If you set your mind to it, it is achievable. Do not worry about societal standards that have been set out for you, they will always be there; the idea is to overcome them.
For every hour you see on TV there has been three hours of work that have gone into it. My day starts at around 6am. My mind will go through what I need to achieve on the day and plan on how to go about it. I write it down on cards I bought at Tuskys that my colleagues tell me that they remind them of their hospital cards (Jealous much). I get to the office at 11am and the work begins. I work on stories that I write and some are written for me. I research to understand what I could add to the story to make the show tight and have somebody else tell the story. This is after I have gone through questions and research notes worked on the previous night.
At lunch time depending on the stories, I am doing phone call interviews, calling people to help me understand topic better and on some days I am in the garden stacking up on calories. That’s the first and second hour of the show. The first five minutes of the show also require a lot of pre-production. About three hours to the show, I do paper work that needs to go out before the show. It is a lot of work that is summarized into 3 hours and an hour on TV every week day. Sometimes I am too tired to even use the bathroom but without it, I would lose my mind.
Enjoy the anonymity
In an in an interview host of the The Daily show, Trevor Noah says that he relishes the moments when he was unknown not in disdain to his current status but in that time he worked on himself and he has since carried this authenticity to his show today. If you are coming to TV to be famous you might want to ditch that plan. Refer to the first point, work. There will be days where you forget that you are on TV.
For me it is when I am bargaining for transport or when I am queuing for food and my impatience gives way. On other days somebody will recognizes you and it will take you a minute to understand. They will go ahead and mention a show with details to proof they have watched it. In that moment you will remember how you thought of this moments. Do not get carried away, fame is fleeting.
Body and Image
This one is the mother of them all. I am on the thicker side of the spectrum and you will envy interviews of other TV personalities talking about how they eat everything but they are not sure where it goes. You on the other hand eat one muffin and not even 276 squats rid you of the forbidden fat. Worry not. How you feel oozes through the TV be sure of who you are and just do a good job.
You will be surprised how forgiving the audience can be when they feel that they can relate to you. Oprah Winfrey was shamed for her weight and the only thing that is fat abut her is her bank account and purse.Depending on where you begin your journey, there might be a challenge in trying to attain the ‘TV look’. If the budget is there, a stylist will make the fashion decisions for you and the make-up artist will have the headache of what foundation goes with your skin to hide a stubborn zit. When that is not provided for you, it is up to you to figure it out. Don’t curse the management when you see the price of make up at the MAC store. Buy what you can combined with good unknown cheaper brands and carry on with your life.
Caroline Mutoko once told me that if the audience remembers what you looked like, then the substance was lacking. That is not to say that you should put in effort in content and forego looks. Find the balance and work your way up. The higher you go the better things will be.
Please if you take away nothing else from this post, keep who you date out of social media unless it is absolutely mandatory to have them on your page. There will be a temptation to post a #mcm or #mce or whichever hashtag the world comes up with. There are partners whose affirmation will come from you posting them on social media. Have the conversation with them on why you are protecting them from the world.
Also if the person is only secure if you post a photo of them, they might not be the person for you. When starting out, the boat is steady but with time the attention begins to trickle in, government officials may offer dinner and people you interview will insist on wishing you a good week at Sunday at 3am. Create the boundaries. (Read my post on boundaries here)
Oh guests. You will love some and loathe others. There will be guests who will appreciate the opportunity and reward it with content that will show you and the audience that they took time to prepare. Seasoned actors will be a blessing to you as they will effortlessly share and breakdown information for the audience. They will know where to slot in the jokes and puns with enviable timing.
Lawyers may intimidate you in the beginning with the quoting of the constitution that you may have last read in the Media and Ethics class. Get a copy of the constitution that you carry with you always it will help with details that you may not have with you constantly. Allow your guest to shine with information and only correct what is misleading to the audience. For a guest who is scared because they are making a debut on your show, make the comfortable and continuously affirm them. Give them a platform again and when they are seasoned guests they will remember you. Speaking of which, I am forever to Zindzi Kibiku for allowing me to be part of the show and giving me my start on TV.
Your vibe attracts your tribe
Find your tribe when you get on TV. Someone at your level, above and somebody at a different establishment who offers people a different perspective from yours. There will be a lot of pressure to keep up with those who came before you, don’t. Keep your tribe close and build your way up together.
Keep Jesus closer
Please find somebody who will walk with you in the journey of faith. I am blessed to have Antonina Mutinda who relentlessly keeps me on the straight and narrow. She has me doing a bible study by the name the way of God that has changed how I relate to God. Pray through the good and bad days.
Lastly be you. People love people they can relate to.