I'm a fan of "The View." I particularly enjoy the hosts’ political debates. Since it's on during the day, I DVR it to watch at night. I fast-forward through commercials and parts I'm not interested in. A guilty pleasure — for sure!
So when I realized they had virtual audiences, I thought, "Hmm, that might be fun." I applied and received a "'ticket," which came with several technological hurdles.
First, I had to use a PC — and I'm a huge iPad user these days, for Zoom yoga, Zoom meditation, Zoom book clubs, Zoom special events, FaceTime chats, etc.
Navigating the PC was challenging. I needed a microphone and webcam. We (my husband) pulled out the old PC and installed Zoom (was it the most recent version?). I needed to upload a photo and ID, two things easily done on my iPad; not so on the PC.
With much apprehension, the morning of the show arrived. I logged on, and the show's experts guided me through the photo and ID issue. Zoom worked, and I got in.
First, we met a "greeter": A warm and friendly young man who outlined what to expect. He explained our two most important jobs, clapping and staying in our chairs! (The cardinal sin of audience participation, apparently, is the empty chair.)
Next, up popped Cheryl, our warm-up lady. She is a pleasant comedian whose job was to entertain us and prepare us for our roles. Because of COVID-19, Cheryl greets us from her bedroom in Manhattan. She asks each audience member where they’re from and to say something about themselves. Cheryl can turn any reply into a conversation. What kind of coffee are you drinking? What kind of cat do you have? What's the design on your scarf? I mean a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g! It's mildly entertaining — but there are a LOT of audience members.
Then she gets down to the business at hand — literally! Clapping! She teaches us to clap on the Zoom screen. Clapping and smiling is our job. Really? Why did I want to do this? I've been clapping since I'm like 1! I go along with the instructions, including learning to turn off the camera, count to 3, turn it back on, clap and smile! We get lots of practice clapping, then she instructs us to use to the bathroom and get fresh coffee so we'll be ready to start rehearsal. Rehearsal? What are we rehearsing? Clapping!
Back on the show, we hear a booming voice. The control room, Cheryl informs us. This unnamed control room voice takes over — and is not as pleasant as Cheryl. He commands us: Clap for 5 seconds, and smile! We comply; I feel kind of panicked. We try our first round; he stops us and yells to Cheryl that the lady in the corner isn't clapping. We start over. He booms the instructions again:
1. Turn your camera off for 3 seconds.
2. Turn your camera on.
3. Clap for 5 seconds. And smile!
We repeat six times while they videotape us. Hmmm, are we having fun yet? I consider turning the whole thing off when Cheryl comes back on and says, "OK, it's almost time for the show."
Then the music starts — and it's kind of exciting. We watch the show streaming live. During commercial breaks, we're back in the Zoom room chatting with Cheryl; we can watch the hosts behind the scenes though we can't hear them.
After the show is over, we have a wrap-up with Cheryl; she invites us to watch the show she knows we've all recorded. I immediately turn on the TV and fast forward through the chatting to the clapping audience — freeze it, no me!
Next segment: freeze it, no me!
Maybe I'm further along. I get through all six audience shots but don't see myself. I do it backward. I go forward and back again. Then I delete it!
I guess I need more practice clapping?
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