One Take Charlie - Looking good in business video.

Services for Real Estate Pros with Clulow & Associates

Copied and pasted from an artilce I write for a telecom juirnal


Ilove the clients who ‘wing-it’ on

camera and get it right the first

time. We call them “One-Take

Charlie” because we shoot them

(record them) once and we’re done.

The production values for this kind

of project are relatively predictable

and easy to quote.

I recently video taped a group of

senior executives presenting a do-or-perish

initiative to their management

team in preparation for an

international roll-out. We had quoted

a flat fee for recording a live

presentation that would be

distributed to their international

offices, on a DVD. After the

presentation, we reviewed the tape

and it was a no-brainer that one part

of the presentation failed to make the

point. The executive was off-script.

The client concurred and we made

plans to re-shoot in a studio.

During preparations for the original

recording, we had left a camera

rolling while we tested equipment,

and we had a few minutes of tape

showing the empty stage. Our plan

was to reshoot one executive on a

chroma-key (green screen)

background and then substitute the

background with the empty stage

from the original event. .

When the client arrived at the studio

he had no notes. In fact, he never

worked with notes. I asked him if he

wanted to do a couple of practice

runs and he said, “No, let’s get it done

so I can get back to the office”. He

moved into position, the cameras

rolled and the executive launched into

his presentation. He stopped about

30 seconds later. After several more

stops his frustration level grew and

things went from bad to worse. He

left the studio and we used the

original footage.


When someone tells me they are

going to do it in one shot, I often say,

“go ahead - make my day!”


The executive’s original presentation

to a live audience was smooth,

polished, entertaining and engaging

but he failed to make the point. He

had the same problem in the studio.

In fact, many executives are quite

comfortable with on-camera

interviews but asking them to talk

direct to the camera when they are

alone, is off-limits. Why?

The answer came from an executive

in a management search firm. She

has interviewed thousands of people

and noted the stark differences

between extraverts and introverts in

an interview situation. Extraverts

were quick to engage, were energized

by having people around them, and

answered questions on the fly. In

short, they are quite comfortable

‘winging it’. Introverts were harder to

engage; they were more reflective and

usually paused to think before giving

a cautious, direct answer. Extraverts

would often drift off-topic.


Here’s the hook. When you’re talking

to a camera, there is no one to engage

or respond to! Whether you’re an

introvert or an extravert, the things that

normally prompt your dialogue are

absent and this causes people to freeze,

unless they are scripted and rehearsed.

I always recommend scripting and

rehearsing the presentation but

‘wingers’ often respond with,

“That will look phony!”

So why do it that way?

When you’re ‘live’ on camera, anything

that comes out of your mouth

is seen by the viewer and you can’t

take it back. As you climb the ladder

of success, the last thing you want in circulation is a permanent record of a

bad performance. It might end up on


After reviewing thousands of hours of

tapes, I am certain that those who

take the time to script and rehearse,

consistently produce better results,

live or taped!


This experience is not unique to

executives! Professional speakers are

often smooth as butter on stage but

I’ve seen them freeze in a studio.

A local news reporter concurs that

presenting to a camera is different

from presenting to an audience.

Actors read a script, rehearse, and

then try several times on camera

before they get it right. I work with

a local television studio where we

pre-record parts of a live-to-air show

so fewer mistakes are seen on air.

Bad scripts can be re-written. A bad,

live performance, will always be bad.


But it goes much deeper than that.

Scripted, well rehearsed executives

spend less time in the studio. Their

message is clearer and the cost of

production is lower. That’s before you

consider the cost savings of online vs.

in-person communications.

Digital video is quickly finding its way

into corporate communications; it is

changing the way we communicate

with staff, channels, and customers.

Comments (2)

Eileen Begley
Coldwell Banker, DelMonte - Carmel, CA
Monterey Real Estate

Too true!  I am a "winger" or was... now I write it down, rehearse & use a prompter.  It ends up looking more "natural" in many cases.

Nov 25, 2008 01:55 PM
Quakertown, PA
e-PRO, Realtor - Bucks County PA - 610-952-3578

interesting comments here on video.  I need to learn more about this


Nov 25, 2008 10:41 PM