So, I woke up this morning and realized that exactly one month ago I was in Atlanta prepping for my first national television experience! What an incredible experience to travel and share the airwaves with Dr. Kishma George and Evangelist Trina Seymour
As you can imagine for everything that went amazingly right, there were many things that went wrong (that's a story for another day, lol). I am grateful that everything that was right had to do with the television appearance. I'm going to share a few things that you can do to prepare for your first/next television experience!
1. BE PROMPT WITH ALL PAPERWORK
Let's be real...we never know when certain opportunities are going to come our way. Whether you are given a few days, weeks, or months to prepare, get all paperwork returned to the producer as soon as possible. If possible return all requested materials before the due date. Why? Number one, it shows that you and those in your camp are responsible. Number two, you never know what is going to happen and producers appreciate people are prompt (I'll go into this a little more in a bit).
2. DECIDE IF YOU WILL BE USING TRACKS OR LIVE MUSIC
If you have been invited to sing decide if you are going to use tracks or live music. If you are going to be using your tracks then you will want to find out how the television station wants to receive them. For example, will you need to email them ahead of time? Will you need to bring a CD? (hey...some people still use them.) Will you need to use a flash drive? Find out early.
If you will be using a live band and singers then of course you will want to rehearse, but you will want to know of the instruments the station already has and if they have the equipment to accommodate all of your band's needs. You will also want to make sure the producer is aware of the number of singers you will have so that there will be enough microphones. You may even want to ask about the number of microphones available.
Finally, It's important to ask how long you will have to sing your song(s). In my experience, it is always good to go with the "radio edit," or what we in the church like to call the, "express version," of your song. Radio edits are no longer than three minutes and thirty seconds. Trust me, the last thing you want is to prepare to sing your eight minute song and find that you have to figure out how to cut it on the day of the show.
3. OVER PREPARE
I don't mean to sing your throat sore, I mean to find out the number of songs you will be singing and prepare a few more. You never know what will happen. I was told that I would definitely be singing three songs, but to prepare for five. Just in case. Yep, just in case, lol.
Think about the number of times you have been asked to sing at a church service and you prepared to sing for fifteen minutes, but found yourself ministering for forty-five. Hey, it happens, so don't be caught like a deer in headlights. Go the extra mile - you will thank yourself later.
4. FIND OUT IF THERE IS A DRESS CODE
I get it, in 2016 the last thing you want to think about is a dress code, but it's important. Some stations may actually have the dress code outlined in their paperwork, others may not think to put it there. You will want to know about dress code mainly because you are going to minister to the viewing audience. The last thing you want is for the viewing audience to change the channel because they are offended that you are wearing jeans when most guests are dressed in church attire. Again, I may sound old school, but your goal is to share your ministry and spread the love of God. Don't allow clothing to get in the way of that.
5. WATCH THE SHOW
Listen, you will feel better if you watch the show and get a feel for the flow before your show date. For example, you may want to see how the host interviews his or her guests. You may want to see how everyone dresses, and even the overall energy of the show.
DAY OF THE SHOW
6. ARRIVE EARLY...EARLIER THAN EARLY.
So here's the deal. You will receive a "Call Time," or arrival time from the producer. My suggestion is to arrive earlier than that. For example, the day I appeared on Atlanta Live, we were asked to get to the station at 5:30. We were told we could get there as early as 4:00, so arrived at 4:30. Crazy? No, not at all.
Here's the thing...If you arrive at the station on time, you will be dealing with producers who are in,"producer mode." They will be checking lighting, cameras, microphones, etc. And believe it or not, you and your comfort level will seem like an after thought. They aren't being rude, but they need to make sure everything runs properly. You are expected to arrive and BE READY. They won't have time to coddle you. If you get there before they are scrambling around to go live, then you will be able to ask questions and possibly rehearse in the space.
Expect the unexpected. The day of our show, there was an unscheduled guest that arrived expecting to go live. Instead of allowing this person to take away time from me and the other musical guest who had turned in paperwork on time, they were allowed to pre-record their segment. This happened during the time I would have rehearsed had I arrived on time. But because I was early, my crew was able to set up and run through our songs.
7. BE POLITE WITH ALL STAFF
There are going to be so many people running around that make the show run, be polite with everyone. No one is, "too small," everyone matters. This may seem like something everyone should know, but you would be surprised at how easily people feel as though they have, "arrived." Treat everyone with kindness.
8. LEARN ABOUT THE CAMERAS
If you are going to a television station, there will probably be more than one camera. Find out if you will need to pay attention to the camera crew during the taping, or if the cameras will essentially find you. Luckily, on Atlanta Live the cameras, "found me," so all I had to do was just minister, lol. I don't know how I would have felt about needing to sing and watch three different cameras to know which one to look at.
Interesting fact, I offer a lot of training for authors and artists using Periscope and Facebook Live and I never realized how much that prepared me for this live experience. I'll do a more in-depth post about it later, but if you plan to go on a television/radio show start doing live broadcasts to get comfortable.
9. IF YOU REHEARSE, DO SO FULL OUT
You won't need to sing your full song, but make sure that if you are given an opportunity to run through your music, do so full out. For live music it helps you know if you need monitors, microphones, or any of the instruments turned up or down. It will also help the producers to know how loud you will be so they adjust accordingly.
If you can't hear yourself, speak up and let the producer(s) know. This is your chance on television, you don't want to be guessing on notes. This day, I couldn't hear myself or the background singers because the drums were so loud. Thankfully, we spoke up and the producer brought a drum cage. This was golden. So, be cordial, but speak up.
DURING THE SHOW
10. BE IN PLACE
If you are on a live show, you will need to be in place. If you're not in place you will miss your moment. No one will have time to wait on you and they won't. This will also look bad on you and the station. So be in place.
11. MINISTER TO THE NATIONS
When we look at talk shows on television, the reality is, we don't really know how large the audience really is. You won't know until you get there. There may be a small studio audience or you may find that you are staring directly into a camera. Whatever the case, minister as if you are ministering to the nations. Minister like there are one thousand people staring at you. You never know who is going to be watching.
One thing that was so amazing for me during Atlanta Live was the fact that there were people calling in during the show with prayer requests and praise reports. Wow! This had nothing to do with me and everything to do with God, but what an absolute honor to be used as a vessel.
Let's be honest...television exposure is amazing. There is nothing wrong with being happy to be on a television show. What is important to remember is the message. You are there to make God famous and He has given you a platform to showcase HIM. So, remember to make Him large.
AFTER THE SHOW
No, everything may not have gone one hundred percent the way you wanted it to, but guess what...you ministered on television! Celebrate the moment!
13. SAY, "THANK YOU"
Send a formal, "thank you," email or letter to the producer. This goes a long way and keeps you relevant for future opportunities.
l am a little nerdy, a little quirky, a little glam, with a whole lot of personality! A wife with four children and a furry puppy, there is never a dull moment.