Friday, November 10, 2017

In Bed with Mrs. Robinson – My Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Andy Warhol once predicted that each of us will be famous for fifteen minutes. If so, I’ve had more than my share of fame this week. On Tuesday, November 7, my Seduced by Mrs. Robinson: How The Graduate Became the Touchstone of a Generation was published by Algonquin Books. To commemorate the big day, I found myself booked to do no fewer than thirteen radio interviews, starting at 6 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. As I write this, I’m on tap for eight more today, as well as an evening appearance at one of my favorite indie bookstores, Book Soup. I just hope I can keep my eyes open: I’m normally a stay-up-late kind of gal, but this past week I’ve been springing awake at 4:30 a.m., ready to rumble.  

Yesterday was an off day—all I had to do was drive from my Santa Monica home to Culver City where National Public Radio has its west coast headquarters. There the adorably blue-haired Leo del Aguila fitted me with oversized earphones and made sure I sounded good on mike. Then suddenly I was talking to Robert Siegel, the senior host of All Things Considered, who turned out to be a fellow Baby Boomer with fond memories of seeing The Graduate for the first time. How nice to chat, both before and after the official interview, with a man blessed with a sonorous voice and a good-humored manner, even if he was speaking to me from thousands of miles away. Ah, the magic of modern communications!

The great thing about radio (just ask Terry Gross!) is that no one cares what you look like. You don’t have to wonder what to do with your hands, nor worry about whether you hold your mouth in a funny position when listening to someone else speak. A bad hair day is no big deal on radio. Theoretically you could roll out of bed, pick up the telephone, and do the interview in your jammies. But media experts strongly advise that you freshen up and put clothes on. If nothing else, that will make you feel more professional. I’ve also been told that it helps to speak standing up, and that moving around will give your voice more energy. That’s why, during radio interviews from my home, you’ll find me roaming around the living room, trying out dance moves (yes, really) and checking out spots that my cleaning lady may have missed.

How do I know what to talk about? That’s easy. I know the contents of Seduced by Mrs. Robinson as well as the back of my hand. (Better, actually – I don’t spend a lot of time studying my hands.)  And all the prep work done by Algonquin is really paying off. All my interviewers have received a press release as well as a list I’ve drawn up containing 20 surprising facts about The Graduate. Especially when a radio host hasn’t had time to actually read my book, I get lots of questions like this one: Which soon-to-be famous movie and TV folk had tiny bit parts in The Graduate? (Answer—future Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss, who has one line as a college kid, and TV’s Mike Farrell, playing a bellhop at the Taft Hotel.) So far, at least, everyone has been super-friendly. Clearly no one is trying to trip me up. But in any case I know the biggest enemy of radio is dead air, so the essential thing is to KEEP TALKING, no matter what.  Funny thing: as a natural-born chatterbox, I have no problem on that score. 

If you’re curious to hear the results of my All Things Considered interview, here it is! 

No comments:

Post a Comment