By Propulsion Media Labs Talent #20 Von C.
As a voice guy, if you have been doing this long enough, sometimes it’s hard to fight complacency… script after script, session after session. Then, once in a while you get a script and a chance to interact with the client and you remember what is at stake. Specifically, when you voice and or produce a radio commercial or a track for TV, internet or some other medium that we work on as voice people. I once in a while, actually more often than not, reflect on this as I go about my daily work.
When I started in this business, some three plus decades ago, I was the dreaded client voice over. That’s what hooked me. I got a real charge out of being in front of the Neumann. This was all well and good, except as the client I was shaking in my boots hoping my advertising plan worked as the last dollar in my bank account was flying out the door toward a radio station’s coffers. About a week and a half later…to my surprise radio worked, and I still ate.
I think sometimes, you have to step back and remember what it takes to put out dollars to get yourself enough work to pay the bills. If you never have, imagine the night sweats as the money flies around between agencies and production houses, researchers and time buyers just to get the kind of results you need to stock your refrigerator and pay a few bills. When I step back occasionally and reflect…I find myself loving this line of work more and more everyday…”they” say I’m a lucky one because I love my work as I do and have for over thirty years.
Maybe… “They”… are right.
10. Bring enough expendables.
You need to make sure you have more than enough batteries/battery life and tapes. Nothing is more frustrating (and looks more unprofessional) than running out of tape or battery life and having to end the shoot before you have the footage you need.
9. Know your equipment inside and out.
Being 100% familiar with your gear will make it that much easier to get the shot you are looking for. Also, if something goes wrong with the equipment, it will help you to pinpoint and fix the problem quickly and efficiently.
8. Be aware of utilities on set.
While on set, one of the first things that should be done is to check your surroundings for outlets. Be sure to plug only one light into a circuit of outlets at once – generally this means use only one outlet on a particular wall.
7. Bring gloves.
The lights will get hot, so gloves are going to be necessary when handling them. (Side note: Be sure that the gloves themselves will not melt or burn when touching hot surfaces. You would be surprised what materials do and do not burn.)
6. Use the microphone best suited for the production (and always avoid using the camera’s built-in mic).
Whether you choose to use a lavalier or boom mic, ALWAYS test the sound before actually shooting to check for ambient noise and/or distortion.
5. Be aware of camera settings.
For audio levels, you want to make sure the sound is neither clipping, nor too soft. Also be conscious of the various aspect ratio and frame rate options.
4. White Balance for every new lighting set up.
3. Get release forms before shooting.
Once set up is finished and before filming, you must make sure you have signed release forms from anyone recognizable in the frame.
2. Leave the location clean and undamaged.
After you have finished filming, always leave the location clean and undamaged. It’s a simple courtesy to the owners of the location.
1. Be respectful to everyone on set.
Whether it is toward talent, other crew members, or your boss, being respectful helps create a calmer atmosphere, makes work run smoother, and keeps networks open for future opportunities.
Intern, Propulsion Media Labs
Communication Major, Villanova University