How to Manage Stress before being on Camera

Are you going to be on camera and feeling a bit stressed? Whether you’re filming something for your company’s marketing and communications department or producing your own content. Here are my top tips to help get you ready and manage the stress.

1. Knowledge is key –  Find out as much as you can including the following:

  • What will the piece be about?
  • Will you be speaking to camera or to an interviewer?
  • Will you get questions beforehand to prepare? Will it be scripted? Do you need to learn the script?
  • Are there particular topics they want you to discuss?
  • Will you be speaking on camera with other people? Who are they?
  • Where and when will it be filmed?
  • Do you need to get there early? (I’d advise getting there early anyway to get familiar with the surroundings)
  • Will you be getting paid?

2. Prepare – Most stress comes from when we feel we have no control over a situation, particularly if it’s an uncomfortable one. The best way to beat this is to make sure you’re prepared. Find out as much as possible about the filming as early as you can. Do you need to prepare a statement? Answer questions? Is there a particular topic you need to brush up on? Even doing 10mins a day of preparation will help you feel in charge of the situation, and if it’s a very last-minute thing then make sure you ask for at least half an hour to get your thoughts together.

3. Practice with a camera – when it comes to being on camera practice is key. It’s not enough to simply practice what you want to say, because it will feel very different when you have a camera in front of you. The best thing you can do is to set up your camera (or your mobile) and practice. If it’s an interview, ask a friend or family member to practice with you. If you’re speaking directly to camera then try speaking to the camera on your phone for a couple of minutes a day. This will help you to feel more relaxed during the filming as it won’t be completely new.

4. Don’t worry about what you sound like – when you watch yourself on film you may want to cringe. Most of the time we sound very different in our heads to what we do on camera. When I first started I thought “do I really sound like that!!?”. You may feel a bit embarrassed but try not to scrutinise yourself, I mean, you’re doing an amazing thing by putting yourself out there. Not many people would do this. You should be proud of yourself, so no being mean about your uneven eyebrows or your strange sounding voice! (we all have imperfections and people won’t even notice anyway)

5. Plan what you’re going to wear – Will you be filming indoors or outdoors? Do you need to be wearing something with a company logo? Before planning on wearing a dress find out what microphone will be used – sometimes they need you to have pockets. Don’t wear patterns and keep to blocks of colour.

6. Do something that relaxes you – okay so putting yourself out there on camera is a scary thing. Exciting, but scary. So it’s important that you’re kind to yourself and do things to help you feel calm and relaxed. Have a bath, go for a walk, meditate, play golf – whatever is good for you, give yourself the time and space. After all…. you deserve it!

7. Advice for on the day:

  • Give yourself extra time in the morning for some time to yourself. If you’ve got kids, try and ask your spouse or family member to take them early. You’ll appreciate having some time to breath and go for a walk or anything that’s relaxing.
  • Pack a bottle of water, gum, floss and blotching paper if you are oily such as these Superdrug shine control papers (not an advertisement!)
  • Take notes with you and look at these beforehand
  • Arrive early, try to meet the people you’ll be working with and get yourself comfortable with the surroundings
  • Check your teeth and tongue! (no yellow tongues from coffee!)
  • Avoid sweets, chocolate and fizzy drinks (it can dry out your mouth)
  • No alcohol!
  • Remember to smile (unless you’re doing a very serious piece) Before you start speaking smile and always finish with a smile. It will make you feel approachable to the viewer.
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