Brandon McCann has worked for ESCDaily five years now. We thought it would be great to have a summary of what advice he would give to anyone interested in attending their first year as either a fan, press or even delegation.
Interact with people
I spent the majority of my first year rarely interacting with other people within the event, mostly due to the culture shock of attending such an international event. Networking is a vital benefit of your short time at the host city, regardless of their rank or country of organisation. I also believe it helps provide a morale boost when adjusting to the hectic scheduling and exhaustion that can build up.
Collaboration can improve your skills and there’s no harm in getting to know fellow press or fans and providing a video or written article or blog with their use. It also brings new light when producing your own content and having a second or third opinion can be more engaging to the outside audience.
Great self-confidence booster
When I first arrived in Copenhagen at the age of eighteen, I felt I had low self-esteem in my own work and abilities. I learnt with time to throw myself into the deep-end and get more involved in the front of the camera when it comes to Eurovision. I shook with nerves when I asked my first question at the press conference or when speaking in my first video, news or radio broadcasts. You should always challenge yourself to broaden your skills and roles that you can achieve. It’s not easy but I have since released my own video content and web-series talk show thanks to the opportunity that Eurovision press has provided.
I’m extremely thankful also to my team for helping to push me forward as a journalist and video content creator as I required a lot of help in order to produce content during the initial couple of years. With their acceptance and guidance I have evolved as a writer and producer and have since found work with the BBC and Game of Thrones to name a few. My Eurovision team members were a vital aspect of my own personal evolution.
Bring positive energy
The majority of fellow journalists I have met have been kind, humble and friendly people however, there have been a few who have brought quite a negative energy to the Eurovision atmosphere. Whether it would be incredibly-critical of the hosting or organisation in previous year’s winning country or even just negative of the year’s entries or staging. Whatever it may be, it’s not acceptable to bring an emotional downer to the room.
If you have personal issues then please feel free to contact someone you rely on to help you after all. Don’t be afraid to take a break if the workload and pressure are getting too much. We are only human after all, and we all have our limitations to what we can achieve depending on your own experience in your skills and quantity of times you have attended the event and/or press centre.
Be supportive of different cultures and tastes
There is no likelihood you can ‘get along’ with every single fan, press member or even delegation but one thing you should try to be as supportive of everyone regardless of their race, sexual-orientation or opinions in general. Music is a form of art, we all have different tastes and meanings to what they represent to us. I may not like a specific entry in Eurovision but I don’t bother our readers with my personal taste. I will write respectfully and in a non-bias manner when I come to Eurovision. It takes a lot of courage to represent your country and sing your entry to a global audience of 200 million people. I will always commend that.
Be respectful to the artists
You may find the opportunity to meet or interact with the artists’ or delegations’ attending the Eurovision year. Artists have some of the most hectic schedules possible with constant rehearsals, press conferences, interviews, publicity work. It’s not easy to represent your country. Artists may sometimes need a break themselves but are obligated to attend interviews. Be fortunate for the opportunity and make sure enough research is done to not repeat questions previously asked. It’s not possible to keep track of all questions asked but make sure questions are asked to aid your work, not for the sake of asking.
As mentioned in my previous article; controversial questions sometimes are worthy to be asked, if they relate to the fundamentals of the Eurovision Song Contest. There’s no point asking the artist what they think of the political situation in Syria unless it relates to their song (which shouldn’t be the case in my opinion) or regarding potential corruption in their country’s jury (that question should be asked to their Head of Delegation).
Being critical is part of being a journalist. There is a time and place for every question. As long as you have a narrative that is respectful to the viewers and staff of the Eurovision Song Contest, then go for it!
Ultimately have fun in whichever area(s) you may be and enjoy the experience! It goes by very quickly so take full advantage of the different culture and cuisines available to you while you can. The memories I have gathered are some of the most heart-warming I’ll ever get. Stay true to who you are and if you’re considering heading to the press centre for the first time next year, I commend you to do it, from all of us at ESCDaily – you are welcome to sit beside us at any Eurovision event.