Last month I had the privilege of being on OMNI Focus Cantonese to speak about decorating your home for Chinese New Year with Carmen from Devoted to You. It’s a program that is taped in the Breakfast Television and CityLine studio in downtown Toronto and broadcast in south western Ontario.
I had only ever been on camera once for an interview several years ago for CTV about the shark fin soup ban in Toronto. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are on camera. Many thanks to Pepper and Light for taking photos during the taping.
a) Ease of speech and share your expertise – In many ways, this experience was completely different than being on CTV. For starters, it was all in Chinese. Gulp! Yep, Chinese is not my native language since I was born in Canada. However, my Chinese is conversational enough that my bride’s and groom’s parents are really surprised that I was actually born in Canada.
Needless to say, there was some homework on my part before going on camera. I needed to know what are the Chinese words for certain things like charger plate. Funny enough, there isn’t a direct translation for charger plate in Chinese!! Therefore, I could describe its function – a decorative plate where one places another plate on top.
My take away is to be prepared. I was given the questions ahead of time by the TV anchor and generally scripted all the answers for Carmen and I. Essentially, you want to come across as being the polished expert and not have trouble expressing your words due to nerves. Therefore, rehearsing it before hand will also help you remember what you are planning to say even under pressure.
b) Sharing the spotlight – Remember, the host of the program is there to help keep the momentum of the interview running smoothly and might even want to run things through with you right before taping; as in our case. Therefore, there is no need to talk over the host. He is there to share his spotlight with you. Be extra polite because you are on someone’s else home turf. You never know, if they like you – you might even get invited back for more interviews.
If you are part of a team, you will want to ensure that each member gets even coverage if possible. Therefore, discussing it before hand what areas of focus each member will address would be very helpful. Sometimes things just can’t be evenly divided 50/50 and that’s ok. There’s room for everyone to receive recognition.
c) Be camera ready and look the part – since we knew what our topic entailed, we decided to dress the part as well. It’s important to know how the camera reacts to patterns such as stripes, plaid, check, etc. Therefore wear attire that is professional in appearance. Initially we were told that we were going to be sitting on stools. Therefore short skirts were not something that we were planning to wear. We didn’t want to feel too self-conscious about ensuring that our legs be crossed in a certain way. We wanted to feel completely as ease while on camera.
Hair and make-up is a must for the camera. My gorgeous look was created by Nicole Richard’s team. I completely had faith that Nicole’s team would transform me. They are the experts at what they do, so I simply told them that I was going to be on TV and they got to work. I had complete trust that they would make me camera ready. It’s no surprise, but even our handsome host had some on!
d) Props and other items for display – since our TV interview was about decorating at home, we set up two place settings with coordinating linens that could be filmed. We also provide photographs and video for OMNI in case they wanted to splice some extra things into the program.
Since we knew ahead of time how much time we would be given to set up, we brought what would be manageable in that time frame. We were also informed about parking and loading in/loading out procedures that made it easy for us and for the TV crew.
When the table was completely set up, the camera crew then tested our microphones and looked through the cameras. They told us where to stand, and then immediately told me how far I could move left and right because of the height of our menu card and the size of the floral arrangement. So if you watched the interview on TV, you’ll now understand what I didn’t move much at all.
e) Last but not the least, take a deep breath and enjoy the ride – this segment is only about 10 minutes long. Time really ticks away quickly. It actually took longer to set up than the interview itself.
My best advice is to just be yourself and act natural. Don’t chew gum on camera. Don’t get distracted by the lights and camera. Just simply focus on what the host is asking and give your answers accordingly.
Since the interviewed aired, both my Chinese speaking friends and non-Asian friends have watched the segment. I’ve watched the interview a couple of times just so that I can think about ways of improving things the next time around. It was also pretty neat to surprise my dad in particular; since he watches OMNI Focus religiously. It was definitely fun and loved every minute of it!!
Wendy is a Toronto WEDDING PLANNER whose specialty is “East marries West” weddings in the Greater Toronto Area, New York area, Vancouver area, Los Angeles area, Southern California and in the beautiful destination of Bali, Indonesia.
Whether you need wedding planning assistance or wedding day coordination, Wendy can help you design your most memorable wedding day. CONTACT HER today, she’d love to hear from you.