February 27, 2014 | Posted in:Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production

Carol Story, Former Producer CBS News The Early Show Photo Credit: Jude Milner

Carol Story, Former Producer CBS News The Early Show
Photo Credit: Jude Milner

Today, I am happy to have veteran news and talk show producer Carol Story in the house. Former CBS News Early Show producer, Carol Story, always has  great advice. Once a producer, always a producer, and even though Carol is enjoying her life these days  away from the hustle and bustle of  television news, she still has some great tips on how to ace your first time television appearance.

By Carol Story

You finally landed that interview.  You’re going to be interviewed about your new book, magazine article, and project.  You’re excited, nervous and overwhelmed. You are outside of your comfort zone.  The stakes are high.  You want to make a good impression.   Time has never been your strong suit and you don’t even know how long three minutes and thirty seconds are.  You need to prepare for your interview.  Not rehearse, not over-prepare.  Just be ready.

Maximize the Pre-Interview

The chances are good that you are going to do a pre-interview. If you are lucky, the producer doing the pre-interview will have read your materials and ask relevant, meaningful questions. While you are on the phone, jot down the questions you’re asked. They can help you review later. Your pre-interview is the roadmap for the direction the interview takes. Pay attention to what is asked and remember your answers.

What if the questions in the pre-interview aren’t the right ones? Before you finish the conversation you should add or suggest any information you feel the producer has overlooked and that you feel is pertinent. It’s your interview and your input is valuable for the producer.

Related Post: Top (3) Things Television Producers Should Avoid Doing When Booking Me as a Guest

Don’t finish the pre-interview without asking a few questions of your own. They include:


Who is Interviewing me?

Would you like me to spell and pronounce my name for you? Details are important and occasionally, the obvious ones get overlooked.

Your Appearance

If this is an interview for television, figure out what you are going to wear. This is not the time to radically change your fashion, hair and makeup style.  It is the time to look as good as you can. Do not wear anything that will distract from what you are saying.  How many times have you watched an interview and said, “What happened to her blouse or hair?”

Don’t upstage yourself.  Wear something comfortable and that gives you confidence.

Interview Prep

Do not over think the interview. Don’t memorize. Identify three key points you want to make keep them in mind before you enter the studio. Figure out how long three minutes is. Make sure your answers are sentences – not paragraphs. Avoid off-the-cuff jokes and remarks. You’ll use up valuable time and risk them falling flat.

Related Post: The Top (3) Things Television Producers Should Do When Booking Me As A Guest


Coming Up Next Week: More Tips For Your First Time TV Appearance

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.


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