TV Guest Interviews – What to Expect

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Appearing as a guest on television is an important part of your marketing strategy for becoming a well-known expert in your field.

To have a successful TV interview, where you’re able to focus on your message and be completely undistracted, it helps to understand the actions being performed by the crew when they’re setting up for your interview, and their terminology which may be completely foreign to you!

Here are a few terms you should be familiar with and actions you can expect:

1. Slate. The printed information about a TV guest displayed or scrolled at the bottom of the screen during an interview is referred to as the “slate.” When a guest arrives on the television set, a member of the TV crew may ask the guest to slowly say (and perhaps spell) his name, title, book title, or product or company name. It is important to be very clear during this process, so that the information when displayed to the viewers is correct.

2. Balance. It is a smart idea for the guest to carry a plain white index card in his pocket. An index card, held up to the camera, is used by the cameraman to get the right balance, or adjustment, of the camera color to make sure the person’s skin doesn’t appear green on the TV screen. Usually the cameraman will have his own card, but it doesn’t hurt for the guest to be prepared, just in case.

3. Level. Before the interview, the sound people will ask the guest to speak into the microphone so they can set the correct sound level. The guest should speak clearly and in a normal conversation tone and volume. This is referred to as getting the person’s “level.” The person should talk in the same “level” when the cameras are rolling – in the same tone and volume – and the voice will sound balanced with the interviewer and any other speakers.

4. Standup. If someone is being interviewed at a conference or during a breaking news story, it may be done as a “standup” instead of the usual seated interview. The reporter or interviewer will stand with the guest in a corner or a certain spot and conduct the interview.

5. B-roll. This is the term given to the video footage that is shown on the screen while a voiceover tells the actual story or explains what the audience is seeing. An example would be aerial footage of a congested freeway being shown while a TV guest shares statistics from his book about smog and global warming.

TV is a powerful medium. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share your message with a wide audience in a manner that shines a spotlight on you as the “expert” celebrity!

Most of all, when the lights go on, make sure you enjoy the moment as it will come through in the interview and enhance your appearance as a guest!

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