I had to laugh yesterday with all the hoopla over Sarah Palin's "crib notes" written on her hand.
Those of you who've read my articles on tvjobs.com or are regular readers of this blog know that this trick was mine during live shots. Hmmmm.... Sarah Palin worked in local TV.... wonder where she got the idea?
As a young reporter I hated holding a pad and reading from it during live shots. I thought it just looked cheesy and made me look unprepared. So I either taped my pad to the bottom of the lens (this only works if it's not windy) or wrote key points on my fingers. My right hand held the microphone, my left had my "crib notes."
Lots of reporters did this years ago. Not sure if people are still doing it, but it was very effective for me, so if you wanna try something new, give it a shot. The trick is to not "show your hand" to the camera. As you gesture with your free hand, you can steal a look at your notes if you forget something.
Two important points: don't use a permanent marker (you'll end up with stuff like "tax increase" or "hurricane damage" on your palm for weeks) and make sure you wash your hands after live shots. I once forgot this rule, went to a party directly from a live shot and shook some guy's hand. He pulled it back covered with ink.
Looking natural during live shots is a real art. Do whatever works for you. If that means "getting your hands dirty" so be it.