How Do I Prepare for a TV Interview?

Ultimate Streetcar
OPTIMA Batteries
Milwaukee, WI
Tags: Driveoptima

The start of OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car, presented by Advance Auto Parts is getting closer by the day and with it, comes TV coverage at every stop along the way. We often get asked about the TV coverage and what to expect, so we want to make sure our competitors are prepared, should they be called upon for an interview. While many competitors in the series may only show up at a single event or two, the TV show does try to develop story lines with recurring characters. That would make it only seem logical that the top competitors in the series, who also run in multiple events, would stand a better chance of getting more TV time- Will they win the regular season championship? Will someone else beat the defending champion, who are the top OUSCI contenders, etc...

That doesn't mean only the top competitors will get time on TV, but with cars in multiple classes contending for the OUSCI title and competition in three timed segments, the Lingenfelter Design & Engineering Challenge & Lucas Oil Road Rally, there is a lot to cover and never any guarantee of a specific amount of coverage for anyone. However, the grassroots aspect of the series does result in competitors well beyond the podium receiving some coverage. Is there a magic formula for getting the cameras to turn in your direction? Not really, but there are certainly some things that can help you, besides having products on your car from series sponsors or a blue check mark next to your name.

Show enthusiasm. If you are approached by the TV crew for an interview, be excited, be ready to shine! This is a great opportunity for you to plug your sponsors, thank your friends and family for their support. Take advantage of the moment and share your story. Don't worry about being brief or answering quickly. They'll grab the very best sound bites later, so lay it all out there for the production crew to peruse. If you forget something that you think is worth mentioning, don't worry about backtracking and making mention of it. Sometimes it's those comments that turn out to be the ones that get used.

While it's understandable to be nervous or apprehensive about being on TV, know that we're trying to show everyone in the series in the best light possible. Our TV production crew is full of nice folks who want to help you tell your story. Act like it's a pleasure to be on camera and having a conversation with them and it makes their job easier, which makes you look even better! Go into the weeds on what makes your car work, where it excels, where it struggles and how you got it there or hope to get it somewhere even better. Sometimes the sound bites you provide may not make it to air in your voice, but could end up being used by the series commentator. If he knows you just dropped in a brand-new Lingenfelter LS7 and bumped up your horsepower by more than 120 from last season, that may be what makes the clip of your car screaming down the straightaway the one they use.

Don't worry if you or your car don't make it onto a specific episode of the TV show or the TV time you do get isn't as much as you were expecting. Recap episodes each season include un-aired footage from previous events, so there's a chance you could make it into a later episode or into our digital content that ends up in front of hundreds of thousands of eyeballs (and might actually be easier for you to share with friends, family & sponsors). The series is also fortunate to receive regular coverage from several other media outlets. Those that aren't constrained by the limits of a one-hour TV time slot can and often do make a point of including every Chevyevery Ford, every Import, all the Outlaw competitors or every car that was at the event somewhere in their coverage.