Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Smart Divas (at least we think so)

Our interview with online Web site Smart Diva. It was so nice to be on the flip side-- answering the questions =)

1. Tell me all about you. Where are you from? What makes you tick?
Markette: I am originally from Los Angeles and I moved to DC for a job opportunity right after undergrad. I liked DC so much; I decided to stay for a while and went to AU for grad school. As for the things that make me tick? Multimedia storytelling, reality TV and People magazine. The entertainment industry is such a huge part of where I come from (my mom used to work on The Montel Williams Show when it was based in L.A. and my older sister used to work on Access Hollywood and now she works for a movie studio) – I think it’s in my DNA to be obsessed with pop culture.

I am from Texas ( I always say ya'll) and though I may be a southern gal at heart, I was actually born in Puerto Rico, lived in Mexico, England, and Argentina. I am of Spanish and British heritage. My mom's from England and my dad is from The Rock of Gibraltar. This may be the reason I love to travel--that's what makes me tick! Other things that make me tick are playing tennis, spa days, mani-pedi's, eating out at different restaurants in the area, watching documentaries or any movie based on a true story, hot sauce (Cholula or Texas Pete) and of course hosting and producing The Traveling Talk Show.

2. What inspired you to want to do something like this? College degree relevant or?
Markette: I was working as a Web producer, but I really wanted to learn the elements of broadcasting and visual storytelling and transform my career from behind my desk to on-camera reporting. That’s part of the reason I went to AU’s Interactive Journalism graduate program. From there I began working as a news reporter for a radio station and then a TV station in Maryland, but my heart was really in entertainment reporting. Opportunities are scarce for entertainment reporters in Washington, so this summer; Vanessa and I reconnected after not seeing eachother for 2 years and we thought, 'Why not create an opportunity for ourselves?' I knew Vanessa had the same passion and drive that I have, and that we would work really well together, so one day last summer we just kind of spontaneously started TTS.

Vanessa: After receiving my master’s in Interactive Journalism from American University here in Washington, D.C. I had the knowledge and tools to do what I have always had a passion for: journalism. Journalism to me is about listening and learning. You meet people from all walks of life. I wanted to do something fun with it and I certainly knew that I couldn’t be sitting down in an office all day so that’s where The Traveling Talk Show came in (with a title like that I knew I wouldn’t be sitting down anywhere!!) I think that it’s not necessarily about having a degree or not but rather about being in a learning environment where you can make mistakes, and be around motivated individuals who share your same passion. I met Markette @ AU and well the rest is history.

3. How did you get started? What was the final push?
Markette: We had already decided that we wanted to start a show together, so we just started going to events and taping them. It didn’t feel like a push, it felt more like we were jumping forward into an adventure.

Vanessa: Washington, D.C. is such an amazing and vibrant city. There are so many great things to see and do here. DC is rivaling other cities like New York and Miami when it comes to fashion and entertainment. Markette and I realized that DC wasn’t getting the attention and coverage that it needed so we decided to produce and host our own show covering all things entertainment. We have been everywhere from fashion shows, to America’s Next Top Model Auditions, to movie premiers, to showcasing a local mural done by art students in the community. Markette and I wanted to do this, there was never any final push. We knew what we wanted and made it happen =) There are always going to be hurdles and challenges to overcome, but then that's just life!!

4. How and how long was the planning stage?
Markette: The planning and process of creating TTS was really organic. We were kind of like, ‘Do you want to do this? Yeah? Ok, let’s do it!” And that was it, we’ve been working on the show ever since.

Vanessa: We started the show last July. Our idea was to bring the audience fast dynamic pieces that could be watched on the Web as well as on television. Our main goal was not to be sitting down in a studio on a couch with long tedious boring interviews. We knew that it would be so much more fun and interesting of a show if we were near the action and around all of the energy and excitement. This is where learning everything we did at AU has become invaluable. We used our multimedia skills to shoot, edit, and produce EVERYTHING.

