Going on camera? My first piece of advice

Going on camera? My first piece of advice

People get nervous about being interviewed on camera — even those who perform all the time in lecture halls or meeting rooms. I get this, because it’s different and, I’d argue, harder. Because you’re trying to reach an audience that exists, but isn’t there. I had to learn this when I started doing television after several years at CBC Radio. It was more of an adjustment than I expected. I was already a performer and comfortable in front of crowds: teaching, public speaking, the lead in my high-school musical. But what I could do naturally in person wasn’t coming across on camera, at first. Then, things clicked—and I changed from being a reporter they were nervous about putting on for a live segment, to one they wanted “live” early and often. This wasn’t just experience; I figured something out. Focus in, focus out My top piece of advice for communicating on camera is to keep your focus out, not in. I’ll walk you through what that means, but it’s all in the eyes. I learned this by watching my own work, and noticing there were moments when I saw a person telling me what she knows, and others where I felt nervous for or bored by the person on screen. It’s subtle—too subtle to see in these grainy screengrabs, though these are from “before” and “after” live hits. In my early hits, I was looking at the camera, but my focus wasn’t there, because I was thinking about what to say next. To connect through the camera, you have to shift your focus from inside your mind, to somewhere...