Guest blog from Presenter / Actress Jessica Jay with some tips and techniques for Directing Presenters…
As directors and producers, I’m sure you have your bug bears, well, we do too!
So, let’s talk about presenting…
Technically speaking I am an actor not a presenter but I seem to have found success and a love for presenting in recent times.
I wanted to give you all my top 3 tips on HOW to direct a presenter and get the most from them.
The first thing to consider – when an actor is playing a part, they are playing someone else, a character, taking on another persona. So, when criticized during performance it feels as if it is the CHARACTER is being critiqued.
When presenting, we are playing OURSELVES, albeit usually an exaggerated, overly enthusiastic version of ourselves. So, lesson one is this – when you make a negative comment to a presenter about their performance, or delivery, or the way they look, consider the fact that you ARE being personal. Sometimes personal critique is hard to hear so be sensitive and mindful in your delivery. Run what you are about to say in your head before you speak and think about how you would want someone to say that to you!
Monologues or long extracts of direct text are HARD to learn! It is a lot easier learning a scripted Dualogue where the other persons lines act as a sort of prompt for your own. Also, most paragraphs of presenter script are about a product or a company which use very specific language that we rarely fully understand.
Sending a script with as much notice as possible is a must, if you want the performance to be natural and fluid. If possible, avoid last minute changes, as sometimes these can be even harder to RELEARN, when you already have the original script wedged in your head. Last minute amends can really throw you as a presenter. So, it’s a balancing act between making sure you send a script with as much notice as possible, but making sure this a FINAL version that won’t need amending and has the ok from the client.
In my opinion the worst thing an actor or presenter can hear is “Yeah, that’s ok, it will have to do.“, “We’ve got to move on, it’s alright.“, “We have it as safety, we can always cut away.“.
What you mean is probably that the take was good and useable, and in your head you have a plan to cutaway to an image or visual of the product t hat point, so we can move onto the next take.
Let me tell me what we hear – “That was awful, it was flat and dull, we are awful and doing a terrible job, and the director isn’t happy with our work“. For a long time I thought this was just me being overly self critical, but trust me, we are all sensitive creatures, it’s what makes us good at what we do! However, please be aware of how we may be affected by the throwaway phrases you tend to use without thinking.
So, there you have it, my top 3 tips to directing presenters to ensure we remain confident, relaxed, and can perform to our best!
Shooting on green screen for a recent Silvertip vlog.