Land on a TV Producer's Radar With These 5 Tips
Getting to a television producer can be a tricky task -- unless you know that the first thing producers look for in a potential guest is how you appear on camera or video. What will a producer find when they look for you on video?
Here are five ways to maximize your chances of landing on a producer's radar:
1. Create videos and a sizzle reel.
Whether you’re a musing blogger or a software engineer willing to share some knowledge, video topics are endless. You can present yourself in a colorful bio, demonstrate products, start a how-to series, showcase your DIY skills or even indulge in a vlog.
Creating a sizzle reel that highlights your best on-camera moments is a great idea, since a busy producer will get to size you up within minutes. Consider the sizzle reel a visual version of your elevator pitch: tell your story in two minutes, with compelling images punctuated with telling sound bites. Include video footage, pictures and even voice-over sound bites.
A sizzle reel should give the viewer a fast but thorough glimpse of what your brand is about.
2. Create a YouTube channel.
This is as fast and easy as creating a Google account. Once the account is created, give your new YouTube channel a name, preferably yours or your brand/blog’s. Title your videos appropriately within the allowed 100 characters, triple-check your spelling, use carefully chosen keywords, and when possible, enable captions to give your SEO efforts an extra boost.
If you choose to upload content generated by a third party, make sure you have the proper authorizations to benefit from the proceeds of advertisements and avoid having your videos removed.
3. Build a studio at home.
Having a studio at home is far from unrealistic. All you need is a spare corner of your home and you have a set. Amazon is one of the many online retailers that sell affordable tripods and light kits. YouTube is full of instructional videos that educate you about three-point lighting.
You can create beautiful, visually-appealing footage in no time. If you want to bring your video to the next level, you can either invest in “green-screen” fabric or paint your wall green. This would be useful if you want to change the background and place yourself in a virtual world, such as a cartoon or a Caribbean beach. The camera itself is a no-brainer, with most phones shooting perfect videos.
If you have the skills to sync video with audio on your computer, you can record the audio in the soundproof environment of a closet for a more professional feel.
4. Promote on social media.
You do not have to spend thousands on promoted tweets to gain attention. Maintaining a presence on the platforms where your audience is spending time is more than enough if you put some energy into it. Post your videos on Facebook, pin them on your most popular Pinterest board, tweet the link with relevant hashtags, and place the sizzle reel in your LinkedIn summary to make a great intro.
5. Find the producers.
Following your favorite producer on Twitter is one way to go, but the odds of them following you back so you can direct message them are not very high. If the social degrees of separation are not in your favor on LinkedIn, you can invest about $50 in the Hollywood Creative Directory, which is also known as the phone book to Hollywood. It is readily available on Amazon.
If you know the name of the production company or the producer, you can look them or their assistants up online. When you send that email, make sure it has a clear subject line, and include the links to your website, social-media platforms and phone number.
Nailing a television appearance may be part luck, but you have to be ready when the opportunity presents itself. Create videos using inexpensive tools, make sure every video tells a compelling story and put your work out there for the world to see.
Producers are always on the lookout, and if your image is professional and connects with a show’s voice, you will be the perfect candidate for that guest seat.
Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles and finally connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Mitchell is author of So You Want To Be On TV.