Ready4Air (TV) | Is TV Drama ‘Empire’ A Game Changer For Black Films In Hollywood?

lj_fox_empire_dec14

April 14, 2015 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV | By

lj_fox_empire_dec14

In March, film critic Mike Sargent moderated a panel discussion on film distribution for the Socially Relevant Film Festival, which included panelist Beth Portello VP, Marketing & Business Development at Cinema Libre Studio. Sargent and Portello agreed that it is becoming easier to get studios to consider foreign distribution for black films. Portello specifically emphasized, “Empire is changing all that.”

Sargent–also the host of Arise On Screen, the movie review show I executive produce–breaks down the success of the show and its effect on black films in Hollywood.

Mike, how is Fox’s new drama Empire changing the game in Hollywood for film?

It’s been long said that black films don’t travel overseas, that they are a hard sell, that the international market is not interested in films with a primarily black cast. And as famously quoted in leaked Sony emails about Denzel Washington: “No, I am not saying The Equalizer should not have been made or that African-American actors should not have been used (I personally think Denzel is the best actor of his generation),” the producer stated in the email. “I believe that the international motion-picture audience is racist—in general, pictures with an African-American lead don’t play well overseas.”

So how can a hit television show change global perception and the ability to sell black stories overseas?

The answer is simple: Black culture fascinates worldwide. There isn’t a country you can visit that doesn’t have its own hip hop music. If you listen to it, it sounds like African-American hip hop, just in another language. Gospel music is huge in Japan and many other countries. Black style, fashion, and lingo have often traveled to other countries and helped define American culture to the world. And historically, jazz is an art form that for many years was more respected by countries like France. They treated the creators of jazz better than America, where the artist came from.

The Empire phenomenon has changed the game in a number of ways. It has shown the industry that the viewing habits of the television audience has changed. Empire logs an estimated 10-16 million viewers upon first airing but has an equal amount of viewers who watch it on demand, on DVR, or on FOX NOW, the network’s streaming service. It is a show that has grown with each passing week to become the unprecedented success that it is today. This has not happened for a black TV show since The Cosby Show in the 1980s, and that was the first African American-themed TV show to really go global. As a result, Empire will only increase the interest and appetite for black-themed stories.

As Empire penetrates foreign markets and foreign audiences become more accustomed to having a taste for black drama and black stories in general, the demand will increase. Even in a country that has as much racism going on as America, the latest slate of TV pilots has the largest amount of casts with people of color in the history of television.

Related Post: Ready4Air (The Week Ahead) |”Empire” Stars Head To The BVI | Meet SAG-AFTRA Coordinator Meachun Clark | Is TV’s “Empire” A Game Changer?

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Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson plays Cookie Lyon in Fox’s Empire

 

Why is Empire different from any other show?

The music from the show has itself become a phenomenon on the music charts. As with any film or television show, if the music becomes popular, then its audience and interest in the show increase exponentially. Black music is clearly universal, accepted, and consumed globally. Also, the ways in which people have access to this TV show didn’t even exist five years ago with on demand and streaming services and mobile devices.

Let’s face it: TV was forever transformed with the invention of the nighttime soap. Continuing storylines and cliffhanger endings are what made those mega-hits of the 80s, including Dallas, Dynasty, and Falcon Crest. Gone are the days of the stand-alone episode. There is always a continuing storyline to keep you hooked and enough melodrama to keep you talking (blogging, tweeting, posting) about it with others during the week.

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Some people have criticized Empire as being a stereotypical “ghetto fabulous” program. What’s your take on this criticism?

I understand the criticisms, and Dr. Boyce Watkins makes some valid points in his assessment of Empire and all it encompasses. But people would rather watch bad guys than good guys. The pleasure of watching a bad guy is that bad guys get to do the things we normal people cannot do. It’s much more fun to watch a criminal than it is to watch a hero. Not only do characters with flaws make us feel better about ourselves, but they also open the door to our own fantasies of what we’d like to do but would never dare. When The Sopranos came on, Italian Americans objected, and rightfully so. When the reality show Jersey Shore came on, they also objected. Both went on to be huge successes. Entertainment and TV often have hits that will offend. Some of those who are depicted in them are not pillars of the community, but they’re fascinating and fun to watch. It is why gangster films and crime dramas will always be a popular genre and why Darth Vader will always be more popular than Luke Skywalker.

