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:

  1. Ask for a list of questions in advance. That way, you can prepare and have some statistics on the ready.
  2. Don’t count on the interviewer to calm you down. She has to focus on her own performance.
  3. Try to ignore the glaring light. Otherwise, your now-beady eyes will blink uncontrollably.
  4. 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.
  5. Even professionals make mistakes and must stop for another take.
  6. 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.