Spotlight on Great British Presenters – Craig Stevens
14th Sep 2020
In the second of a series of blogs featuring the very best presenting talent around, we’re here with Great British Presenters’ Craig Stevens to find out about his life work as a TV presenter.
So Craig – how did you get started in the TV business?
I started out in radio, I was desperate to get into the industry so I called a local station who’s advice was to do Hospital radio. Sounded like a good idea, till I discovered it was full of people in their 70s playing Genesis and Chris DeBurgh back to back. Then there was me 16 years old and far too cheeky and no knowledge on either artist. I lasted about 20 mins on air before they told me it wasn’t for me.
I took my two links (the only two I had!) from the show, called back the local radio station saying I’d done a good year of Hospital Radio and sent them my demo, they (stupidly) gave me an evening show. I found out later they knew I hadn’t been completely honest but liked my initiative.
From there I got the buzz to entertain and made a video showreel standing in the middle of a road stoping cars to do comedy at them (don’t try this at home, well in a road). I sent it to Endemol – who I think were more shocked I was still alive than my presenting and comedy skills and let me audition for a lunch-time game show on Channel Five.
So how did you get from this to being a high profile movies host?
After getting my first TV job hosting the live daytime game show for Channel Five I started enthusing over the film-related questions, this soon turned into me spouting facts, figures and gags about the films in question.
Soon someone from SKY saw the show and asked if I was interested in hosting a regular film show. This was something I’d dreamt off but never believed it could be a reality.
This was my introduction to hosting SKY Cinema…
As the host of some of the worlds most exciting film premieres tell us about the production process for a red carpet night?
Working on a premiere is possibly the most amazing job, combining my love of film and love of presenting. It starts with watching the film and working with the Live events production company on the questions for the stars and filmmakers. These questions are then sent to the film studio and then on to the talent to be checked. From there I get the show script and its all about learning your lines, rehearsals and being as prepared as you can be. Always know the talent you’re interviewing inside out, you never want to get caught out in front of a worldwide audience.
The Live premiere is one of the most pressured jobs as there are so many factors involved. On the last Mission Impossible premiere in Paris, everything was running late and there was no one to interview or VTs to play till the stars arrived so a good 25 mins of talking to fill time began. This is where doing your research really helps.
Plus I’m not man enough telling Tom Cruise to hurry up!.
How has COVID and lockdown affected your area of the media world?
COVID has changed the Events industry more than most I think, Premieres are very small at the moment but fingers crossed we can get back to those big shows again soon as more films get released after the delays.
I have a voice studio set up in my home so radio and voice work could continue but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of interacting and creating content in a studio with others.
This is by far my most asked question, Can I say two?
The Empire Strikes Back, its dark, its character-driven and its a visual spectacle that’s stood the test of time.
If I can have a second its The Godfather Part 2. I guess the argument is they are both sequels, so you can’t have part 2s without part 1s.
Who is your all-time great movie star (Did you meet them and is it true you should never meet your heroes?!)
This is a tough one but probably Harrison Ford, I first met him during what we call the Ford grumpy years (Cowboys And Aliens) and he was hard work, not happy and really not interested to sit down with me for half an hour to chat about his films.
That night I went home had a little cry and rewatched Raiders Of The Lost Ark again just to make sure the world was ok. Fast forward to the release of Star Wars The Force Awakens and I was prepared for a hard interview, turned out he was nice, funny, charming and a great interview. I’m guessing he was being paid a lot more from Disney on Star Wars.
Who is the most fascinating person you’ve interviewed?
Martin Scorsese, he was the one I was most excited to talk to. Mean Streets, Taxi Driver – the man is just a master of film making, he will remain one of the highlights of my career.
Which movie star alive or deceased would you love to have a beer with?
I think Marlon Brando, his work was so intense, he was so intense, I would love to find out more about how he worked and his life from Apocalypse Now’s famous struggles to being in a Michael Jacksons music video.
So that’s movies, what other TV work do you do get involved with?
Voice Overs are a big part of my work, taking someone’s words and bringing them to life is a real pleasure for me, plus its a good six steps from my bedroom to the voice booth so i enjoy the commute.
A good part of any TV presenters comes from the corporate world, what type of jobs do you get involved with?
I get a real joy from presenting corporate videos and live events, taking a script (sometimes on a subject you’re new to) learning it and making the audience feel like you know your stuff.
It’s also great to work with new companies and brands. I’ve had the pleasure of working on corporate shoots from Lloyds Bank to New Look and hosting live events, conferencesand exhibitions.
What’s your favourite kind of production to work on?
I really enjoy the collaborative shoots, where a producer has a vision and you can bring it to the screen or event, that’s always the biggest joy.
You have a voracious appetite for this kind of work, can you put your finger on where that comes from?
The truth is its probably an attention thing, plus there’s a thrill of always wanting to entertain. If you can make someone smile, keep watching or learn something then you feel great.
Live hosting or Presenting?
I’m saying both, they are equally as rewarding, I guess on a live event the director and producer can’t make you do it again. Ha ha!
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