Camera Ready: 10 Tips to Look and Sound Great on Video (ASJA)
On April 27th I took part in a panel at the American Society of Journalists and Authors yearly conference on How to Look and Sound Great on Video. In case you missed it, I culled my top 10 tips to help you to prepare for your next big appearance.
1. Know Your Stuff: If you are an expert you’re already ahead of the game. You know your stuff. You wouldn’t have been invited to appear on a program unless you were that good (or unless your publicist is that good). Which leads me to the first point. Looking great on camera is crucial, but just being telegenic isn’t enough. You have to know your stuff.
2. Project Confidence: If you practice enough and feel comfortable and confident you will exude confidence. And that’s probably the single most quality that will differentiate you from every other schlub on national television. Just because some people seem comfortable and like they were born on camera does not mean that they are. They’re just confident and know the tricks of the trade.
3. Do Your Homework: Watch the show you’re scheduled to appear on. Watch other videos by the director you’ve hired to shoot your book trailer. Acclimate yourself with things like the way the set looks, the way the lighting looks and even where the guests sit. Find out topics your host loves or hates and whether you’ll be sticking to one topic only.
4. Practice. Practice again. When you’re done practicing, practice some more: Even someone who knows their topic backwards and forwards can get flustered on camera. There’s so much else to concentrate on when appearing on camera, why not make things easier by preparing as well in advance as possible?
5. Be At Ease in your Clothes: Choose something that flatters you. Producers love to tell people to wear bright colors, but if you wouldn’t be caught dead in jewel tones, why would you wear them on national TV? Choose something you’re comfortable in. Inspect it for tags or loose threads or buttons. Wear it a time or two to ensure that it doesn’t dig into anyplace awkward.
6. Do a Trial Run: Have a friend take photos of you from different angles and in different positions (because there will likely be still shots promoting the piece). Only when you’re comfortable with the look can you wear it. Create short videos to see your body language and gestures. Be open to real critique from friends and colleagues.
7. Find Something New To Say: Even if your prepared, don’t be content spouting platitudes or the same tired things everyone in your industry already knows. Your editors regularly remind you to provide fresh ideas, now is the time to do it. If you disagree with common wisdom, perhaps this is the time to highlight your own take on things.
8. Mind Your Makeup: If you know what works for you, then work with that, since you don’t want to feel like a mannequin. You’ll need to take into account the very bright lights that are likely set up to flatter your host and not you. If at all possible have the set makeup artist help out with your hair and makeup or at the very least blot any shiny spots.
9. Listen to the Producer: The producer will probably tell you what works best for their show. Listen to them, not because they have only your best interests at heart, but because it’s their job to create a great show. Pay attention to the host. It’s rude to expect someone to carry on a conversation with you while your attention is elsewhere.
10. Have an Emergency Plan in Place: Because flights are delayed and bloopers can happen. Create a crisis management plan and inform those in your family and staff how to react if the worst happens. It won’t. But you’ll have an extra layer of confidence being prepared in advance.
If you need my help in preparing for your next on camera appearance, write to me at etc [at] hirachel.com
646.494.9729 (9RCW). You can follow me on Twitter @rachelcw.
Rachel Weingarten is a style expert, marketing strategist & personal branding consultant for CEOs, politicians and celebrities and the creator of MintStyle. She is the award-winning author of Career and Corporate Cool and Hello Gorgeous! Beauty Products in America ‘40s-‘60s. Rachel writes for top media outlets including CNN, Fortune, Forbes Life, MSN, USA Today, Yahoo Finance and many others. She is a regularly featured expert on TV shows including Good Morning America and The Today Show.