11 January 2014

How to be a TV presenter

Everything you need to know about becoming a TV presenter

How to be a TV presenter

Have you got better on-screen presence than Ant and Dec combined? Do you fancy switching on the TV and watching yourself? We met up with TV Presenter AJ Odudu, fresh from a crazy 2013 presenting Big Brother’s Bit On The Side, and asked her how she got into TV presenting...

Hello AJ! What’s your job?

I'm a TV Presenter.

What does that entail?

Being a presenter isn’t just about turning up and reading your lines. I’ll do research ahead of every interview I do, write interview questions and make sure any script I'm using if I'm presenting a live show sounds exactly like me.

Tell us about a typical day at work.

I get up early and go to the gym. At home I’ll update my website, Twitter and Instagram and then head into the studio if I'm presenting a show. Here I’ll have a script read-through with producers, followed by a block-through where I learn where the cameras are going to be during the show. We’ll make changes to the script if something’s not quite right. Then it’s into hair, make-up and deciding what I’m going to wear. Filming goes really quickly as I’m concentrating the whole time to do the best I can.

What's the best thing about your job?

Meeting lots of fun, creative, likeminded people off camera, and when I'm on camera I get this indescribable 'buzz', which I love.

What’s the worst thing about your job?

When people say horrible things if they’re not a fan… I don’t storm into other people’s jobs and tell them I don’t like what they’re doing!

What did you do at school/ university?

I did A Levels in English Literature & Language, Theatre Studies and Religious Studies, before going to Keele University to study for a degree in English and Politics.

Did you do any work experience?

At 17 I did work experience at BBC Radio Lancashire. I also wrote for my student newspaper (voluntarily), that’s a great way of getting media experience and starting to get a feel for different aspects of the industry.

Then what?

I did a BBC Blast traineeship, which was advertised on the BBC jobs website and I got to work at the BBC for a whole summer in a department called BBC Switch (which sadly doesn't exist any more...booooo!) I did anything and everything - I even painted the studio walls! Very quickly it became clear that I loved to chat and I was given the chance to become a roving reporter. That summer I put together a show reel, which is a short film of clips showing what I can do as a presenter and that got me a screen-test for The 5.19 show. I got the job and I've never looked back!

What advice would you give to anyone who was interested in doing what you do?

Get a solid, flexible part time job as well. You’re going to need it.

The biggest misconception about your job is ……

That I turn up to work as the show begins, read a script off autocue, go home and get paid a shed load of cash. I wish!

If you weren’t doing this you’d love to be a ……

Fitness instructor… or the person who writes jokes on the back of Penguin wrappers…!

What goes black, white, black, white, black, white? A penguin rolling down a hill… Yeah, maybe we’ll leave the jokes to the professionals…

Thank you AJ!

If you’re interested in doing a job like AJ’s, she recommends having a look at careers websites for BBC, Channel 4, ITV.

Here at Whatever after we recommend checking out AJ’s twitter @AJOdudu, Instagram @aj_odudu and her website to see how she represents herself online. You could also get in contact with your local radio station to see if they have any work experience or volunteering opportunities. Hospital radio is also a great place to start!


AJ was interviewed by Isla Gray.

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