Getting Over Your Fear of Being on Camera

3 Tips to Get Over the Fear of Being on Camera for Entrepreneurial Filmmakers

Understanding Your Fear of Being on Camera

Getting over the fear of being “on camera” is often the hardest part of becoming an entrepreneurial filmmaker who chooses to step into the spotlight and give a performance on video. Most often this fear is a result of the anticipation of being judged poorly, Internet trolls, self doubt and the negative talk going on inside of our own heads.

  • “What if they don’t like my hair?”
  • “My voice sounds terrible!”
  • “What if someone doesn’t like the way I speak or says that my accent is funny?”
  • “What if they leave really bad comments under my videos? I’ll be humiliated!”
  • “What if, what if, what if!!!????”

Well, what if all of that negative stuff doesn’t ever come true? You will have missed out on countless opportunities because you chose to give into your imagination and worry.

I have this fantastic, and very appropriate, quote I refer to often called Man in the Arena by Theodore Roosevelt I want to share with you:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Once you’ve gotten over the fact that

  1. You are your own worse critic.
  2. There is no such thing as the “perfect video.” Get over the need to be perfect!
  3. There will ALWAYS be trolls and haters out there picking apart every performance and criticizing those who dare to take  massive action by putting themselves “out there.” Don’t worry about them, count them. You’re doing something right!

then you can use these three proven tips to get over your fear of being on camera and give the best performance you can:

Breathe In… and Don’t Forget to Breathe Out!

This simple trick is passed along from some of the best film acting teachers in the business. The first and most important tip to getting comfortable in front of the camera is breathing. This is a little harder to do-with nerves, excitement, and perhaps a little pressure to ensure the filming process runs smoothly, it can become hard to remain zen. If you are really tense, try concentrated meditation for five minutes in a quiet place. Refocus your thoughts and feel more grounded. Connecting to your sense of self breeds confidence, relaxation, and the ability to look natural once the film starts rolling.

Ignore or Accept the Camera’s Presence

There are two ways to work a camera-you can either accept it or ignore it. Only you can really determine which strategy will work best. Ignore the camera by doing just that-look just past the top of the lens. Unless specifically requested, you shouldn’t be looking directly into the camera anyways. Additionally, embracing the experience can be just as helpful. You’ve prepared enough and have a dedicated team that is also committed to producing a quality product. They are on your side! Take comfort in knowing this and accept the situation.

Refocus Your Attention

If you’re still a little nervous about being in front of the camera, try refocusing your attention. Don’t make your shoot a challenge. Allow the idea that this process can be enjoyable for you. Chances are, if you’re really stressing about the details it’s more than likely you’re experiencing some bigger issues based in the primal fear of being watched. Focus on what your presence here is really is about-getting the best shot necessary. When you realize that this is not really about ‘you’ as a person but the film piece itself you can relieve yourself of unnecessary pressure. Refocus your thoughts and actions in order to do what needs to be accomplished. 

Need some more inspiration? Check out this speech by Brené Brown titled Why Your Critics Aren’t The Ones Who Count, in which the author and vulnerability researcher shows us how to deal with the critics and our own self-doubt by refusing to “armor up” and shut ourselves off. “Not caring what people think,” she says, “is its own kind of hustle.” Instead we must “reserve a seat” for the critics and our own self-doubt. “Tell them, I see you, I hear you, but I’m going to do this anyway.”


There are potential clients out there that need video content created for them and they need YOU.

What are YOUR tips for getting over the fear of being on camera? What has worked for you? Please tell us by leaving a comment below! 

L. Scott Harrell

L. Scott Harrell is the Executive Editor of Vtrep.com. He is also a serial entrepreneur and top tier business development professional who speaks leadership, startups and digital media masterfully. Scott can be reached via email: editor@vtrep.com