One Viewer At A Time
Tape a picture of ONE person who you’re speaking to next to the camera. Make the video for them.
Practice talking through your content a few times as if you were talking to a friend. If you are using a prompter, run through it a few times. The goal is to be as naturally you as possible. This is a great way to get confident practicing a story for a speech, too.
When we hear our own voice when we talk to people, it always sounds deeper and more resonant because it is echoing off the bones and spaces in our head. So sometimes on video we are shocked at how we sound because it is higher pitched than we are used to. To fix this, practice speaking slower and on your breath — meaning breathe in, and then begin speaking as you exhale.
Through the Looking Glass
Look THROUGH the lens. Often people look kind of dead (think Britney Spears circa 2007 at the MTV Awards) because they are letting their focus stop at the front of the lens glass. Try to imagine that you are looking through it. To get used to this, alternate between looking AT a window and looking THROUGH the window.
Pump You Up
The camera drains you of about 50% of your normal energy. Keep the energy up by making sure you are really clear on how you want people to feel while watching your video and then pumping that up in your performance.
Try to match your normal style of facial expressions. Often people will stare at the camera for the entire time they are on film — but that doesn’t mimic our normal human communication. It is typical for the LISTENER in a conversation to give unattended eye contact — but the SPEAKER typically looks away to think, etc.
Get that Pre-Life
Create a pre-life to your message. It’s rare that we just start talking about of the blue in normal life. One of the tricks you can mimic from theater is to imagine that your “character” was doing something before the lights went up. In a staged show, they always walk onto stage “from” somewhere and with a specific energy from that place. Do the same. What would you have been doing or saying before the red light went on?