Monday, September 14, 2009

Are You Ready for Your Close-Up?

by Clare Langley-Hawthorne




First - forgive me but after nearly 7 hours in the car driving back from Oregon my brain is incapable of functioning...hence a short (possibly garbled) blog post for Monday.

I have been MIA this last week - camping near Crater Lake in Oregon (I know - unbelievable for me!) and then going on to Ashland where I had the great pleasure of being invited by the Ashland Mystery Readers Group to participate in a number of events. The highlight for me was meeting a group of excited readers that made me feel, albeit briefly, like I was a superstar:)
I also had my first TV experience (on RVTV noir) which was terrific and not as nerve wracking as I feared...until...they asked me to take a look at the raw footage. I soon discovered that I cannot bear to watch or listen to myself on camera. Pathetic really - but from the snippets I did see (between my fingers) I gained some useful insights in case one day I get that call from Oprah...

Here they are (for what they are worth):

1. Do wear the bright red jacket. I was thankful that I had chosen something vibrant as (being the pale Celt that I am) it looked terrific on camera. I tastefully also avoided any kind of pattern that might either flare on screen or make me look fat (I am so vain!)

2. Ignore the cameras - insofar as you want to look as natural as possible...but also make sure you engage the imaginary audience out there so there is some eye contact. As I couldn't bear to watch myself I'm not sure how successful I was on this front...but the kind camera crew said it looked good.

3. Record yourself to hear how you actually sound reading from your work. This is not something I did but when I heard myself on the footage I realized that this would have been a great tool to use - perhaps then I wouldn't have cringed when I heard my accent:)

4. Relax. I did this and the interview went by so fast I hardly knew I'd had one. I think this helped make the show feel like a natural extension of a one-on-one conversation rather than a stilted 'in front of the camera' interview.


I'm now excited about the possibility of using video/TV for marketing...though I guess I have to get over my embarrassment of watching myself first. I also have to give a huge thank you to everyone who came to my events in Ashland and Klamath Falls and to Maureen who organized it all:)

If you go to the Ashland Mystery Readers Group website and click on RVTV noir you'll also be able to see some of the other RVTV noir readings (mine will be up once it's edited - have no fear, I'll warn you when it's there:)).

So have any of you have experience with TV? Any belated advice or feedback on what works/doesn't work? Have any of you used the video/TV option in your marketing and, if so, what was your experience like?

Now I know I'm starting to ramble...It's late and I need my beauty sleep (badly!) just in case I get the call this week for you know...my network TV debut:)

3 comments:

  1. When being interviewed, try not to listen to your own voice, so that you're not thinking, "Boy, that was a stupid thing to say. Why did I say that?" Concentrate on the eyes of the interviewer and speak directly. It's easier said than done and takes some practice, but it pays off.

    As far as video for marketing, I think most trailers and author talking heads are too long. Under a minute is about right, and there has to be something really compelling or different about the vid. One example is that recent Brad Meltzer video making light of his bad reviews. That went viral because it was fresh.

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  2. That Brad Meltzer video was hilarious! Good advice too on not worrying about listening to yourself and keeping it short and sweet.

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  3. I am on radio and stage pretty often. I also perform audio dramas of my novels for podcasting. No problem with my voice in my opinion.

    But I have the perfect body for radio. Nobody sees you on radio or podcast, and on stage they see me but I don't.

    I think I would have to undergo a major fitness challenge to drop the extra me I carry around before I could get camera. That or get one of those man-corsets.

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