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A Hollywood producer’s nightmare – why autocue is a false friend

Pity poor Michael Bay, Hollywood action movie darling. Autocue/teleprompt goes wrong; he flees the stage almost in tears; worldwide media coverage; huge embarrassment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0OI5QnoEns

But there’s an important lesson to be learned from his very bad day at the office – autocue, PowerPoint and the carefully crafted script are false friends. They promise security and confidence to those anxious about remembering content but, when they malfunction, they leave us totally exposed. Plus, if the words are going straight from the autocue/PP/script to the mouth, without passing the brain, there’s a negative impact on intonation, pauses, pace. You’re not ‘telling’ people something, you’re ‘presenting’ to them. And, subtle though that difference is, the audience will perceive it and they will disengage.

So, though it seems counterintuitive, the best way to be in command of your content is to tear up the script, turn off the autocue and kick away the PP crutch. If only someone had told Michael Bay that.