Monday, March 10, 2008

Behind the Scenes of my Letterman Taping

My whole philosophy towards the Letterman taping was not to show off my coaching skills, nor to help Andy Kindler release his stress, but to have a fun time and be as cheerful as possible (and if we got to some coaching and stress-related material that'd be a great bonus.)

I taped with Letterman's crew for over an hour so there was a lot that didn't make it to the 3 minute compilation of all five coaches. Here's a few behind-the-scenes nuggets from the taping.

Stating who you are in a recording is called a 'slate.' Fortunately I've done some professional voice acting, and have a few slates under my belt. This came in extremely handy when the director asked me to introduced myself:

"Hi, my name is Zohar Adner, a Stress Release Coach with Stop Stressing"
The director didn't look too pleased with it. I was worried that he wasn't going to let me plug my website, but a moment later he asked me to, "take out the 'hi'."

I smiled; said, "Of course!" and just said the 'hi' in my head before proceeding. Why is it so important to say 'hi'? Because when you want to come off as friendly as possible, a friendly 'hi' is a great way to do so.

You may have noticed near the end of the segment that the other coaches are making comments about Andy's glasses and how they fit his face. Why did they not show me in that series of clips? Here's our exchange:
Andy Kindler: "What do you think about my glasses? Do they work for me?"
ZA: "Do you see better with them on or off?"
AK: "On."
ZA: "I guess they work for you."
Andy responded with a pouty face indicating a mix of disappointment and amusement. While Abbott and Costello would have been proud, it didn't fit into the flow.

At one point Andy was getting a little antsy for material. I had already side-stepped the glasses bit (and a number of other goading questions about the coaching profession), but he and the writer really, really wanted a critique. So I decided to bite:
AK: "If you would change ONE THING about me, what would it be."
ZA: "I'd improve your posture. Your body has a variety of common postures - each associated with a different mood. When you want to feel less stress, shift your posture, and you'll feel your stress level instantly decrease."
Unfortunately the theory behind my suggestion wasn't shared with the viewing public.

On the phone
While I coached Andy on a park bench (which I have done a few times on gorgeous days for my one-on-one coaching clients in the lower Manhattan area), I conduct the majority of my coaching via telephone. At the time, the producers thought a fun way to end the entire segment would be with a shot of Andy talking on his cell phone, and then a pan/zoom across the street to me on a payphone.

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