At MWP we work with a diverse range of presenters. As with any other category of people, all of our web presenters are unique with their own individual approaches to the job. As a Production Manager and/or Director, there are things that you can do to make sure that your presenters are as prepared as possible for a shoot. Some of these things should happen in the pre-production phase – before you even get to the studio. Others need to happen on the day, literally minutes prior to the shoot. Here are our top 6 tips for preparing a presenter for a shoot.
In order to minimise stress, a presenter needs advance notice of the date, time and location of a shoot. This is basic information that enables the presenter to prepare in advance and ensures they will be where they need to be on time. We provide this information in the form of a call sheet, which outlines date, time, location, team contact details and a shooting schedule.
2 Costume/make up
Connected to the logistics/information that should be provided in advance, presenters need to know what is expected of them in terms of dress, hair and make-up. Do you need them to wear something in particular? Are you providing their outfit? Are they expected to do their own hair/make-up or are you providing a make-up artist? Do they need to arrive earlier for hair/make-up? Don’t take these details for granted – tell them what they need to know!
3 Project brief/expectations
In order to get the best performance out of your presenters, they should be provided with a brief in advance of the shoot. This will give them greater confidence. An explanation of the brand they are presenting for is essential. It is also important to outline your expectations in terms of style/tone/delivery so that they can mentally prepare for the job at hand. We aim to provide our presenters with the name of the company, context regarding where their video will appear and a description of the target audience.
It isn’t always possible due to the nature of business, but if possible it is worth sending final scripts to presenters in advance of the shoot. It gives the presenter the opportunity to read through and familiarise themselves with the wording and structure. It also gives them a chance to raise any questions. Presenter input can be invaluable in this sense because if they feel something doesn’t quite roll off their tongue in the right way, you will have time to discuss it with your client and fix it before the shoot. There may also be elements of the script that raise pronunciation questions, which can be clarified in good time.
5 Dry runs
On the day of the shoot, where possible, schedule dry run opportunities so that the web presenter has a chance to run through the script in the studio, under the lights. This is an important warm up exercise for the presenter and a chance for the Director to offer feedback and instruction.
Where possible, it is important that the presenter has been introduced to the crew in advance of the shoot. The best results will likely come from presenters who know your team and are comfortable with them. Part of this is about being grateful and respectful for their contribution to the project – thank them and look after them. It wouldn’t hurt to make sure they have a bottle of water at hand and some scheduled breaks! As applies to any industry, a happy workforce means better performance.
For any presenters out there, please see a previous post ‘How to be less nervous on camera’ for some useful advice about preparing yourself for your jobs.