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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Robin Young On Michael Bay’s Teleprompter Fail

We began our story today on the Consumer Electronics Show by mentioning film director Michael Bay’s onstage meltdown at the show.

He said later in an email that he’d been so excited he’d jumped off his script, and that confused the poor teleprompter operator, who’d jumped ahead.

Who has not been there?

It reminded me of a stint on The Today Show a million years ago, sitting in for Jane Pauley. I was so excited because I’d written a pretty good piece and breezed through it — only to look up and see words fly like little birds, up and off the teleprompter screen, until none were left.

I froze. The kind floor director began whispering, “Watt!”

“What?” I said. “Watt,” he said.

“What??”

Unbeknownst to me, then-Secretary of the Interior James Watt was pictured in a little box next to my head, with the words “Up Next: James Watt.”

Finally, the floor director said, “This is today on NBC,” and I dutifully repeated, “This is Today on NBC.”

So we’re not making fun of Michael Bay, we’re sympathizing. Thank goodness we don’t depend on that technology in radio. (Okay… where’s my script?)

Transcript

ROBIN YOUNG, HOST:

So we began by mentioning film director Michael Bay's onstage panic attack at the show. He said later in an email that he'd been so excited he went off his script. And that confused the poor teleprompter operator who jumped ahead. Who has not been there?

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

YOUNG: It reminded me of a stint on the "Today" show a million years ago, sitting in for Jane Pauley, so excited because I'd written a pretty good piece and breezed through it, only to look up and see words fly like little birds up and off the teleprompter screen till none were left. I froze. The kind floor director began whispering: What? What, I said? What, he said louder. What? We went on, on air as, unbeknownst to me, then Secretary of the Interior James Watt was pictured in a little box next to my head with the words: Up next, James Watt.

Finally, the floor director said: This is "Today" on NBC. And I dutifully repeated: This is "Today" on NBC. So we're not making fun of Michael Bay. We're sympathizing. Thank goodness we don't depend on that technology in radio. OK. Meghna, where's my script? What are we supposed to do now? Where are we going now?

MEGHNA CHAKRABARTI, HOST:

Robin.

YOUNG: What's next?

CHAKRABARTI: This is HERE AND NOW on NPR.

YOUNG: What? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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  • Cleveland Mike

    Regarding the perils awaiting anyone trying to follow a teleprompter or a script, how about the countless individuals who faithfully repeated their swearing-in oath as new officers in their organizations:

    I, state your name, do pledge to … etc.

  • aknman49

    So even a “spontaneous” Q&A is entirely scripted?

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