The coronavirus has made most face-to-face media interviews impossible for the foreseeable future. But despite the drawbacks (nothing beats face-to-face interaction for human connection), virtual visits with reporters open up all kinds of exciting opportunities for performers. Local market press tours now mean crossing the room instead of the country. Digital journalists can double dip a taped video conversation by posting both a written piece as well as clips from the chat. Further, interviews on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are flourishing.
This is all good news if you’re looking to elevate your media profile. To maximize these moments, make sure you’re camera-ready. Here’s how.
1. Rehearse beforehand.
With any performance, and that’s what an interview is, a tech rehearsal is a must. First, make sure your internet connection is strong and stable. Second, find out what video conferencing service you’ll need like Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc. Download that app and be familiar with the software well in advance of the call.
2. Check the lighting.
Steer clear of backlighting. A sun-filled window should be in front of you, not behind. Natural light is fine but can be unpredictable. A sunset or cloudy day can change your lighting quickly and dramatically. It’s really best to invest in a ring light and there are kinds for all budgets.
3. Dress the set.
If Zoom meetings have taught us anything, it’s that we’re all big snoops. Anything in camera range should be carefully positioned and intentional. If possible, opt for something other than a blank wall. Show your personality but keep it tidy and clean. In other words, think of your background as your set with props. Also, be careful with glare from glass-framed photos.
4. Dress the part.
In most video interviews, you’ll only be seen from the waist up or higher. Choose bright, solid colors, and avoid crazy patterns. Jewelry should be minimal and not make noise (i.e. a bracelet hitting a desktop) or reflect too much light.
5. Quiet on the set.
Clear your “set” of all potential distractions. Refrain from checking your texts, answering calls, or scrolling through social media during an interview. Additionally, have a closed set. Unexpected cameos by kids, roommates, partners, and pets will pull focus and derail your performance.
6. Look them in the eye.
Focus on the camera and not the screen. This might feel slightly awkward at first, but from the audience’s perspective, you’ll be looking at them in the eye and not their navel.
By following these tips, you can ace your next virtual media interview.
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