An on-camera interview is a useful tool for promoting your restaurant, products, and yourself. While each interview and audience may look for something different, being on camera your first time without media training can be nerve-racking. We spoke with Beth Schiff from You Choose Creative about the essentials that will help you get ready for your close-up.
What questions should you ask the production team prior to your scheduled appearance?
There are a couple of questions that I always try to ask the production team. What is the time commitment? What are the approximate shoot dates and locations? When will the program air (if applicable)? When will I be notified if I am selected to appear?
What is the best way to develop your message/talking points?
Think about incorporating any question into your answer. If someone asks what is your name, the answer, my name is XYZ. What do you do? I am the chef at ABC in New York City. That is how to speak in “sound bites.” Also, think about your resume as an outline or in bullet points. Be able to articulate where you worked, for what length of time and be sure to highlight any places where you moved up quickly and places where you took on more responsibility as well as notable chefs/mentors.
What are best practices for wardrobe selection for men, women, chefs, bartenders, etc.?
For interviews and shoots, generally, a non-descriptive wardrobe is best --unless you own your brand -- you’ll most likely not be able to wear any logos/brands without signing a release. Stripes and patterns are generally frowned upon, hats are also generally a no-no because they cover the face. Wear a color and style suits you, where you are most comfortable. Most shows will provide an apron or chef coat. For an audition or interview, you do not need to be in a chef coat or apron unless requested.
What should you do on the day of the interview?
Treat the casting as you would a job interview, show up as presentable as possible. First impressions are key.
If it is a Skype or Zoom, test your video and audio with a friend beforehand, find a quiet enough space with a solid internet connection. GOOD LIGHTING is key! Natural light during the day is optimal. Windows should be at your front, not at your back or side whenever possible. For an in-person or digital interview, shave, fix your hair, and apply light makeup if you feel comfortable.
What tips do you have for managing the jitters?
Try to focus on telling your story in the most natural, conversational way. Generally, the camera will fall away and it’ll just be you and the interviewer having a casual conversation.
What advice do you have for your body language while on-camera?
Sit up and be expressive. If you use your hands to talk or describe food, do that. Lean in, engage with the interviewer/audience, make eye contact. Do not fold/cross your hands and lean back, that gives off an air of I-don’t-care. If you are in a swivel chair, try not to use that as a crutch. Stay still and animate through your body language, not your chair.
What should you do after the interview is complete?
Follow any directions that may apply afterward, if you are asked for photos, a menu, a video, etc. make sure you understand the process of what is next and submit any follow-up materials within the requested timeframe. It’s also OK to send a follow-up email if you have any questions, or if you want to offer any information you forgot to include at the time of the interview.
About Beth Schiff
With over 20 years behind her in the entertainment industry, Beth Schiff has spent decades, researching, interviewing, booking talent and shaping stories for commercials, films, TV, web, and corporate projects. With a passion and curiosity for food and ingredients, Schiff was working in casting at a time when food television was coming to the forefront of entertainment. She immersed herself, developing a deeper love of all things culinary since 2008, as she headed up the casting team of the Food Network’s hit culinary competition show, Chopped. In addition to her work with Chopped, Schiff has researched and interviewed thousands of culinarians for projects including; CBS’s The American Baking Competition, Travel Channel’s Man V Food reboot, and FYI’s Love At First Bite.