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Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal Lyon on Fox TV’s Empire, is interviewed at the 2015 Summer Sizzle BVI launch party.
Photo credit: Debbie Mitchell/Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

 

Will we be seeing Empire knockoffs?

We already are seeing Empire knockoffs. Not so much the concept but the idea of stacking your shows with black cast members because now it is obvious that African-American audiences are a large part of the success of Empire. According to Nielsen, 33 percent of black homes tuned into Empire every week. Networks will have to cater to an audience that will help make them a success.

Will this open the door for more African-American storytelling?

There’s no way you couldn’t open the door for African-American stories because Hollywood always follows the money and television always follows its own trends. Whenever a type of show becomes popular, by the following season–and sometimes by midseason–there are half a dozen knockoffs of that concept. So far, the closest show is the untitled Empire-inspired gospel drama produced by Columbus Short for Bounce TV. Having so many African-American faces on TV in major roles represents the diversity of the country and, more importantly, the viewership out there to consume it. Those who want to watch Duck Dynasty will continue to watch Duck Dynasty, but those who are looking for fare that resembles their day-to-day lives will find that.

Does Empire have a long television shelf life?

That remains to be seen. Like any show, it’s only as good as the writing and acting. With the cast they have, the acting will always be good. Can the producers and writers keep the storyline interesting without retreading or jumping the shark? That often depends on what the initial vision for the show is. Sometimes a show changes as it goes along–it tweaks and re-tweaks and new ideas come about. Some things work while others do not. Reports are that for the next season, Empire is going to go back to the roots of some of these characters. Some of the glitz and glam may be gone, and that could be a good thing or a bad thing. Many shows have a history of taking a radical departure, but the audience will hang in there to see where it’s going or to see if it will go back to its former glory. Empire is a solid concept and a lot can be mined out of it. Hopefully, the producers are up to the task.

Related Post: Ready4Air (TV) | Marathon Television Viewing: Do You Binge-Watch TV?

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Thanks, Mike! Also, check out Mike’s weekly movie reviews on the Arise On Screen YouTube Channel.

Coming up: Ready4Air (TV) Meachun Clark explains the responsibilities of a SAG-AFTRA coordinator

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air (TV) | One-Man Band TV Reporting: Wearing Several Production Hats On A Shoot

Lyndsay Christian, FiOS1 News
Photo Credit: Lyndsay Christian

February 10, 2015 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV | By

Lyndsay Christian, FiOS1 NewsPhoto Credit: Lyndsay Christian

Lyndsay Christian, FiOS1 News
Photo Credit: Lyndsay Christian

Welcome to a media world of multifaceted journalism! These days, news organizations expect reporters to wear five hats on a daily basis. Some even require it. It’s called “multimedia journalism” or “one-man band reporting.” As a one-man band television news reporter, I am a photographer, chauffeur, editor, creative producer, and yes, a reporter. I’ll be very transparent and will keep it real. The role of MMJ in television news is uber-intense, but at the same time, it’s an incredibly explosive learning experience.

Here’s what I’ve learned in my short month of experience and a few tips I’ve picked up along the way:

Safety First

I drive to my assignments. The desk calls me with the destination and I pull over, enter it into the GPS, and head that way. I spend many hours in my car, so I’m always mindful of traffic, my environment, and the roads. Always remember that safety is a priority! Period.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

As the role is very demanding, you must remember to work efficiently at all times. Pace yourself and map out or write down your vision for the story to specify the elements you’ll need. Keep interviews short. Only ask the questions for which you’ll solicit a response that you can use as a SOT (sound on tape or soundbite) Why? Remember, you have to watch and log the tape after you’ve captured the interview. It’s a timesaver. Shoot b-roll you know for sure you’ll incorporate in your story. Write to that video.

Related Post: Ready4Air (TV) | The Reporter-Publicist Partnership: Getting That Story To Air

Keep Snacks On Standby

Because I love to eat (who doesn’t?), I’ve learned that snacks in the car are a must. There have been many instances in which I haven’t had time to stop and grab a bite to eat. As the job is physically demanding, too (carrying tripod, camera, etc), fuel is much-needed.

