At last our winter evenings are complete. We have a perfect excuse not to go out. We can’t possibly drag ourselves off to the gym. While October signals Halloween, November can only be “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.”
Series 15 started last night. The real reason for watching #IACGMOOH is not the D list celebrities, however much they bring out our masochistic dark side; it’s because of the nightly master class in presenting given by Ant & Dec.
See Ant and Dec and some other not-so-talented presenters in action…
When television first started, no one presented without training. In the 1980s and early 1990s, news presenters were specially trained actors. As making television and filming videos got easier, presenting became less rigid. Now, with smartphones, everyone is a presenter.
Ant & Dec are partly to blame for that. When you watch them larking around high above the New South Wales jungle, they just look like two mates having fun. Which they are – but behind the banter, there is huge skill. Just as years of training go into the dancer’s leap across the stage look simple, And & Dec are making something that’s hard look effortless.
Meanwhile earlier in the evening, we saw just how hard it can be to present to camera under pressure when Olly Murs made a huge mistake while presenting the X Factor Results Show. Olly, confused by the show’s process, managed to pre-announce the loosing contestant, before being given the official envelope of results. Co-presenter Caroline Flack was sent into panic and Olly was outwardly shaken and barely able to recover himself.
The biggest challenge people have when presenting is not adopting a different persona. Ant & Dec are themselves – what you see is what you get. Often, when a member of the board decides to front the company’s corporate video, they somehow become a more formal version of themselves, suppressing their authentic personality. This is where training can come in – something Tallboy can help with.
It’s also hard to remember what to say. While someone may be able to recite all FA Cup Winners since 1908, turn a camera on and suddenly their mind is a blank. Autocue can be a solution, but without a skilled operator, the words either go too fast or too slow.
Autocue also highlights the one skill a presenter has to have – the ability to connect with the audience. The camera is an unforgiving inanimate object and somehow the presenter needs to look beyond it and look right at you. With autocue, it can often look as if you are simply reading lines (which, of course, you are).
Ant & Dec’s style of presenting makes us feel like we know them – that we’d buy them a pint if they came into our local; that we could talk to them about our kids or our wives.
For ITV, that skill is clearly worth the £30m it paid for their latest three-year contract.
When thinking of your corporate video, you will need someone who can make that connection with your team or your customer. Not everyone is a natural, but you can learn.
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