5 Tips for On-Camera Prep from this Food-Tour Entrepreneur
Lizzie Bell, MBA’11, launched Off The Beaten Path Food Tours in 2017, running food tours, chocolate tours, and trivia nights in foodie-fueled neighborhoods like Somerville, Cambridge, and Jamaica Plain. Each guided tour features a healthy dose of local history and the chance to try delectable cuisine from up to 7 local businesses, often meeting the owner themselves.
Recently, Lizzie met one of her entrepreneurial goals when WCVB TV5’s Chronicle news program gave her a call with an invitation to be featured on the show. After filming wrapped up, we sat down and asked Lizzie to share her top 5 tips on getting ready for the camera.
Soundbites are best.
Hours of footage can get condensed down into seconds. To ensure the most valuable information about your business doesn’t land on the editing room floor, make sure you talk in short, succinct, soundbites. Start by creating a bullet-ed list of what you want to cover so you know exactly what you’re going to say. From there, practice, practice, practice. Find as much time as you can to say those points out loud to be ready for filming day.
Watch the Program & Know Your Host.
Programs differ, as do their hosts. Do a little research on the program first to understand what kind of material they air. If you have a sense for what they like to put on TV, you can do your best to provide it. Hosts are just as important. They will have their own demeanor and engagement style and it’s important to understand how you can interact with them in an interesting, and authentic, way. To prepare, I immediately started taping the show to watch past episodes, keeping an eye out for what worked best and how the host interacted with previous guests.
It may seem arbitrary, but it’s true. If you’re being interviewed expect them to ask you to wait an hour after eating to be filmed. If you’re still digesting your food, the chances of an accidental burp increase pretty significantly. This way your well-practiced soundbites can come through, burp-free.
Wear a Neutral, Feel-Good, Outfit.
Showing up confident in your wardrobe choices will let you focus on what you’re saying instead of what you’re wearing. Try some outfits on in advance to know what you will feel your best in. Neutral colors, and the color blue, are best on camera and should be free of any wrinkles or tight-patterns. Wear loose-fitting clothing and remember that the crew won’t necessarily help you with fly-away hair or spinach in your teeth, so pack some floss and give yourself one last look before heading to face the camera.
Share and Say Thanks.
TV programs and hosts often have active social media accounts and they love hearing from guests on the program. Do what you can to publicize both the taping and the segment through each of your own channels. They’ll love you even more for it. I also sent our host a thank you email for including us, in addition to a few short soundbites and facts that we delivered to ensure that she had them easily accessible and all in one place.
From there, sit back, relax, and have fun with the experience! While there’s nothing you can change about the taping itself, hopefully your first time in front of the camera will be just one of many opportunities to finesse your TV appearance.