TV Presenter training – not just for TV presenters

One thing I love about teaching TV presenting is the range of people it attracts. On my last course at The Actors Centre, which was fully booked, there were two Dancing on Ice professional skaters, a Reuters journalist, musical theatre actor, former actor working in events, IT consultant, blogger, and marine engineer. They all had different reasons for attending, with mainstream TV presenting not necessarily being the end goal for all of them.

Certainly, I’ve trained people who’ve gone on to have high profile TV presenting careers including Seema Jaswal Sports presenter BBC and ITV, Julia Chatterley financial reporter/anchor CNBC, Bloomberg and now CNN, David McClelland Tech broadcaster on BBC’s Rip Off Britain and Watchdog, Sita Thomas children’s presenter Channel 5’s Milkshake, Louise Houghton presenter Euromaxx for Deutsche-Welle TV and Marie-Francoise Wolff, Kipling bags brand ambassador QVC.

There are dozens more of my former students who’ve achieved success using their presenting skills online such as Asian Media Awards Finalist presenter/writer Momtaz Begum-Hossain @the_craftcafe, flower expert Rona Wheeldon @flowerona, vegan cook Suzanne Kirlew @kirleysueskitchen, storyteller Lucy Walters at lucywalters.uk.com, Dr Clare Lynch businesss writer, udemy.com and Matthew Bellhouse Civil Engineer, winner Fleming Award for Best Presentation at The Geological Society.

People use TV presenting training in all kinds of ways, not always for TV, to build up their brand, vlog, make marketing videos, create their own content channels, to speak to camera with confidence and understand professional expectations.

TV Presenter training can help launch your media career and enable you to speak to your audience wherever it might be. There are people who are confident enough to start broadcasting to the world from their kitchen table, some with huge success, but for others it feels better to get some expert feedback and learn how to get it right before you do.

Kathryn teaches TV Presenter training in Covent Garden London at The Actors Centre and City Lit, and in North West London for one2ones.

 

 

 

Acting v TV Presenting

Many TV presenters come from an acting background or combine acting careers with presenting. What’s the difference? Acting is taking on a persona, getting under the skin of another character, portraying someone who is not you. TV presenting is being you, don’t try to be someone else or act the role of being a presenter.

Acting for camera teaches ‘Don’t look at the camera (unless a soliloquy)’, but TV presenters should look at the camera to engage with their audience. Actors can have weeks of rehearsal time, TV presenters rehearse just before the recording/transmission. Actors are almost always given a script, presenters may get a script or work from bullet points, research notes, a brief or just ad lib. Actors usually have a wardrobe department, presenters often wear their own, but on some bigger jobs I have known presenters to be given a budget or stylist, it  depends on the production.

There are transferable skills between acting and presenting, similarities and differences but if you are having a bad day in either profession, you will need to draw on your performance skills to keep it professional. Is presenting acting? Well, just a bit …..

More tips in my blog and book

https://www.nickhernbooks.co.uk/so-you-want-to-be-a-tv-presenter

From Musical Theatre to TV Presenting

I often teach TV presenting skills in theatre schools and recently I was delivering TV presenting workshops at a musical theatre school. On-camera drama training for actors emphasises ‘do not look at the camera’, ‘be in character’. With TV presenting it’s the opposite, ‘look at the camera’, and ‘be yourself’.

Some actors find this liberating, a chance to show their personality, others find it exposing. It’s all about confidence, talk to camera as if this is the most natural communication possible, without revealing the inner stress you may have.

Musical theatre actors, usually full of confidence, can find it challenging to create a natural performance for TV. It helps to think of your audience as one person, not a full auditorium, have a conversation with your viewer, be warm, but no jazz hands!

Next TV Presenting course with me is 23rd/24th September, The Actors Centre, Covent Garden, for non-members, all welcome, not just musical theatre! Limited places available.

