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How To Prepare for an On-Camera Appearance.

Glossophobia—the fear of public speaking—is one of the most common fears in the world. So if you feel uncomfortable in front of a camera, please know you’re not alone. It can be nerve-wracking to speak in front of the camera and crew, but remember you have been selected because your unique experience and perspective are valuable and will make a difference for your cause.

Proper preparation can help ease those anxieties, but if you’re not familiar with the filming process, you might not know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you feel comfortable and confident about your upcoming on-camera appearance. 

Mental preparation 

Ask questions 

There are no dumb questions! If the unknown makes you worry, simply ask to ease your mind. Feel free to ask about the set, where you will be sitting or standing, the filming or editing process, or anything else you’re curious about. You can also ask the director if they have any specific advice or direction for you to think about prior to filming. 

Collect your thoughts 

Take some time to collect your thoughts about the video’s subject, but don’t memorize your answers to potential questions. While you want to speak with ease during your interview, the audience will notice if your responses have been carefully rehearsed. For a little more guidance, you can work with your video team to develop a list of bullet points to cover during filming. Approaching preparation this way instead of with a list of interview answers will ensure you come across authentically. 

Get to know the crew 

If possible, it’s a good idea to meet the video team—especially the director—before the camera is rolling to avoid adding an additional layer of “new-person” anxiety to the shoot day. Even a short video call can build rapport. This also gives you a great opportunity to bring up any questions or concerns you may have! An experienced director will be your advocate and put you at ease.

Physical preparation 

Plan your makeup and wardrobe 

Some things just look better on camera than others. Clothing with busy patterns and large, chunky jewelry can distract from the message you’re trying to get across. It’s better to opt for solid-color tops, but avoid stark white because it can be blinding under the lighting setup. Beyond that, when it comes to your physical appearance on the day of the shoot, we recommend keeping it simple and staying true to yourself.

You want to feel as comfortable and confident as possible, so pick one of your favorite outfits (as long as it adheres to those few guidelines) and do a natural makeup look to highlight your favorite features. Even if makeup is not in your usual routine, having a translucent powder on hand can help reduce shiny skin. If you’re wearing jewelry, test to see if it makes any noise while you talk, walk, or gesture with your hands, as this can be a problem for audio recording. Of course, if you’re unsure about your makeup and wardrobe, reach out to your video team or bring a few options to set.

Come well-rested 

Arriving to filming well-rested can make a world of difference both in how you feel and how you can articulate your thoughts on camera. Try your best to avoid scheduling shoots when you anticipate feeling tired, frazzled, or otherwise off your game—give yourself plenty of time around travel, deadlines, events, late nights, or early morning commitments. 

During the shoot 

Consider your body language

Your body language tells another piece of the story beyond what your words convey.  Do your best to match your facial expressions with your voice. Smiling with your eyes gives your face life and reminds the audience you are passionate about what you are talking about. And if you are a hand talker, don’t worry about it! Even if your hands aren’t in the shot, go ahead and use them! How you would normally speak when the camera isn’t rolling is what your director wants—you being, well, you!

Don’t sweat mistakes 

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! Mistakes are just part of the process. You have the power of editing on your side, so if you don’t like an answer or lose your train of thought in the middle, you can always pause and start over. When the video is complete, no one will ever know! 

Make yourself comfortable 

In general, plan ahead so you can be comfortable. Bring a water bottle and have it handy during filming—nerves can immediately dry out your mouth. If you know you’ll be sitting or standing for an extended period, make sure you wear clothing that accommodates that. When it is time to step in front of the camera, you will likely have a few minutes while the crew does some final lighting tweaks and gets the microphone adjusted for you. Take that time to take a few deep breaths and clear your mind. That will help you get in the zone!

Be yourself

You were chosen for this project for a reason! Allow your passion and expertise to shine. The energy you bring to the interview will come across on camera and help the audience connect with you. Being yourself and showing your personality brings a level of authenticity to the video that nothing else can. 

It’s OK to be nervous about your on-camera appearance—most people are! Use this guide to set yourself up for success, and always reach out to your video production partner if you have any questions or concerns. An experienced team will know exactly what to do to put you at ease—they are your advocate and want to show you in your best light.


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