People often tell me “Your job sounds LIT AF,” “Working as a presenter must be a dream come true,” or even “Wow, you get to go to festivals for free and interview DJ’s on camera!”
These statements are all 100% accurate.
I love my job and I’m proud of what I do. Presenting fills my soul with joy and connects me with the Hard Dance movement even more intensely.
Occasionally however, I do get the whole “Your job is easy – all you have to do is stand there and look pretty.” Now, this is definitely a bit of a bold statement, however I can see why people may think that what I do can be classed as ‘easy.’
Last weekend I had the honour to present the daily video recaps for Rebirth Festival which included some wild segments with visitors and the performing artists. Aside from this, some of you may also recognise me from the Defqon.1 live-stream (2015) and their 2016 recaps, as well as my Alive at Night project ‘Into The Wild.’
Anyway, I’m still buzzing after the incredible weekend I had presenting the Rebirth recaps, so I whipped up this little ‘behind the scenes’ exclusive that’ll run you through some of the ins and outs of video presenting.
I scored my first presenting ‘gig’ at the end of 2014; I hosted the live radio and video stream for the Hardstyle 2000, a countdown show that ran for seven whole days. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I was the outrageous thrill-seeker of my friendship circle, so having the eyes of thousands of viewers on me was riveting to say the least. Unlike standing dead in front of a camera, there were two different cameras that moved around the studio from afar, so it wasn’t too confronting. Most of the time I forgot that the cameras were even rolling.
For me, hosting the Hardstyle 2000 was a perfect first gig; it allowed me to be in front of a camera lightly, but also helped me conquer the nerves associated with doing something ‘live.’ I’m ever thankful to the team at Revulsion FM for having faith in me and giving me this initial opportunity. Although I also (unfortunately) encountered a few negative comments from viewers, I channelled this into something positive and built up a tougher skin.
My first huge video project was presenting the artist interviews for the Defqon.1 live-stream in 2015. When I received the e-mail from Q-dance, I literally jumped out of my seat and ran around the house like a chicken on speed. The fact that the best of the best was requesting ME was totally thrilling!
Alright, so I bet you wall want to know – what was it like to work at Defqon.1? Let me start by saying this: it was INCREDIBLE! There was a whole team I worked alongside, including videographers, livestream co-ordinators, editors and creative directors. I even had my own make-up artist, who made me look camera-ready.
Presenting the Day Reports in 2016 was also a fun and challenging task! Again, I was accompanied by a talented and hard-working team who ensured that Q-dance’s vision manifested into reality. Our task was to create three short recap videos that highlighted the most important highlights from the weekend. This required filming numerous segments on the field followed by running back to the media office to drop off the footage.
Something I must mention: Don’t be fooled by the short length of the videos – we actually filmed for up to twelve hours per day and for some shots needed to be filmed numerous times.
For those who think that my job is going to festivals for free, looking cute, occasionally talking shit on the microphone and partying backstage with all of the artists – oh, oh, oh, how mistaken you are… Presenting actually requires quite some serious stamina!
I’m on my feet for up to twelve hours per day; I’m at the festival before it begins and remain there well after it’s finished. The film-makers are on terrain even longer than I am; I’d like to quickly shout-out to all of the hard-working camera guys (and girls) who work ridiculously long hours to deliver quality footage! Also, a massive shout-out to the guys responsible for editing the footage. Throughout the weekend I checked in with editor Yves Nix, who had his head buried in his PC so that he could get the edits done on time – he was working like an absolute gun!
Anyway, I and my accompanying camera guy(s) walk back and forth between the stages and the media office. Sometimes we don’t get time to eat, we don’t get much time to socialise and we most certainly do not get time to kick back and watch the artists perform. On Saturday at Rebirth Festival, our schedule was so packed that Stan Broeksteeg (my camera guy) didn’t even get the chance to have a proper lunch or dinner. For budding presenters and videographers, this is something completely normal.
Furthermore, I need to keep the momentum high throughout the ENTIRE day. Yes, my back is aching, my feet have blisters, my shoes are broken and I’m tired, but I have to keep up with the same enthusiasm I displayed at the beginning of the day. Otherwise, all the footage from the beginning of the day is awesome, but the interviews conducted in the final hours of the festival are bland as fuck.
To be a good presenter, you must stay consistent throughout the day. Everything from your outfit, hairstyle, make-up, tone of voice and general vibe must ALWAYS display some degree of steadiness. During Rebirth Festival I was currently running back to the media area to top-up my make-up and re-straighten my hair. When I had a spare half an hour, I didn’t go into the crowd to find my friends; I instead sat alone, gathered my thoughts and made sure I still looked awesome.
So, for those who think that my job (or the job of the camera guy) is ‘easy,’ you’d better think again.
As you all know, in 2016 we did some funky video projects for Alive at Night, namely ‘Into The Wild.’ These videos were a fun little experiment that showcased the hilarity of festival culture and also provided me with some extra experience behind the camera.
Working on my own terms and schedule was fun, but to be honest I much prefer working with an organisation to realise their vision. Although getting drunk on camera and asking festival-goers how their drugs are, nothing beats the professional atmosphere you’re absorbed in when working FOR an organisation.
Each organisation has their own vision and it’s important to be flexible to their needs. For example, Rebirth Festival was very open to suggestions, so of course I offered some ideas that would fit their vibe. Together with the film crew, we brainstormed some cool ideas, however I feel as though the best footage and interviews came from being purely spontaneous.
To be a successful presenter, you must possess ‘assets’ that make you stand out from every other girl at the festival (no, I’m not talking about having epic boobs). Don’t misconstrue this though; you can’t get by from only having a pretty face or an abundance of knowledge about the harder styles.
Of course looking and dressing the part is extremely important, however there’s nothing more attractive than watching a presenter who is totally confident in their own skin and enthusiastic about the project and the interviews that are being conducted. I actually did quite a bit of ‘news watching’ leading up to being on camera; I observed how the pro anchors did it and tried to absorb some mannerisms I liked.
When I first began filming, I was a little self-conscious about what the viewers would think, or more importantly, what they’d say online. One important thing I had to keep in mind is that there will be bitching online, but instead of focussing on the negative, I focussed on doing a good job and making the organisation feel proud of the product. Presenting is not a job for people who take things personally; you WILL see negative comments online, you WILL have to shoot the same scene more than once and you WILL see some unflattering shots of yourself from time to time.
In summation, I feel honoured and blessed to be able to pursue a career that I enjoy so much. Like any job, it has its challenges, but for me, the fun and excitement I get from being on camera is pure epicness. Each new project is a challenge with new lessons to be learned. With every single take, I am consciously striving to improve, even on the smallest details (such as mastering the art of actually looking into the camera).
Thanks to this job, I’ve been able to ride a helicopter over the Defqon.1 terrain, dance on stage with Frequencerz in front of a packed out mainstage, dance on stage with Dr Peacock during a silent disco, interview the Defqon.1 legends and ride golf carts through the festival site. I’ve had the opportunity to grow and develop professionally, work alongside some incredibly talented and driven people and of course, share the authentic festival experience with all of you!
Presenting is exciting, dynamic and fast-paced work that provides me with incredible energy and I feel happy that I can share my experiences with you all in this article!