Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Beowulf vs. Nazis, Me vs. Teleprompter

Yesterday we shot the broadcast version of the "Beowulf vs. the Nazis" lecture. It had to be cleaned up for TV, so if you hear me present the academic version live, in addition to more scholarly bits, you'll also get more cussin'.

I'm not sure when (or in what format) it will be available for viewing. It will be broadcast here, but they're not sure how long until it is available for streaming video online because they have a new web dude/tte. Obviously, the streaming video is the important part as far as I'm concerned, because most of the requests I've had to see it have come from waaaaaay outside this viewing area.

This was also my first foray into using a teleprompter, and I have to say, it's clearly a skill that has to be developed through practice. I really wasn't sure how it worked, and being able to see only a few words at a time made it necessary for me to stick more closely to the prepared script. I had also never thought of how a relationship has to develop between the person running the prompter and the speaker. I found myself wishing that it was one of my student assistants running the teleprompter, since they're familiar with the material, know the cadence of my natural public speaking, can anticipate (through endless repetition) where my jokes will go, etc. Unfortunately, they don't know how to run a teleprompter, so some poor young woman who had never even read the material through once got stuck running the prompter for a complete novice like me.

To my ears, it sounded very artificial and wooden, and as one of my minions (very politely) put it, "you presented it totally different there than live." I think I'll take every opportunity to use teleprompters in the future, just so I can get better at them with practice.


  1. Maybe I'll wait for your 2nd webcast. Wouldn't want my fantasies of superhuman speaking prowess to be shattered...

    My sympathies on the prompter problem. I at least am now warned.

  2. I see fantastic potential for Monty Python-esque comedy in your amateur teleprompter sessions (see track #22):

    Consider staying bad at teleprompter reading, it could be the start of something big!