In a world where comedians are becoming movie stars and athletes own production companies, there’s no such thing as “staying in your own lane” when it comes to the entertainment industry. But knowing how to perfect the small nuances of each platform can make all the difference in becoming a dual threat and transitioning your TV hosting skills to the big screen.
If you have professional experience as an on-air host, there's no reason you can't translate that to film or scripted television. If you think you're ready to take the leap, here's what you should know.
1. Act like every take is a live broadcast.
The easiest part of going from live TV to movies is that you already have the mentality that you cannot mess up. And if you do, you know how to cover it well. Your co-stars will appreciate this greatly when they aren't on set until 3 a.m. in order to get it right from four different camera angles.
2. Keep continuity in mind.
Sometimes you'll have a director who’ll remind you that continuity should exist from one take to the next. Sometimes you won’t, but you will have an angry post-production crew if you don't always keep this in mind. You don’t have to worry about this with live television since you have to nail it the first time. But when you’re getting shot from different angles in film, making sure everything from your hair to your clothes to your hand gestures are the same is a must.
3. Improv like you attended The Groundlings.
If you find yourself filming a TV or talk show scene for a film, it’s likely the director will let you be yourself and improvise since that’s what an actual host would do. So have fun with it, interject some humor, and really make it your own. If the director doesn’t think you’re funny, he or she will let you know. But I find that the final edit usually includes some of that improvisation.
4. Incorporate your live audience of extras.
The extras are there for a reason, so use them like you would an actual live audience. When we filmed "The Bounce Back," it was inspiring for me to watch how Shemar Moore interacted with his live audience of extras in the talk show scene. He really brought the set to life through his organic connections with them, and it added something special to the movie. It also made for an entertainted crew.
5. Take inspiration from other hosts.
There is always more to be learned. When you nab the host role in a film, familiarize yourself with the context surrounding your scenes. Use that information to figure out what type of host character makes sense, and then do your research. Check out real-life hosts who have the personality traits and characteristics you want to imbue your character with. You can always learn from watching others, especially those who are experts at their craft.
Lindsay McCormick is a sports broadcaster whose career has taken her from hosting live events for Super Bowl XLIX to guest corresponding for Showtime at the most anticipated fight of the decade: Mayweather vs Pacquiao. She recently hosted the Maxim Super Bowl Party in San Francisco, was a sideline reporter for the quarterfinals of ESPN’s The Basketball Tournament, and in 2013 hit the road with NBC's "Sunday Night Football" as their Social Host. Lindsay hosted the 2012 NFL Draft for CBS Sports, "The Fan" on Comcast SportsNet, and was a panel analyst for "Rip City Live.” She also appeared on ESPN.com's "Streak for the Cash" and "ESPN College Pick'em," MtvU’s "The Dean's List,” and on TopRank.com covering the Timothy Bradley vs Jessie Vargas fight. Lindsay can currently be seen on the big screen opposite Shemar Moore playing a talk show host in the romantic comedy, “The Bounce Back.” For more information on Lindsay, please visit lindsaymccormick.com.
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