Bold Content How To Get An Authentic Delivery When Using An Autocue In A Talking Head Interview

How to get an authentic delivery when using an autocue in a talking head interview

We often find ourselves telling interview subjects to relax and talk naturally whilst a group of people wait in the wings for them to deliver lines to a camera, with bright lights pointed directly at them. Added to the mix is the fact that reading lines from an autocue is a difficult thing to do naturally. The dialogue often sounds stilted and emotionless.

However, seasoned professionals make it look easy. We have asked several top presenters how they do it and each one has replied the same, “It’s easy, I’m just reading aloud.”
Despite this, we know that not everyone is a seasoned professional and that “reading aloud” can be a daunting task when you haven’t read from an autocue before, let alone been filmed with a full camera crew at the same time. It can feel like a tounge-twisting juggling act. To help you combat this, here are some top tips from our observations of watching how the best presenters deliver dialogue from an autocue.

Practice Makes Perfect

Read the lines to yourself before you deliver them so you get the phraseology in your head. The more practice you’re able to get in the better. If you can read the words aloud the day before you get on set you’ll find the dialogue will flow more naturally on the day. There is no better way to learn lines than practice, the more you make the words your own, the more meaning will be put into your words. You will naturally find phrases which you can remember and ones which need to have a little more practice, this way when you actually come to say the words, you will have most of them memorised. If necessary talk to the writer about making changes to areas that you struggle to remember or to say this way you will feel more confident on the day and will have made your own input into the script.
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When you deliver your lines ensure that you perform them! What may seem silly to you will look wonderful on camera, so ensure that you let your personality shine through the words which you are saying. Part of this is simply smiling, it is one of the simplest and easiest ways to connect with an audience. Regardless of what you are speaking about a welcoming smile is going to engaging to any audience and helps you to feel more relaxed. A smile creates an image of yourself which is comfortable and captivating for an audience to watch.

Eye Contact

The Autocue allows you to look directly into the camera lens, meaning that you will be holding full eye contact the whole video. Use this to your advantage by not looking away at any point, although that may sound daunting your continuous gaze really will capture your audience. Movements away from the camera can make you look nervous or untrustworthy, the best bet is to keep looking forward and you will be a natural.

Nonverbal Communication Speaks Louder than Words

Facial Expressions and hand gestures are vital to your deliverance of lines, as these would be found if you were saying the words in a natural setting. There is nothing worse than being stuck ‘in the headlights’ forgetting your lines but also centre frame unmoving. Its not interesting and will make for a boring presenter. Use gestures and expressions to amplify your words, a way to know where these fall naturally is to practice at home with a friend or a mirror as if you were talking about the subject naturally. This way you know where to stress important points and to use facial expressions. You can move from side to side, if your director allows, but make sure you use this in moderation or your audience will have to follow you around the video the whole time, which can be very distracting.


The Autocue will work with you

The Autocue operator is trained to follow your speech rather than you chasing it. They will know that you are nervous and will follow you with a speed that is appropriate and comfortable for you. Go at whatever speed you have been practicing, it is likely that even that will be too fast and you may have to deliver it slower. Remember that they are your lines and the words will always be there on the autocue. If you pause or improvise the words will still be there exactly where you left, waiting for you to continue.

Don’t Panic

It is a daunting experience, you are probably going to be nervous and thats natural. Don’t feel as if everything relies on you getting everything right first time because it most definitely doesn’t. Even the professionals mess up their lines and have to go for re-takes, so the production crew aren’t going to dislike you if you stumble a little.

Enjoy It

After all you are having a new experience, there is no expectations and nothing to worry about. Let the words flow freely and naturally and you will be a professional after your first time!

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