A significant objection I get from clients is, “I don’t think I am very good on camera.” Or, “how do I act more normal when I’m on camera?”
The truth is, you have to act like the camera isn’t there. Many years ago, when I first got into broadcasting, I had a horrible shoot with a local tv station. It was an advertisement to warn kids against the perils of drunk driving, and I fell flat on my face. It was SO bad. I was mortified. There were a couple of problems in this particular shoot, one; they wanted me to read from a script. To that, I say, NO! Unless you use a teleprompter, then I say, ok. But grudgingly. There are better ways, and we will get to those in a moment.
The secret was exposed to me by a man named Tom Prestigiacamo. He was one of the kindest souls I ever met and a heck of a broadcaster. Tom was a good deal older than I was at the time. He would do his afternoon show on FM 100 while I would do mine on the 93X, the local rock station. While broadcasting at The Memphis in May BBQ Cooking Contest one year, I told Tom about my horrible experience with television and how I vowed never to speak publicly on camera again. His advice to me, stop overthinking it. Don’t see the camera; see a friend. Look deep into your friend’s eyes and tell him how you feel. Do not think about the people viewing what you are recording under any circumstance. Just talk to your friend. That helped me immensely, and it is advice I give out all the time. The camera isn’t there, your best friend is.
Every interview I do for a shoot, I try to calm any fears by saying, “this is just you and I having a conversation today. No one else is watching.” Then I get right behind the camera and ask them what they had for breakfast this morning. That usually disarms my client and gets a good chuckle. The truth to being good on camera is yourself. No one is judging you or a pimple or an out-of-place hair. If your content is engaging, they are taking that in. If there is a lot of information to go through, a teleprompter can be extremely helpful. I always use a teleprompter when shooting videos I use for my site, and I suggest you do too. Unless you are conveying raw emotion or telling a story, then always use the interview technique. Part of being a great videographer is knowing what questions to ask and putting your clients at ease. It is much easier to talk on camera when comfortable with the interviewer.
Or you could just be ugly. 🙂
But if you are, rejoice in your ugliness, my friend, we aren’t all perfect, and Lord knows I’m no Brad Pitt, but I do share info that some people find interesting from time to time.
Let go of your reservations and share your knowledge with the world. It will help you sell your products, and you will identify as a trusted advisor to those watching your content.