It’s 1:13 a.m. And I am still wide awake… working. But not on my day job. Instead, I am perfoming tasks for the side of me that I now refer to as my alter ego — that of being producer and host of my foodcast, Comfort Zone. As of the past hour, I have finally completed my lineup and concept for the second episode. Not only that, I came from the kitchen doing experiments for the third recipe I will feature on the show. As to what the concept and recipes are, well, stay tuned. Of course, I don’t want to preempt myself, do I?
Nonetheless, allow me to say that I am very excited. The experiment was a smashing success. And it turned out according to how I imagined it to be. Even better, perhaps. I also miss taping, producing, and editing the show. Despite the long hours of work for CZ, doing everything CZ has been a great temporary release from my work in the corporate world.
The show has been quite a journey so far (to think that I’m just about to release my second episode). Allow me to share some my latest realizations:
- A normal, edited cooking show airs for about 20 minutes on TV (+10 minutes for commercials). But from what I have heard and read, it takes the hosts and crew about 10 hours to shoot it. Comfort Zone runs for 15 minutes and taping the first telecast took about 12 hours. And then, there was editing, which lasted another 15 hours. It’s an hour for every minute, I guess.
- The show is a work in progress, of course. And so, there are many areas for improvement. That is why, regular post mortems are important. TV shows have them and these would normally be opportunities for everyone from the host to segment producers to throw in their thoughts on how to make the show better. In my case, it’s a production meeting with myself! As you know, I am host, producer, director, writer, editor — and cook/foodie — all at the same time. Still, I am very blessed to have good friends and former colleagues from my past work as a journalist who have given feedback — both positive and constructive. My girlfriend, TJ, has constantly challenged my ideas, and this has been a great blessing too. Thanks, Teej.
- Everywhere I go, everywhere I eat is an opportunity to get inspiration for the show. I feel like a sponge getting all these ideas. Thankfully, my iPhone helps me write all of them down.
- Thinking of dishes to feature on the show is easier said than done. Not because I’m suddenly a ratings-driven freak (which is not applicable in my case, and something I deliberately choose to ignore because CZ is not a commercial endeavor). The real reason: I just want to showcase good dishes. As a creative person, I guess I don’t want people saying that I just imitated a recipe I googled. I also have to check if the recipe that comes into mind is indeed, comfort food.
- Thank goodness I still look 10 lbs. lighter on screen. It has been long accepted that people appear 10 lbs heavier when they are on screen. In my case, it really is the other way around.
- Many people want to guest on my show. Thanks, guys. Let me work on getting operations running smoothly first, and then let’s talk about upcoming episodes. Off hand, I am excited to have as a guest, a good friend who happens to be a former colleague and fellow foodie.
- Cooking for the screen has many illusions. I realize that a host can actually cook a dish for the screen, eat it, and pretend that it’s delicious even when it is not. Or, they may cheat on ingredients without being caught. I want nothing of these things. What you see on screen is what you get and what you will taste. That is why I take time testing recipes myself before I showcase them on the show.
- I’m able to use learnings from my MBA for this show. Interesting.
- Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to produce something like CZ. But things are falling into place, and I have never been happier and certain about what I am doing right now. Sure, it’s a small production. But I really do love what I am doing (which is why I don’t mind being awake during this hour!). Several years back, I wanted to be behind news anchor’s chair. But then, I fell in love with the kitchen! Hahaha! CZ is an answered prayer. There have been many blessings and they keep on pouring. Thanks, Lord.
Aside from realizations, there are many things to be thankful and grateful for. One of them came through Twitter, and I realize that I haven’t written about it on this site.
As I mentioned, watching Martha Stewart tape her show one fine day in February 2008 inspired me to do Comfort Zone. So I tweeted her personal twitter account and her show’s official twitter account to simply send my thanks. Ok, so yes, I admit to being tickled pink when my friends would say that one day, I would get discovered by someone for television — and why not? Anyway, it was a simple thank you. It’s not like I know Martha’s number and I could text or call her, right?
I wasn’t expecting a reply, but the Martha Show did reply. So thank you. I am most grateful. And I am grateful for the visitors you brought to this site, of course.
To end, I am now thinking of Oprah’s finale episode, which I got to watch very recently. I wish to end this entry by saying for the record how grateful I am for this opportunity and blessing to do all of these things right now. I remember Oprah calling on everyone to make the most out of one’s circle of influence. She has the stage as her circle. Some have their classrooms as their stage. For some, it’s an office. For most, if not all of us, it is also in our own homes. In my case, I have my training sessions in the corporate world. And, I have the kitchen and a cooking show called Comfort Zone. I still don’t know where it will bring me, or if it will serve its purpose of making a difference in people’s lives. Either way, I am already glad and happy that it has made a difference in mine as it remains to be a dream come true. And I’ll always be grateful for that.