TV Show with Foreign Guests! Videoland Television is casting a new TV show featuring foreign guests to share their opinions on living in Taiwan and help act in & produce skits on the same topic. No restrictions on nationality, age, occupation, or gender. Seeking individual who: Are lively, self-confident & outgoing. Have basic Chinese ability...
Figuring I met these qualifications in spades. I went to the offices of Videoland in Neihu with book in hand (Vignettes of Taiwan, naturally), a fresh haircut, and a nicely pressed white n' lime green shirt.
I chatted for about an hour with a nice young man, totally in Chinese and about a variety of topics. At first these were subjects I guessed were germane to the program - travel in Taiwan, that sort of thing. But after a while we wound up talking politics, sociology, and other, deeper subjects.
All in Chinese. I was pretty psyched.
Getting back to business, I was asked to tell stories. So I told some. I reenacted Shotgun Wedding, even approximating my own Chinese ability at the time of the story's occurrence where suggested by the text.
I sensed things were going swimmingly. Then the camera came out.
"What do you want me to do for my screen test?" I asked.
"Just introduce yourself and tell some short and interesting stories," replied the young man.
He picked up the camera and told me to follow him. I figured we were heading to a recording studio, or something like one.
Instead, he walked me to the front entrance of the office, the hallway where the glass doors to the elevators met the receptionist's desk.
I was looking at him, puzzled. My back was to a door that people were walking in and out of.
"Um...what do you want me to do?"
"Here?" I asked.
Someone entered and walked in front of the camera to deliver lunch boxes to the receptionist.
"I'm Josh Brown...I'm a writer..."
A couple of people from the office walked past on their way to have a smoke. I tried to continue my monologue, but was distracted by the fact that I was not only standing in, but actually blocking a high traffic corridor. I felt deeply unnerved.
"Now tell a story. Anything."
He silently sized up the length of my body with his camera. I started to take off my shirt, but being in public I thought better of it. I blathered something to the camera before turning to nervously chat up the receptionist. She was thoroughly uninterested.
Someone came along and had angry sounding words I didn't quite catch with the young man, and I began to wonder if some joke were being played on me. After this, the cameraman put the camera down.
"OK, we'll call you when we have decided," he said rather curtly.
"So...is that it?"
"So I should just take off then?"
I motioned to the door, conveniently behind me.
He nodded again, then shook my hand before turning back into the office.
Guess I blew the audition. Funny...the conversation had been going so well before the camera came out.
I took off, wondering not for the first time in my life what just happened here?