Life takes so many strange turns, you never know what to expect. We’ve seen that often while operating our own business, but recent events were particularly unusual, to the extent that I’d like to share them with you. Three weeks ago, near the end of that long stretch of rain nearly every day, we battled flooding and incurred some damage that cost us more than a few dollars. And up to that point, I had worked all day almost every day since New Year’s. That level of tired can get to you after a while, but an unexpected turn of events soon re-energized me.
While things were still unsettled, we received a phone call from a media outfit. It appeared to perhaps be a survey about television, and maybe about our viewing habits. We’ve received similar calls in the past, and with all the “busy-ness” going on, we could have ignored this one.
But Jill (my wife and business partner) had a few moments to spare and an instinctive feeling, so she decided to answer. Imagine our surprise to discover that it was an NBC producer at 30 Rock. After a brief conversation, I was asked if they could fly me to New York City, put me up at a hotel, and film on location. The request was coming from NBC Peacock Productions, a part of the news division. Among other things, they create content that is sold to other companies and TV channels.
The subject in question was a murder story I covered in the book 25 Diabolical Adirondack Murders: The Twisted, Fiendish Deeds of North Country Killers. I was to be interviewed about the case, and snippets of my comments would be used to narrate the story, which would later be re-created by professional actors.
And get this: the show was being produced as a special for Discovery ID (also known as Investigation Discovery)―Jill’s favorite channel. How could I say no? We watch parts of it almost daily as we work, shows like Deadly Women featuring true murder stories―and now suddenly, I was going to appear on it!
We made plans to somehow squeeze it into our busy schedule, and off we went to New York City. There was limo service from JFK Airport to the hotel, where our 14th-floor room overlooked Rockefeller Plaza. We walked the streets, seeing Broadway, Times Square, the Ed Sullivan Theater (we’re both David Letterman fans), 30 Rock, Saks Fifth Avenue, and a whole bunch of other stuff.
The next day, there was limo service to the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park for the photo shoot. A few doors down was the Gramercy Park Hotel, where The Beatles, Rolling Stones, JFK, and so many luminaries from other pursuits have stayed when visiting the city. The National Arts Club, where we filmed, is itself quite exclusive. Among its past members are three presidents. Salmon Rushdie received an award there a few weeks before our arrival.
We visited with the producer, and after lighting, sound, and all else was deemed ready, I was interviewed about the murder story for two hours. I’m guessing that in the end, it will perhaps result in only about a minute of air time for me, but that doesn’t really matter. I agreed to do it: it’s the producer and others who will decide what is cut, what is used, and how the final product looks.
Most importantly, the filming was completed without any hassles. She (the producer) is about a nice a person as you could hope to meet, and she set the tone for the shoot. It was quite the interesting experience. The show is intended for airing in October, so there’s lots of writing, acting, and other work to be done before everything is edited and packaged. They’ll send me a DVD of the final product.
Later, it was limo service (super comfortable, and with those secretive dark windows!) to JFK for the return trip home. Jill had handled all the planning so that I could concentrate on what was required of me. Despite the fact that it had a sense of being whisked off to the big city, she still managed to somehow make it feel like a mini-vacation.
And now it’s back to work, with lots to catch up on. All that fun stuff is in the background, and we’re focused again on writing and publishing, but the brief diversion was great. And like the lottery folks say (some of you are probably thinking it as well): “Hey, you never know!”