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I’m an Expert – Get Me on TV! Part 2: A case study.

An expert wants to get on television. So how should she/he do it? We’ve featured general advice on getting onto TV in previous articles but now we take one interesting expert and apply advice to her particular situation.

Lorraine Holloway-White, The Sceptical Medium

The Case study: Lorraine Holloway-White

Lorraine is a ‘sceptical medium’ which she explains as “a natural born medium who is not convinced information being received is necessarily from dead people.”  She has written a few books on the subject, she writes a blog, providing interesting reading and ‘readings’ (she can read from people, including remotely from tissues, photographs, handwriting and by holding personal objects).  She also posts videos regularly on YouTube and on her blog.

Lorraine already has a following and is very active on the web but, like so many other experts she struggles to get the television and media exposure that would raise her profile and help get her message across. She asked me for advice and kindly agreed to let me use her as a case study.

First step is, of course, to establish what she does and what her goal is. Here is her summary:

‘Lorraine teaches that spiritualism is dangerous the way it is practised and taught today, because too many mediums accept anyone into their open circles regardless of mental instability or severe depression and without making any checks. Her main aim is to change the teachings of spiritualism throughout the world by educating them and others as to why their practises are so wrong. This educational process has already started in her books but especially in, ‘A Guide’s Guide to Mediumship and Healing’.  What she has to say on the subject of spiritualists and their teachings is proving to be hugely popular with people all over the world, but for it to be seen further afield and of any benefit, she wants to reach far more people on a national and international scale than she is able to do on her own’.

Your Way or the Producer’s Way?

Here’s Lorraine first challenge.

She has a particular goal and a specific message she wants to get across by becoming an expert or personality on television. However television producers will generally have their own ideas about how they want to use an expert; they will often be looking for someone to fit a format they have already developed; they will generally want to provide entertainment as well as information, and will be under pressure to deliver strong and often ‘sensationalist’ formats. They are not interested in giving someone a ‘platform’ to deliver a message unless that message is newsworthy or contributes to their format. This, of course, applies to the factual entertainment kind of programming. If you can get a documentary team interested in you then you have a much better chance of achieving such a platform.

So assuming you are interested in getting regular work in the factual entertainment arena, perhaps in a series of shows, you need to ask yourself this question: are you willing to compromise your vision or your work for the sake of getting on screen?

What Lorraine has in her favour is her feisty attitude and her controversial stand on the work of other mediums. Conflict makes for good telly – it provides drama and an interesting counterpoint. However she may find that television producers will be asking for her to work in ways she is not keen on.

Most people will agree to creative and professional compromises to get the coveted TV slot and only you can decide if you want to do that. Of course the more established and well-known you become the more you can start dictating how things work. It’s the age-old dilemma of the creative – hold fast to your vision and your art, or compromise for the sake of a wider audience?

Focus

Lorraine already has a clear goal but she also needs to focus on what she is ‘selling’ to the media.  She has several web sites covering different aspects of her personal and professional life and has posted several videos. All of which is great. However it is highly unlikely that any television producer, executive or agent will spend more than a few minutes looking at them. These are very busy people. If the information being presented to them is too dense, too long or too complicated they will often give up and move on to the next potential expert.

For this reason a well-written summary of you, your skills and your qualifications is very important. Basically you need to write your own press release.

It’s a good exercise anyway. It will help you to focus on what you are offering and means you will have a document ready to send to anyone of interest at any time. One side, two at the very most, of A4 explaining to an editor or journalist exactly who you are, what you do and how you do it. Include a link to your web site if you have one and a good photograph. You can always update this document as you go along but if you approach anyone in the media they are likely to ask you to send them details. Have your press release ready. Make it look really professional. Remember it’s your sales pitch.

In Lorraine’s case I would suggest she focus on one web site – the one that best demonstrates the skills she is offering. By all means offer the others but lead them directly to the one you most want them to see. A busy producer won’t want to be wading through four websites to get information.

Visuals

Lorraine is already doing videos on-line but she needs to make these videos more watchable, more dynamic. Easier said than done if you are not conversant with editing software but it’s worth paying an enthusiastic teenager or IT student to help you. Say what you want to say but don’t stop there. Adding music with a montage of pictures can really add energy and rhythm to a video. Record people you have worked with expounding your talents and add in the best lines from them. All this helps break up what would otherwise be a monologue.

