Have you ever wanted to be a movie star? Or feel like one for a day?
Recently I had a video shoot for a new demo to promote my speaking business. I felt like a star! I was in hair and makeup a 7:00am. I like the sound of that. “I’m going to hair and makeup!”
Of course I do my hair and makeup every day but from now on I’m going to refer to it as “in hair and makeup” rather than “getting ready.” Sounds so much more glamorous, don’t you think?
Despite having worked as a makeup artist for a short time in the eighties, I decided to have it professionally done for the shoot. I was a department store makeup artist so that doesn’t exactly qualify me to do makeup for film. There are slight nuances to consider because of the harsh lighting. For example you need to wear your makeup darker. Not a problem for me since ‘darker’ is my usual daytime makeup. The eighties, remember? Of course to that end I did have some discussion with the artist in order to convey my wishes.
As I sat down in the chair after having my hair done the makeup artist asked “So you want a natural look, right?” I’d already told her that I was being filmed so I expected her to understand that the makeup would need to be heavier. I guess since she’d never laid eyes on me before she didn’t know ‘heavier’ than what.
“Honey,‘natural’ is not in my vocabulary,” the southern woman in me quipped as I pulled out my cell phone to show her a photo of my professional headshot.
“Oh, I see! A smoky eye.” She got busy with her brushes, powders and pencils to transform my pale face into eyes, cheekbones and lips. Just as she was finishing, Security from my building called to say that my film crew had arrived. I called my producer who was arriving about the same time. Security let them in. A few minutes later I arrived. I mean I arrived!
I swept through the door with the swoosh of a Hollywood star stepping onto the set , silk robe wafting in the breeze as I shouted that I was headed to wardrobe and would be ‘on set’ in a minute. Well, at least that’s how it happened in my head. Actually I walked through the door of my condo stepping over cords and equipment while being introduced to the camera man and lighting guy. My friend/producer gave approval of the hair and makeup as I stepped into my closet to change out of my street-legal black pajamas and into my usual black pants and black tank. The producer and videographer helped with the selection of the jacket, agreeing on which color would look best on camera. Then I touched up my makeup. Just a tiny bit.
The videographer, camera man, lighting guy and producer all complimented me repeatedly as they checked lighting, camera angles, etc. I decided that this is a great way to start every day! Having someone do my hair and makeup and a team to give me lots of compliments and give me the star treatment!
I’ve always been fascinated by TV and movies so I did feel like a star. I enjoyed seeing how they worked with different angles and lighting and made sure to get the right points in the interview. It really is amazing what goes into a simple advertisement or short segment of a show. Working with my friend Vikki Locke of LRK Media on this speaker demo film was both educational and fun as I saw the project go from beginning to end.
Vikki, who is in the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame, spent many years ‘waking up Atlanta’ on local radio before teaming with two other former journalist to create LRK Media, which provides PR, media training, video shoots and marketing. She conceptualized the project and brought Roger Manis, an Emmy Award winning camera man in with his team. They reviewed my website and marketing materials and requested many personal and business photos. She did the interview, wrote the script and did the voiceover. His team shot the interview and lots of “B roll” of me working in my office, looking out the window and looking through a book. This would be used during the voice over. As the cameras rolled, Vikki interviewed several people who had heard me speak.
All in all there were about three hours of video edited with photos and a scripted voiceover to get a good five-minute video. What I learned is that like in speaking and writing, a good video is all about the storytelling. I can shoot a five-minute video with my phone or iPad. What the professionals do is like Michelangelo. They see the beauty in the story, then cut away what gets in the way of the story. And they make it look easy!
Speakers are always looking for better videos so someone asked me if I’d discussed this or that with them. I didn’t give them much direction. Journalists are trained to get to the heart of the story within minutes and do it in a way that best serves the story. I loved being the star for a day and I really value having professionals I could trust with my story. And with my lighting!
I was delighted with the results. When I look at my new video I’m reminded that we don’t see how much time and background work goes into so many professional projects. I once heard that it’s the mark of a true professional, to make something look so easy and effortless that we think anyone can do it!