From print to video

I frequently work with companies who are moving from print to video, from written reports to presenting/producing TV programmes for clients and a wider audience.

Understandably, even highly professional experts can feel out of their depth in the unfamiliar world of making TV. My advice, based on 25 years of TV directing and 15 years teaching TV presenting is to keep your target audience in mind, avoid jargon, and make it conversational. Talk to the camera as if you are chatting to one person at a time, be warm and friendly, and look down the centre of the lens to connect. Less is more, short bite-sized chunks of info that can be viewed on a mobile in the back of a taxi may get more likes than long form programmes. The language of TV is images, use anecdotes and real examples to bring your content to life and make it memorable. A dark suit, acceptable in a corporate setting, can look dull on camera, add some colour, look groomed and smile!

How to talk to a camera

How can you talk to a camera and make it seem real? A camera is just plastic and electronics on a tripod, so what can you do to make your performance natural? Imagine the camera is a person.

Your job is to connect with the viewer through the lens, so if you imagine the camera is a person, your performance will be sincere.

Who should you imagine? It can be your best friend, your mum, or a typical viewer. If you’re presenting a shopping channel imagine someone at home who is watching the channel, if you’re presenting a pre-school TV show imagine talking to a four year old on the sofa.

How do we watch TV? Usually on our own, or with another person, so when speaking to camera, talk to one or two people max. Even if hundreds, thousands or millions are watching your video, they are in their own space, not all crowded into one room. Make it personal and the viewer will relate to you, they will think you are talking to them individually and you will create a bond through the camera.

The same goes for radio. We tend to listen in the bathroom, in the car, doing the ironing or through headphones … again it’s the same rules as for TV. If you’re presenting a radio show imagine talking to one listener. Some radio presenters place a photo of their mum, boyfriend, or girlfriend by the mic to help them talk to one person they have in mind.

The language you use reflects this approach. If you’re on stage presenting a public event you might say,

‘Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen’.

If you’re hosting a children’s birthday party, you might use,

‘Hello girls and boys’, or ‘Hello everybody’.

But when talking to camera address the individual –

‘Hello and welcome to the show. It’s great to be with you again and I’ve got a fantastic line up of guests for you to enjoy this afternoon.”

It’s about being relatable, connect with the camera so the viewer can connect with you.

Strictly Success

Joanne Clifton & Kathryn Wolfe, April 2015As a tutor it’s so rewarding when one of your students achieves success, and it has just been revealed that the multi talented Joanne Clifton is to join the presenting team of BBC’s It Takes Two. Joanne, World Champion Ballroom dancer and pro-dancer on Strictly Come Dancing will be a regular dance expert on the Strictly chat show this Autumn, as well as performing in the Strictly series.

When Joanne attended my course Get into TV Presenting at The Actors Centre last summer she was clearly a bundle of talent. She was training in acting, singing and presenting after achieving World class in dancing, aiming to launch herself in a new direction. Appearing on Strictly last year, along with her brother, ‘Kevin from Grimsby’, it was quickly apparent that Joanne could present as well as dance – she was discovered!

TV Presenting is an extension of your own personality, it shouldn’t be fake or an acting performance. You need to confidently talk to the camera, to engage with the viewer. The skills can be taught quickly, and then it’s practise. Joanne’s dance background meant she could connect with the audience, and she combined this with her cheeky personality and sense of humour.

The 2-day course taught Joanne the basic presenting skills of talking to camera, speaking to time, interviewing, being interviewed, walking and talking, vox pops and reading Autocue. Almost immediately Joanne found herself being interviewed for Channel 4, and she performed brilliantly.

Feeling that TV presenting could be her new career Joanne followed up her initial training with personal coaching with me, and is now confident enough to hold her own on mainstream BBC. It all started with a weekend course. Who knows where it will end?

There’s plenty more info on my website and in my books, The TV Presenter’s Career Handbook published by Focal Press, and So You Want to be a TV Presenter? published by Nick Hern Books.