Friday, March 1, 2013

15 Minutes of Fame! Lights, Camera, Action!

Have you ever thought about being a celebrity?  A few weeks ago I got to experience a side of being a celebrity which very few people ever get to experience.

Let me explain.  One of my responsibilities during Super Bowl is to make sure the press conference podiums performe flawlessly.  The Half Time Show entertainer has a press conference the Thursday before the Super Bowl.  This year was no exception.  The Half Time Show press conference featured Beyonce. (Beyonce is pictured here from where I stood in the wings during the press conference)

It is customary to give one final podium check about 10 minutes before we go live on the air.  With that, I approached Brian McCarthy, VP of Communications for the NFL, and the press conference Master of Ceremonies.  I asked Brian if it was OK for me to make one last podium check.  He told me in his typical dry and matter of fact tone to proceed.

I radioed the television truck to standby.  Then I slowly walked out to the center of the stage and up to the podium.  As usual, I started to say, "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.  This is the final sound check of the podium microphone..."

... and then it happened!

The lighting designer punched in his opening cue and the lights came on in full force and moved into the position I was standing.  This was followed by an estimated three thousand (yes thousand!) photographers jumping to their feet and taking pictures of me to check their light settings and focus.  Every camera in the room was pointed right at me!

The sounds of the sea of shutters going off was unlike anything I've heard before.  I've followed this same procedure for a half a decade at the Super Bowl and never had so many photographers take pictures like this.

So I continued, "This sound check is for the television trucks and the videographers in the back of the room..."

Thousands of camera shutters continued to whir!

"Please check your sound levels one last time before we get started..."

Thousands of camera shutters continued to whir!

Then I could not help but deviate from my routine.  I went on, "For the still photographers in the room, this will be your last chance to check your lighting and focus..."

OMG! I could not believe it, but the sound of the camera shutters intensified to an obnoxiously loud clicking and whirring!

I could no longer keep a straight face... "I can't say I've ever had so many pictures taken of me at one time! What are the odds someone might actually get a picture of me to turn out."

The more than four thousand media personal room thought I was funny, and they let out a laugh.

I waited for the laughter to settle down then I finished with, "I hope I didn't break your cameras.  Please enjoy the press conference which should start in just a few minutes.  Thank you."

More laughter and a round of applause ensued as I walked off the stage.

Brian met me at the steps.  He looked right at me with a deep stare.  I thought I was in big trouble for breaking from my routine.  In in his mater-of-fact tone, Brian started, "Geez, how am I supposed to follow that!  Then he cracked a big grin and continued, "You got applause for a sound check!  That's just not right!  Nice job!"

For as long as I live I will never forget the sound of all those cameras snapping pictures of me on stage.  It was awesome to experience this first hand.  However, I must say, if that happened everywhere I went, like it does for celebrities, I would not like it any more than they do.