“We will be crossing live to Kelly Clarkson in 2 minutes.”
I looked around the mass of cables from my now unplugged computer screens and sprang into action, plugging cables back in, moving the screens and webcam sort of into place and throwing myself back in my chair before realising, “Where is Kylo?”
Our journey to being on the Kelly Clarkson show started many weeks ago when one of the producers spotted Kylo’s loveable pirate kitty story from another media piece and got in touch with us.
Kylo and I were asked to put together a one-minute video audition piece to ensure we didn’t have two heads and could string a few words together. The production team would screen this audition video, and if we passed, we would be invited onto the show.
You have probably guessed by now that Kylo only ever does whatever he wants to do. He is not a cuddly or smoochy cat – except on his terms and timing. He hates being picked up, and any attempt to hold him will turn him into a wriggly salmon who could give Bleeping Fish a run for his money. You have no hope when he wriggles!
But Kylo behaved beautifully without a wriggly salmon in sight for the camera the day I filmed the piece, and we made it through the screening process.
The next phase was a detailed interview with a producer on his story and collecting photos that could be put together in a film montage for the piece.
We also had to pass a criminal history check. The production team now knows I did a rolling stop at a stop sign in 1993 and got a traffic ticket. Oh, the shame!
Once the interview was completed, we were given a filming date. I should say that all of this was done with the challenge of international timezones where we had a 17-hour time difference – so trying to find a time that did not involve sleep deprivation was challenging.
Kelly’s production team were friendly and professional throughout – and they needed to be for what was to come.
My first clue that things were not going to quite go to plan was a few days before filming when my fabulous hair and make-up lady, Kimberley from Bliss and Co, rang to let me know she had caught COVID and couldn’t do the shoot. There is no way that I do anything TV-related without hair and make-up at my age!
Like a trooper, Kimberley had arranged for Leah from Grace and Style Makeup, a wonderful colleague, to step in for her. I was just chatting on the phone with Leah when the email from the production team landed with the timing schedule for the filming.
Daylight saving had finished in the US the weekend before, so I needed to be ready to go at 6.30am for a tech test and run-through.
This meant Leah had to be here at just past 5am. To her immense credit, Leah was up for the early start.
What was the timetable? Here is what I received
- 1:30 pm PST/6:30 am Brisbane time: I will call you on skype to do a TECH TEST and to practice your segment with you.
- 2:00 pm PST/7:00 am Brisbane time: The show begins!
- 3:15 pm PST/8:15 am Brisbane time: The studio will call you on Skype and do a final technical check.
- 3:30 pm PST/8:30 am Brisbane time: Your interview should begin at around this time.
- 4:00 pm PST/9:00 am Brisbane: Your interview should be complete, and the show should be wrapped by this point or earlier!
Oh – and did we mention that we would be using Skype?
Now, I haven’t used Skype for over 5 years. And to make it more challenging, I have 2 Skype accounts – a business and a personal one that I haven’t touched in nearly a decade. We were going to need the personal one.
I managed to get into my old personal account (luckily, I still had access to that old email address) and update my name and photo, but the interface was not anything I was used to. Even with my tech skills, I was way out of my comfort zone right out of the gate.
The morning of the filming came, and Leah worked her magic. I was ready to rock the cameras at 6.30am, but it took me 5 excruciatingly long minutes to get my Skype to connect with the producers for the tech test.
My stress levels started to ratchet up, and my shoulders rose towards my ears.
When I finally got Skype to connect, I had the main producer comment. “You are strobing – can you get the camera to stop strobing?”
I hit Google as I was chatting to the producer as I vaguely remembered that Skype had a setting to adjust what is known as the gain – but I couldn’t for the life of me remember where the setting was.
“I need you to remove all the Star Wars things in shot.”
My office is a shrine to geekdom – so I quickly pruned my collection and filled the gaps with other things.
“Can you remove the blue police box from the wall?” “No, sorry. It is glued on.” “Can someone please get the BBC on the line – we need their OK?”
“I hate your lighting. It is washing you out. Can you just move to a different spot in the house?”
“Sorry, we have to go to the next person. I will get one of the tech team to call you back and work through the logistics.”
By this time, I was slightly hyperventilating but knew I wasn’t on for an hour at least, so I comforted myself, knowing that I could get everything sorted before then.
I took a few deep breaths, found the Skype anti-strobe setting and ticked it and then looked around the office to pick a wall where I could remove any potentially negative images in the background.
I unplugged my computer screens and webcam and started to relocate them when I had a message to call another one of the team.
I assumed it was the tech team, but no.
“Hi, this is Cindy. We are going to do a run-through of the questions Kelly is going to ask”.
“Sure thing,” I said, still moving computers.
Cindy just asked the first question and then said. “Change of plan. We will be crossing live to Kelly Clarkson in 2 minutes.”
2 minutes! I looked at the mess of cables from my unplugged computer screens and webcam and sprang into action, plugging cables back in, moving the screens and webcam sort of into place and throwing myself back in my chair before realising
“Where is Kylo?”
As I mentioned, Kylo does his own thing. And this particular morning, his own thing was to very sensibly avoid the very stressed mum flinging stuff around the office.
I scrambled out of my chair, racing around the house to find him.
Kylo decided this meant he was in for a swishy stick game and scampered up the stairs to Loot Landing, avoiding all attempts at capture.
One of my daughters woke up at this point and, still in her pyjamas, yelled at me to get back to the camera and that she would catch Kylo.
I tore back down the stairs, skidded in my chair and tried to calm my breathing.
“You will be live in 30 seconds.”
My daughter had grabbed Kylo and threw him from my office door to my desk to get him into shot.
“Live in 15 seconds.”
She then threw in his biscuit treat tin, which we hoped would keep him in shot while we were filming.
Kylo was not thrilled.
He had been grabbed. He was thrown through the air to a desk, and his computer screen and iPad did not have any mousies on them.
Instead, in my rush to set things back up, I had the film of Kelly on a different monitor screen to my webcam, so I couldn’t even see what was going on in the studio.
Kylo wanted to check out that monitor, and if there were no mousies on it, he wanted to be anywhere other than here.
The wriggly salmon was on full display, and then, just like Kylo always does, he wandered out of shot.
So, during the interview, I did my best to wrangle Kylo, see what was going on in the studio and stay calm and upbeat while my heart rate was somewhere north of the moon.
Kelly and her audience were truly lovely (from what I can remember), and I think the interview went well.
As soon as the interview was finished, I poured myself a neat whisky (who cares that it wasn’t even 7am yet) and took a few very long and very deep breaths.
So, when you look back at the interview with Kelly, you will see a lovely story about a gorgeous ginger thieving pirate. Hopefully, you won’t see everything that happened to bring it to the screen.
And what of the money from the appearance? I made a commitment that 50% of all Kylo’s earnings after tax would go to our local rescue cat charity partner, so as soon as we receive the cheque from Kelly, we will be sharing his earnings with them.