During Autumn 2013, I had the absurd impulse to sign up for a one day TV Presenter’s course in Pinewood Studios. It wasn’t entirely my fault, it was listed on LivingSocial as costing £19 and there was a ticking clock counting down to the end of the deal… at that point 0.06 seconds to go. So I clicked the ‘Buy’ button. And immediately I freaked out.
My conscience looked at my sub-conscience and asked “What did you do THAT for?!”
I’m famously (or infamously) quite a shy person, not particularly confident, and get very nervous when I find myself the centre of attention – that is of course unless I have a glass of wine in my hands and a good portion of it already in my system. I hate being on a stage and whenever I am called upon to make a speech or to perform, I get myself so worked up in the preparation for it that I end up talking at the speed of a machine gun, and my voice increases a couple of octaves which I imagine gives the impression that I’m squeaking. TV presenting had never been even close to an interest of mine, and for the life of me, I felt terrified having to stand in the epicentre and be observed by so many critical eyes.
Personally, I blame my spontaneous decision on the pressure and the genius of marketing manipulation. I kinda rolled my eyes to myself and thought, “Well… I’ve signed up to it now, I guess I should go through with it”.
The day came of the class, and I couldn’t believe just how nervous I was driving towards Pinewood, all sorts of things flooding my mind. “What if I make a complete ass of myself?” being one of them, then my counter argument “Oh! Who will really care?” and of course the final answer “I will”. Getting there was quite a challenge as the directions were basic, and the location quite far out into the county, so all the way I was getting myself even more worked up as I struggled to find the front entrance. After several wrong turns, I drove in and parked close to the entrance. It was quite exciting as the evidence of filming in progress was everywhere! But I didn’t get much chance to observe. Once I had checked in, waited and walked to the studio, and then finally sat in front of the camera with a big blank filling my mind, my hands shaking, and my voice suddenly sounding like Micky Mouse on helium gas, I had to take a moment and wander “Why?”
Then the most extraordinary thing happened. Through the day not only myself, but the entire class progressed. My confidence grew, and I started to speak clearly. By the end of the day, we all had a short portfolio of ourselves on camera that we were told we were welcome to use to apply for presenters jobs. Click below to see the final result!
Although basic, it was a lot of fun to make and I left Pinewood feeling much more confident. I had no idea how I could use this, but I felt so much stronger from having accomplished it.
If anyone’s looking for a taster, or even a full TV Presenters course, I’d totally recommend this one: www.tv-training.co.uk