Fun Facts and Misconceptions about the Teleprompting World
Teleprompters can really bring High production value.
ON CAMERA Teleprompters:
Saves you money in the long run.
A 2-hour video shoot with a teleprompter could easily take 6-7 hours without one.
That is, man-hours and/or venue rental etc.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH Teleprompting:
How it works and is put together:
When prompter operators receive a script, we do not just copy and paste it into our editor.
There is prep time needed to format the content so that it is “prompter friendly” and also
“reader friendly”. This can take some time depending on how long the scripts are.
Sometimes we can spend several minutes (if not hours) the night before preparing and formatting a teleprompter script only to have someone bring us an updated version on a USB drive because of a minor change. What we suggest is that it would be much easier to make a direct change point blank inside our editor (exactly where needed) than to start the entire formatting process over from scratch, basically erasing all the work and care we just put into the script.
We understand last-minute script changes are normal and part of our job. We just like to work efficiently.
Making small changes on the fly is routine and no problem at all.
If the changes are major or a complete overhaul of the show that is understandable as well.
This is why many operators may hold off formatting scripts until a couple of hours before the show.
Because we know changes happen, we get that, but the closer to showtime we do this, the better.
Here is an explainer:
Raw scripts must be copied and pasted with formatting removed into a single-column, text-only state.
Preferably I like to remove stage and director notes.
Only speaking text should be in the prompter unless otherwise noted.
For speakers (readers) we highlight names a different color, most of the time red, although it can be whatever the client wants it to be. Red is standard.
We also like to add spacing and line-breaks in logical, natural places to allow opportunities to pause and take a breath.
This precise formatting can take several minutes per page.
For a 32 page script, it could take 2-3 hours because we prompter operators also like to preview the script with the prompter software in “prompt mode”, to make sure there are no glitches or anomalies such as hyperlinks, tracked changes, markup, all that meta stuff that modern word processors can do really plays havoc with prompting software.
Depending on the presenter and how particular they are, there can be additional efforts made to make a great reading experience such as text size and line spacing requirements as well.
Do Teleprompter ops Control the speaker’s Reading Pace?
Short Answer= No.
Not for me at least.
Some speakers will speed up, and in that case, I must speed up to match them, and if they decide to speed up more, then I speed up to match them.
If we didn’t, the screen would run out of words and they’d awkwardly stop reading…
We don’t let that happen.
So if they speed up, we speed up. Sometimes they’ll think I’m racing them and pretty soon we’re out of control.
Stage managers may come to us backstage and say
“He’s rushing can’t you slow it down?”
and some of us will respond:
“If I slow down he’ll just run out of words to say and will abruptly stop until I feed more text on the screen”.
If the reader slows down, I am going to follow along and slow down.
I’ve always said to those who do not know us well, I never dictate the speed of the reader by the way I teleprompt.
I’ll always start and go when the reader does and I’ll move the text along at their pace and make sure there is always text for them to read.
In other words, they control the speed, not the other way around.
This is not always convincing, especially to inexperienced teleprompter readers.
If I speed up, that is not a signal that we are rushing you.
In most cases, we are just trying to catch up.
We try to be sensitive to new presenters/readers and kindly guide them along in rehearsal to make them feel comfortable.
If we need to coach them a little, it’s certainly no problem.
The end goal is to make the presenter/speaker all look and sound great on stage!
Prompting a speech or script is very similar to playing music with someone.
Learning the rhythm of their speech pattern and working along with it, knowing what to do if they improvise something is a skill that goes unnoticed most of the time even by the speakers themselves.
Yet another case of “if you’re doing it right nobody notices but if you’re doing it wrong it stands out.”
That is so true. If something goes wrong during a prompter read there could be many factors that could be to blame.
Confusing text, direction notes, technical errors, operator error, or they could just have a brain freeze.
No matter what the issue is or who’s fault it is, all eyes initially look at the teleprompter operator until what actually happened is revealed 🙂 Lovely. haha.
We’re used to it, although I must say nearly 98% of our gigs have run very smooth because we bring our experience and we work with great clients and A/V personnel that as a team, makes everyone look great.
These are just some of the factors that go into an experienced teleprompter operator,
This is why we bill what we charge.
So When you consider the price or quote that Midnight Creative Productions gives you, we hope that you’ll appreciate what you’re actually getting in return.
We want you to be happy.
Because understand that you are paying for more than just a worker to fill the needs of your production, project or event.
You are also buying our experience.
You’re paying for our hundreds of hours of past errors and experimentations.
You’re buying years of previous frustrations as well as moments of joy and successes.
Whether we are doing video production, editing, photography, graphics work, voice-over recording or teleprompting for you or your project/event, know that you are getting someone reliable, dependable and with real-life experience in our industry.