As you may or may not know, from 2000- 2005, I put in long hours in the director’s chair of one of the world’s largest live retail TV networks before I ever stepped around to the front side of the camera. Within a year, I was directing the highest profile, prime-time shows with celebrity music concerts and high-stakes cosmetic shows. I campaigned to be chosen for those shows. I loved moving fast and accurately with little room for error and lots of eyes on the screen. I looked up to those directors around me who had been in that chair for years and could direct a perfect show with ease.
They key was to move quickly and stay in firm control of your commands, crew and vision for the final broadcast without ever losing a calm demeanor. In many cases, the crew is not even aware of how many things are trafficking through a director’s mind as he makes the tougher decisions. I’ve heard a few raving lunatics in a director’s seat over the years and the crew usually walks away with a loss of respect and confidence in their leader.
The world of live retail TV can be a stressful one for everyone involved. It is not always predictable and you must be ready to change direction with little notice. I am not just speaking as a former director and crew member here; I am speaking as a seasoned talent as well. With few exceptions, each of the 250+ products I’ve personally presented on national television has been accompanied by a network show host, the face of the network who leads the customer through dozens of different products over a series of hours. When 2 people are having an unscripted conversation about a product, you sometimes don’t know where things could lead!
Don’t get me wrong. Show hosts are charged with the toughest job in the network and most of them are downright miracle-workers and amazing at their job. But, when you talk without a script and without a break for hours on end, day after day…well…it can get interesting (if you ever get me out for coffee, I have plenty of stories to tell!)! The fact is I have had show hosts derail my presentation a thousand times! It happens! But, like a good director, you keep your eye on the vision, stay calm and positive and change trajectory for a few moments. The key is to bring things full circle back to where you needed to go in the first place without missing a beat. Smile, laugh, joke, participate in the derailment, and be human and real. Just stay confident and in control of the direction of the presentation.
Don’t be mistaken into thinking that this philosophy applies only to the positions I’ve mentioned. This applies to every single person involved in everything I do. I also own a video production company that creates compelling product sales videos for internet and television as well as industry b-roll and short-form infomercials. Every person I surround myself with gets this…from grips to producers, models to managers, they all know this philosophy. This one change in perspective and attitude can turn an uphill trek with ankle weights into a downhill run on new skis.
Remember, each product presentation is a short-term relationship with your customer. The lens is exactly that…a lens. It magnifies everything, including whether you are enjoying yourself or not! Stay calm, stay in control, know your job, be positive and be flexible. Ultimately, your customer will respond with eagerness rather than reservation!
by Cory Bergeron
more at www.PitchVideo.com
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