Jenn Bates has been the morning anchor at KWCH since November 2014 and was a sports anchor/reporter for 8.5 years in Wichita and Tri-Cities, WA before that. Jenn studied telecommunications-news at the University of Florida from 2002-2006.
No I’m not talking about checking your hair or makeup (although that is a necessary evil of this job). I’m talking about looking at yourself while you read a script! Sounds a little weird, right? I promise I have a good reason for it.
I grew up doing a lot of theater. Straight plays, musicals and improv were all a huge part of my youth and through college. I credit a lot of my ability in this broadcast business to the skills I learned while acting. We all know that cadence, inflection and pitch are all important. Some of you may also realize the importance of how you breathe! In theater, especially musical theater, you learn to use your diaphragm and breathe through that to sustain your voice and have a better tone. Learning how to breathe is so important and learning when to take a breath is also key especially when you’re doing sports highlights or ad-libbing a script.
One of the absolute BEST things I learned in theater, however, is to read my lines while looking at myself in the mirror. It sounds narcissistic, right? Trust me, it serves a great purpose.
I worked with one guy who was so fantastic when it came to researching stats and his writing was so creative and fun but the thing holding him back the most was the faces he would make while he was on the air! Seriously, he made the strangest faces while he was talking and he never realized it. That’s where the mirror trick comes in. Do you know what you look like while you’re reading? Sure you can go back and look at air checks of yourself and see what’s happening. I remember watching myself and saying ‘man I sure blink a lot!’ But how do you fix it? Looking in the mirror and seeing your muscle movements while you’re reading will help you learn and feel what your face is doing while you’re reading. It sounds strange but it’s just another form of muscle memory. You can train yourself out of funky facial expressions!
Give it a try and you might be surprised to see what you look like!