- Published on Tuesday, 04 November 1997 19:35
- Written by Linda Taaffe - Town Crier Staff Writer
Getting tossed around by professional wrestlers, hobnobbing with Hollywood stars and attending theater openings is all in a day's work for 17-year-old Jon Chu, who is a special corespondent on the award-winning teen magazine show, "First Cut."
The Los Altos Hills resident made his television debut as the show's special correspondent in August, after being selected from among more than 150 other hopefuls.
Chu said he has always enjoyed being in the spotlight, but believes he was chosen as a corespondent for being a "computer nerd."
"I think I stood out because I'm weird," he said. "I just love computers."
Chu has even incorporated his portable computer, named "Devito," into the weekly show as his sidekick.
Producer Bertrand Pellegrin said Chu's computer knowledge was a bonus, but he selected Chu because "he is very charismatic and seemed like the right person."
Produced by the Special Projects unit of NewsCenter 4, the San Francisco-based show features news, music profiles, and technology and fashion stories by an all-teen reporter staff.
Since its premiere in 1993, the show has earned numerous awards, including two Emmy Awards.
Chu, who has filmed five episodes, is the special correspondent for the show's three-minute "Launch Pad" segment, in which he interviews musicians, celebrities and athletes one-on-one in the studio and also goes out into the field.
Chu said filming short segments is no easy task. Because the staff doesn't usually edit the final take, the three-minute interview has to be shot over if anyone makes a mistake, he said.
Chu said a 10-second spot can take up to 45 minutes to film.
"It's really hard because I'm just beginning," he said. "Everyone is watching you and telling you about all of your faults. It's a lot of pressure."
Chu said to alleviate any awkward moments with his guests, he wears a microphone in his ear as a security blanket and the producers discreetly coach him on what to say.
Chu said filming the show once a week, keeping up on current news, fulfilling his role as associate student body president at Pinewood School and maintaining his grades involves "lots of hard work and late nights."
Chu said he plans to pursue a career behind the camera as a producer. He is already a professional filmmaker who produces short films in his home studio for local companies and organizations, Chu said.
"First Cut" airs at 4 p.m., Saturdays on KRON-TV, channel 4.