Again busy producers often make a decision within the first 60 seconds of watching a show reel. If you haven’t captured their interest by then you are in danger of being ejected! Keep it short, interesting and a clear demonstration of your skills.

Raise your public profile

A Sceptical Medium, book cover

Lorraine already has a presence on-line by virtue of her writing, blogging and videoing but she needs to feature in newspapers and magazines too. Aim to get any press you can anywhere and keep a portfolio of any mentions you get in print. Even the local paper would start getting you into the mainstream press.  Nationals often take their lead from interesting regional news stories. Every time you are mentioned in a publication you raise the chances of a Google search of your name, or the word referring to your area of expertise (in this case ‘medium’), coming up with the article. This all helps to give you extra credibility when people are researching you or the subject.

Lorraine has already featured in her local press and she should include a link to the article in her pitch document. This allows producers and agents to jump straight to evidence of previous media interest in her.

http://www.thisissouthdevon.co.uk/able-spiritual-gift-keeps-giving-volumes/story-11700330-detail/story.html

Don’t forget specialist publications. Lorraine, for example, is already known to the likes of Spirit and Destiny magazine.

And if you think you’ve got a really good story to tell try and get it in print. Central Features specialises in placing good human interest and lifestyle stories with the press:  http://www.centralfeatures.com/

Get an Angle

Lorraine’s next challenge is to get a strong, and I hate to say it, but ’sensational’ angle.  To get yourself noticed these days generally requires a headline that grabs you by the throat.

Women’s magazines are on the search for increasingly compelling headlines. Lorraine may need, at the very least, a case study of someone she has read for that had quite a dramatic revelation or had a significant impact on their lives. The fact that she is ‘sceptical’ of mediumship is a good line but not necessarily controversial enough for the average, ratings-driven editor. Consider your story. Imagine it in the magazine of your choice. What would be the banner headline at the top of the page that will make readers want to stop and read it?

Get a PR Agent

If you have contacts in that area or are serious enough to want to spend money on it, think about hiring a PR person to help develop and publicise you. A good PR should have relevant contacts and some good ideas on how to make you interesting to the public. Remember just about any publicity is good publicity (unless you’re Ryan Giggs right now!).

Get a Talent Agent

Again easier said than done but if they like you, have the right contacts and know the business they should be able to at least get you introductions to useful TV producers. (We are featuring a couple of top talent agents in an article coming up soon with more detail on how to find an agent, plus advice on how to promote yourself. Watch out for it or better still subscribe if you haven’t already done so.)

As Lorraine is already quite established and has a very specific skill to offer I have suggested she join http://www.findatvexpert.com/. It costs to register but I think in her case it may provide some leads.

Lorraine is an expert with plenty to say. All she needs now is the programme idea or the producer to help launch her. Anyone out there ready to take on a feisty sceptical medium?

Where to find Lorraine:

Her blog:   http://askamedium.wordpress.com/

Her books:   http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lorraine-Holloway-White/e/B004PW4YLA

Her videos:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3qxHZ0PGE8&feature=share

 Previous articles on this subject:

http://wanttoworkintelevision.com/im-an-expert-get-me-on-the-television/ … and there’ll be more advice coming up soon….

13 comments

  • Pam Bagatti says:

    I would love to watch Lorraine H-W on her own TV show, and I know my friends feel the same way. She has a huge audience already who follow her through her books, blogs and videos, and she has much charisma, as well as unusual spirit information to help others. She is a teacher with a new attitude and a new approach to spiritual knowledge, and has a perfect presence for TV.

  • ann rigby says:

    I would like to see you on tv Lorraine.xxx

  • I would love to watch Lorraine and I know there are many who feel the same. She is the real thing and her show would be amazing.

  • Crystal Jigsaw says:

    I would also love to see Lorraine on television. Her controversial twist to mediumship is most definitely enough to grab any agent, scout or indeed tv producer. She has an incredible charisma, is beautifully spoken and one of the most professional authors and mediums I have ever come across. I truly hope she is given this opportunity. I will guarantee you thrilling entertainment, honesty and a great opportunity to get to know a very special human being.

    Kathryn Brown, author.

