Lessons from My Closeup
Speaking on camera looks easy. It isn’t. I can say that based on personal experience.
I was filmed for a Verizon FiOS1 News Long Island segment on its series, “Money & Main $treet.” (You can watch it here: https://vimeo.com/27920578)
Although the segment on air lasted about 2 1/2 minutes, it took roughly 30 minutes to shoot.
The producer said six words that jinxed us: “Let’s do this in one take.” While the first take wasn’t awful, I felt my legs shaking throughout. Happily, through no fault of my own, I got a second chance.
I genuinely enjoy performing, but I suspect that’s not the case for everyone.
If you’re called to do an on-air interview, whether it be radio or TV, consider engaging the services of a media trainer (we’ve got you covered there). No one is born knowing how to field interview questions and appear and sound natural doing it.
In addition, here are some things I learned that could prove helpful:
- Ask for a list of questions in advance. That way, you can prepare and have some statistics on the ready.
- Don’t count on the interviewer to calm you down. She has to focus on her own performance.
- Try to ignore the glaring light. Otherwise, your now-beady eyes will blink uncontrollably.
- If you con yourself into thinking you’re just having a conversation with your interviewer, you can (kind of) forget that the camera is rolling.
- Even professionals make mistakes and must stop for another take.
- Perform a balancing act. While you’ll want your adrenaline to flow to give you a heightened sense of alertness, you can control your nerves by remembering that the clip will air once or a few times at most. Too many jitters, you’ll stumble over your words. Too few, and you’ll appear wooden.
Finally, keep in mind that viewers don’t expect you to be a polished presenter. You have a day job.