Be Creative

Though limited in manpower and bandwidth, what I appreciate and enjoy about the role is that I have 100% creative freedom with the video I shoot and the style in which I edit the story. When capturing b-roll, think high and low. Capture objects at all angles. Stand on a chair for a bird’s-eye view if you have to. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve propped my camera on the trunk of my car to capture a subject from a different angle.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

I’ll admit: It’s lonely out there when you’re working on a story solo. It’s okay to ask your interviewees or the publicist standing over your shoulder for a helping hand, whether it’s carrying a tripod or even holding the microphone during an interview. I’ve learned that people WILL help you! Many have offered–especially if they see a struggle–and I gladly accept their assistance. I recently covered a story at a high school and wanted to tape a creative stand-up in my car. A teacher helped me and held the camera while I pressed the “record” button. I was grateful because I wanted to capture something cool and memorable. Again, speak up for help if you need it.

If you’re considering a job as a one-man band reporter, consider these tips and be willing to put in a lot of sweat, grit, and HEART! You can do it!

Related Post: Ready4Air (TV) | Putting Your Best Face Forward: Maximizing Talent Appearances

Lyndsay

TV personality Lyndsay Christian
Photo credit: Brandon Cooper

Lyndsay Christian is a television personality for FiOS1 News and media consultant in the New York City area. Follow her @LynzChristian.

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Coming up: “Music Makes My Life” with DJ Fulano

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air (Social) | 4 Favorite Apps For 2015: Meeting Your Mobile Needs

computer tablet smartphone

February 4, 2015 | Posted in Lifestyle Lineup (Food,Fashion,Travel,Books), Pros Talk TV And Social Media | By

computer tablet smartphone

By Jessica D. Bell

As an associate web producer, I’m always on the search for new apps. When looking for apps, I ask myself the following: How will this app make my life easier, more adventurous, and memorable? The apps I chose below unlock the answers to all of my mobile needs.

Jessica’s Favorite Apps For 2015

1. Converter Plus: Everything from splitting the tip at a group dinner to converting measurements for a recipe just got a lot easier. It has a customer rating of 4.5 stars, and according to reviews, “it’s the most powerful converter out there.” You can even calculate your mortgage with this app!

Cost: Free

Who Should Download: If you attend a lot of group dinners, alter recipes to increase the serving size, or if you’re in charge of your mortgage, you should definitely download this app.

Get it here.

2. OpenTable: If you’re a foodie like me and love to try new places, this is the perfect app for you! Whether you want to impress a date in your hometown or a business client in their hometown, OpenTable will help you reserve the perfect venue within your budget.

Cost: Free

Who Should Download: Certified foodies, frequent first daters, and anyone who may want to impress a client.

Get it here.

Related Post: Ready4Air | 5 Tips To Get Active On Twitter And Reach Your Brand’s Audience

3. Pic Stitch: This app allows you to share multiple photos with your friends or followers at one time instead of spamming their feeds with multiple posts.

Cost: Free

Who Should Download: Everyone! This app allows you to digitally scrapbook your favorite moments in a collage to share on your social media platforms.

Get it here.

4. Timehop: Ever wish you could turn back the hands of time? Timehop allows you to check out things you’ve posted to various social media platforms exactly one to two years from the day you initially shared it.

Cost: Free

Who Should Download: If you’ve been on Facebook or Instagram for the last three years and want to literally go back in time to something you posted on that day in your personal history, this app is loads of fun!

Get it here.

I hope you find these apps as useful as I do. If you have any apps you would like to recommend, please tweet me @IamJessD or share them in the comments section below for all to see.

Join the conversation: How do you determine which apps are worthy of your download? Is price or functionality the determining factor? We would love to hear from you!

Jessica D. Bell, Associate Web Producer

Associate web producer Jessica D. Bell

Read more about Jessica on her LinkedIn profile. Click here.

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Thanks, Jessica!

Coming up: #TBT Marian Rivman travels to the Philippines 

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.  

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#TBT Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | The Power Of A Handshake

Photo Courtesy of Sophie Feels Better

January 22, 2015 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media | By

 

By Marian Rivman

How someone shakes my hand tells me a lot about that person. Are they friendly or standoffish, dependent or independent, focused or scattered?

