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Can anyone please give me some tips about appearing on camera?

(18 Posts)
HennyPennyHorror Tue 26-Feb-19 10:54:48

I'm absolutely bricking it. Long story short, I'm a freelance writer and a very regular client has asked me to speak in a video he's having made to promote his business.

I know it's going to be shared on their social media channels etc and maybe Youtube. He's booked a proper videographer and I'm to talk about my experience freelancing for the company.

I'm 45 with crap skin and when I've filmed myself to practice, I look like a sad spaniel talking shit.

I REALLY don't want to do it but have no choice now...I should have just said no in the first place.

It's too late to let them down now though. sad

I've written a rough draft of what to say but I'm having a hard time learning it...because I wrote it and it's very "natural" I keep adlibbing and changing it up too much.

WHen I try to just make it up as I go along, I keep saying "Erm"

HELP! Tips? Advice?

HennyPennyHorror Tue 26-Feb-19 10:59:51


whasoaw1 Tue 26-Feb-19 11:16:10

Any way you can arrange hair and make up if you're struggling with that aspect? Also, it's a huge compliment to ask you! You must have some fabulous input. You have definitely done the right thing by writing it in a natural tone. Pretend you're speaking to a friend or loved one. When in front of the camera, try and convince yourself it's off. Smile.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 26-Feb-19 11:18:55

If there's a proper videographer, you'll be fine. I do this as part of my job. They'll put you at ease and 90% of the time people throw away the script they've written and just have a chat with me/someone off screen, and a rapport is built up first so it feels really natural.

NameChange112112321 Tue 26-Feb-19 11:23:40

Don't try and memorise something, you'll most likely come off as a robot unless you're used to being on camera. Make some point form notes on a card with your key points. You will be able to do more than one take so try to relax, talk to the director/camera person about what they want.

And on a personal level, if it's going on you tube for stuff like this I tend to book in at Space NK, MAC, Bobbi Brown, etc to get my make up done properly. Most will do it if you buy something and if you tell them that your doing it and bricking it you end up with a very professional face. (but maybe you're not as vain as me! blush)

HennyPennyHorror Tue 26-Feb-19 11:24:33 chance of hair and time to organise and would probably take the budget out of whack.

I'll try that Whasoaw speaking as though I'm talking to someone I know. DD aged 14 kindly told me I put on a fake posh accent when I speak in any official capacity.

So that didn't help! I don't think I do...I'm Northern and I still say "bugger" with a proper U!

HennyPennyHorror Tue 26-Feb-19 11:25:47

Name thanks...where can I put cards though? I don't want to look down all the time. Re. Mac...I live in semi-rural Australia. No posh stores here.

SpacePenguin Tue 26-Feb-19 11:28:33

I don't know anything about make up, but have some tips for the speaking part.

You want to come across as natural, sincere, enthusiastic, approachable, positive. How do you do it?

The simple answer is that it should be a conversation. People are generally sincere when having a real conversation. To prepare, the first thing to consider is that a conversation doesn't require you to prepare precise responses. If you do that, you'll sound robotic.

Ask for some of the questions the director will ask, or if they don't have anything prepared yet think of a few questions that you would ask about your role and ask someone to do a few practice runs with you. Do not write this down word for word. Answer honestly and with heart on the day. If you're not happy, you can redo it. Just say I really didn't like the way I said that can I start again. Or finish your answer and ask to retake that segment. Remember, it's not live. You can do a few takes - and the director will guide you here. They want you to be your best.

On the day, the director will first of all put you at ease with general conversation to build rapport, then they'll lead into specific questions. It won't be robotic, they'll adjust their questions to fit the conversation more naturally, but they'll know what you want to get across (and what their client wants) and they'll make sure to capture that. Remember the director is on your side - they want you to get a good result.

This site is brilliant:

justmyview Tue 26-Feb-19 11:32:02

If it's being done by a professional videographer, I assume they will keep you right. It's in their interests for your contribution to be as good as possible. Also, remember that it's not being shown live, so I expect you could re-record your section several times, if required

NameChange112112321 Tue 26-Feb-19 11:49:44

As others have said speak to the director, it will most likely be a mid shot, waist up, you can either keep the cards in your lap or just of camera. As others have said it should feel like a conversation. Have they given you questions or is it just a quick talking head?

