January 13, 2012 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
Not for my novel, alas, but it was incredibly fun.
For various reasons, I was contacted to see whether I wanted to be part of a group of American women who would take part in filming at the United States Consulate in Edinburgh. This turned out to be for a BBC2 programme called Unfinished, in which art journalist Alastair Sooke looked at a variety of unfinished masterpieces. This all ties in nicely to an adaptation of the unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which I have to admit I have never read, though I have thought about rereading Bleak House soon.
The unfinished masterpiece in this case was Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington, which is on the one dollar bill. It’s not obviously unfinished unless you look at the entire canvas.
It turned out that I was the only American woman available, though they did also find a guy to interview separately. The bulk of the segment was an interview with the current consul, who I am pleased to have known for her entire term in Scotland, and who was far more articulate than I was. Thankfully, the producer managed to find a segment in which I was being somewhat coherent. If you’re in the UK you can watch it (for a week – somewhere else said a month – I dunno) on the iPlayer – our segment starts around 24 minutes in.
I got the hang of it after a bit, as we kept refilming similar questions, either to get more material or to do the reaction shots. Alastair was quite nice – I have the feeling he has spent his life being referred to as That Nice Young Man – as were the production team. In general, I love watching other people do their jobs, so I very much enjoyed hanging out even when I wasn’t on camera. (I have now learned what a ‘dirty single’ is. It isn’t as much fun as you may be thinking.)
I don’t think a career as a broadcaster is anywhere in my future, but I hope to dabble in the media again soon.