Last May, I went to RTB Complex – Sungai Akar for an interview on behalf of Mavensdotlive. Although I’m sure every Bruneian has at least one family member or friend that has appeared on RTB, I think it’s still interesting to share what the process is like behind the scenes. And from my firsthand experience, I can inform you that it’s pretty much how I thought it would turn out. But how this interview came about was not as straightforward as you would think.
My superior was selected in early April to do a Zoom interview about her business journey. Citing the Malay language format, my superior thought that I would be a better fit for the role. I was very hesitant at the time as I was caught up in managing an event and this event was of really high importance; absolutely no room to ‘winging it’. Although this wasn’t my first time being interviewed, it would be my first being interviewed on video (and on live tv no less). After giving it some thought, I told her that yes, we should do the interview but to avoid having too much on my plate, I would delegate it to my peer Durratul, who had some experience in acting for RTB. I thought that delegating her to do an interview would make her feel almost right at home.
So that was settled. The interview being more than a month away would give us ample time to prepare and it being conducted over Zoom would give us some flexibility and ease.
I suppose in late April or early May, Covid cases started to decline and restrictions were easing up. The public was more inclined to hold events and etcetera. Out of nowhere, we were informed that the interview would be conducted physically and obviously, we would be required to go to RTB – specifically ’Studio 4’ where the Rampai Pagi set was. This of course changed the whole dynamic and expectation. It made us slightly more nervous to be on set and sit in front of a camera. I felt bad about having Durratul go to the studio alone so I asked the RTB producer about having two people for the interview. She replied saying that one person is best (in retrospect, having two people over would miss the whole point of the format). I said that’s alright and that I will just be there to accompany Durratul off camera.
And then a week plus before the interview, another unexpected thing happened: Durratul got Covid. At this point, I was deep in preparation for an intricate pitching event (The RTB interview would take place on the 14th of May; the event on the 20th) and I think I was too stressed out to react or panic that I mentally accepted the fact that I would be the one to be interviewed. I knew then that the best thing I could do was just be well prepared. So I asked RTB what type of questions they might ask.
Days before the interview, I had to go to RTB to pick up their ART kit which I found interesting because I’ve never come across an institution that wanted their visitors to use their very own kit. Aside from that, I also found it slightly amusing that they had an instructional video for where to pick up the ART kit and another video on where to go for the interview. Now that’s a comprehensiveness that I can appreciate. Also, this might be obvious but I appreciated that interviewees are reserved a parking spot by the entrance for the day of the interview.
For the day of the interview, I was told to arrive 30 minutes early to avoid the traffic jam so I did. The interview would take place at 8:35AM and -to curb any anxiety- I was there at 7:30+. A funny sidebar: I actually did not tell any of my family members that I was about to appear on RTB because I was afraid that if I did, they would give advice or have things to say to me that would make me more nervous. So I told them as soon as I arrived at RTB Complex and thankfully, they had ample time to watch the livestream.
At close to 8, I went in and followed the directions from the video. The first place I got into was the beauty room! I knew that to appear on TV, the crew would have to apply make-up etc onto the guest but I didn’t expect that this is the first thing I would do.
For the record – it wasn’t really make-up, it’s basically powder which, according to the hairdresser, is meant to avoid skin shine/gloss on camera. They then readjusted my hair to make it seem more proper. I must admit, the experience was very strange, especially to a guy. Which is why I couldn’t help snap a picture during.
[The hair and make-up room]
After that was done, I was told to move to the ‘waiting room’ but before I even got to settle myself and relax, I was directed to be on standby at the set. The set itself was much bigger than I thought but not as packed. For some reason, I expected to see a crew of tens of people behind the camera but if memory serves, there were less than ten there. It was a bit surreal to be viewing the whole thing in real life and not through a screen. Naturally, the nerves slowly started to kick in. After the sound guys set up my mic and all, what was left was just to wait for my segment.
[The green room]
[The Rampai Pagi set]
Eventually, I was told to sit by the two interviewers and just wait for my segment to begin. A music video was being played on the program; passing the time, the interviewers were having a conversation about a previous segment involving fishing (what makes the activity so fun etc). They then talked about some of the questions they might ask. They noted how for these interviews to work, they must feel like a conversation and not like someone selling a product on TV. I told them I understood their sentiment and that I was wary of sounding like a salesman. As soon as it was 8:35, the interview began.
The interview went well and I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. Looking back, I’m impressed by how smooth their operations are and how on time everything was. It does make me wonder what they would do if an interviewee was late (play pre-recorded videos on loop?). When the interview was done, I was told to go up and meet the producer who I was in contact with on my work phone. I only knew her name but not what she looks like. She was in a production control room and though she was obviously occupied with the program, she took the time to greet me, told me how okay everything went and then showed me the way out. The whole experience felt like you were on a really well oiled conveyor belt. I shouldn’t be too surprised though – of course a system is already in place for a decades old operation. I remember feeling relieved as I went into my car. Feeling like I just crossed off a really heavy checklist. I spent the rest of the day with shoulders feeling slightly lighter. But of course, I knew I had to set my mind towards the next thing, which I’ll talk about in next week’s post.