Tips for On-Camera Performance

Over the last two articles I have talked about becoming a successful television anchor or reporter.  The best in the business don’t become a success overnight.  They spend years toiling away in small markets, working long hours, making very little money.  Students with stars in their eyes are always surprised to hear this, and seem to genuinely appreciate the “real scoop.”

In our first installment, we talked about getting ready for that moment the camera is turned on: how to dress and a little make up for those close up moments. Last month, we talked about writing your own copy.

There are many practical tips you can teach your students that they can implement right now, and become better newscasters immediately at their schools.  In this final installment we will cover some simple performance tips.

Simple Tips Before, During and After the Big Show

Some of this sounds easy, but many newscasters forget to do a few simple things before going on the air.

--Drink plenty of water.  A lot of news people are literally dehydrated before air time and sound scratchy when delivering the news.  Also try to keep a bottle of water near you on the set to take a sip during breaks.

--RELAX!  Do a few breathing exercises and stretching routines before you go on the air.  You wouldn’t work out at the gym without stretching and your voice and body are no different before you deliver the news.  First start by lifting your arms up and down over your hear two or three times, deeply inhaling and exhaling each time.  Then, roll your shoulders forward a few times, then back.  This will help loosen some natural tension before you start.  If you feel stiff and tense, it will show.

--Open up your mouth and get it going.  It looks silly, but it works.  Say “A-E-I-O-U” several times in a row, over exaggerating your mouth to loosen it up.  Also, hum a little tune to wake up those vocal cords, and then roll your tongue around your mouth several times.  This will get your mouth ready to read, and help you articulate your words better. There’s nothing worse than a mumbler on the news.  Open your mouth wide, project your voice and articulate as much as possible without sounding fake.
--Keep a mirror near you on the set.  That one stray hair will really be distracting if you don’t fix it, so just a quick look before you go on will really help.

--After the newscast, watch the tape!  You will learn so much more when you actually watch yourself, see your mistakes and decide what you need to work on.  Better yet, have your teacher give you honest, constructive criticism.  Believe me, no one wants to hear what they’ve done wrong, but it really will help you get better.

Next Month, be sure to read Make up and Wardrobe for Video

Ellen Kolodziej has 15 years of broadcast experience, including extensive on-air reporting and anchoring. She's worked at 8 television stations, in Kentucky, Indiana, Minnesota, Georgia and three different cities in Pennsylvania, including her current position as a part-time reporter at NBC 10 in Philadelphia. Ellen received her undergraduate degree in Communication from La Salle University in Philadelphia and her Master's degree in Journalism from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She is also an adjunct professor at La Salle University, where she teaches Public Speaking and Broadcast News Writing.