I’ve never been afraid of making funny faces. I don’t care how ridiculous I look as I contort and stretch my cheeks, or scrunch up my neck. The “cabbage patch” look, however, is my favorite. It works in any occasion.
And with any friend.
And while I’ve always known I have a fairly expressive/flexible face, I never know how much so until I recorded a television demo. You see, I’ve done radio for years, so I thought television would be a piece of cake. “Just act natural,” one of the veteran anchors at FOX40 told me. “Okay, I can do that,” I thought. But little did I know that “natural” meant faces like this:
And like this:
Or finally, this:
At first, I thought this might be because the screengrabs caught me at unnatural angles, and right in the middle of speech. But when I looked through other recordings, I noticed the other anchors just didn’t make these strange looks. Had they learned how to “control” their facial features? Or maybe they naturally don’t have a crazy face like mine?
This is why they are the professional television people, and I’m the radio person. When I watched my demo, I realized why. Even though my voice sounds normal, and I was not nervous, I still look like a “deer in the headlights”. It’s so bad, it makes me laugh. There’s no way I can ever use this demo except for to make fun of myself, which luckily, I really, really love doing. So now, I will show you my demo, so you can make fun of me as well
After shooting my demo, I sent it to one of my friends, Travis Mayfield, who was a television news reporter for years. A few of his comments: don’t be afraid of big hair, don’t be afraid to move your hands, darker colors are better than white on a fair person, pretend like you’re talking to a real person behind the camera. My Mom suggested shiny lip gloss, and curlier hair. I agree with all their insight, but then I realized that I’m just more comfortable in front of a radio microphone. I can throw on a pair of sweats and wear no makeup, and still cover breaking news like a pro. I can stand in the studio and make all the weird faces I want while I read my news stories. I can drink wine on the job (heh).
Someday, I think I’d like to learn how to do TV. I think the next step is to stand in front of a mirror for hours, practicing scripts and watching my expressions. As soon as I start to do the “deer in the headlights” look I’ll stop, recalibrate, and tone down my excitment level. I love the news, and I love reading it on-air in my “news voice.” It’s been one of my passions for years.
If you’re a news person out there, how did you learn to manage your “television” face?