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5 Things Actors Do That Enhance On-Camera Performance

Posted on May 25, 2021 by Allyson West

Sure, it isn’t Hollywood, but being on-camera in your company’s marketing video can certainly induce nerves that sky-rocket out of orbit. You’re an expert in your field. You’re a leader. You may even be a practiced public speaker – so why do you suddenly break into sweats and jitters that make you forget how to form a simple, clear sentence?

As a career performer and acting professor, I’ve seen firsthand the differences considered, focused behavior can make on-camera. Approaching your on-camera interview or scripted lines like a performer or actor – someone who has spent time studying their image translated through video – will help you look better and be more prepared to deliver the appropriate content.

Step One: Practice

It’s time. The interviewer asks, “Could you please tell us your name and spell it?” You blank. What is my name? Is that two L’s or one? Who am I? A simple question – one you likely have known the answer for since you were two-years-old – is now inducing an identity crisis.

You need to prepare simple, factual statements in advance and you need to say them out loud.

You need to practice saying your name. You need to practice saying what you do, and why you like it. You need to verbalize common statements in advance so that they roll off the tongue when you find yourself being asked during an on-camera interview. 

Speaking of ‘rolling off the tongue,’ clients frequently develop a case of nerves that lead into run-on sentences and a multitude of topics crammed into one statement. The interviewer knows the importance of asking the 'right' questions, and will give you time to share your message and feelings about your work. Practicing simple, short responses allows you to cleanly convey these statements for the final video and enhance on-camera performance.

When asked a question – respond as directly and simply as you can. Practice this: Response. Stop Talking. Breathe. Repeat, as many times as needed until the interviewer takes you on to the next question.

Step Two: Dress Cool

Obviously, you want to look cool. More importantly, you need to feel comfortable. You need to wear clothes that don’t restrict your body when seated and standing. Your need shoes you can comfortably sit or stand in. You need to be relaxed, supported, and feel confident.

Furthermore, you need to wear clothes that will keep you cool. Production lights can be hot. If you are already feeling nervous, the unanticipated heat is not going to help your body self-regulate. Wear layers, and avoid patterns that are small or busy. Avoid bulky fabrics, warm knits, or common winter garb.

talent-showcase-best-angle-on-cameraOur client, Leslie Michels of Embody Alive, appears poised and confident on set.

Step Three: Find your Eye line

Nothing induces panic amongst viewers or clients more than shifty eyes. Ask your interviewer: “Where should I be looking?” and stick to it. Frequently, on-camera interviews will follow a natural, conversational approach – you may be able to look another human directly in the eyes.

Other cases could involve you looking into camera, or some other specific reference point in the room.

In this case, allow your imagination to build the eyes of your most trusted friend.

When you speak or deliver your lines, you need to be looking straight into these imaginary eyes placed directly on your reference point.

Step Four: Give your Hands Something To Do

Children wiggle. Adults wiggle. We all fidget in some way. Your hands need to be tasked, and you need to clearly task them during your interview. Phones, jewelry, and accessories should all be in pockets or out of reach.

You can task your hands to sit calmly in your lap. You can task your hands to rest inside one another. You can task your hands to rest until called for. Of course you should allow your hands to move freely as you speak and illustrate your points, but your hands should be asked to wait their time to shine and refrain from fretting unnecessarily.

Step Five: Rephrase the Question

You’ve made it to the production shoot. You’ve practiced. You’re wearing your coolest clothes. You know where to look and what to do with your hands. It is now time to deliver.

Editors need clear, simple statements or responses with context that indicate what is being asked.

For example, if an interviewer asks something similar to: “How did you feel when you accomplished your first major goal?” Your response needs to be rephrased to “When I accomplished my first major goal, I felt {INSERT JOY AND SUCCESS OF YOUR HARD WORK HERE.}”

In this way, you are setting the editor up to have amazing soundbites with context that do not need to be “Frankenstein-ed,” together. Additionally, clear soundbites help you appear poised and confident.

Small, conscious changes to your persona on-camera helps put your best foot forward through video. When you shine in video, your messaging moves front and center and allows the audience to hear you directly.

We love hearing your stories, and would be honored to help develop your on-camera results. Interested in hearing more?

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