To be a presenter...
As a tutor it’s so rewarding when one of your students achieves success, and it has just been revealed that the multi talented Joanne Clifton is to join the presenting team of BBC’s It Takes Two. Joanne, World Champion Ballroom dancer and pro-dancer on Strictly Come Dancing will be a regular dance expert on the post Strictly chat show, as well as performing in the Strictly series.
When Joanne attended Get into TV Presenting at the Actors Centre last summer she was clearly a bundle of talent. She was training in acting, singing and presenting after achieving World class in dancing, aiming to launch herself in a new direction. Appearing on Strictly last year, along with her brother, ‘Kevin from Grimsby’, it was quickly apparent that Joanne could present as well as dance – she was discovered!
TV Presenting is an extension of your own personality, it shouldn’t be fake or an acting performance. You need to confidently talk to the camera, to engage with the viewer. The skills can be taught quickly, and then it’s practise. There are transferable skills between acting and presenting, and many actors find it liberating to be themselves for a change. Joanne’s dance background meant she could connect with the audience, and she combined this with her cheeky personality and sense of humour.
The 2-day Actors Centre course taught Joanne the basic presenting skills of talking to camera, speaking to time, interviewing, being interviewed, walking and talking, vox pops and reading Autocue. Almost immediately Joanne found herself being interviewed for Channel 4, and she performed brilliantly (with Agent Mildred Yuan from United Agents in the wings checking the notes Joanne made during her Actors Centre course!)
Feeling that TV presenting could be her new career Joanne followed up her initial training with personal coaching, and is now confident enough to hold her own on mainstream BBC. It all started with a weekend course for non-members at the Actors Centre. Who knows where it will end?
Kathryn Wolfe - Tutor at the Actors Centre
Author, The TV Presenter’s Career Handbook, Focal Press 2015
Author, So You Want to be a TV Presenter? Nick Hern Books, 2010
Senior Lecturer Media Performance, Course Leader Television Production, University of Bedfordshire