  • mandyeward says:

    Lorraine would be a breath of fresh air against the “sensationalist” mediums – She is interesting and direct in approach as well as being seriously accurate with her readings. I’d love to watch her on TV!

  • L Thomas says:

    Being able to stand up and engage an audience is no mean feat but I firmly believe with Lorraine’s enthusiasm and refreshing approach to everything medium and spiritual will give both enlightment and clarity on this often derided subject. Too many people are being ‘wheeled’ out as mediums and so called experts on the ‘other side of life’ when after a period of time they are exposed for being a sham. Lorraine breaks the mould and compells you further to listen by answering questions that you have held inside for so long, but have been too proud to openly voice. I speak from a personal perspective in that I have felt in limbo, but since reading her blogs and books I have been able to understand more of what is happening to me and move forward. There is a huge groundswell of the public who now believe in life after death. One mainstream newspaper put it at some 60%. There is a fundamental interest in this area but it is not being explored more fully. We have had anything from Most Haunted at one scale to examining whether Angels exist at the other. If there was someone like Lorraine who gave clarity and understanding to a subject and answering those questions as to what happens when someone dies, can they, do they really come back and be able to talk with us? Then this subject can gain greater understanding.

  • D Davis says:

    You have to be likeable to ‘work’ on TV, surely. And if I’m honest – she’s not. Also the entire act would consist of her slagging off other mediums. There’s no longevity in that. I think she confuses ‘controversial’ with ‘negative’. It’s all ego-driven – her saying how great she is, and how rubbish everyone else is. But without ‘performace’ mediumship – how can she demonstrate that is the truth? I think she’d come over really badly – bossy, egotistical and the big “I am” with no substance to her claims. Like it or not, TV is about eye-candy, too. Any medium slot could be filled with someone with a more youthful demographic and more charisma. And compromise looks to be a no-go, too. The truth is: if she only gets 3 people turn up to her talks and can’t even find a publisher for her books – then where is the audience for this?

    • Thank you for all your comments.

      I have to point out that ‘bossy and egotistical’ would describe many successful TV experts, From Barbara Woodhouse, through Trinny and Susannah to the Two Fat ladies! We are also not here to judge anyone’s personal qualities but to discuss how to promote yourself if, like Lorraine, you fancy trying your hand on TV.. Age and looks are sometimes an issue in TV (and of course shouldn’t be) but very much less so in the area of TV experts – an area, it must also be said, that welcomes controversy. Better a point of view than bland, better an argument than everyone agreeing with each other. This, like or or not, is the stuff of television today.

  • Alex Bruner says:

    In reply to D Davis and their comments. First can I point out that to secure a publisher is a very, very hard task – and I speak from experience on this. Publishers want those who are primarily already a public figure and I have that proof in various emails from them. The publisher always wants to make a healthy profit and even some best sellers have had many a knock by different publishing houses prior to securing a contract and going on to achieve success.

    I think you are being unkind in your comment by referring to ones looks. I recall the outpouring over the sacking of Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly with the Daily Mail comment boards swamped with people stating they would far rather have someone who knew what they were talking about then being easy on the eye and dimwitted. Bringing everything down to how someone looks is quite frankly unjust. If you are talking about charisma then maybe Derek Acorah is right up your street but as there are comments throughout on the internet questioning his true mediumistic abilities it brings to the fore about integrity. Like it or not, integrity is not something you can get in a can for 55p and pop in your shopping trolley on a visit to Tesco’s! You either have integrity or you don’t. The truth is this field is littered with charlatans at one end to the downright loons at the other. Both of which is not going to make good viewing unless you like car crash TV, which most tend not to and the producers run for the hills at the very thought of it.

    If you want healthy debate then sometimes you have to look at someone who challenges misconceptions and brings a different perspective to an argument. Kim Woodburn was 62 years old when she was first discovered for the smash hit TV role of How Clean Is Your House, yes she is statuesque I’ll give you that, but it was her brusque no nonsense manner that won over legions of fans and a fan base including young men who drooled over her. Lorraine Holloway may be a lady in her fifties but that she never preclude or be a bar to her working in the public both on TV and Radio!

  • Blair says:

    Show Idea What mediums, fortune-tellers, and psychics do is indeed a controversial subject. Lorraine is not afraid of controversy. I can envision Lorraine having a key part in a TV show exploring these topics and the controversy, mystery, and skepticism that surrounds them.

