All the really hard work is done – you’re in the home stretch now! Here are my top ten tips for the big day. Be sure to check out Act I here for all the preparation tips for before the big day!
Here’s a link to the final product (segment and web article).
Melissa’s Top Ten Tips (for the day of the segment)
THE DAY OF THE SEGMENT:
1. Get ready, style your hair, do your makeup. Choose an outfit that will look good on TV. Clothes and jewelry should be flattering but not distracting. It’s best to go with solid colors and simple jewelry. Now that everything is in HD, TV makeup is a lot easier than it used to be. While there are some great products out there, you can probably get by with your own makeup but you do need to wear more than you normally do. Foundation is a must, more blush than usual, and a lightly colored, glossy lipstick. I used to wear special “photochromatic” foundation before the advent of HD, but a makeup artist recommended smashbox HD and I like it.
2. Pack up your food and props. Pack everything that isn’t perishable into the car the night before to save time in the morning. Also, a cooler on wheels is your best friend! Even if something doesn’t need to be refrigerated, it’s convenient for carrying heavy items and keeps food from getting squished.
3. Drive to the station and arrive one hour before your segment to park, unload, and set up your display. Most stations will welcome you arriving one hour before. However, don’t be shy about asking for that time. Nothing is worse than having just 15 minutes to set up your display and trying to compose yourself and deliver your messages clearly. Yes, I’ve had this experience and it’s no fun! (I recall literally throwing m-n-m’s across the display table just seconds before my “health benefits of chocolate” segment many years ago. I think I was still breathing hard when the host introduced me!) You’ve prepped many hours for this segment – don’t let this step derail you! Take pictures of your display once it is finished and ask one of the crew to take a picture of you with your display.
4. Check your hair and makeup, review your messages, get your mic placed and take a deep breath. Greet the anchor who will be interviewing you and chat with him/her briefly before going live. You might want to tell them which tip you’d like to spend more time on or what foods in your display you’d like to emphasize. But remember – nothing is “off the record” so don’t say anything you’re not prepared to discuss during the live segment!
5. Take another deep breath and smile! Don’t wait to smile until the anchor introduces you. You may or may not be on camera while they are doing the intro but you need to be “on” as soon as the segment begins. Be sure to keep your eyes on the anchor or your display – not the camera. Don’t rush through your tips but be mindful of how quickly a 3 minute segment will go. This is another reason to record yourself while practicing so you can start getting a feel for the timing. Right after the segment get a quick picture with the anchor.
6. Clean up and throw out any food that might be a food safety issue. The last thing you want is to make someone sick, especially since you’re a dietitian! As a courtesy to the station, I always bring my own garbage bag and take the trash with me when I leave.
7. Drive home and watch your segment in HD. I never really know how the segment went until I do this! It helps to conduct a self-evaluation of the segment so you can capture any learnings and make improvements for next time. I have an evaluation form I use for this.
8. Check online to see if the link to segment and web copy is up yet and if so – send the link out via Twitter, Facebook (your own, your dietetic association groups, other groups as appropriate), and email to friends and colleagues.
This post-promotion step is very important to extend the audience reach and get more distance out of all your hard work! If you’re too uncomfortable tooting your own horn, ask a friend to tweet or Facebook for you. Also, send an email to the Academy at Knowledge@eatright.org that includes the link to your segment so they can include it in the Academy’s “Daily News”.
9. Follow up with a thank you note to the producer and anchor. Email is usually sufficient for this but I also send out holiday cards once a year that includes a photo of me with the anchor. This follow up is key. Not only is it the right thing to do (think Miss Manners), it is another opportunity to build the relationship with the producer and perhaps follow up with your next pitch idea.
10. Enjoy the learnings and the experience and get ready for next time!
Okay – so how many hours do you think this whole process took? If you guessed around 9 hours you are correct. However, that does NOT include drive time to the studio or the store. After doing hundreds of TV segments, I’m surprised it still takes this long – but it’s a lot less than it used to take! I really try to do all of these steps and get as much distance out of each step as possible. After all, it’s only a 3 minute segment, but it lives on in cyberspace, and if done well, in the audience’s mind!
Final thoughts…. I try to be as prepared as possible, but I always remind myself that I cannot control everything and you never know how a segment will turn out. I’ll even go so far as to say there will never be a “perfect” segment. And even though practice may not make “perfect”, the more experience you get, the better your chances of having a really good segment that promotes good nutrition, promotes dietitians and promotes your employer/company. So, as Ellie Krieger said to me when I was interviewing her, at a certain point “you need to just let go and have fun”! And honestly, that is when the audience will really connect with you!
It was fun taking you behind the scenes! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. As always, contact me at Melissa@SoundBitesRD.com for more information or a consultation. See you at FNCE?!