In my more than three decades as a public relations and communications consultant, I have shaken more than my fair share of hands. Thanks to my eclectic client roster, the hands I was shaking belonged to an amazingly diverse cross-section of people including diplomats, corporate executives, community leaders, and celebrities.

The momentary act of shaking someone’s hand is an incomparable communications tool. A handshake is much more than Wikipedia’s definition: “A short ritual in which two people grasp one of each other’s like hands, in most cases accompanied by a brief up and down movement of the grasped hands.” Despite its brevity, a handshake is an extremely effective way to have a memorable one-on-one connection with another person.

When did this widely accepted and expected cultural convention start? There is no definitive answer since the beginning of the handshake predates written history. However, historians agree that whenever and wherever it started, handshakes were a “man thing.” If two men met and displayed empty right hands, they could assume one would not be attacked by the other.

Since I consider myself something of a handshake aficionado, I take full advantage of the opportunity the gesture offers. It’s an incredible source of personal data. In that moment when two people’s hands are touching and they are directing their focus and energy on each other, a dozen blogs and 1,000 tweets’ worth of information are being transmitted.

People’s handshakes can be divided into three categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here is a breakdown of what each one says about you.

The Good (This handshake labels you a “player” in the business game)

A good handshaker is focused. Full attention is paid to the person whose hand is to be shaken. Eye contact is made. The right hand is extended perpendicular to the ground, fingers are open–especially the thumb and pointer. In the days of the dagger, the open hand signified that you were approaching in peace and did not have a weapon up your sleeve. Today, it means the same thing, only figuratively. A person who shakes with an open hand is someone who can be trusted. How many shakes? Two and then stop. While it’s acceptable to hold someone’s hand after completing the shakes, a good handshaker knows when to let go. Pay attention to people with good handshakes. These are the “players” you want to do business with.

The Bad (This handshake could get you sidelined in the business game)

There are a variety of bad handshakers. There’s the knuckle-crusher who squeezes your hand so hard it hurts. That unnecessary display of strength lets me know that that’s someone who needs to be in charge and could be overbearing. The pumper shakes your hand enough times to make you think they are hoping to hit water. That kind of over-enthusiasm can be exhausting. Then there’s the dead fish shaker who basically deposits his/her hand in yours and lets you do all the shaking. You have to wonder if that person will carry their weight if you work together. Last, but not least, there are those people who proffer dirty or sweaty hands for you to shake. There’s no excuse for that. Carry a hand sanitizer so you’re always handshake ready. If you have a sweaty palm problem, carry a handkerchief. Bad handshakers can often end up sidelined.

The Ugly (This handshake will get you benched in the business game)

The most egregious and, unfortunately, all-too-common handshaking mistake people make is to unconsciously shake someone’s hand without any eye contact or modicum of attention. They are too busy looking around for someone more important or interesting to meet. It’s rude and unpleasant. These are people I avoid; they’re indefinitely benched.

Do you have a good handshake? It’s a skill well worth developing. It’s an effective way to make a good impression and to let the world know you’re a “player.” There’s a reason politicians spend hundreds of hours shaking thousands of hands.

 

Marian Rivman is a New York-based public relations and communications consultant. Her clients have included UN agencies, Fortune 500 companies, international non-profits, bold-faced names and the recreational scuba diving industry. She is known for her unbounded energy, directness, and skill at translating complex issues into comprehensible messages for an array of audiences. Marian is particularly interested in the power of non-verbal communication. In addition to her independent consulting work, Marian is affiliated with New Solutions .

 

 

 

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air (TV) | With The Clock Ticking, Producers Prep On Show Day

(l) Arise On Screen guest co-host Julian Roman, host Mike Sargent and researcher Michelle Lynne Madar
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

May 1, 2014 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

 

Arise On Screen Control Room  Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell and Michelle Lynne Madar Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Arise On Screen control room
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell and Michelle Lynne Madar
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

One of the most amazing aspects of television is the role of time. Seconds, minutes, and hours tend to fly by during the day and when it’s a show day, forget it—there is never enough time to get everything done. But somehow we do it. One way to get it done is for the production team to be organized on show day. Every person has a role, and if he or she prepares properly, then everything should go smoothly when it comes to airtime.

