An insight into a newcomer’s introduction to the thrills, weirdly wonderful and crazy world of a Eurovision Press Centre
Eurovision has been a part of my life from the age of 9 years old when my parents gave in to my pleas to be allowed to stay up and watch a certain contest that I had started to watch and wanted to see the end of . Since then I have, without fail , watched the contest every year and even managed to convert long -time cynics into loving the contest too, including my other half! So imagine the thrill when I was asked by a member of the Eurovision Ireland Team to become a part of their team ? A dream come true for a long time fan. So imagine my excitement at the prospect of joining them for the Eurovision fortnight , which includes the build up to the contest itself? I thought I would give a quick insight into how it feels to be the ” new kid on the block ” so to speak and give a run down on my experiences of the first week , leading to me ending it by feeling totally ” Eurovisionised ” .
You know you’ve become a Eurovision press member when …….
- You are excited in the months leading up to the contest but then have the disappointment that you can’t go to Rotterdam ( thanks Covid!) .Instead, your press room will be courtesy of Zoom within the comforts ( and possibly safe haven , whichever way you end the week thinking !) of your own home and the only means of seeing your colleagues face to face . Now working from home isn’t entirely new to me as my usual day job has required me to do that for the last four years , so it was easy to convert my work office to a ( kind of ) press room . Now working on Zoom can feel a bit like that scene from the Muppet show where you see all the characters lined up each one appearing in different squares……….Thankfully, my colleagues don’t look anything like them !
2) The same kind of technical problems you thought you’d left behind at work follow you to the virtual press centre . The problem with being in a virtual press centre is that you have to rely on everything going right as far as the technology is concerned , experienced press members don’t usually stress at this type of thing and for me it was nothing that I hadn’t seen before except it was a different working environment . Add into that my own laptop deciding at an inconvenient time to suffer a webcam meltdown , meaning I had to use an I pad to access Zoom, while using said laptop to write in our rehearsal blog , that can all make you very much feel like you’re in the first day of a new job all over again , together with not knowing how things work in a press centre.
3) Finding out that Eurovision is much more than just liking a song
Being a press member isn’t just about whether you like a song or not, although you undoubtedly have your favourites. You discover that the first rehearsals are nothing to stress about if your favourite doesn’t do well , it’s just technical rehearsals to check camera angles, staging, etc and it’s exciting to be able to get to see them perform , knowing that as a member of the public, you wouldn’t get this insight ! You also learn the art of critiquing a performance , rather than just saying a song “sounds good” ,you have to consider things like the participants connection to the cameras, ability to engage an audience, vocal abilities , staging impact . The fun of this is that it is interesting to see how differently you interpret things or agree with your colleagues.
4) You do your first ever Interview
One of the thrills of working in a Eurovision Press centre is knowing you’re going to be mingling with the acts taking part and getting the chance to meet them in person and interview them. Unfortunately, being at home and unable to attend the venue due to the Covid situation severely restricted those opportunities . So I was delighted to join my colleagues James on a Zoom interview with the lovely Natalia Gordienko from Moldova. Naturally being a first timer at press interviews , you’re anxious not to get it wrong and make a complete fool of yourself but my fears were soon allayed on meeting Natalia, it turned out to be just like having a conversation with her as if she was a long time friend and I really enjoyed the experience, besides being relieved to have done my first interview . You can check out our interview HERE
5) Realizing that by Day 6, you’re going to be totally exhausted !
Think it would all be easy sitting at home watching rehearsals all day ? Welcome to the world of Eurovision press land. You start the week , fresh faced, eager to go, after all, you’re experiencing something new and something you have looked forward to for a long time. However, when you are watching rehearsals one after the other, all day and writing your thoughts and observations as things tick along , you start to feel a sense of tiredness, to the point of having dreams about the contest and strange things happening . Day 6 was the day where we had 16 rehearsals in one day to watch and you want to focus 100% on the acts, even if your mind starts to drift elsewhere . Bear in mind that you are looking at a computer screen all day ,surrounded by your usual home surroundings rather than sat in a press centre in or around the host city arena and this can add to those tired feelings .
5) Last but not least , appreciating the sense of humour of your colleagues , who have seen it all before
You really can’t get through two weeks as a press centre member, without appreciating your fellow team members for their wonderful and crazy sense of humour , which you need . After all you’re spending two weeks in their company , away from your usual routines and other people you live and work with .Even if you’re not able to be face to face in person at the host city, even being in a Zoom Press Centre meeting, we’re still all in the same boat . As the week goes on , you find the things you laugh at can be quite bizarre and it is these little things that keep you going and remind you that you would not experience this event , this way if you were just a member of the public. So a big thank you must go to my team mates, John, Richard , James and Bogdan , who have been fabulous mentors to me, laughed with me and given me great insight into the world of Eurovision Press They have helped to make my first week, under circumstances not normal for press weeks, very memorable.!
So now we are onto week 2, which I am told is a more relaxed week and so far it is proving so, but still very enjoyable, we have done a reaction video to the semi final 1 jury show and due to do another one today for the Semi final 2 Jury show. Having experienced a week and a half of this so far, would I have things any different ? Absolutely not and I really hope that next year will see some kind of return to normality again with us being allowed to travel abroad again and actually be at the host city . I feel well and truly “Eurovisionised ” 🙂
Author : Sarah Rudman
Source: Sarah Rudman ,Eurovision Ireland Team
Visual sources : Google , Delimus Communications
Categories: Eurovision 2021