Reply To: Now… how to improve performance…

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From: “JillLamede”
Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2017 11:01:26 -0500

Fascinating debate! It has really made me think…
My videos on my website and YouTube are proving to be very valuable in helping me to get bookings… but I think my style of telling is different to most of you. Despite having been an actress all my working life, my storytelling style is very non-theatrical.

Only one of my videos had a professional cameraman – and that was done years ago for free, in the lunch break of a professional TV workshop. The rest are distinctly amateur, shot in my own home.
I use a small video camera that uses cassette tapes, and a decent microphone that I bought on Ebay for £1.
The camera has a small monitor attached that can be swiveled around so that I can see it while filming.
This allows me to treat that tiny image as my audience, and, as I speak to myself, it looks as though I am talking straight to camera.

I have tried doing the same with an iPad…. but it doesn’t work. I can’t get the same eye-contact effect and the sound is poor. I haven’t tried with my desktop PC yet.

In my videos I am trying to achieve a basic TV performance so that I am engaging directly with the viewer and getting them involved with the story.

Recording a cd presents different problems. Storytelling without eye-contact, natural pauses and visual clues is a different artform. I find I need to write the story as a script for a dramatic reading. This allows me to play with the technicalities of using a microphone. It is a much more intimate way of telling and there can be more use of vocal skills in creating the atmosphere. I love doing this and have recorded many audiobooks for the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

But… back to the matter of videos… sometimes a potential booker asks if I include audience participation. I always answer, ‘Yes… the children participate by being held in total attentive silence and stillness from the very first opening words.’ And I then ask the booker to have a look at my videos. They always come back and say, ‘I see what you mean… I was absolutely riveted – the children will love you.’

So, while I would love to have the assistance of a professional cameraman again, amateur videos can do the trick for my style of intimate, low key, storytelling.

Best wishes

The Tintagel Storyteller

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