Related Post: Ready4Air (TV) | 7 Tips On The Art Of Conducting A Live Or Taped TV Interview

My show preparation for the Arise On Screen taping on Saturday starts days ahead and wraps up on the Friday before with an email to the staff outlining the production schedule for tape day. Here is a brief breakdown of our Saturday morning:

Arise On Screen

 Editor, tape producer, and producing staff in at 8:00 a.m.

(l) Arise On Screen guest co-host Julian Roman, host Mike Sargent and researcher Michelle Lynne Madar Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

(l) Arise On Screen guest co-host Julian Roman, host Mike Sargent, and researcher Michelle Lynne Madar
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Guest cohosts arrive at 8:30 a.m.-8:45 a.m. Show meeting in the conference room at 9:00 a.m. to go over show rundown.

Teen film critic Jackson Murphy prepping for Arise On Screen Photo Credit: Michelle Lynne Madar

Teen film critic Jackson Murphy prepping for Arise On Screen
Photo Credit: Michelle Lynne Madar

Guest cohosts use extra time to prep for their appearance

Host, Arise On Screen Mike Sargent Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Arise On Screen host Mike Sargent
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Makeup person and stylist arrive at 10:00 a.m. Mike dressed and in makeup at 10:05 a.m.

Guest film critic Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi in the make-up chair at Arise On Screen Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Guest film critic Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi in the make-up chair at Arise On Screen
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Guest cohost #1 goes to makeup at 10:20 a.m. and guest cohost #2 in makeup at 10:30 a.m. for touch up.

Related post: Ready4Air (TV) | Reading Teleprompter Is Tricky Michael Bay : Use These Tips For Next Time

Arise On Screen Host Mike Sargent checking prompter before show Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Arise On Screen host Mike Sargent checking prompter before show
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Host has teleprompter run-through at 10:20 a.m. and records show open at 10:45 a.m.

Arise On Screen Host & Film Critic Mike Sargent, Valli Dawn Hart and Stephanie Green Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Arise On Screen host and film critic Mike Sargent, Valli Dawn Hart, and Stephanie Green
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Show start time between 11:00 a.m.-11:15 a.m.

Once we finish taping the show, there is still more to be done. Post-production is where the real magic happens before we feed the show out for airing.

Stay tuned for more on posting the show.

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Coming Up: We go behind the scenes of Mob Wives.

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  Deborah is Executive Producer of Arise On Screen a global and socially interactive movie review show. If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

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Ready4Air (TV) | 7 Tips On The Art Of Conducting A Live Or Taped TV Interview

Framed Lyndsay Christian

April 17, 2014 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

 

Lyndsay Christian, Media Professional

Lyndsay Christian, Media Professional

When time is of the essence and the goal is to get the best and most important  information from your guest, the interviewing approach has to be carefully crafted from beginning to end. Veteran journalist Lyndsay Christian knows a thing or two about conducting successful interviews. In this  morning’s guest post  she shares a few tips on how to  conduct a live or taped interview.

By Lyndsay Christian

The lights are set.  The camera is perched atop the tripod.  You’re powdered, prepped and ready.  The red light appears.  3, 2…

It’s the first few moments of an interview that will set the tone for the entire conversation. The first words uttered will determine the outcome of your interview and it progression.  Here are some tips to staying on track and focused, that I learned from veteran journalists:

1) In a taped interview, start talking before the red light comes on. “What??” you say.  That’s right, ease into the conversation with small chat to warm up your guest without a forced “3, 2…” countdown.  I’ve discovered this secret method will help to ease the tension of your guest.  If “live,” ease into the interview, too.  Be mindful with your chosen words as you can’t stop/start after the red light appears.

2). In a taped interview, give your photographer a cue (with an eye wink or established look) as a signal to start rolling, without your guest’s knowledge.  Now, of course, the conversation must be “on the record” and controlled as the red light appears.

3) In both taped and live scenarios, ask questions that elicit responses beyond “yes” or “no.”  Probe. Why? How? What did it feel like? What did it look like?  Think color, sound, texture.  Make the interview come alive through thoughtful interrogation.

Rene Syler with Arthur Kade Photo Credit Debbie Mitchell

Rene Syler with Arthur Kade
Photo Credit Debbie Mitchell

Related post: What Does It Take To Get Booked As An Expert On TV?

