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.
Practice Makes Perfect
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.
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.
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.
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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