Securing a TV crew to attend your client’s event is a time to celebrate. But when you score TWO TV crews to attend the same event, it’s time to juggle…. That is what happened when BBC South East Today and ITV Meridian both accepted our newscall for the opening of the Neurokinex Kids spinal cord rehabilitation centre in Crawley.
There’s always a sense of excitement when film crews are on the scene. Careful planning and skill go into getting them there in the first place. Then the hard work starts as they will look to you to help them shape a great story. If more than one news crew arrives you really have your work cut out to ensure each one gets a different story with exclusive elements so both go away happy they have something that the other one doesn’t.
Here’s what we’ve learned along the way.
Getting them there
Firstly, you need to be sure your story is TV-worthy not just newsworthy by offering;
- Interesting/exciting action to film – it’s all about the pictures
- Inspirational/motivational/engaging spokespeople
- Unique news element – world first or extraordinary success
For the Neurokinex Kids opening event, we had the whole set of: a brand new, world-first facility; a passionate, articulate and high profile spokesperson in Matthew Reeve (son of Superman actor Christopher Reeve whose spinal cord rehabilitation legacy includes Neurokinex Kids) and Jasper, a charming and cheeky five-year-old client of Neurokinex.
Just one of those elements would have got us onto the planning diary. With all three, we couldn’t fail. But we still had to shape the story and ‘sell’ it to be chosen over other news stories breaking that day so we:
- Created and outlined the ‘TV-shaped’ filming and footage they could have
- Explained the range of people they could interview and film alongside Matthew Reeve and Jasper including Jasper’s mum; Harvey Sihota, the founder of Neurokinex Kids; parents of other children at the facility and expert trainers who work with the children
- Remember: TV crews don’t film or use everyone they speak to: the experts behind the scenes give them vital insight for their introductions, voice-overs and on-screen graphics explaining key concepts
- Assured them of dedicated filming time slots (we got the crews in BEFORE the public arrived to give them a clear run at their filming and recording)
When they arrive
- Brief them carefully, explain all the action available to film, introduce your spokespeople and highlight key points of interest to help them shape the story
- Ask what they want: remember they are not reporting YOUR story: they’re creating THEIR story
- If you have more than one crew in attendance, guarantee them opportunities to get unique angles and footage full of colour, variety and character
- Ideally, have one colleague assigned to each crew to really focus on their needs: compare notes to ensure both crews have bespoke elements
- Keep BEHIND the camera
- Without getting in their way, try to see what the cameraman is seeing – including anything you need to address such as toilet doors and rubbish bins in shot, anyone whose permission you don’t have to be filmed including anyone reflected in a mirror or glass, discarded camera bags and crisp packets…. the list goes on so stay alert!
- Don’t be afraid to highlight particularly exciting elements/equipment/features to the crew who may not immediately recognise these
- Keep close to them and be sure to keep tabs on the cameramen – particularly when they wander off to do ‘placement shots’!!
- Be prepared with all the facts and figures: these details will help shape their script, form the basis of on-screen graphics and even the introduction for the studio newsreader.
- Most news pieces are pre-recorded so you can positively influence the outcome and even suggest re-recording sections
- Don’t be afraid to correct their facts/figures or suggest additional details.
- Of course, if they’re broadcasting live you’ll need to stay quiet!
- Manage your client’s expectations: TV crews can film for hours and still only get a 90 second to three-minute piece out. Make sure the reporter knows which ONE thing you really want included: they can usually accommodate this.
If you have a news story for TV and would like our advice how to land it, contact us.