TV presenter and voiceover artist
In this first podcast episode I interviewed Grietje Even who is a TV presenter and voiceover artist. She is also an all round videographer who hosts, edits, directs and connects people through stories on TV and through her Youtube channel, TravelGretl.
I’ve always been interested in what a TV presenter does. On the surface it appears to be fairly easy and rather glamorous. My interview with Grietje set the record straight. Find episode here. Catch the episode on iTunes
So you want to be a TV presenter?
For those with aspirations to be a TV presenter, Grietje advises that it’s good to understand your motivations, honestly. There is more to the job than just fame and fortune. If these things motivate you, then don’t do it, because is not just a glamorous job. It involves a lot of hard work. It’s important to have an interest in art, film, story telling, etc.
Grietje advises that during an interview your job as a TV presenter is to make the person you are interviewing, and their story, shine. The key is to bring out the reason why someone is an amazing human being. A good starting point is always to focus on what people are passionate about or the thing they are most proud of in life. Sometimes you have to do a bit of digging. You should just assume / know that there is a story there. You have to do a bit of work to reveal it. Sometimes you have to ask the spouse or parent as they often know the person best. Of course, everyone has a lesson to teach or an interesting story to tell. The job of the presenter is to bring that story out.
Starting your own youtube channel
We now live in a world where anyone can easily create content and publish it online. If you want to be a writer then start a blog, if you want to sing, act or be a TV presenter, then start a Youtube channel. In Grietje’s case, she did just that, starting a Youtube travel channel, Travel Gretl where she has amassed a dedicated audience of travel lovers who enjoy her upbeat, quirky travel experiences. Grietje has an amazing ability to tell an engaging story while also showcasing a destination. She maintains a high standard and produces consistently good quality Youtube videos. I have been privileged enough to work with Grietje on a number of Youtube videos for my channel DutchifiedBlog. Below is our first video together where we’ve explored the World of Food in Amsterdam.
On being a voice over artist
If you are a freelancer, then you likely have multiple sources of income. Working as a voiceover artist could be an option for you. While a certain level of talent is obviously required, the remuneration is generally good for the effort. However, just having an amazing voice is not sufficient. What’s important is how you use your voice. There is sometimes the need to exactly replicate a sentence you have just spoken or heard. This requires careful listening and complete control over your voice, which can be practiced and honed like any skill.
Grietje advises trying to mimic the voices of other people exactly. During a recording session there is usually a director present. Their advice can sometimes be vague, a little faster, a little slower, imagine your voice playing tennis, etc. You are required to improvise and make small tweaks as you go along, which requires training and experience. A good approach to practicing, which can be easily done from home, is to record yourself, listen back and try making minor modifications as you go along. Ultimately being a voice over artist requires you to embrace a different character and persona while you perform.
A good presenter versus an average presenter
A good presenter has good self awareness. Knows exactly how he/she comes across and aware of the fact that they are primarily a tool, like the camera or microphone. You are a mediator between the audience and the person you are interviewing. It’s really not about you as the presenter. It is however good to have an understanding of which of your characteristics are a little annoying versus charming. In order to be unique and memorable, know which of your characteristics to show and which to suppress.
One of the best parts of being a presenter is the many people you will meet. You will need to develop the ability to get to know and build a rapport with the interviewee very quickly. This will help the interviewee get comfortable with you. They’ll typically be more willing to reveal intimate details or interesting stories.
How to become a presenter
There is a misconception that presenting is easy to do, that you don’t need any special skills or talents. Anyone who thinks that it’s enough to just stand in front of a camera and talk would be mistaken. Some of the required skills which need to be executed fluidly and seamlessly include the ability to interact with people and the ability to tell stories.
Luckily you can learn the skills needed to host. A bit of talent won’t hurt, but there is no substitute for experience, preparation and hard work. For any budding presenters hoping to learn the skills required in this profession, Grietje suggest starting a Youtube channel. You’ll learn how to use the camera and how to put a story together. You’ll learn about framing, lighting, sound and all sort of technical things. The great thing about this “just do it” approach is that if you don’t like it, then you can stop and be glad for the knowledge and experience that you have gained. If on the other hand you do discover your passion, then like any creative pursuit, you will no doubt improve with time.
How technology is changing the profession of TV presenter
Over the past few years there has been significant advancement in video production technology and consumption habits all of which change the profession for a TV presenter. With the advent of the Internet and Youtube, it is now possible to create and produce your own content without waiting to be discovered or spending years chasing tv gigs. This means that competition has increased too, which drives improved quality and consistency, already observable on Youtube. Television has also lost its central place in society as more content moves to the Internet and is consumed on mobile devices. All these factors leads ultimately to the democratisation of user generated content. The improvements in technology have allowed amateurs to improve production value and also be watched / discovered.
During my interview with Grietje, we discussed the concept of changing jobs every couple of years. She advocates for doing a job for a couple of years, in this case 7 years, learning the skills and gaining the experiences, thereafter moving on to another job which appeals to you. This approach is very appealing, especially to the younger generations. This would generally preclude a person from participating in highly skilled jobs which require years of secondary education, but the philosophy is really compelling. More likely the practice application is to explore different interest throughout your life, some of which hopefully make some money.
Best advice every received
It’s always interesting to hear about great advice from different professions. A famous Dutch theatre teacher once told grietje to not be so nervous, saying “it’s only theatre”. The lesson being that when you look at most situations (unless you are a brain surgeon and a few other professions) in perspective they just aren’t that important. Especially in situations where we get nervous, it’s good to remember that no one is going to die if things don’t go perfectly. Hence relax and try to enjoy the experience. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Often fear of failure prevents us from starting something that we may enjoy. Whenever you’re thinking of doing something or starting something, think to yourself, “what’s the worst thing that can happen”.
When judging your knowledge or experience of a topic, there are generally three types of people:
1: Beginners who don’t know anything about a topic
2: People who have some experience and start to think they are getting pretty good, even expert at a topic, who don’t realise that there is still a lot to learn.
3: Experts who actually know the most, who have the most experience, but also know that they have come a long way and that there is always more to learn and experience. These are really the best in their fields because they understand what it takes to truly be an expert.
This approach advocates for life long learning and humility in the skills and knowledge that you have already acquired.
Where to find Grietje on the Internet
GOOGLE PLUS: https://plus.google.com/+TravelGretl