media matters

So, I’m gonna be on this TV show in a week or so. (It’s on PBS, so air times vary, you’d have to click the "check local listings" to find out when it’s on in your area.) The segment on weblogs has quotes from a couple of us, including Oliver Willis, Glenn Reynolds, and Megan McArdle. I got a chance to meet Oliver for the first time very briefly when we went back to do some additional voiceovers, which was nice, and I got to see Megan again, though I tend to run into her from time to time anyway since NYC is a small town and we’re both the sorts of amusing loudmouths that people like to have around. Didn’t get to meet Glenn, but maybe next time he’s in New York.

The experience of filming my segments for the show itself was fascinating, really. I used to work at a video production company, so I probably found it disproportionately amusing to be on the other side of the nose-powdering makeup puff. Normally, the pretentiousness of the people in the television business is more entertaining than the products they create. But fortunately the folks I met at Riverside Films, which produced the segment for Media Matters, had much less of the "I’m an artist" vibe that a lot of TV people do.

This was still a segment about The Internet, of course, so there were a good number of the requisite high-tech clicé text-projected screens, and a good number of leading questions that I suspect will yield cringe-worthy sound bites. (“I guess I’m basically a tech blogger.”) But at least I didn’t spot any giant mouse pointers on the screen like some circa-1995 Dateline NBC piece. I spent a few hours fake-typing on a Powerbook, but since I recently got a new laptop that looks just like the Tibook, I can pretend that those scenes were fairly accurate. The prop highlight was, of course, the two-foot spherical acrylic Genuine Blogosphere, complete with light-up miniature plastic bloggers suspended in it. The presentation of these props was greatly enhanced by having been in the environment of the big sound stage where the interviews were filmed. Smoke machines rule.

In retrospect, though, I would’ve thought that my personality would take a shine to being in a huge, pitch-black room with a spotlight shining on me as the center of attention and 30 people watching me peck away at a keyboard, but it wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped, since keeping my enthusiasm and focus on this one topic for that many hours is tough to do with my gnat-sized attention span. That being said, it was a fun experience and I’m quite glad I got the chance to do it. I’m hoping at least a few of my bon mots make the cut for the final piece; I suppose we’ll see next week. I’ll post some pictures from the shoot a little later, if there’s interest.