‘Teleprompter Fail’ and What You Can Do About it!

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Let’s Make Sure We Don’t Create a Viral ‘Teleprompter Fail’ Moment

Ok, there was a  teleprompter fail. What happened?

Maybe someone tripped on a cable, or the computer had a meltdown as the show went live and 10 million people turned on their TVs to watch the failure.

Whatever the cause, a blank screen will terrify your prepared talent.  None of us wanted to see  Jimmy Fallon sweating and fumbling around during his Golden Globes opening monolog.

Sure, everything works perfectly during rehearsals, but once it’s showtime – you might be setting yourself up to have an issue. Follow my lifesaver tips, and you won’t have disaster strike on show night!

 Tape Down Cables 

Tape those suckers down. Gaff any and everything that could be a potential trigger point. Heck, gaff the power cord into the monitor. We don’t want anyone tripping or pulling out a cable during the live show.

Only use the computer to teleprompt

Don’t have ten browser windows, five applications, messaging, and editing software open on the computer when you’re prompting a high-profile show. Keep those computer memory banks open! At Prompster, we restart our computers before a big show.

Check your video and power connectors

I don’t know why you’re still running composite cable, but if you are – check your connectors. Make sure that a slight jiggle doesn’t cause signal loss. I’d recommend switching over to SDI – you’ll find that these connectors are more robust and eliminate the risk of signal loss.

Have a backup! 

Have a backup ready to go in case your computer feels like having an emotional meltdown on live television. And make sure your backup is on a switch so that you can immediately flip to it.

If you can have the backup computer cued to the same exact spot as your main computer – awesome, but we know that’s not always possible – depending on the software you’re using and if you have a backup operator or you’re flying solo. Try to find your place quickly – use those zippy, fast fingers.

Bring a small confidence monitor

Have a confidence monitor on hand if the prompter goes down. If you can send a video signal from the computer to the monitor, then the issue could be a loose cable or a broken monitor.


Make sure you let someone know if there’s an issue – explain what troubleshooting you’ve done, and what you suspect the issue might be. Work fast! Your talent is depending on you!


Here is a little insight into the world of the Teleprompter Operator. Check back for more inside tips, tools and all around Prompstering content.

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