CharlotteUnaNatalieThompson Tue 26-Feb-19 12:10:19

Ask the director to ask you questions, answer facing them as you would if you were having a conversation with them, so you are slightly angled and not looking directly at the camera. Try and forget the camera is there. They can edit it the questions after.

I was on TV recently and this is what I was advised. I shat myself beforehand but actually ended up relaxing into it and was really pleased with how it turned out. Not polished, but I came across natural and passionate about what I was talking about which I wouldn't have if I'd read a prepared statement.

NannyRed Tue 26-Feb-19 12:19:14

If you can get a make up artist to do your make up, that’s great, if not, could you have a department store make over?

Have your hair done, cut and coloured if you have it coloured. Updo done by a stylist if you want it up.

An outfit that you feel smart and comfortable in.

Smile, keep your chin up (double chins are not a good look on anyone)

A tiny nip of Dutch courage can help some, but not everyone. Could it help you? (Definitely no more than a nip though)

Know what you want to say, it cuts down on umming and arrring!

Wondering333 Tue 26-Feb-19 20:11:27

Try and forget you’re being filmed and treat it as if you’re sharing advice with a younger you.

And don’t be afraid to pause and think about what to say if you need to, slowing down and breathing are generally helpful things to remember.

And don’t forget - they’ve asked you cos they think you’re good - so you are. You have something they want to hear so remind yourself of that. Good luck!

idonthaveaclue123 Tue 26-Feb-19 21:24:56

If you can’t afford hair and makeup do you have a family member or friend who’s good at doing hair and make up you could ask as a favour if this is something that would make you feel better? Ask someone off camera to ask you question (them asking can be cut out) you could even have a list made for them, this could help to make you feel as ease aswell as you could pretend your just having a normal conversation. Practising in a mirror might help some people just hate hearing there voice on camera (Not sure why but his trick helps with some of my students). Also try and get a good nights sleep before hand and leave plenty of time to get there etc so your not stressing about things you don’t need to be. I’m a Performing Arts teacher and everything your feeling is normal for anyone doing this type of thing especially if your not used to it. Remember op they have asked you because the must really like your work!

thecapitalsunited Tue 26-Feb-19 22:25:46

I’ve done a few TV spots and was shit scared the first time. The key is to remember that no one cares what you look like as long as you look professional and are saying sensible stuff.

Don’t try to memorise anything. I’m sure you know your stuff and if the video is done in a conversational style then this will come across in a natural way. If you try to memorise something it will come out woodenly and if you lose track of what you are saying you’ll end up as a rabbit in headlights. The company who has asked you in for the video clearly thinks you are awesome so be confident! Speak slowly and clearly and take time to pause between sentences.

The other thing to remember is that whoever is filming you will want you to look good. That means they will help you to perform in the best way you can. Let them guide you. They’ll know that it’s actually on them to get the best out of you and how to do that.

Good luck!

HennyPennyHorror Wed 27-Feb-19 00:33:35

Capital great tips thanks! I will remember to speak slowly ...because I do tend to speak quickly as I'm from the NW.

And of course you're right....the videographer won't want me to look like a pile of poo will she! Not a good reflection on her!

HennyPennyHorror Thu 28-Feb-19 21:29:57

Update! Just wanted to let you all know how it was amazing! Thank you all so much for the good tips and advice. You were right about not using a script...the videographer agreed that people on scripts almost always sound fake.

I winged it and managed to talk well without erms and aahs! Also, big surprise was that I looked nice on the monitor! She showed me a bit of the first take and I looked good! Far better than I expected...I had just the right amount of makeup on and thanks to her lights, it was flattering as heck!

I actually got a confidence boost from it and felt more positive about my looks than I have for years! I looked better than I do in photos which was so nice as this vid will be online etc.

So...self congratulations aside, thank you all so much. flowers

thecapitalsunited Fri 01-Mar-19 07:11:35

Congratulations! I’m glad it all went well for you. Being filmed for the first time is so stressful but I’ve only ever had good experiences.

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