Sunday, July 03, 2005

Anchoring For Dummies - Where To Look

With Laura Polus mentioning to me that a chunk of my readers might be students, I'm going to push myself to do more of these types of posts. Don't be offended by the "Dummies" title... it's just a catchy ripoff. I don't know, maybe I'll change the titles. Anyway...

Keep in mind that this is all just my opinion... and that none of this stuff is meant to be taken as gospel, nor is it all original thought... a lot of stuff I've accumulated over time from others. On occasion I'll see something that will encourage me to share.

Ever notice sometimes when an anchor tosses to a package, the tape doesn't roll right away and there's that uncomfortable few seconds of the person staring into the camera and not speaking. Sometimes that turns into the anchor looking confused, maybe looking around shifty eyed. And while it might not seem that important, as an anchor you always want to look confident and at least look in control. At least that's what the consultants will tell you.

I always liked looking to a monitor. Turning to look at the monitor is a visual cue to your viewer... the idea being that you're tossing to a package and now you're going to watch the report along with them.

The other thing is it takes away that chance for you to look confused. If you're looking at the monitor and the tape doesn't come up, you'll know right away and you'll be able to recover more gracefully.

Last thought on this... if you have an over the shoulder graphic on your right side and your monitor is on your left, it seems a little awkward to look to your left (no room). At that point I think your best bet is to look down (usually there is a monitor in the desk).

Update: Meant to include something on where to look when someone else is talking. It probably just depends on what you're comfortable with. On a two-shot, I was taught to look at my co-anchor and I covered some of this in a post about listening. It's pretty subtle I know, but I think in theory if you're looking at your co-anchor it is another visual cue for the viewer to pay attention to that person. When they're done, you turn and read your part. I think some people don't do this for fear that the prompter "won't be there" but if your script is properly marked, it is an easy slide from looking your at co-anchor, to glancing at your script for the first few words, to picking up the rest on prompter. It takes practice, but in reality, I think it is pretty well accepted for people to just stare into the camera and "look pretty" on a two shot.


Jeff Nau said...

I notice HOI 19 must have their monitors on the ceiling, or hanging down from the ceiling because you'll see anchors looking up all the time after a package.

I've noticed that sort of dazed look on the anchors face.

I wonder what you think is the best explanation to give when a video just doesn't run?

Sometimes I notice lots of stuttering, and that look of total horror on the anchors face.

Jeff Nau said...

"I've noticed that sort of dazed look on the anchors face."

Just to clarify...

I didn't mean that with just 19, I was just agreeing with your post about an anchors response to a delayed package.

Anonymous said...

stick to reporting! Just kidding... steve

Edgar said...

Sorry, I've got knowledge to manage.

Anonymous said...

HOI's monitors do hang from the ceiling in front of the desk, and I believe there's another small TV to the reporter's left at the big flat screen TV part of the set.