This is the ultimate but very alternative guide to finding work as a television presenter or host.
Introductions first: Greg Scott is a television presenter – and a good one. He first graced this site with a heart-felt rant on the subject of television presenting – and the difficulties in getting an on-screen job.
There are so many people setting out in life wanting to be a television presenter and as you can probably imagine the competition is fierce.
There is already advice on this site for aspiring presenters and on-screen experts and there will be plenty more to come, but what better way to explain the realities of this particular war than to ask someone in the midst of battle.
Greg has kindly agreed to write a regular blog on his continuing fight to get that elusive television hosting job. So here he is, in his own inimitable style, with part one of the ‘Diary of a Thwarted TV Host’…..
(And you can find his original piece here: http://wanttoworkintelevision.what-makes-a-good-tv-presenter-the-backlash)
Hello, fellow telly hungry wolves and wolverines… Welcome to my occasional insight into the world of me, Greg “I Should Have Given Up Chasing The Dream Years Ago But I Just Can’t” Scott.
For those of you who didn’t read my previous contribution to Ms Richmond’s wonderful site, let me give you a potted history of who I am, and what I’m about.
I’m 42. For 24 years, it has been my dream to host a prime-time entertainment or game show… Initially, because I “just wanted to be famous”, but as time has gone on it’s become more a case of “Hey – It’s something I have proven I can do well, having hosted several huge pilot shows for domestic and international broadcasters… Give me a shot and shovel shit loads of money at me that I can lavish on my beloved family instead of incessantly worrying about scraping enough together on a monthly basis”. Something like that.
I know where I’ve failed… And there are several reasons as to why.
So as a favour to those who find themselves in a similar position, let me share my ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ with you. (SOME of the following Don’ts I’ve done and some of the Do’s I haven’t; some are simply advice from me. I’ll let you try and work out which of the following I’ve done, and which I haven’t. Ooh! It’s like a quiz!)
1: Don’t appear desperate.
There is such a fine line between appearing enthusiastic, and appearing desperate. Getting this right is so very tough. In this business, you have to be able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Most execs, even those in comedy and entertainment are rather straight-laced, so in any covering letter play it straight; keep it short and to the point. DON’T BEG. Let your reel do the work for you.
Talking of the showreel…
2: You’ve got TEN SECONDS to grab ‘em.
Not a second more. I’ve seen more than my fair share of VHSs / DVDs / You Tube vids of prospective presenters / hosts that start the usual way: lots of quick edits, pumping music, daft faces and smiling like a goon. FORGET ALL THAT. It doesn’t prove a thing. Producers want to see YOU from the first micro-second, with everything stripped away. THEN, if you can impress under those conditions, you’re winning the battle. Be original, be brave, be wonderful.
3: Concentrate on the genre you want to be a part of.
Don’t try to be a Jack / Jacqueline of all trades. If you want to do lifestyle programming, don’t say, “… but I could do X, Y & Z” as well… (See point 1). Make your mind up, and stick to it.
4: Be as natural as you can.
Should you make it to a producer’s office for a natter – just chill. Easier said than done, particularly if, as it’s your first ever meeting, your bottom will be extremely “5p, 50p”.*
Don’t make me explain that phrase. (Fear not, folks, the Editor – that’s me – will have a glossary of Greg terms at the end of this article)
It’s up to you to dictate the “feel” in there. Devise a tip-top, fail-proof ice-breaker, and use that mutha.* (see glossary below!)
5: Finally – Be confident, not cocky.
Remember this word that doesn’t actually exist: CHAWIL.
CHAWIL = Confidence, Humility, Adorability, Warmth, Intelligence and Likeability.
Include all of those qualities in showreels and meetings and you’re on to a winner.
When I started writing this article, I was going to write about my longing / desire / yearning to become the new host of Countdown. I got TOTALLY side-tracked. This piece has mutated into (what I believe to be) the golden rules of making it as a TV host. Sorry about that. But it was probably more interesting than my original piece was going to be.
Now, it’s easy to think, “Hey – if he knows so much, what gives him the right to dish out advice?”
Fair play, but being chubby, gap-toothed and non “media-pretty” – I truly think that those are the things that have personally held me back.
If I had been a chisel-jawed, ripped, twinkly-toothed, tanned and devilishly handsome brute, I absolutely believe you would have been watching me on ITV1 on a Saturday night, alongside Ant and Dec, Dec and Ant, Anton Dec and A Ntanddec.* Ignore those who say that looks don’t matter they do. End of. So if you’re serious about “getting on”, and you need a tweak and a tuck here and there, go for it. (Ouch! ….And please don’t try this at home. Ed)
I’ll write about my Countdowny thoughts and stuff another time. But let me say this: if you adopt my five point plan, THEN go on to land the Countdown job YOURSELF, I will kill you with my bare hands.
‘Til next time, goodbye, and good luck.
GREG SCOTT WAS A HOST OF ITV1’s “QUIZMANIA”, AND ON PRICE-DROP TV. HE IS A RADIO PRESENTER, AUDIENCE WARM-UP MAN, WRITER, VOICE-OVER ARTIST, AND FORMAT DEVELOPER. YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HIM AT www.gregscott.tv AND LISTEN TO HIM BETWEEN 6 and 10, HOSTING THE WEEKEND BREAKFAST SHOW ON MINSTER FM (104.7 in North Yorkshire and www.minsterfm.com online).
Thank you, Greg. No-one says it quite like you! What do you reckon, folks? Sure Greg would love some feedback so do leave your comments below.
*Glossary of terms as used by Greg Scott:
‘5p, 50p’ – my research suggests this is a Teesside saying that has some connection to the phrase ‘brown trouser moment’
‘Mutha’ – think I’ll just refer you to the Urban Dictionary http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mutha
‘A Ntanddec’ – does that really need explaining? Either Greg confused his capitals or he’s just trying to suggest that it doesn’t matter what your TV name is as long it sounds like Ant and Dec!