PBS Frontline to Tackle the Question of Vaccines

I don’t usually wear make-up.

If you don’t wear make-up you look washed out on TV.

Last weekend a PBS film crew was in town shooting footage for a Frontline documentary about the vaccine debate. They have been talking to people around the country on both sides of the issue, including Paul Offit, Jenny McCarthy, Bob Sears, Barbara Loe Fisher, J. B. Handley, and more.

They came to Ashland, Oregon because many parents here choose not to vaccinate at all, choose to selectively vaccinate, or choose to vaccinate fully but on a different schedule than the one recommended by the CDC.

At any given time in my house there’s a rambunctious 6-year-old pogo sticking in the living room, an 8-year-old reading on the couch, a 10-year-old practicing cartwheels, and a baby being a baby. So the producer, who wanted to interview me about our family’s decisions, suggested I come to their hotel room.

The first interview was Saturday morning. Since I don’t have make-up, our 17-year-old babysitter brought over her mom’s in the morning. Only she was late because the power blipped off in her house and the alarm didn’t go off and she overslept. Luckily I could blame the baby.

“You look horrible,” my 10-year-old said when I got back from being interviewed by PBS for three hours. “You look like you have bags under your eyes. Take that stuff off.”

“It’s awful,” her younger sister agreed.

Sunday afternoon Etani went to his friend Finn’s house. Baby Leone and I were to participate in a discussion about vaccines with Dr. Jim Shames, M.D., who is the Jackson County Health Officer. Finn’s mom put some eye shadow and mascara on me.

Then we walked in a rain storm with gusting winds. You can imagine how I looked by the time we arrived.

Monday they took B-roll of Hesperus doing gymnastics, Etani swimming at the Y, and me being spit-up on by Baby Leone. It was so hot in the swimming pool area that I felt like I was having early-onset menopause. No make-up Monday.

Tuesday before they left town they realized they needed more B-roll and stopped by to film the front of our house (think: uncut grass, untrimmed trees) and me in my office. I work at my computer sitting cross-legged on a couch. I was wearing a skirt, which kept riding up. “Uh, that’s NOT going to work,” the producer said. No make-up Tuesday.

The filmmakers shoot dozens of hours of footage and then spend 13 weeks editing it down to one hour. The film airs in April. We won’t find out until then if my made-up face makes the cut.

PBS producer Kate McMahon reviews her notes before the interview

PBS producer Kate McMahon reviews her notes before the interview

Camera man Mark Rublee sets up the microphone before the cameras start rolling

Camera man Mark Rublee sets up the microphone before the cameras start rolling

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19 thoughts on “PBS Frontline to Tackle the Question of Vaccines”

  1. this is such a funny post. it just never even occurred to me that make up is part of the whole TV package. will try to catch the episode if i am near a TV.

  2. Congrats on being interviewed! When I did a live interview on ABC News last year, I was most nervous about the makeup. Never mind what I would say or how I would sound, I was really freaked out about whether my lips look red enough or if I’d look washed out on camera, since I’m used to doing street makeup. Looking forward to seeing your interview!
    .-= Susan Johnston´s last blog ..5 Tips for Maintaining Your Blogging Momentum =-.

  3. Jennifer, after all of your angst over makeup, I hope your clip makes the cut. How do the pros stay so relaxed? A blogger interviewed me for a video clip on packing tips. I sounded fine but after viewing the video, I realized that my mouth moved in quirky ways. I looked like I had suffered a stroke. Do I always look that way when I talk. Of course now I’m self conscious about my mouth. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.
    .-= Donna Hull´s last blog ..Hearing the Difference with Able Planet Active Noise Canceling Headphones =-.

  4. Makeup. Less is more. Unfortunately that doesn’t hold true on film. Just saw a documentary on how unsanitary and toxic and prone to spoilage and contamination make-up can be. Lead, dye, bacteria etc.. Especially eye makeup. It actually has a very short shelf life. But, no expiration date. I throw mine out every so often. And, I never borrow it. But, one thing I learned as living in an area with alot of precipitation. Waterproof. Waterproof Waterproof products.

    Can’t wait too see the video. Great subject and debate.

  5. my kid has the same reaction if he see me with face paint on.

    it’s funny, and rare in our home too. but it’s like he thinks it’s not “me”

    under all that makeup.

  6. Aside from being a huge make-up fan; I am also a huge fan of being told the TRUTH. Your finished product is biased, uniforming, and disgraceful! The truth about vaccines is rarely discussed; even less so on television. Yet you had the opportunity to inform potentially thousands of parents, and soon to be parents about the dangers of certain vaccines, and the benefits of others.You have chosen to take to recycle old information that has little impact. Some of us would have used the opportunity that you were given to make a difference to the world, and not just to our resume.

  7. Jennifer – You did SUCH a great job with the interview. I’m so impressed! When a camera’s pointed at me, I tend to clam up and forget not only what I was supposed to be saying, but also my name and other info I’ve known since I was a toddler. Kudos to you for doing such a great job on an important topic.
    .-= Jane Boursaw´s last blog ..The May 2010 WordCount Blogathon is in Motion! =-.

  8. Psst… Liz: Jennifer had absolutely no control over the show that aired. She was just one of several people they interviewed, and had nothing to do with the final product, or of the chunks of her interview that were left on the cutting room floor. Perhaps Jennifer *did* address everything you hoped she would, and the filmmakers decided not to include it in the final film. I understand your ire, but it’s misdirected!

  9. Jennifer,

    So you would like your child to contract Polio the way things used to be for 200,000 years? The Polio Vaccine has saved millions of lives.

    Avoiding Vaccines is a sure fire way of contracting them spreading many diseases that can be easily prevented with a simple shot.

    Good luck to you and your family,


  10. *Avoiding Vaccines is a sure fire way of contracting diseases then spreading them to the general population.

  11. Hi everybody. I am fairly new at this controversy, however, I have done my homework. I have spent hours viewing both sides of the story ( to immunize or not to immunize, lol) I could solidly say that I won’t! and I can’t be accused as ignorant for not doing so. This Frontline Docu somewhat struck me as pro vaccine, I wonder why they didn’t invite Dr Sherri Tenpenny or Dr Mary Tocco or even Dr Neil Z. Miller which I believe have Broader view of the issue due to the fact that they are medical professionals and oppose the issue. Anyway, more couldn’t been done but wasn’t, they didn’t even mentioned them. This was totally aimed to have people back to pricking their kids

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