Archive for February, 2010

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An Astounding Day…The Emmy Nominations Are Announced

February 25, 2010

Driving rain, snow, slush, and an icy wind stabbing my face like a thousand needles as I stepped out the front door this morning. The kind of brutal weather that makes you want to retreat to a comfortable sofa and cup of hot chocolate and watch this wintertime assault through the living room window.  

But that wasn’t happening.

The New York Emmy Award nominations were being announced this morning…I was one of the the people doing the announcing…and I needed to be at the CUNY-TV studio on Fifth Avenue by 9 AM.

Garment bag in hand (so my awards-announcing get-up wasn’t drenched by the time I got there) I headed out…two trains and a pointless cab ride later (crosstown traffic during a rainy rush hour is hopeless, so I got out and walked) I was there.

I consider it an enormous honor that NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) asked me to be one of the tv personalities to announce nominees and I felt fortunate just to be there.

A few minutes before we go live on the air, each announcer is handed a long script of nominees.  Here is where a great day, became an astounding one.

Glancing through the script I noticed ON THE SCENE was listed, twice.  Yes, I learned this morning that our show has recieved two Emmy Award nominations for arts and entertainment programming! I am ecstatic, moved, humbled, honored, every emotion you can imagine. Especially because of which pieces are nominated…both are on a subject that is close to me and one that is an important part of ON THE SCENE: how art transcends obstacles and lifts people to a higher understanding. We interview many famous entertainers on the show, but I know there will always be a place for lesser known artists whose work shows merit, originality, and so often, bravery.

“An Artistic Vision” took everyone into the world of  Bojana Coklyat who has triumphed over nearly completely losing her eyesight to continue painting. “GIMP” explores that provocatively titled ensemble of able bodied and disabled dancers, choreographed by Heidi Latsky.  For the photographers and video editors who collaborated so closely with me on these pieces, it’s terrific that they are all nominated for their work, too.

I know you may be interested in knowing more about these nominated segments and there’ll be more on the website in the days ahead…but if it’s ok with you, tonight, it’s time to celebrate!

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I’ll Be Announcing The Emmy Noms!

February 23, 2010

It’s an exciting week. I just found out I’ll be announcing the 2010 New York Emmy Award nominations. It’ll be  Thursday, February 25th in the studio of CUNY-TV in New York. There’s a breakfast attended by a bunch of industry folks and then several of us who are reading the nominees go live on the air at 10 AM. So tune in, New York!

Actually, it’s a big day for the tv biz in the New York region. Everybody tries be all cool about it, but many reporters, anchors, hosts, producers, writers, photographers, editors and many other tv professionals are anxious and hopeful that day. Who turns down an Emmy nomination? Nobody!

It’s an honor to be asked to do this and a return engagement for me (I announced nominations last year, too.) So my sincere gratitude to Jacqueline Gonzalez and everyone at NATAS for their confidence in me and support. And good luck to all of my colleagues. It’s going to be a great year. I feel it!

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And We Begin…

February 19, 2010

Another ON THE SCENE episode behind us, the next is coming together quickly!

First, thanks to those of you who’ve emailed me about  last weekend’s show…there are certainly some Dave Koz fans out there who I heard from and a number of people wrote to say they are happy to see Ben Vereen back on stage, too.  Both men were great interviews and generous with their time.

And I always love when every person I hear from names a different segment as their favorite, which happened this time. That means the show offered something for everyone, a true variety that many viewers could relate to. I’ve learned that if everybody likes the same thing, the rest of the show might be falling flat!

Now, it’s the interesting challenge of putting together the next one, which really always begins before the previous show airs. About three weeks ago we spent a fascinating afternoon in a rehearsal studio in Nyack, New York with the guitarist, Al Di Meola. It’s a true inside and candid look at how he and his band make music .  We have several other artists confirmed and I’ll be talking more about those interviews in a couple weeks.

This is one of the most exciting times for me because you see the possibilities, all the things “the next show” can bring.

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Show Time!

February 12, 2010

The newest ON THE SCENE episode airs this weekend, the one I’ve been telling you about with Dave Koz, Ben Vereen and the extraordinary painter, Christina Symanski. (Read back to my previous posts if you want to know more about my experience with each of these interviews).

It’s funny what happens the night before a new episode airs: I feel excited and a little nervous. It may sound odd because it’s not live, it’s taped television. I’ve seen the show a million times by now through the editing process, I wrote it and did the interviews. But I’ve discovered, until you see the show on tv at home, you haven’t seen it. It truly looks and sounds different in an edit suite or control room. Something happens when it goes out over the airwaves and comes through a television screen that causes subtle changes, and I find I watch the show as a viewer for the first time.

I’ve also learned in television, watch something once. If you like it, don’t watch the re-run. I just get self-critical the second time around!

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Frame By Frame To A New ON THE SCENE

February 6, 2010

Lunch. It’s what I think video editors don’t want me to take when we’re putting together ON THE SCENE.

Not because it takes us away from the matter at hand. But because it gives me time to think about what we’ve done all morning. And what I want to change.

It happened again Thursday, the second of two intense days in an edit suite, just my video editor and me, frame by frame creating an entire half hour show for next weekend.

We were editing the piece, which I think we’ll call “Canvas To Recovery,” about the artist Christina Symanski (there’s a picture of the two of us in the gallery). She lost the use of her arms and legs in a diving accident and now paints with her mouth. Extraordinary. The piece needed to live up to her courage and it wasn’t feeling right,  it didn’t have an identity, yet.  

Then we took lunch. And suddenly the story became clearer.

What do they put in a chicken caesar wrap?

Coming back to something with a fresh eye works wonders. We reconfigured, cut, added, changed the pace and in the process, discovered the piece’s  emotional honesty. What’s more important than that?

Editing is about exploring possibilities. I’m always saying to editors, “I’m open to trying anything. Let’s just see how it looks.” It is the most nuanced, meticulous,  and often most invigorating thing I am a part of.  Because I also produce my on-air work, there’s a creative freedom and power in this process, too.  But it’s the collaboration, trying new things, creating a mood and a feeling that really turns me on about all this. And just ask editors who I’ve worked with, it’s a very physical thing for me, too. I’m in and out of my chair, clapping my hands to the beat of what we’re editing (whether there’s music or not, everything has a rhythm), talking out a solution, exchanging suggestions,  and exploding with, “that’s it!” and “perfect!” when we really get it right. And when we do, it’s always a moment for us to celebrate.

It’s a tremendous episode that also includes some very personal moments with Dave Koz and Ben Vereen (check the archives of my blog for more on them).

Like I said here in the blog before, it’s a total passion. Right down to the last frame.