule: wear something bright because the sofa is black. Third rule: spend the previous night swearing because you only have one serviceable shirt, which is dark.

York TV is a locally-run station and they have an informal approach to things. Their studios amount to a collection of farm buildings on the outskirts of York. In the light of 7:30 am, the frost had made the fields icy-white, but the low sun was blood red. It all looked a bit serious.

I was due to be a guest on York TV’s morning magazine show, York Today – a kind of GMTV. The director greeted me at the door and showed me through to the studio, a long, low room with a set at one end. On the set was a sofa, fierce lighting and two friendly presenters: Dawn and Nick. I shook hands with both of them, exchanged some pleasantries, and was led to the ‘green room’. The green room contained a make-up table and a television, which was showing York TV. The adverts ended and suddenly Dawn and Nick were on the same, black sofa I had just been looking at. I glanced at Britta, my partner, who had accompanied me to the studio.

“Out the door, first on your right,” she said.

I returned from the toilet a few minutes later and watched the show – pacing a trench – until it was my turn to go on. Britta wished me good luck. I puffed out my chest and walked into the studio.

The interview went surprisingly well. Dawn obligingly offered my book to the camera and Nick chatted to me about the differences between CD publishing and book publishing. We all talked about the psychological phenomenon of ‘deja vu’. I outlined the book’s story. Most of the interview was spent detailing the tribulations of getting the book published, particularly the task of getting a publisher to look at your work on the basis of its quality rather than its marketability. Overall, I was pleased with the performance. I had prepared some stock answers to questions like “What is the book about?” “Why do you want to be a writer?”, but, in the event, I didn’t use any of them.

So did I get bored with talking about myself for fifteen minutes? Nope! Thanks to the team at York TV for making it so much fun.

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

One thought on “The Other Side of the Screen”

  1. I think York TV was really good at first – it was exciting and new – it had some very original ideas but then you started seeing that Dawn on TV – she just wanted a shag really cos all she talked about was sex. It must have started to get really badly organised last summer cos the quality just got worse and worse. Bring back the old team (whoever they were) they knew what they were doing not like the nonces that have been on for the last year.

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