I get asked this question a lot. I imagine it helps with the pedigree and trust. 

I’m proud of my clients over the 20 years of teleprompting. It’s always an honor to hear who I’ll be working with next.

Even though I’m closely contributing to their speech and performance on-stage, I may not have direct contact with the speaker. Some presenters, like senior politicians, just run in, deliver their speech and then disappear into a waiting limo. However, their advance team has worked with me closely to ensure everything is right. Both the President and the First Lady have very detailed instructions on how the Presidential teleprompter mirrors are placed. And while I’ve shaken President Obama’s hand and got a photo, I often only get a peek at these political speakers from down a hallway as their agents whisk them backstage on to the stage. Still… knowing that people at this level rely on my skills is a great rush.

On the other hand, I can work much closer with executives—like Sun and Union Bank’s CEOs—to help craft their speeches and work with them on their presentation and delivery. My skills help them better deliver their message to their clients— and that makes me proud to contribute.

One of my favorite experiences was in 2009. I flew to Mexico to work for a week coaching the “Pan American Games 2015” team from Lima, Peru. An amazing speech coach, Dia Bondi, and I worked with a team of 9 presenters including the Mayor of Lima, several government Ministers and Olympic athletes to fine-tune their presentations. Lima was one of three finalists for the right to hold the Games.  Toronto, Canada and Bogota, Columbia also presented. Each finalist team was given a short session on-stage to win over the judging panel of princes and other country representatives. After the tense sessions that followed with representatives and royals promising to support one city or another, Toronto ultimately won.

Trusting us with your scripts is very important to me and our team. I work on all sorts of political campaigns, like those of John McCain, Mitt Romney, both Barack and Michelle Obama, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, other elected officials and countless propositions.  Again, your trust is something I take very seriously. Because of that trust, I’ll often sit in high-level “war rooms” where speechwriters hammer out what their candidate will say against somebody I may very well teleprompt for the next day!!! I’ve worked for both sides of California Governor races with candidates Jerry Brown against Meg Whitman, and earlier candidates Gray Davis against Dan Lungren. I have to be neutral and just give everyone my best.

I’ve also assisted many faith based organizations: ArchBishops, Bishops, Priests, Rabbis, Jews for Jesus, Muslim Advocates, Mormons and  Scientologists—plus some potentially controversial organizations like GLAAD, NARAL, and AIPAC.

Sir Edmund Hillary is still likely my favorite… He’s like royalty in my book:) My next biggest fan boy moment was the honor of going backstage at ILM’s Skywalker Ranch and the Barn with George Lucas and his creative team.  My mom’s favorite celebrity that I’ve assisted is Charlie Rose. And I figured I had finally made it, when I was faced with the very tough choice of referring Al Gore to another team member so that I could work with Robin Williams and Robert Redford on the same day instead:) The most surreal and unique celebrity experience was easily David Hasselhoff, who never broke character as “The Hoff,” even when rehearsing for his US musical tour. He was a great guy regardless of what I expected.

Live shows are a blast: they really put me to the test… Dmitri Martin did several episodes of “Important Things” with me in San Francisco over a two year period. I really enjoyed working with his talented, hilarious scriptwriters. Making edits just seconds before they went live was a real challenge that kept me on alert. That same kind of calm and confidence is what allowed Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s assistant to change his script on one laptop while I was simultaneously teleprompting on another laptop, for the executive immediately preceding Steve . (I don’t ever advocate this move… Always finalize the script 30 minutes before the show so I can format and massage the words.)

Working with musicians is a special feeling since I get to be part of the ensemble… I recently worked with T Bone Burnett and just loved it. Previously , I’ve assisted Rufus Wainwright, Michael Bublé, Liza Minelli, and Taeyang. My team has worked with Sting, Snoop Dogg and Metallica.

Because some people are not comfortable with the potential stigma of being seen as relying on teleprompters, some request not to be listed on my Clients Page but most of the big names I’ve assisted are there, even companies that are no longer in business or have been acquired. This was really common in the Dot.com era. RIP Alza, Sun, SBC, Veritas, Macromedia and most recently URS…

Ultimately, it’s an honor to be trusted with clients’ VIP speakers regardless of celebrity or executive status. Give us a call today. No matter who you are or represent, we’ll make sure you get the same exceptional treatment that our safety and confidence creates.

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About Neil Tanner

Neil began teleprompting in 1993. He saw that speakers were much more comfortable with the right teleprompter, operator, and training. He’s since served thousands of delighted celebrities, politicians, CEOs, and other great speakers. Neil acquired better gear and associates over time to better serve more clients. We get comments from clients saying that they appreciate how engaged our team is, how we're their "secret weapon." We only want you to have the best experience on-camera and on-stage.