TV Presenter Training
Your TV Presenter Show Reel is the most important marketing tool you will have as a TV Presenter so you must make sure you get it right. No-one is going to hire you without seeing what you are like on camera. It’s basically a video CV.
If you're serious about having a career as a TV Presenter here are 20 Top Tips to make sure your TV Presenter Show Reel stands out:
1. Keep it short & sweet! Show reels are getting shorter and shorter. Ideally, your show reel should contain at least 4-6 clips and around a minute and a half to two minutes long. Keep them wanting more!
2. First impressions count! Always put your best/newest pieces first. Most professionals looking at a show reel only watch the first 10 seconds, so you really need to make an impact within this time. Try to have 2-3 clips in the first 20 seconds so we get a good idea of who you are. If you’re in regular contact with a producer or casting director when they're looking at your updated show reel, they can see the newest PTC's. Your making their job a lot easier.
3. Keep each clip short around 5-10 seconds is enough, it’s acceptable to come back to the same PTC later on in the reel. This way your reel is fast paced and punchy.
4. Your TV Presenter Show Reel should show that you’re not only a confident and natural presenter but more importantly your personality, expertise, and your brand. What is your talent! Ideally, it should look like a collage of presenting work/projects you have done over a year. Don’t pretend that it’s from the BBC when it's not! Definitely don’t use any logos or music to pretend that it’s from a well-known show, this is plagiarism, no producer or casting professional will take you seriously and be sure your show reel is not branded by the company that made it, it's a marketing tool for them and not a promotional video for you!
5. Try to think what your brand is or area of expertise, your passion or something you’re knowledgeable or passionate in. If you can’t think of anything, imagine what show you would want to present, if you could present any show in the world what would it be? Is it sports, politics, light entertainment or children’s? Then try to base it around this. One thing to avoid is having bits and pieces from every genre, news-broadcasting, shopping tv, children’s, sports. An agent or producer will not know where to market you and will not know what your brand is. Casting professionals are busy people and may look at hundreds of show reels for a casting, it can be a tedious job so you really need to stand out in the first 10 seconds, most people will have switched off after 30 seconds so make sure your best bits are first! Think of it as a trailer to a movie and keep them wanting more so they will call you in. If you have done presenting in different genres, it's best to have separate reels. We have a lot of TV Presenters who do corporate presenting who have a completely separate reel.
6. Keep it updated. Show reels are a work in progress and should ideally be updated at a minimum of every 6 months to a year, if it’s not, a casting director/producer may not think your current and might wonder if you are a bit ‘rusty’ or 'out of practice'. It’s really easy to update with simple editing programs such as iMovie and Movie Maker and as a new Presenter, it’s always best to how to edit so you can update as and when you get new material.
7. Stay away from telly talk i.e. 'Hello and welcome to the show' or 'coming up after the break', ‘Stay Tuned’, ‘That’s it from me, I’ll see you next time’. It's a cliché. Just imagine how many times these phrases are used in show reels and a casting director/producer has to listen to them.
8. No long graphical intros or collages get straight into the good stuff.
9. Don't copy anyone else's show reel or material this isn't going to do you any good. We regularly have casting calls and we see a lot of show reels with the same script, backgrounds, titles and logos.
10. Make sure the lighting and sound is good. Fifty percent of video is sound and even if you look good if the sound is bad the viewer is going to turn off.
11. If you’re going to use green screen in your reel make sure it’s lite correctly with no shadows. When it comes to choosing your background in the edit, make sure it’s relevant to what you’re talking about and it’s not just a flashing moving background. Remember don’t wear anything with green!!
12. Know what you’re going to say before you get on camera, preparation is key and very rarely do presenters ‘wing it’. If you’re going to script your PTC or link make sure it has a start, beginning and end and there is a purpose to what is being said. Don’t just rant to camera with no purpose. The quickest route to the message is always best!
13. Interviewing is always good to have on your reel so make sure you include an interview or some vox pops (voice of the people). This also shows your personality, ability to listen and that you can react on the spot.
14. No long graphical intros or collages get straight into the good stuff.
15. What makes you different and stand out? Why will a producer remember your show reel from everyone else. Matt Baker once did a PTC on a unicycle for his reel. Be creative.
16. Have a mixture of studio and location presenting. Sitting down and standing up. Don’t have every PTC on autocue (teleprompter), we want to see you can ad-lib and remember a short script. This is often the best time your personality will come out.
17. Walking and talking is always good to have on a reel, it shows you can multi-task.
18. Never act the role of a TV Presenter and never get someone to ‘act’ on your show reel either. We’ve seen loads of show reels where the Presenter mentions they have a celebrity coming up on their show…if this is the case, we would want to see you interviewing the celebrity. Never get someone to act the role of someone famous this will do you no good. Instead stick to ‘unknown’ names and musicians. If you’re going to interview someone make sure you are interviewing them and it’s true to life. Why not contact a local band or theatre production for an interview, they will be glad of the promotion.
19. Bloopers…difficult one everybody loves them but it’s not really the place for them on a reel you are sending out to get professional work. Have a separate blooper reel just for fun. There are of course always acceptations and if something funny or spontaneous has happened for example when you’re interviewing someone, and it shows good personality and the ability to think on your feet this might be acceptable.
20. Personality, Personality, Personality, show what makes you different, what's your USP? Why will people watch you? Be unique but more importantly be yourself.