Sign The Guestbook
View The Guestbook
Archived Guestbook
Submit An Article
Staff List
Privacy Policy



Archived Weekly Features
Sounds Good!
Jon Beaupré is a voice and performance consultant for radio and television performers. Under the name Broadcast Voice, he provides private training and workshops for reporters, anchors, sports and weather casters, and others working in electronic and broadcast media. He teaches in the Broadcast Communications program at California State University at Los Angeles, and conducts workshops and seminars with the Associated Press Radio and Television Association. He has been a fixture on the convention circuit, teaching workshops at a wide range of specialty journalism and broadcast conventions and stations on both coasts of the U.S.

Do Your Set-Up!

August 20th, 2001

In past installments, we described the use of the acronym "BATS" to prepare you for on-camera, on-microphone performances.

To review: "B" is for breathing - is should be diaphragmatic and deep.

"A" is for audience - it's not important what YOU feel, it's important what the audience perceives about your performance.

"T" is for 'three part rule': settle, comfortable, lower - or more precisely, SETTLE your voice down to a COMFORTABLE LOWER range - not a fake or weird voice, just your own, naturally lower range.

In this installment, we're going to discuss the "S" in that acronym.

The "S" stands for 'set-up', the psychological, emotional, and physical preparation for your performance. A good news report requires first and foremost a good journalist to get the facts and figures correct. It may also require a good editor, to determine how long or short the piece will be, the spin of the piece, and the direction the piece will take. It may in addition require a technician/producer to physically put the elements together in a fashion that will make sense to an audience. Needless to say, often we as reporters have to wear all these hats, which simply increases the pressure on our performance.

There is a fourth element, however, that is crucial to understanding how your story is perceived by its audience. In addition to acting as the journalist, the editor, and the producer, the reporter also has to be a performer.

In fact no matter how solid and compelling the journalism, editing and production on your piece, if the performance is weak, all that fine work can be wasted.

Essentially, your performance is the conduit through which all this other work - the journalism, editing, and production - must pass on its way to your audience. If your performance is bad, no amount of good journalism, editing or production will reach your audience.

This is simply a way of saying that you need to take as much care and pay as much attention to your performance (read: voice!) as you do to your journalism, editing, and production.

In short, you need to put some serious preparation into your performance in the same way you do into your writing, editing and production values. The set up can be simply described, but will need a more detailed description in future installments.
Here it is:
1. Stand with your feet roughly a head's width apart (no wisecracks about how big my head is!).
2. Working smoothly up your body, be sure your feet are relaxed, your knees are not locked (nor flexed too much for that matter), your pelvis is tipped under, your stomach is relaxed, your shoulders are relaxed, your head and chin floating on the horizon, not fixed in place, and that you are holding no tension or tightness (my students often memorize the mantra that goes: 'Feet, kees, pelvis, stomach, shoulders, head and chin floating on the horizon, no tension or tightness...)
3. Exhale every last molecule of air out of your body.
4. Inhale and exhale (always diaphragmatically!)
5. Inhale to prepare. When you are comfortably full of air, pause...
6. Begin speaking. We'll go into more detail on the importance of this set-up in future installments, but on your own, just try doing this routine every time you do a stand up, track in a booth, read copy from a teleprompter, or even rehearse.

Take the few seconds required to move through your body, releasing tensions, and focusing your mind on the job ahead. In the meantime, just breathe deeply.