Did you know there are specific ways to format scripts being used with a teleprompter and by doing so, it will save you time and a lot of aggravation? It’s true! Learned years ago during internships in broadcast news and these same techniques apply today, although I rarely see them in play anymore. And we’re not talking only about Presidential speeches anymore. You Tubers are using TelePrompter apps when appearing on-camera, corporate execs are using teleprompter to deliver key note addresses and internal/external messaging, internal and external video production crews use smart phones and I-Pads and laptops equipped with teleprompter apps to assist those appearing on-camera, and the list goes on and on.
But for both the novice and pro teleprompter readers, the experience can be incredibly frustrating as the practice requires reps and patience. Additionally for many, it doesn’t feel very natural to read from a teleprompter while simultaneously appearing on-camera. However, if you follow these guidelines, you have a much better chance of an effective on-camera read, which will save you time in recording and editing, while leaving the talent much more comfortable and satisfied with her performance.
Teleprompter Tip #1
WHEN WRITING A SCRIPT TO BE READ OUT LOUD USING A TELEPROMPTER, START EACH SENTENCE FROM THE LEFT COLUMN.
EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU START A NEW SENTENCE, START FRESH FROM THE LEFT SIDE OF THE PAGE.
THE EYES NATURALLY READ FROM LEFT TO RIGHT.
WHEN YOU PICK UP A NEW SENTENCE FROM THE MIDDLE OR END OF A PAGE, THE EYES BEGIN TO GET LOST AND YOUR READER IS MORE LIKELY TO MESS UP.
Teleprompter Tip #2
ARE YOU NOTICING I AM WRITING EVERYTHING IN CAPS?
IT’S NOT A MISTAKE.
IT’S JUST EASIER TO READ ALL IN CAPS.
ADDITIONALLY, YOU CAN DISTINGUISH BETWEEN WHAT IS TO BE READ OUT LOUD AND WHAT IS NOT TO BE READ AT ALL BY PUTTING ALL OF THOSE INSTRUCTIONS IN LOWER CASE.
AS AN EXAMPLE:
(Use graphic here from power point, show photo montage here, etc.)
AGAIN, THE IDEA IS TO THINK VISUALLY AND MAKE THOSE WORDS AND SENTENCES AS EASY TO READ AS POSSIBLE.
Teleprompter Tip #3
DOUBLE SPACE BETWEEN SENTENCES.
IT ELIMINATES WORD CLUTTER AND AGAIN, MAKES SENTENCES EASIER TO READ.
Teleprompter Tip #4
PHONETICALLY SPELL OUT HARD TO PRONOUNCE WORDS.
CHOLLA (CHOY-YA) CACTUS.
Teleprompter Tip #5
I SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST.
IT’S THE BIGGEST MISTAKE TELEPROMPTER WRITERS MAKE AND LEADS TO GOD AWFUL EXPERIENCES WHEN RECORDING OR PRESENTING TO A LIVE AUDIENCE.
THE DREADED RUN-ON SENTENCE.
YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT THE KIND OF SENTENCE WHICH HAS VERY LITTLE IF ANY ACTUAL PUNCTUATION APPEARING ANYWHERE AND SEEMS TO GO ON AND ON WITHOUT ANY TYPE OF BREAK OR REAL POINT BUT YOU KEEP ON READING IT BECAUSE IT IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU STARING YOU IN THE FACE AND PEOPLE ARE WATCHING BUT YOU ARE RUNNING OUT OF BREATHE BECAUSE THIS DAMN SENTENCE NEVER STOPS…
YES, THAT KIND OF SENTENCE.
THE IMPOSSIBLE TO READ OUT LOUD KIND.
HELP OUT YOUR ON-CAMERA TALENT AND ADD A PERIOD.
OR AT LEAST A COMMA.
GENERAL RULE OF THUMB, NO SENTENCE SHOULD EXTEND BEYOND THREE LINES OF COPY.
Rich Dubek is a two-time Emmy award winning TV news reporter with more than twenty five years of news media experience at the local and network level. He is President of the Dubek Media Group, specializing in expert media training messaging, and on-air coaching, and full service video production. The Dubek Media Group is based in Tempe, Arizona.