Being in front of a camera. Beginners guide Part 1 of 3
It all looks so easy from the outside looking in, how other’s can be so natural in front of the camera. And you think well I can do that too.
As soon as the camera lens is pointed at you, you freeze, your mind goes blank, forgetting all your lines or what you wanted to say… What comes out is NOT how you imagined it at all.
You look back on the footage and question yourself… Do I really sound like that? Do I really look like that? Your natural reaction is to cringe and delete it if you could and avoid doing it again because you came to the conclusion that it’s not meant for you.
We wondered how actors, presenters, YouTubers, and influencers are so ‘natural’ in front of the camera? And believe that they were probably just ‘born’ with it.
Here’s the truth. Everyone, I mean that EVERYONE is meant to be in front of the camera. We all have a voice, a story to share that may help and inspire someone along their journey by just sharing yours. As we all grow up we forget that we all had to learn to crawl before we could walk. When we do start taking the first step we will all fall over many times before we get proficient at it. Imagine we fell over once or twice and went to mum and dad “This walking thing is not for me. I’m going to crawl for the rest of my life.”
Here are my top three tips to help you get one step closer to BEING YOU – in front of the camera:
1. Let Yourself Go
Flight or Freeze are the two most common reactions for many people when the camera is on them. This usually happens because we become very self-conscious. The best way to counter that is to ‘let yourself go’.
You may be saying that’s easier said than done. I agree with you that it is easier said than done when you think about it. However, the more you do something the more it becomes ‘natural’ and the more it becomes second nature e.g. driving a manual car when we are learning is like bunny hopping down the road and we consciously have to push the clutch and change gears simultaneously and we invariably stall the car a dozen times. Yet after hundreds of hours of driving when we automatise this it becomes smooth and we don’t even think about changing gears, we just do it without thinking. At this point, many of you have probably realised the paradox in what I’ve just described. If after hundreds of hours of doing something we get to a point where we can do it without conscious effort it is now ‘easier to do than say’. The only way to get to this point is to simply get in front of the camera again and again and again and again until it is ‘easier to do than say’ and we stop thinking about it.
To ‘stop thinking about it’ you need to surrender control of your fears and accept that you are scared. It’s okay to be scared of doing something you have never done before. Yet, we weren’t always like this. Children just go and do something and only afterward, even though we tell them not to do it, they do it out of curiosity and adventure; the need to experiment and experience. There is no barrier or filter and because of this they are not controlled by their fears and gain valuable experience to learn and grow. Tap into that childlike wonder and essence that you once had and we all still have if we permit ourselves to surrender to our childlike wonder. So, get out there and get in front of the camera with childlike fearlessness.
IF imagining yourself as a child doesn’t help you overcome the mental hurdle to give it a go in front of the camera here is another quick technique that can help you get into your flow.
Take a deep breath in . . .
Hold it for 5 seconds . . .
Then slowly breathe out . . .
I recommend doing that at least 5 times. Deliberate breathing is a great technique to help with letting go and relaxing the body.
It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well have not lived at all – in which case, you fail by default. – J.K. Rowling
2. Gain Confidence
The first thing is to acknowledge what you have achieved so far. Even reading to this point of the article in and of itself is an achievement. It’s easy to lose confidence if you think you haven’t achieved anything. “Where focus goes energy flows” – Tony Robbins
Some of us have built up the habit that draws us to see the worst in things, for fear that if we wanted it and failed it would hurt more. Here’s a thought, wouldn’t it hurt less to just lean into it and get it over with than to hold onto it and let it continue to hurt for days, maybe for weeks and even months . . . wouldn’t holding onto that pain hurt a whole lot more?
The second thing is, you need to have self-appreciation, appreciate life, appreciate where you are now and what you currently have. You can’t have confidence in who and what you are if you can’t appreciate yourself. This will come across when you are in front of the camera so you need to appreciate and own what you got, yourself. The philosopher Socrates argued that all knowledge comes from this simple, yet profound principle “know thyself.” Because when you own yourself, no one can take that from you unless you let them.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Yet, how do we appreciate ourselves? As creatives we are too often our own harshest critic pairing our work with who we are. In the end appreciating ourselves is by acknowledging our wins as much as our failures (I personally call them lessons).
For some more helpful tips and inspiration on how to better appreciate yourself, https://www.selfappreciationday.com/
The founder Prema Smith share some useful strategies and inspiration for this. Also, it is serendipitous that the 14th of September is self-appreciation day.
It’s time to look up and ask yourself: What can you appreciate about yourself?
Once you can do this stepping in front of the camera gets just a little bit easier.
The other part of confidence is self-awareness. Being open to experimenting and being ok that it may flop on the first few times. It’s all about experimentation, exploring the boundaries of what you can and can’t do. Seeing things from a different perspective and giving it a go first and foremost. Pushing the boundaries so you can do more because no one started being able to do everything they can today.
There is no such thing as overnight success. Every person that you look up to would have failed in one form or another to get to where they are now. It takes practice and time, as they say, lots of blood, sweat, and tears. What allows their success from what I have learned and heard is persistence, perseverance, and patience and it all comes from within.
