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Nailing Your On-Camera Performance-Acting 101 for Corporate Videos

One of the great things about producing corporate video is that we get to work with some amazing professionals. Charismatic CEOs who’ve built strong companies from the ground up. Seasoned sales reps who know their industry inside and out. Diverse design teams who harbor collective genius.

Spend five minutes with them in person, and you know exactly why they’re successful.

But turn a camera on them, and the spark dies. Gone is the eloquence, the passion, the intelligence and—dare we say it?—the X Factor.

There seem to be a couple of primary reasons for this. For some clients, there’s an assumption that just because they’re masters of this material in everyday life, they’ll have no trouble delivering the message on camera. And they under-prepare.

For others, they become slaves to anxieties over “doing it right.” They see a huge difference between delivering a message to a client and delivering the same message to a camera—and they agonize in advance over every word in their script. These people over-prepare, and in the wrong way.

There is definitely a process for getting a pitch ready for on-camera delivery. First, you need to practice it BEFORE the cameras come. And second, you need to practice your pitch in front of a mirror.

Run through your message making eye contact with yourself. Work on it until you feel you have a natural-sounding sales pitch. And here’s a tip: getting something to sound “natural” isn’t just about voice. It includes all kinds of body language—arm and hand movements, body shifts, head tilts, smiles, nods … all of it.

Think of what an actor might do preparing for a role on stage, and mimic that. It’ll be about right.

You don’t have to memorize huge blocks of text, because on shoot day you’ll be able to break your message down into sections. But you do need to be very familiar with what you want to say.

During the taping, you might be looking just off-camera at someone on the production team who is asking set-up questions. Pitch to that person. He or she is expecting you to. But if you are looking directly at the camera, visualize yourself looking through it, to the back of the lens. This will give your pitch a focal point.

If you’ve done your homework, the results will be as professional as you are.

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