As some readers will likely already know, Lonnie Haley (also known as Mercedez Munro) is highly ranked on the list of the most interesting, colorful people I've ever met. Gorgeous drag queen, national pageant winner, softball coach, father and mother…he was one of the first people I thought of when we started listing potential guests and I couldn’t wait to get him in front of the cameras. And so we did. So begins shoot day number two – and ends shoot day number three. (Sigh) Let’s just say we learned many valuable lessons putting this episode together.
Shoot day number two began much as the first, we had a crew together, we were booked for the morning at Trax, all was set. And look! Our guest arrived – on time and looking fabulous! He even brought his own personal assistant. Excuse me…I had no idea we were dealing with a bonafide celebrity. It was all going so well.
Then the technical difficulties started. I don’t know what all the details were and I honestly don’t want to but the poor crew members were fighting hard with sound equipment for a loooong time. Unable to wait any longer, we ended up hiding the sound recorder under Mercedez’s Miss Gay United States sash and hoping for the best. The best did not happen. The footage, while fantastic visually, was unusable audio-wise. Fortunately, I didn’t know this until a couple of weeks later when the editing process started, so we had a heck of a dress rehearsal.
Dial forward to the next shoot date a few weeks later at the Doctor’s Lounge (more on that later.) We were ambitious that day! We’d moved on from filming one interview a day to three but I’d never cold-interviewed a complete stranger before and Travis thought it was about time I gave it a shot (more on that later, too!) The thought made me very nervous and my stress level was very high. New environment, new people on the crew, a guest I didn’t know…and worst of all, earlier that week I’d had to admit to Lonnie that the sound the first day hadn’t worked out and ask him to please, please come back and film with us again. Same talk…totally spontaneous as though it had never happened before. Fortunately, we are both trained actors, so we’re used to that. He had graciously agreed and told me not to worry, he understood, it was no problem. Until the day wore on and…no Lonnie.
I called. “Hi! Where are you?”
“I just got finished with softball practice. Just having a beer. What are you up to?” he says, sounding suspiciously relaxed.
“Filming the show…we are about ready to re-shoot your interview. You’re…um…kind of supposed to be here.” This was my fault. I didn’t confirm. The lesson sank into my soul full force as my face warmed. One quick phone conversation on a Monday morning, especially while a guest is distracted at work, is not enough to make a good plan.
“What!? Where?”… “I’ll be right there.”
And that’s how you know you’re dealing with a professional – and a good friend. Within 20 minutes, Lonnie arrived, full softball practice outfit still in place but not a complaint, not even a diva moment (though I have seen Mercedez have a few.) Soon, we were on the couch with our cocktails in hand, cameras rolling, and all was right with the world. Please grab a beverage of your own and enjoy the results. We worked hard for this one.