How to avoid using an autocue or script for your video

If you’re thinking about using an autocue, or feel like you need a script to read from directly, then the chances are you’re feeling nervous about being on camera.

Many people will try and reach for the autocue or script to help prop them up, but the reality is it can actually make the experience even harder, because to read naturally from an autocue takes a great deal of practice.

Here are my thoughts – and of course it all boils down to confidence and preparation:

  • The chances are, if you’re going to be on camera, then you’re an expert. You’re there because you are the go-to person – which means you already know everything. It’s all in the preparation.
  • People always ask about bringing scripts to the shoot. My advice is write the script out as far ahead as possible so you can work out the structure of the content.
  • When writing your script, keep the words as close as possible to how you actually speak.
  • Never get someone else to write the script for you. It has to come from the person who is presenting.
  • Next stage is to drill that script down to bullet points and keywords. Write these down on a separate piece of paper.
  • Read through the script until you feel you’ve ‘got it’, and then put it away and then bounce off the bullet points. This will help you break away from the ‘wordiness’ of the script, but retain the facts and core messages you want to get across.
  • When it’s time to film your piece to camera, take the script and the bullet points with you and give them to the producer – but don’t keep them in view. You know what you need to say, but you might need the occasional prompt

I am a firm believer that the only time you need an autocue is if you’ve got a ton of information-rich content to cover in as few takes as possible.

If you go through the above steps to prepare, and recognise that you are the expert, you will deliver a much more compelling and natural presentation than rolling off an autocue.

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