It was a cold July night when Claudette D’Cruz and I hurried to Building 12 of the RMIT complex in Swanston Street, Melbourne for the filming of Channel 31’s Story Time. Claudette was there to take photographs and I was there to tell stories to the cameras.
I much prefer a live audience and was apprehensive that my performance style would not suit the medium of television. So why did I agree to do it? Well, this guy, Bret Dalgleish, was so enthusiastic about getting storytellers and storytelling in front of the camera and consequently in front of many people who might not otherwise encounter storytelling that I felt I had a responsibility to assist him get his dream off the ground. Anybody who supports storytelling deserves a storyteller’s support. Bret, also known as Tall Ted, has worked extremely hard getting the Story Time series up and going.
Among the people who have helped Bret is the crew at RMITV and they were already working hard when Claudette and I arrived. The set was up and looking bright and colourful. The cameras were in place. The puppets were chomping at the bit. The first step for me though, was dinner and a glass of red wine in the make-up room. Then Eliza, the make-up magician, went to work on my face before I ventured onto the set where the puppet audience, Tall Ted and all the wonderful technicians were waiting.
The next thing I knew I was telling stories under bright lights to cameras and puppets. I was ill at ease with the unfamiliar routine and not used to working to a tight time schedule. However, the cheeky puppet audience gave me a sense of doing a live performance which helped me settle into the stories and the people at RMITV were extremely pleasant to work with. In the background, Claudette, with unobtrusive finesse, captured some of the action in photographs. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my television debut.