How do we make a script sound like our own? It’s not an easy thing to do, especially when the language is technical and filled with lingo.

I’ve recently been working with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in Madrid, delivering a week of workshops in Presenting To Camera. There were delegates from 24 different countries presenting two scripts to camera using a Teleprompter. My training was to help prepare them for being filmed in a studio the following day.

There are specific skills required when working with a Teleprompter, mainly NOT looking like you’re reading the script! This is important, so your eyes aren’t bouncing along the words, because as soon as the audience know you’re reading it they’ll feel short changed. The teleprompter needs to act as a ‘prompt’, not as a reading aid, but this means there is a greater need to ‘own’ the words and make them sound as if you’ve written it.

The EUIPO delegates were delivering their scripts in their own language, the fact that I didn’t understand their language didn’t matter as the principles for body language and owning the language are the same.

The best way to familiarise yourself with a script is by repeating out loud, without falling into the trap of getting stuck in the same rhythm or intonation. You need to experiment by moving about as you say the words. What’s most important is that you understand the INTENTION behind the language. You need to COLOUR the language with EACH NEW THOUGHT, using INTONATION to add variation and rhythm, this will encourage a change of PITCH and PACE. An easier way to do this is by breaking your scripts up into BEATS (mini pauses) and PAUSES (usually where you take a breath), so that you find the CONTRASTS with each new phrase. EMPHASIS needs to be given to highlight important words such as the names of projects or people. Finally, once you’ve broken your script up, you need to then find FLUIDITY, to follow the INTENTION of your THOUGHT through to the end of each full stop!

Many of the 48 delegates from EUIPO had never used a Teleprompter or been in front of a camera before, and I admired their ability to commit to the training and filming process wholeheartedly, which I have no doubt will pay off, creating professional, interesting films for their websites.

Blog by Emma Darwall Smith