Producing spots at Busch Stadium

Producing spots at Busch Stadium

Formula Solutions for Producing Exemplary Video on a Short Deadline
Producers live and die by the advancing clock, struggling to find the balance between creating the perfect piece and knowing when to call it “complete.” The answers are not always clear, but there are some remedies for the establishing producer.


NetworkingAccording to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobless rates in metropolitan areas thoughout the United States have approached, or in some cases exceeded 10% in May 2009. To those who view their glass as “half empty” the statistics are devastating, leaving the unemployed clamoring for a smaller number of new jobs among hoards of potential applicants. On the other hand, if your glass is “half full” the rate means 90% of the work force has steady employment- which can only mean jobs may still be plentiful as natural churn in business makes positions regularly available. Whichever viewpoint suits you, the truth is jobs are out there, but they are no longer a simple phone call or post-marked resume away.

For those out looking for a job and thinking the age of internet technology will offer greater speed in the search process, wading into the waters of unemployment has become more like stepping off an underwater cliff than taking a stroll in wet sand. Gone are the days when online applicants were considered among tens of other job hunters- now literally thousands of would-be employees are clicking “apply” and finding their online efforts lost in cyberspace. The natural outcry of the oppressed has been to seek other methods of standing above the crowd by getting their face in front of their resume, and rightly so. According to authors like Frank Danzo who penned the book, “People Hire People, Not Resumes,” networking has hands down become the most proven method to find that illusive job. But there’s a catch- the networker has to get the attention of the networkee.

Job hunters start by talking to family and friends- the origin of a good networking campaign. From there, the idea is to spread the love and meet friends of friends, then acquaintances of those third parties and so on, and so on. The rub is that many are finding a major hurdle just beyond taking the first steps with family. Friends with great intentions, high accolades and “can do” attitudes never call back. Third party acquaintances send networking emails to the spam folder. Those pals who once handed you a plaque for your office overachievements ignore your every attempt to buy them coffee.

I can only guess at the reasons for this unwelcome phenomenon. Perhaps the vacating victims of the economic downturn left in their wake an overworked majority. Now standing in the gap where two or three individuals once pulled a full load is the remaining worker, expected to handle not only his/her own responsibilities, but those of the other two counterparts now missing. Another thought might be a “keep your head down” mentality has pervaded the once lighthearted office environment making the remaining widget-makers far more focused, less conversational and more structured in their down time so that non-essential calls or meetings are just that- non-essential.

Whatever the reason, something has gotten lost in our work culture- compassion. Before my own downsizing adventure, I was one of the uncaring masses who rarely gave a passing thought to the voice on the other end of the phone who was charming me with compliments, courtesy and gratefulness for that moment of my time which seemed to me more coercive than constructive. Still I always appreciated the gesture and returned the politeness, but rarely the call. Now my looking glass has changed.

It took a wake-up shout down the halls of my own unemployment to bring compassion back to my conscience. I now see the truth about networking from both sides of the door. Some would say, “what goes around comes around” and “paying it forward pays you back,” but those maxims are merely words unless they are lived out through deeds. Rest assured, my next office role will be one of better understanding for those on the outside looking in and a few minutes of my time might make the difference in someone else’s week.

So remember, the next time you hop in the car and head out into your own fast-paced, mocha latte-infused, jungle of calls and meetings, ask yourself if the networking relationship is something you should nurture or ignore. If your career is stable now, remember, we’re all just one conference away from the unemployment line. So make sure you nurture networking, lest someday you too find yourself ignored.

A European study recently found large disparities between young people transitioning from school to work are doubly affected by the sagging economy and prevailing unemployment rate.

Whether you authentically celebrate Mexican pride and heritage on Cinco de Mayo with sincere tradition or simply for an excuse to have a great get-together with friends and family, this little snack recipe is sure to please.

See more at http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1605163/an_easy_cinco_de_mayo_recipe_for_the.html

Whether you’re a fan of the historic perspective given by Hollywood movie makers or not, HBO’s “John Adams” miniseries is worth a second look- even a year after its release.

See more at http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1588025/john_adams_one_of_the_best_new_historical.html

It has been a year since the release of the HBO series John Adams starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney, yet the taste of raw history has not left me. I sampled the first episode, “Join or Die” with the usual skepticism-given the plethora of  Hollywood attempts at historic story-telling that have been nothing more than modern-day musings in period costume- and I was duly impressed. The noted lack of glamour in the makeup, the imperceptible lighting and seamless CGI work on old Philadelphia and Boston were both refreshing and unexpected.


John and Abigail Adams

Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney (HBO Press Kit)


Clearly, the acting was remarkable as told by the Golden Globes, Emmys and a host of others, but I was most taken by the dramatic way in which the screenplay was adapted for television. Every detail of the production seemed to suggest the meticulous writing that must have brought the  director of photography back in time, to a place of rugged realism where our second president lived with pain, disease and the struggles of a new country on the brink of independence. The viewer is not protected from the blemished faces, tobacco stained teeth and awkward ticks of those whom we may or may not have held to some imaginary higher standard through our grade school years. President or not, John Adams was not always the most well liked or perfectly groomed individual and this production did not miss those faculties. 




We watch a hardened man start an often thankless career in the legal system, stirred by the notions of good and evil, right and wrong, civil obedience and moral fortitude; live a realistic existence on screen as it must have really been. So much unlike the glamified productions of “The Tudors” or “300,” John Adams is far more the real deal. I’m not going to argue here the ambiguous discussions of some who think the historic accuracy faded in the middle episodes because I am not a scholar of Adam’s or Jefferson’s lives.  And although I found strong distaste in the episode “Don’t Tread on Me” where Adams travels to France because of its unnessesary sexual content, my overarching  belief in the project is sound. And so, I will stand up to applaud this particular series as a whole because it has one-upped the entire field where quality production is considered.

For years we had heard it was coming. A strange rumbling which began gathering voice by the late 1980s about a new television standard to come, replacing the aging NTSC 480 line standard that had been with us almost 40 years before I entered the business.  It was good news! There was lively debate about the 720p/1080p/1080i resolutions among the engineers. To many of us in the production side of the industry this meant the dawning of a new age of high quality and unmatched picture clarity. At last our sweat and tears over projects laid-off in Umatic and Beta Oxide videotape were finally going to be replaced with the virtues of something far better. Producers, directors, videographers and editors all together breathed a sigh of unanimous joy with the paletable possibilities. So we trudged on through the 90s adding “dockable Sony 537” to our resumes “non-linear” to our catch phrases as we looked to the nearing horizon for more.

By the early 200os the reality was upon us. HDTV was well on its way and cablecasters & broadcasters alike were scrambling to be the first on the scene with the ability to showcase their hi-def wares and taking their clients projects (as well as their own) to the next level. But wait… insert your “record scratch” efx here…  while production techs and producers were still sorting out the variances between shooting old school 4:3 and the more glamourous wide-eyed 16:9 ratio, a ripple had occured in the corporate marketing to production time-space continuom.

More on this later… stay tuned.