    There is a swell of interest around the world in all things spiritual and “paranormal.” The popularity of TV shows like Medium, and Most Haunted are examples. But the interest is much more wide spread than these shows might suggest. Blogs on these topics are very heavily traveled with Lorraine’s being one of the most popular around the world. I think her popularity comes from her forthrightness, honesty, and desire to help others as they reckon with all manner of questions relating to the spirit world or whether it in fact exists.

    Many believe the whole idea of spirits, mediums, fortune-tellers, and psychics is bunk. Others have had bad experiences with mediums, fortune-tellers, or psychics. Still others have been amazed by the accurate information a natural born medium can provide about deceased loved ones, and the comfort the messages they receive from beyond can provide.

    I believe a documentary on these topics would be wildly popular, because of their controversial nature, and people’s curiosity about the unknown beyond. The show would be of interest to believers and non-believers alike, and would garner a world-wide audience.

    Being a skeptic herself, I can envision Lorraine being central to the show by raising the controversial issues, and leading the audience in their exploration. Lorraine would fuel the controversy through her extensive knowledge, skepticism, and strong opinions about these subjects. I also see her with a key role in consulting on the content of the show, since she has broad knowledge and experience with people’s interest in these subjects.

    Much of the public is hesitant to openly discuss these topics, while at the same time harboring a fascination for the subject. Such a program would satisfy that curiosity, and vicariously engage them in the discussion. Lorraine would be the perfect choice for such a show, since she would have appeal to both the believers and skeptics alike.

    Lorraine presents TV producers with a golden opportunity. Don’t miss it.

  • I’m looking forward to seeing how successful Lorraine becomes. She has already demonstrated to me, personally, that she is the real deal, both as a medium and a good human being. Marketability is about being positive and I would like to see her focus on her talents more and less on whether someone else has the chops for it or not. I think that D Davis had one thing right and that is the confusion of being controversial and negative. It’s very much about the perspective of your reader/viewer. Otherwise, his post is mean-spirited and I feel badly that it appeared here. One thing for certain — if you venture out into the traffic, there are going to be chances of getting hit. It’s like anything else, Lorraine, take what you need and leave the rest behind. Concentrate on the positive and it will incease….and increase. All the best, my friend – SueAnn Jackon Land

  • tee says:

    I have read all the above comments with great interest and overall they all seem to be in favour of Lorraine.
    I’m a psychic/medium that is arguably “Not bad” at what I do and would I want to go on tv to demonstrate that? Not on your life it would scare the pants off of me. Yet here we have a woman that is a first class medium who also admits to being sceptical. Surely that in itself is to the advantage of a tv producer. Think of the healthy debate.
    Someone above spoke of Derek Acorah, lets quickly move on from that one. People of all nationalities love to sit around on All Hallows night and be scared to death by tv programmes like Most Haunted. Each to your own.
    Imagine a woman sitting in a tv studio picking people at random giving them messages from passed over loved ones and then adding a twist by being sceptical about it. Now that would be something, wouldn’t it?
    It was argued earlier that age and public image should be a given as regards to tv. WHY? Surely we are interested in what comes out of someones’ mouth not whether they are ‘getting on a bit’ or don’t fit the image. What IS the correct image for a tv presenter anyway. If you have a young attractive male/female introducing a programme yes it’s easy on the eye, but what if they are sprouting a load of rubbish? Would you be turned off by it and change channels?
    Give me an interesting debate any day of the week regardless of the looks or stature of a tv presenter.

  • D Davis says:

    Yes, you’re right. Maybe I was too harsh there, I did not intend to be personal, just honest. Anyone on TV would have to get used to hearing things they might not find flattering!

    I’m not sure there’s an audience for this anyway if it has no ‘performance’ aspect? Those who make it from the blogosphere to the mainstream tend to be people with an online following in the tens of thousands and the demographic is, inevitably, younger. That is what I was saying. Personally, I prefer my TV experts to be likeable; but what constitutes ‘likeable’ is subjective and I realise that.

    I wasn’t condoning the ageism of TV – just saying it is a factor, however much people in TV want to deny that.

    As for the less likeable TV experts – they are no longer on our screens or not on major channels – that tells us all we need to know!

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