Be Prepared: What to Know Before You Step In Front of the Camera

Be Prepared: What to Know Before You Step In Front of the Camera


Thank you to Janine Burke for contributing this post. Janine is an LA-based public speaking coach. Visit her website to learn more about her.

Imagine you have your first video shoot coming up – everyone is ready to go – production, location, makeup, and hair are all booked. You are confident you can trust them to execute all their areas of expertise.

Now it is up to you to be as smooth as butter and sound as soft as silk when delivering your lines, otherwise you’ll end up doing each take over and over and possibly wasting a lot of time and money. The weight of all this can cause major stress and when things go wrong it’s painful and frustrating; believe me, I know.

I teach clients how to overcome the fear of public speaking and how to turn good speakers into great speakers. Here are some of my top tips for not only overcoming the fear of public speaking but also being able to save time and money on your video shoot:

You should have written a tight and interesting script. No matter what the subject, as they say in theater, “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage”.

Take advice from the best – learn your lines. Meryl Streep memorizes her script before she develops her characters and then adds the nuances to their personalities.  – learn your lines so well, that, like Meryl, you can deliver them with sincerity, conviction and ENERGY.

Your personality is what endears and connects you to your audience. Give yourself the freedom of being able to show your personality by learning your lines and delivery well in advance.

Yes, you can use a teleprompter, in some circumstances – but remember, unless you use them often it will be hard to appear NATURAL. You do not want to sound dull and lifeless like you are reading a hostage tape!

Avoid filler words (umms, ahhs, you knows) as they can greatly reduce your credibility and mean, “take after take” or expensive editing costs that can simply be avoided by following these simple steps.

Practicing how to avoid filler words in advance of the shoot will help you greatly and make the whole production not only easier and cheaper but way less frustrating for you. Your audience deserves to see you at your best.

Pay attention to your speaking speed. Professional public speakers talk at about 100 – 120 words per minute – any faster and the audience will not understand us, any slower and we will bore them to death.

It’s also a good idea to do a word count of your script so you have an idea of how long each section will run. This will really help your production team to schedule the day for you and to maximize your time and dime.

Follow these tips that professional public speakers use and you’ll be more than prepared and far less stressed when shoot day comes. Break a leg!


  • Dan
    Posted at 14:16h, 18 August Reply

    Janine is hands down the best in the business!

    • janine burke
      Posted at 14:23h, 18 August Reply

      You are too kind and were one of my most prepared students

  • Deborah Greenhut
    Posted at 14:35h, 18 August Reply

    Janine’s Tiaa s are right on the money. Lack of preparation is a major cause of public speaking fails. These tips will put you miles ahead of speakers who ignore them.

  • Robert Dombroski
    Posted at 14:42h, 18 August Reply

    I wouldn’t go to anyone else but Janine. She has helped me tremendously with overcoming my fear of public speaking.
    The best!

  • K. Hawkins
    Posted at 15:04h, 18 August Reply

    If you need to step-up your game and improve your public persona…you need Janine Burke!

  • Teresa Chu
    Posted at 17:00h, 18 August Reply

    Janine is the BEST! I wouldn’t be where I am today without Janine. She helped me overcome my fear of public speaking. She helped me build my confidence. Thank you again Janine!

  • Stephen V.
    Posted at 17:05h, 18 August Reply

    Preparation and putting together a script that captivates is 90% of the speech. And Janine can get you 90% of the way there.

  • Michael Thomas
    Posted at 18:47h, 18 August Reply

    Janine is an excellent source for overcoming your fears of public speaking. She helped me tremendously!

  • Teri Webb
    Posted at 15:43h, 19 August Reply

    Janine’s brilliant, dynamic, and incredibly fun to work with! I learned a ton from her and gained confidence in speaking publicly. She knows what she’s doing and you can trust her direction!

  • Robert Crick
    Posted at 15:44h, 19 August Reply

    Great information – makes total sense and I will be sure to share it with friends with videos coming up.

  • Maria
    Posted at 16:23h, 19 August Reply

    This is great advice – how do you get to Carnegie Hall after all? The truth is we all think we’ll be fine and not have any filler words and suddenly we’re on the spot and filler words just come out!! Thank you for your advice to help reduce this (my biggest issue!) and looking forward to more of your tips and tricks!

  • Dmitry V
    Posted at 22:44h, 19 August Reply

    Great pieces of advice here. Janine knows how to bring the best from the speaker and overcome fears. Very helpful article!

  • Sebastiaan van Houten
    Posted at 16:31h, 20 August Reply

    Janine really helped me refine my public speaking and on camera skills in just a few sessions. She is right. No matter how natural or charismatical you are nothing beats practice and preparation.

  • Olivia H.
    Posted at 00:14h, 22 August Reply

    Thank you Janine!! I know how effective these skills are — both in seeing how you present yourself as well as taking these suggestions to heart for myself! I appreciate your sharing this info in such a fun and accessible way — others can learn a great deal from your expertise! Kudos!

  • Lori Hines
    Posted at 00:22h, 22 August Reply

    I love how you described the process of speaking. I particularly enjoyed the tips on how to catch yourself using (or about to use) filler words-I think we’ve all surprised ourselves with how easily we use them when pressured! Also, the inclusion of professionals’ words per minute was useful. These are things I often didn’t think about, but feel empowered to correct now that I know the information. Thanks for the post!

  • Terry Filler
    Posted at 00:26h, 22 August Reply

    As a college student, I’m so glad I found this advice. Public speaking is getting more common and I’ve struggled my whole life with things like nerves and filler words while speaking. But I’ve already started noticing improvements since listening to your advice!

  • Bev Lund
    Posted at 21:13h, 22 August Reply

    Janine helped prepare me for several presentations. She’s an excellent teacher /coach and using these confidence building techniques she made this an easy and fun experience. I highly recommend Janine and look forward to future blogs!

  • Barbara
    Posted at 12:52h, 23 August Reply

    Janine is the best at what she does. To really be successful at your public speaking engagements, she teaches you the tricks of the trade. You can be totally confident that you now know the best ways to engage your audience,. it’s all about the tips and confidence she imparts to you to be the best ‘you’ can be!

  • Bob Ruiz
    Posted at 13:57h, 23 August Reply

    Advice is right on the mark.. Developing public speaking skills will create endless opportunities for you. Time and money well spent. Working with Janine is a great investment in yourself. Go from good to great to outstanding..

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