Top Billing's Patience Stevens on what aspiring presenters need to know

As the final audition leg kicks off in Joburg this weekend, the prolific producer shares some key info 

By  | Jun 22, 2020, 01:44 PM  | Patience Stevens  | Top of The

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Top Billing's Patience Stevens on what aspiring presenters need to know

With over 25 years in the business, producer Patience Stevens has not only amassed an immeasurable wealth of knowledge, she has also honed her instincts with regards to what works and what doesn't. 

Having worked on Top Billing since its inception 25 years ago – Stevens is one of the most respected television producers in the country.

Along with Tswelopele Productions Chairperson, Basetsana Kumalo, Stevens is co-producer of the Top Billing and Pasella lifestyle magazine shows in addition to being co-executive producer of SABC 3's Expresso Morning Show and Afternoon Express. As such, identifying and growing new talent is Patience’s passion, and her experience in lifestyle television makes her a valuable player when it comes to the Presenter Search on 3 judging process. 

“I am looking forward to this exciting opportunity to discover and nurture fresh new talent. As SABC3 says – ‘the stage is yours’ – and this is our chance to point the spotlight onto new faces, and to give them a chance to excel," said Stevens in a statement. 

We had a chat with her about what she will be looking for during the Presenter Search on 3 audition process which comes to a close this weekend with the three-day Johannesburg audition.

patience stevens

1. Overall, what quality have you come to appreciate from having worked with Top Billing presenters for so long? 

There are several qualities – natural talent – a charming and affable personality, the desire to get the best content from every shoot, the ability to capture the  moment and to share the experience with the viewer at home, the willingness to work as hard as the crew behind the scenes and to be a part of the team – and a sense of humour to make the most of each situation.

2. Everyone wants to be on TV but very few do the research required on what it takes, what is the one fundamental lesson you think aspiring presenters should know?  

To do the research.  It takes hard work and dedication – long hours and sustained energy and concentration. To make it look effortless takes a huge amount of effort, but it also requires a quick wit and imagination,  to make the magic happen on camera.  A presenter needs to be well informed – eloquent – and able to express themselves. It means being alert – reading a lot – being informed about what is going on around you, and taking a genuine interest in the people you are meeting and interviewing on camera.

3. Former #PresenterSearchOn3 contestant, Greg Kriek, ended up working behind the scenes which later segued into on-screen work, how often do you see that happen? (Where someone wants to be on TV so badly but their strengths lie elsewhere) 

Often people apply for the content creation positions – when they actually wish to be on camera, not behind the camera. This can lead to frustration – but – if you have the presenting gift – your talent should not go unnoticed. There are too many opportunities now on social media, to make being on camera, happen for yourself.  We can see with the auditions who has this background, as it gives confidence and experience.

 4. What, in your opinion, is the biggest mistake audition hopefuls make? 

Not being able to improvise and have fun, because they are too shy, nervous and locked into what they have prepared, and cannot move out of that structure, creatively.

5. Has an aspiring presenter ever approached you in your personal capacity when they see you out and about?

Yes they do come and chat to me – and I receive a lot of emails – and it’s always interesting to meet the people who watch the shows, and wish to be on them, and to hear why they wish to present.

The final #PresenterSearchOn3 auditions will be taking place this coming weekend at the Wanderers Cricket Stadium on Friday 20 April, Saturday 21 April and Sunday 22 April 2018 from 8am to 5pm. 

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