It’s not the cheers from outside that will give you confidence, it’s the inner cheer squad that you need to build for yourself that will get you there.
On a practical level, you can start by changing your posture. Because as Tony Robbins says, ‘change your physiology, change your state’ My favourite is what’s call the power pose aka super(man/woman) hero stance.
Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart with your hands on your hips. Shoulders back and look straight ahead and take a deep breath. Hold this stance there for two minutes and you’ll notice there will be a positive boost in your confidence levels.
BONUS TIP: Great to use for things like interviews and public speaking and making decisions.
Courage comes with confidence and confidence starts with BELIEF. The self-belief that you can do it, even if you’ve never done it before.
This is connected to the ‘success belief cycle’, where the belief will impact your thoughts and ideas to then take action which will give you results that reinforce your belief.
The key part is the results part. It’s the choice you make in looking at that area.
Let’s break this down further:
1 – Embrace vulnerability. Deliberately put yourself outside of your comfort zone and embrace all parts of yourself.
2- Facing your fears – acknowledging that you’re feeling fear is part of the process. The trick here is to face it head-on and do it anyway.
3 – Keep moving forward – we all know that the first time will be terrible. Embrace the learnings and keep going. Keep the 3 P’s in mind: Persistence, Perseverance, and Patience. From my previous blog “Overcoming the creator’s block” my 4th tip spoke about permitting yourself to do terrible art. Keep moving forward, even if you think it’s going backward. All progress is going forward from a certain point of view.
4 – Who are you doing this for? For many of us, we do more for others than we do for ourselves. Let’s look at the cowardly lion from ‘The Wizard of Oz’. When he was searching for courage for himself he would run and hide. However, when he had to save his friends he didn’t hesitate to jump in and help. This is how the cowardly lion gained his courage and you too can do this.
Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you. – Bethany Hamilton
Here’s another thought to consider:
What’s the worst that can happen?
Ask yourself that. You know you don’t have to be as successful as Opera or Sir Richard Branson or Tony Robbins or Tom Bilyeu.
If what you shared inspired just one person and that changed their life, that is all one needs to do. There are over 7 billion people on this planet. Imagine if you could get to just 0.01% of that, it is still over 7 Million people!
Another thing you need to learn is that when you’re in front of the camera you cannot please everyone. One thing I came to realise is that everyone will have their own views, beliefs, and judgments of you and nothing you do is going to change that, in fact, the more you try to stop them the more strongly they will hold onto these. I know it’s harsh but that’s the truth. We cannot control others. Though what we can control is ourselves and choose to focus on those that we can help and inspire.
For years I have always been behind the camera and only in the last few years have I transitioned to being in front as well. With my own experience, it took a huge amount of courage to be comfortable to be where I am today and I am still evolving and growing.
My passion is to guide and help creatives gain confidence to express their creativity.
You have a story, a voice and something unique and powerful to share that will help someone out on their journey.
4. DO YOU DARE TO TAKE THIS CHALLENGE?
Now that you have read this far… What better time to start than now?
Here is a challenge within 24hrs: do a quick video of yourself and talk about any topic that lights you up or comes to your mind. Record it on your phone and watch it back. Surrender to the process. You know you got this. The magic here is to have fun
BONUS TIPS – in the video
Once you’ve done that CELEBRATE for having faced your fears and accomplished your first step in BEING YOU in front of the camera, this will help kick start your journey to building your confidence in this area.
We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? — Marianne Williamson
Final question for today: Who do I want to become?
It all starts with YOU and I’m a big believer in collaboration and the power of collective groups. Hence, I have built a creative moment called ‘Igniting your creative passions’ (FML Team to link to the group please) group on FML with mini masterclasses that gets you engaged and inspired by each other’s journeys with developing your creativity and building confidence in all areas of your life.
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It’s so funny that there was a time I was searching for content like this. 🙂 Great write up Nancy!
that’s awesome! Glad it’ll help inspire other’s who are seeking the same thing you were 🙂
I did my 30 second video with my phone. I find it easier to look directly at the lens when filming with camera and lens instead of mobile phone. With mobile phone recording myself, I tend to keep looking at the screen and not the lens. Awesome blog write up you did. Many topics and pointers we sometimes face on a daily basis. Are those photos in the blog also your photos ?
That’s awesome Lenny! Congrats on actioning the challenge!!
I agree we cannot help but sometimes glace at how awesome we are on the screen when it comes to our phones! plus the lens is really tiny.
Glad this has inspired you 🙂
No, not all the photos are mine (only my self-portrait is 😉 )
yes quick fun challenge. Thnx for sharing
Awesome! Keep an eye out for the next one coming 😉
Nancy, this is incredible and I know a bunch of people who will greatly benefit from this! Thank you for writing this piece and I look forward to the rest.
Appreciate the feedback and support! Glad it will benefit and inspire people. 😊
Very nice to go through the contents in this article. It’s great! Looking forward to hear many more.