It was a long time coming. They called me in the summer of 2015 to ask if I’d be on. After several nanoseconds of pondering I said “Yes!!!” The thing is, my new book Evangelical Exodus was still in the process of being published and I didn’t want to waste such a great opportunity to plug it. So we tabled the visit until the following Spring. After the book was released, though. it had to undergo a significantly long vetting process by EWTN before it could be mentioned on the show. By the time that was done, I had moved to California and started a new job – so we put it off until summer. Then Marcus had an emergency, and we put it off until Fall. That plan stuck.
I finally made it to Columbus Ohio where I stayed at the studio director’s Bed and Breakfast the night before filming. It was a wonderful place, he and his wife were great. We had dinner together and then headed “home” for the night.
While there, I got to sign a guest book that had some pretty cool names in it already (and this was a fairly new one!).
The next morning we went to mass in a 19th Century church, then headed to the studio.
The Coming Home Network (which is not, I discovered, a TV network, but rather a network of people) is situated near a cool old farmhouse across the street from a corn field. It’s a three story building with a shipping area on the middle (ground) floor with lots of books that now probably have a bit of my drool on them, as well as two or three offices. Upstairs are more offices and a library / meeting room, and the famous desk (and studio) is downstairs.
I was shown around, then pretty much left on my own for an hour or so. It was great to get some down time before we went in to record the show. I explored the studio and practiced sitting at THE DESK (it was smaller than it looks).
I looked around the recording studio for a bit, shot some pics of the tech for a buddy who is into that sort of thing, and then went back upstairs for more coffee and to see what books I might find. (There were 1 or 2 or 100’s of good ones.)
I also went to the bathroom. Several times. (Coffee + Nerves = Active Bladder). I wondered how many famous Catholic converts had . . . been . . . at this very spot.
After a while the producer came to say that Marcus was ready (when you see him in a tie, you know it’s Go Time). Mr. Grodi generally meets, but does not talk much with, his guests prior to filming. He follows this practice to keep the discussion on the show fresh. So when you see the show starting, he really is sitting down for the first time with his guest – just like the audience.
The show is then recorded in real time with no script, no pre-planned questions, and no redo’s. Scary! But it went great. Marcus has shot The Journey Home over 900 times over the last two decades, so he knows what he’s doing. The conversation was very casual in a sense, and after a minute I barely noticed the cameras and crew. But I could tell he was thinking the whole time – really paying attention and not just trying to get to his next question.
I’d had an irritating tickle in my throat for the last several weeks (I think it is California allergies), and I had been hacking and coughing trying to clear my throat all morning – but managed to hold it back during filming. We had what seemed to me a great discussion. I will be interested to see what it looks like on screen.
After the show wrapped I was taken out to another fantastic meal, got my stuff together, and headed home. I found out that guests are often invited on the show because of recommendations from previous guests (thanks Devin Rose!), and I will be sending in a few myself. So if you get a call from CHN anytime soon, you’re welcome. 🙂