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Thinking Like a Producer: A Strategy for Making It in the Media

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As a media coach, I get a call almost every day asking for “just five minutes” of my time so I can explain everything you need to do to be successful on TV or radio. Of course, it’s not that easy. However, since I’ve been both a producer and a host for more than 25 years, I do understand the challenges everyone faces.

Let me tell you one thing. It doesn’t matter how great your product is; the only way you will get yourself on a program is if you are able to “give good show.” That means you must not only have a great hook; in addition, you must be able to pitch it with pizzazz, while understanding your demographics. Not everyone wants what you’re selling, although you might like to convince yourself that this is true.

Think like a producer. Ask yourself what will grab the audience for this particular show. What will bring in the ratings? What will provide what I call edutainment–education combined with entertainment, plus copious amounts of humor thrown in for good measure.

Then create your “hook.”

 

Reeling Them In

A hook is not an issue. A hook is a statement that compels you to listen to the speaker. Great hook strategies do the following:

1.

Identify a problem. Example: With both parents working, there’s no one at home to supervise the children. As a result, teen drug abuse is rising.

2.

Point to an opportunity. Example: You can land acting auditions if AEnQdo just three things….

3.

Explode a myth. Example: Not everyone would cheat on their spouse if they knew they wouldn’t get caught.

Your hooks can and should change with the show you’re approaching. And they should also grow and blend with the important events of the moment. Keep massaging your hook to compliment your message.

 

Show You Know Show Biz

Here are a few more tips for getting booked by the media:

 

  • Remember you are in show business.

 

      Everything is about “the show.”

 

  • More than that–everything in the producer’s mind is about this particular show.

 

      So do your homework before approaching any TV or radio producer. Actually watch and/or listen to that producer’s show and get familiar with the format.

 

  • Get an easy-to-remember vanity phone number

 

      that will stick in producers’ minds

and create a Web site

      that will give them valuable information about you quickly.

 

  • Brand yourself.

 

      Since my company is Starstyle® Productions, everything showcases stars–my letterhead, my business cards, my wardrobe, my phone number, my Web site, my license plate. I am known as “The Star Lady”–that’s branding!

 

  • Get media training with video feedback

 

      so that you know how you look and sound. The video feedback is crucial. You’ll be shocked at the first look!

 

  • Make a list of 5-10 points you always want to get across

 

      on an interview.

 

  • Don’t memorize your material; feel it from the heart.
  • Put together a TV-friendly wardrobe

 

      –no red, white, black, large prints, plaids, or stripes. Wear colors that enhance your features but don’t dominate the lens. The best colors on camera are blues, lavenders, pinks, greens, and yellows.

 

  • Get “camera-ready”

 

      using a professional make-up artist and hair stylist or teach yourself how to get ready for the cameras.

 

  • Make postcards.
  • Be honest, fresh, and approachable.

 

      If you don’t know the answer to something, it’s OK to say so.

 

  • Be fun

 

    –that is, enthusiastic, energetic, passionate.

In addition, create a press kit in a glossy folder with your business card on it. Make sure that your contact information is on every single thing in the kit. Its contents should include:

  • A professional black-and-white headshot of you
  • A page about your book and possibly a related product and/or service
  • A professional photo of your book and/or related product
  • Eight to ten questions that a TV or radio host could ask you
  • A bio that qualifies you as an expert
  • Three or four pertinent news clippings.

Also, never, never, never give up. Keep in mind that no one was born a media star. It takes practice, patience, and perseverance. Don’t take yourself too seriously, be able to laugh at yourself, and know that failure is just fertilizer–the compost for your next garden.

Most of all, remember that the media need you as much as you need the media. You have something to offer them that’s valuable and important to the people they’re in business to please.

© 2002 by Cynthia Brian

Cynthia Brian, President of Starstyle® Productions, LLC, is an acting

and media coach who has appeared in feature films, television shows, and

more than 500 radio programs. Brian hosts her own Starstyle® show on cable TV

and her books include “The Business of Show Business” (now in its 13th

printing) and “Be the Star You Are!” She is also a co-author of The New York Times best-seller “Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul.” For more info, visit www.star-style.com or starstyleproductions.com.

 

 

 

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