5. Who else makes up your team? Editing? Camerawork? Great quality by the way!
Markette: There’s me, Vanessa and our production coordinator Arika. We all take turns doing the camera work and I edit the shows together in Final Cut Pro.

Vanessa: Thanks! We really strive to bring the best quality we can to our show. Markette and I usually start by bouncing back and forth different ideas for the show and since we write, edit, host and produce everything it really allows us to be very creative and have fun with it. We have an amazing production coordinator-- Arika Lawrence who joined our team a few months ago, and more recently we have joined the DC50tv.com home of the CW. There is so much work going on behind the scenes. It has been so challenging and so rewarding at the same time.

6. Describe your Talk Show persona vs. real life persona. Do they get along?
Markette: What you see on camera is what you get in real life. Since I write everything I say, and we only cover events that we are genuinely interested in, I really don’t have to act or pretend. And I must say, the creative freedom has been so wonderful. I hope that comes across to our viewers, too.

Vanessa: I think that my Talk Show persona vs. my real life persona is the same. I just try to be me. I’m not trying to be anybody else. You really can’t fake it. The audience is too smart for that anyways --so all you can do is be yourself.

7. So do you get to keep any clothes?
Markette: Well, we dress ourselves! This, BTW, is really hard when you’re on a budget -- thank goodness for stores like H&M and Forever 21 that have really cute clothes and great prices. But for our fashion episode, we did have a local designer, Aidah Fontenot, gracefully offer to style us from head to toe. She made us look awesome!

Vanessa: Ahh clothes. My one true love =) Being on-camera takes a lot of work. I wish I could just roll out of bed and look amazing, but that’s so not the case. I have learned so much about what NOT to wear on camera and what colors and styles best suit me. (For what NOT to wear please refer to Episode 101 of TTS) The same goes for hair and makeup. And yes the perks are always nice. Markette and I interviewed amazing local designer Aidah Fontenot that wanted to outfit us in her gorgeous custom made dresses for the show. We had so much fun getting fitted for the show and the dresses were tres chic. But the rest of the time we dress ourselves.

8. What has your favorite episode been so far? Strangest?

Markette: It depends, we have only done four episodes, but I think the episode that we dedicated entirely to local fashion designers was my favorite. I never knew before working on that episode what that D.C. had such a dynamic fashion community.

Vanessa: My favorite episode would probably be the first one because I can look back and really see how far we’ve come. This happened so organically and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to executive produce a show. It’s a lot of hard work but I love seeing the final product. I am so proud of all of our episodes. I loved the fashion episode because we had so much fun hanging out with all the models and designers backstage. I don’t have a strangest moment but the scariest for me was when I went skydiving. We plan on doing another adventure episode very soon so stay tuned!

9. Do you ever get nervous?
Markette: All the time. I never know if people are going to like it, if I’m going to come across well, or if the wind will blow my hair away just as I am about to tape. That’s why it’s so nice to have a co-host, co-produce and partner in crime to have my back and look out for me. It’s so scary putting yourself out there, but then it’s rewarding when people tell me they love the segments and the show.

Vanessa: I think having a little bit of nerves and butterflies are a good thing, it keeps the energy and adrenaline flowing. I have interviewed a lot of different celebrities since I started my career as an entertainment host --You just have to be yourself, be prepared, and bring good energy. So it really doesn’t matter if I’m interviewing a local member of the community or a celebrity --the nerves are always there, but it equates to fun energy.

10. What are your ultimate goals with TSS? Where do you see TSS in 5 years?
Markette: I think we both agree that we want to take TTS as far as it will go. I would love produce TTS full-time for a national audience... and eventually worldwide!

Vanessa: Our goal is to continue to learn and grow and of course keep producing high quality content. Markette and I have so many plans for the future. We have done so much in such a short amount of time--- so the sky is really the limit! I think we make a great team and will continue to showcase all the fabulous things happening in and around the area. SO STAY TUNED!!!!!!

--Vanessa xoxoxo

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