I received an email in late March that asked if I was interested in participating in an upcoming episode of a show on Investigation Discovery called "Nightmare Next Door." The email set off all of the emotions you'd expect: adrenaline, fear, excitement, self-criticism. A quick glance at my calendar allayed a lot of that; I was already booked for the Sisters in Crime Hollywood Conference during the dates in question.
This being my year of Costanza Marketing, I recognized immediately that if I wanted to grow, I needed to do things that were uncomfortable. The opposite of what felt safe. So I emailed back and said yes, I'm very interested, but do you have any flexibility on dates?
I flew to Grass Valley, CA the day after the Hollywood conference and was interviewed for several hours about a case that had taken place there in the Nineties.
My episode is called "A Strange Trust," and features the murder of two teenage girls in a small town outside of Sacramento, CA. Nothing about this case is funny. It is tragic and horrifying no matter how you view it. Yet it has all of the hallmarks of a cozy mystery: small town, close families, trusted friends, which reminds you that murder is murder, no matter what you call it.
Things I learned:
*No matter how much you read/study/memorize about the case, you will forget facts. This (hopefully) does not mean you are losing your memory.
*When you think you remember a fact that the investigating homicide detective contradicts, let him be right.
*The crew won't like what you wore. Bring options. Lots of options.
*Don't wear jewelry. It makes noise.
*You might have to refer to a lewd sex act on camera. If you try to get around this by using Latin terms, they will ask you to redo it with everyday jargon. Try to remember you are an adult and not a fourteen year old.
*When you complete the take that includes reference to said lewd sex act, remember that saying things like, "My mom is going to see that!" might make it onto the reel they play at the holiday party. (This was neither confirmed nor denied, but I have my suspicions.)
*Additionally, try not to refer to your age. At all.
*Grass Valley had recently legalized marijuana and according to my driver, "the whole town smells like pot!"
*When someone offers you something called a "Hippie Cookie" before you are to be filmed, politely decline. (see previous point.) (don't worry, I had the foresight to decline.)
I flew home later the same day and, despite buzzing with stories about the case and the experience, had to sit on the news for the next six months. I occasionally Googled things to see when my episode would air, while equally wondering if my footage would be left on the cutting room floor. (This shows my age, as I'm pretty sure the whole thing is digital.)
In August, I received an email with my air date: November 4. I have since been told that the episode was moved to November 11, but both dates are listed on the Investigation Discovery Channel website. The episode is the season finale and the show's 100th episode. I am taking that as a good sign.
Channel: Investigation Discovery | Show: Nightmare Next Door | Episode: "A Strange Trust" | Air date: Premiere November 11 (maybe 4th?) | Time: 9 PM EST.