Video Dos & Don'ts From An Actor

We know that being on camera can be scary. Unless you’re a selfie diva, most people find something, or many things about themselves with which to be self-conscious in every day life. Adding in the camera seems to magnify our flaws exponentially, at least in our own heads. Who among us hasn’t looked at what we thought was going to be a great photo or video only to find that somehow the Bride of Chucky has taken our spot? Surely I can’t be the only one…

About three years ago we were approached by a super gigantic search engine technology company, (we’re not naming names but you could GOOGLE it) to teach some of their people to appear more skilled and relatable on camera. In my many years of camera work as an actor and director, I’ve worked with all kinds of people ranging from fearless ham to piece of wood. The technology people were no different. Well, they asked a HELL of a lot more questions, and may have been more wood than ham, but they had the same fears and concerns we all do. The point is, that while Hollywood is packed with skilled magicians, everyone can grab a little on-camera magic for themselves, if you know how.

Here are some important things to understand:

  1. Yes, that is you. Get used to what you look like. Embrace the “flaws” and learn to work with them.
  2. Every professional piece of content put out by Hollywood, advertisers and/or marketers has been touched, manipulated and massaged. Nobody wakes up like that. Nobody.
  3. Understand the light. Know where it is and where it’s hitting you. It’ll make the difference between appearing to be Prince Charming or Quasimodo.
  4. Stop, STOP, STOP  shooting videos in your car or while you’re driving your car. Whoever started that trend should be chained and jailed. Please just stop it. The entire universe thanks you.
  5. Wear clothes that are neat, clean (Yes, we have to say that, sheesh!) and are a flattering color on you. Don't know what's flattering? If you feel fine and yet someone asks you if you have the flu, that’s a good indication that what you’re wearing is NOT a good color. I personally can’t wear yellow. Ever. It’s terrifying.
  6. SPEAK WELL. Yes, be yourself, be your best self. You can still enunciate and use all the good words. 
  7. Be confident. It transcends the lenses and creates a rapport and relationship with your audience.
  8. Treat the camera as your audience, not something to be feared. Understand who your message is for and have a conversation with them.

Understanding these few things can go a long way to upping your on-camera skills. Don’t forget to practice and invite trusted others to view your content for honest feedback. The key is not to get hung up on how we look, but rather to realize the message we want to convey is actually being communicated in a professional and authentic way. 

Break legs!


LB Adams is the Founder of Practical Dramatics headquartered in Charleston, SC.  Her company provides a wealth of soft skills training events that utilize theatre strategies to help humans grow more profitable conversations with other humans. To find out more about on-camera skills and workshops, please reach out to us at 843-771-0753.