Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How to Prepare for a Live TV Craft Segment

Recently the company I work for, Echo Park Paper, sent my co-worker and I to a local TV station to share some ideas for a Mother's Day table. While I have filmed many, many times this was my first time prepping for live TV. I thought I would share some of the differences between live TV filming and filming under other circumstances and how you can prepare to film for a live TV segment.


Preparing for Any Kind of Filming Segment:

- Wear something that doesn't have a wild print. The pattern goes all wonky on HD TV. (Yes, wonky is a real word).
- Go a little darker on your make-up but NOT clown make-up. Put what you typically wear on your face, but go a little more dramatic. Think date night make-up versus drive the kids in the carpool make-up.
- If you're displaying something, go with high contrast colors for your project or display. Muted colors get really washed out on camera (that goes for your clothes and make-up too).
- Think levels. Some things right on top of the tabletop, some things medium height, and some things higher. But NEVER obscure yours or the host's face. Use books or cake plates or something that sticks to help "lift" your items to these heights.
- Fill the space. Bring more than you think you'll need. Oftentimes, the surface space you use will differ than the one on which you planned. So will the height. Come prepared with more items than you think you'll need. Know ahead of time which items you can eliminate.
- Pre-plan the showcase layout. Get everything out. Set it all up. Photograph it from different angles. Make changes. Take a printed photo or a photo on your phone with you of how it should look when setting up. Adjust as needed once you get there.
- Write out a bullet-list or conversational script. Think of taking the host from one part of the table to the next. Practice the script but know that oftentimes the host will lead you through the conversation so STAY FLEXIBLE. You may need to submit this beforehand. Do NOT deviate from your plan unless you have prior permission from the host or producer. Do you do not want to make the host look uninformed.
- Talk to the host like you're at book club with your friends. Just chat. Be excited, engaged, and happy to share what you have. Give yourself permission to be nervous. It's ok. It DOES get easier.
- Smile when you talk. It helps your voice sound natural plus it makes you seem friendly.
- There are often multiple cameras. Be aware of where they are. Don't pick something up unless you KNOW it will still be on camera. It's so weird to talk about something and no camera is picking it up so no one at home sees what you're talking about. It takes a while to sense where the cameras are. If you have time before your set, ask the crew!
- Bring extra step-outs of the project if you're doing an on-camera demonstration. Sometimes something goes wrong, and you'll need to film again. If you're live, you may have to "fake it" with whatever you're doing. If you're not live, you can do it all over again.
- Think through everything you might need and BRING IT. Film often? Keep a "to go" bag with all your common supplies, as well as a make-up bag, and an extra top. Once I had to change my shirt because both the host and I had on matching tops. Go figure! (At least I know I have good taste.)

- Send a thank you note. The show invited you. Make sure to thank them!

How to Prepare for Filming a Live TV Segment:


- Don't look at the camera. You are talking to the host. It feels strange, but pretend it's just you and the host(s).
- The host runs the show. Let he or she asks questions, cut you off when necessary, and lead the conversation. Some prefer that you start and lead. But others direct almost the entire conversation. Some will give you a heads up to questions they may ask. Some will want to do a quick run through beforehand. And some just go with the flow. Remember if you're having a conversation with friends it all plays out very naturally.
- Be ready to go. Live TV typically means you get 2-3 minutes in between sets to get ready. For our recent shoot, we set up off camera while they were filming other spots. Then the crew carried our table out onto the floor, put the mic on our guest, and off they went. You will NOT have a practice run on a live show so be prepared!
- Speak calmly and distinctly. Take a deep breath before filming and then remember you're just chatting. Sometimes I still find I hold my breath when I film. And sometimes I feel completely at ease. Wish it was easy every time.
- Work quietly in the background. Keep the noise level down. While the microphones only pick so much, if you drop something or laugh loudly off camera everyone will hear it. When your segment is done, move quickly and quietly off set and remove your items. You may have to wait until the entire show is complete or they may have you take down while they're filming other segments. Either way, be respectful of others on camera.

How to Prepare for Other Filming Situations:


- You may get more than one take. I LOVE that. So if you mess up, you can say "cut" or ask to film the segment again. I found that after several times filming I did better. But hey, everyone has a bad day. Just accept it. Shake it off and move forward. Just don't waste the film crew's time because you're not prepared.
- Made a mistake and want to go again? Leave your hands on the table when that happens and DON'T MOVE ANYTHING. Often the camera person can start you right back up and even cue you as to what you just said. It's easiest when you basically freeze in position so they can edit the film later more easily.
- Ask questions. Ask where the camera(s) will be. Ask for clarification on any questions that you have. Every person I have ever worked with has been willing to help me learn new things. And they've always been kind and helpful. Trust me. They'd rather have you ask a question than make an assumption and get it wrong.
- Be a professional. Be patient. And be appreciative. The people that you work with make you look good. Remember that and be verbally thankful for their help.

How to Prepare for a Live TV Segment Checklist from www.jengallacher.com.

Download this helpful PDF checklist HERE. Pin for later or share now with a friend.

Jen has several years experience with filming including co-hosting Creativexpress, guest spots with Northridge Publishing, The Scrapbook Expo, and more. She currently films her own videos on her Youtube channel HERE. Jen has additional background in social media and marketing management. You can watch some of her segments HERE on her Youtube channel.

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