It’s so close to panto season, and up and down the country actors everywhere are starting to dig out their lashes and glitter, ready to spend the festive period enduring boos, hisses and cheers from over-excited children. I, for one, am very much looking to getting my wings back as Good Fairy in Jack and the Beanstalk. However, the last couple of months have been a funny one. October and November always are. After the madness of Edfringe, I always find myself with a bit of dead time, trying to make ends meet before Panto Chaos starts. This year, I found a saviour though.
Okay, granted, it’s not the most GLAMOROUS of jobs. Sitting for hours in front of a camera discussing business plans and delivering training videos is pretty dull. But, because these companies usually have a few quid to spend, the work is usually well paid. However, like anything it’s worth sharing a few tips to make it easier and more comfortable, so here’s what I’ve learned in my stint as a corporate actor!
Wear warm clothes
Lots of studios are huge with space for lights and equipment. But, given that you’re going to be either sat or stood in one spot, it can get pretty cold. The studio I’ve been filming in this week had NO HEATING so in between each take I was wrapped up in extra jumpers, scarves and my coat. I’ve never been so grateful for slipper socks.
Bring hairspray. If you’re working in front of a green screen so that graphics can be added in during the edit, your hair will need to be as tidy as possible with no loose strands or tendrils breaking free.
Bring things to do
There may be long periods where you’re sat with nothing to do, especially if you’re not the only actor who’s been hired. Bring things to work on (I am actually writing this blog in a quiet corner of the studio!), a book, work on your latest creative plans etc- basically anything to keep you occupied!
Practice autocue skills
Reading autocue can be quite tricky. You’ve got to master reading and speaking at the same time, whilst the text continuously moves, and look professional and confident AND present in an interesting way- it’s honestly more difficult than it sounds. It’s good to do a practice, just to get used to reading the moving text and working out which speed and text size works for you. There’s plenty of free autocue software available online so download one and give it a go before you start the job!
Work your mouth
It’s easy to become a bit lazy vocally, especially if the text you’re presenting is wordy and full of business jargon you might not understand. However, I find I make so many more mistakes and trips when I’m not focused on really enunciating my words as I’m speaking. By the time you get to the 57th take of a script on Data Protection Laws, trust me, you’ll want to pull your hair out! Speak clearly, slowly and enthusiastically and hopefully you’ll nail it within a few takes!
Right, gotta go- I’m about to film a super sexy video about Corporate Health and Safety (man, panto can’t start soon enough!).
by Katie Brennan