I have a confession to make. Sometimes, when I’m in the car and the news bulletin is drawing to a close, I’ll pretend I’m the journalist reading it. I don’t just imagine I’m sitting in the studio, covering off the day’s major stories. I actually speak to an invisible audience and sign off. “Melissa Archer, ABC News.”
Alright. I’ve known you all for nearly a year now, you deserve the whole truth. If I’m home alone and it’s just me, the myriad visiting birds and my little cat on the back deck, I can prattle on for about fifteen minutes on any given topic, pretending I’m a well-informed journalist who actually knows what they’re talking about (also known as bluffing).
Or, sometimes, after watching a particularly heated Q&A on Iview, I’ll give my two cents and tell Germaine Greer (who seems to be on every other episode) that I think she’s right on the money or that she’s an out of touch and irrelevant figure-head for the contemporary feminist cause (you have to admit she can sound so educated on certain topics, and then on others she’s like a raving lunatic with absolutely no basis for her arguments. I guess that’s why she’s such great viewing. You can’t look away even when you want to.)
Am I Deranged, with a capital ‘D’? Yes, I believe I am (and I can’t blame it on the mountain air or semi-reclusive lifestyle – I’ve been doing this for years)
But this type of delusional re-enactment, whether in the car or in the privacy of my own home (maybe it’s just a form of method acting??) means I could bluff my way through putting a ‘voicer’ together for the lead story in the 5.30 news bulletin yesterday. Driving back to the ABC after a free lunch at the Marriott, thanks to a conference on the future of economics on the Gold Coast, I asked David Lewis if he wanted me to put together a few stories based on the keynote speaker’s address. When he replied he thought I could go to a QLD Unions rally being held later in the afternoon and put together a ‘voicer’, I didn’t know whether to throw up the salmon I’d just consumed or sing for joy a’la Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.
I decided against both and said ‘No worries!’ and ran through what I would need to do at the rally to make sure the story made the bulletin in time. Basically I would write the story while at the protest, email it to David so he could send it to Brisbane to get it subbed/approved and then he would email back the final version to me. Originally I was going to call in to the studio from the rally and David would just record me voicing the story over the phone, but Russell Varley also came to the protest and recorded some background audio of the crowd chanting and demanding Campbell Newman be sacked – so we decided to race back to the studio to cut that audio and place it behind a recording of my voice. Then it would be a nice package for Russ to intro for the bulletin – it turned out like this!
When Russ went in to the studio to read the bulletin, David turned up the volume and we listened to my first voicer, and despite cringing slightly at the sound of my own voice, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I was just so thankful for the opportunity David had given me that I walked out of the ABC yesterday afternoon like I was the next Jana Wendt. I think you could safely assume that my walk had a definite hint of strut about it.
The lesson learnt from yesterday? Sometimes you just have to tell yourself that if someone else reckons you can do an alright job, then maybe you should believe it too. You might just surprise yourself.