By Leah Charles-King

Cindy and I on the red carpet

Cindy and I on the red carpet

I know we’ve spoken about hosting quite a bit lately, however it’s a great way to get started in the business and you can learn so many skills from it. Whether you’re a novice, or somewhat of an expert like us, we still learn something every time we host yet another gig.

leah charles-king presenter BAFTA

With the “man” himself, BAFTA

On Sunday I was fortunate enough to be asked to host an event called “Back 2 Black” for Black History Month and it was held at the prestigious BAFTA in London.

You may not get an instant reaction from viewers when speaking to camera however when in front of a large auditorium you must win the crowd over from the minute you say “hello”. That’s what it’s really about…. Winning over the audience whether on screen or public speaking.

Sunday night was a blast! Don’t get me wrong, despite my many years of experience I can still get a little nervous. You just never know what may happen. Sometimes it may be that your audience are what I would call “boring, stuffy types” and in this instance there is nothing much you can do aside from adapting your style of presenting to suit them moreover trying to be entertaining.

Thankfully I didn’t have to question myself on Sunday night! The minute I stepped on stage I barely said “hello and welcome” and immediately my earring came crashing down onto lectern. I knew everyone had heard it, so rather than be embarrassed I took a risk in cracking a little joke about it and moving straight on. However the audience liked this and they laughed. It broke the ice and Immediately I got them on side.

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The show was a complexed one and so it gave a zillion reasons as to how it could go wrong. Within one evening it had several acts varying types of acts, public speakers, short film, and even an awards show. All of this and with NO rehearsal! As I said in previous posts having a rehearsal before the event takes place is extremely important. Never wing it. However there are certain instances when you just have to do so. In this case the organisers couldn’t get into the theatre before a certain time, which mean’t zero rehearsal time. Not even a sound check. And as if that wasn’t enough, I was also asked to do the red carpet interviews too. It’s always lovely when you’re asked to do these things as it shows the faith the client has in you, but it also means gearing your mind into two different places. Red carpet interviewing and on stage hosting are two different mindsets, and I’m not sure whether I’ve ever been asked to do both on one night before. Especially for such a large scale production.

leah charles-king red carpet presenterI’ll be honest with you, I’m aware that my experience is pretty much the only way I could have pulled through with great success, but this is also the reason why I urge you to understand why it’s so important to do as much hosting as possible.

It may be that on-screen presenting opportunities may be slow to gain, so in the meantime build your experience by doing live hosting in a different a different capacity such as on-stage presenting.

Here are some tips on how to get started:

1: Offer your services for free! This is particularly if you are new to the game. Don’t expect to be getting paid when you have no experience! Be open and willing to do things without payment. This is how most of us started. Whether via TV Presenting or on-stage hosting work.

2: Research….. local awards in your area or county. Perhaps you know of some awards events already such as hairdressing, catering, make-up artistry, anything! You may also wish to research some corporate businesses as well.

3: Attach yourself with a charity or social enterprise….. Again, research charities in your area or county which may mean something to you or which you have a keen interest in. Charities are usually very happy to open the door to anyone who is willing to volunteer their time. Here’s a secret, the event I did at BAFTA on sunday was for a social enterprise. I believed in the project so much that I volunteered my time and expertise. At this stage in my career some may argue that I didn’t have to do such a thing, but for me, you are never “too successful” in giving away some kindness to those in need. especially if you believe in the project. Make sure you do or it’s no point getting involved as it won’t come from the heart, and your performance and interest lacklustre.

4: Write to them and out yourself forward….. Once you’ve done your research write a short email detailing who you are, what experience you have (if any), why you’re interested in the charity / social enterprise / award show / corporate business, alongside a recent professional head shot of yourself and a link to your showreel. If you don’t have the latter two, The Red Carpet Academy can help you with this.

Leah Charles-King with founder of Back 2 Black, Fredi "Kruga" Nwaka

Leah Charles-King with founder of Back 2 Black, Fredi “Kruga” Nwaka

It’s no point getting in touch with anyone if you don’t have the relevant things to show them, as I have detailed above. You will be wasting your time, and theirs. If you do this and you don’t have your marketing tools, it will be harder for you to apply to them once you do. And by then your competition (who has all the relevant tools) could have pipped you to the post. I repeat, you must have something to show them. Hence why a website*, professional head shot and showreel is so important .

I’ll be offering a post of getting your website sorted very soon. Stay tuned!

*The Red Carpet Academy will soon be offering individual website design. Enquire within or follow our blog to be the first in the know.

Tweet me! @leahcharlesking

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