4) Maintain solid eye contact. Keep your eyes peeled to your guest.  If your eyes wander, your guest will feel uncomfortable and will start to shift and fidget.  Stillness equals calmness.

5) Smile throughout the interview to ease nervousness.

6) Wrap with a purpose.  Remember, you’ll want your audience to receive a takeaway as a result of the interview.  It can be useful tips or new information that is memorable.

Related post: Ready4Air (TV)| Top (5) Tips for Public Relation Pros Pitching Sweeps Stories

7) Thank your guest for the interview.

Always remember, practice makes perfect!

To learn more about Lyndsay, read here About.Me  and you can follow Lyndsay on twitter.

Thanks Lyndsay!

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Coming up: How did you get started in Television series

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  Deborah is Executive Producer of Arise On Screen a global and socially interactive movie review show. If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

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Ready4Air (Gimme The Mic) |The Daily Auditioner: Home Recording Your Voiceovers

Bob Hennessy Editing

March 25, 2014 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV | By

Bob Hennessy, VoiceOver Artist

Voiceover artist Bob Hennessy

By Bob Hennessy

Hi, again. This will be my second installment of my post to the blog, and this time I’d like to concentrate on home recording your voiceovers. Recording at home is convenient and you can set up a very good home recording studio for under $1,000. I won’t be listing any specific recommendations, but anyone wanting more info can email me at rhennessy@nyc.rr.com.

Voiceover Artist Bob Hennessy

Voiceover artist Bob Hennessy

Good Microphone

I strongly suggest you obtain a good-quality microphone. Of all the equipment, the microphone is the most important part because it is responsible for making your sound quality crystal clear. You can cheat on anything else, just not the mic. Now, there is no need to jump out there and purchase a $10,000 Neumann, but there are lots of really good mics out there for around $200. If you are looking for a local place, some stores will allow you to try out two or three so you can hear the difference.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Gimme The Mic) Voiceover Work And The Daily Auditioner

Voiceover Artist, Bob Hennessy Editing

Voiceover artist Bob Hennessy editing.

Editing Tools

Next in the home recording toolbox is an analog to digital converter. This will transport your recording onto your computer. A good pair of headphones is a must and you’ll need an audio editing program. For voiceover projects and auditions, there is a FREE program called Audacity that is perfect for voiceover work.  It is easy to use and has a really supportive help forum.

Now that you have all the tools to make your home recordings, the next question is, where do I record my voiceovers?

Location, Location, Location.

Short of building or buying a sound booth, there are a number of options, depending on where you live. If you’re out in the suburbs or the country, chances are you have a room away from commotion. I live in a New York City apartment, not far from a main drag that contains buses, trucks, firetrucks, and every now and then, an ambulance.

Blocking out unwanted outside noise can be a huge obstacle, but it can be done. We have a few walk-in closets in the apartment and convincing my spouse to dedicate an entire closet for my voiceover work wasn’t going to happen. I realized that utilizing what was in the closet would help to absorb any outside noises. Adding a few soundproofing pieces of material, it did just what I expected.

Closet tip: The heavier the clothing in the closet, the “deader” that space becomes. Although it’s a tad claustrophobic at times, it makes for a pretty decent recording environment.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Gimme The Mic) – Hit It and Quit It! Self-Directing Your Voice Over Auditions

Once you have your home recording studio set up, give yourself some good lighting and you’re off to the races.

I’ll discuss more about how to get good quality home recording in the next segment.

Keep talking all.

Bob H.

####

Thanks Bob!

Coming Up: Behind the scenes with a Reality TV Producer

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

Read More...

Ready4Air The Week Ahead |Recording Your Voiceovers At Home |The “Real” In Reality TV

Arise On Screen control room
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

March 24, 2014 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

 

Image 2Hopefully this week will bring us the last bit of winter weather. While spring arrived on March 20, the weather forecast has snow in the our future. Ugh! While the cold weather lingers on, the Ready4Air team is working on a few projects for the spring and summer. We’ve lined up several new series and plan to bring back a couple of past favorites including, “Tell Me…How Did You Get Into Television?” and “Tell Me…How Did You Get Into Social Media?” If you are interested in being featured please reach out to us and we’ll put you in the mix.

Voiceover Artist Bob Hennessy

Voiceover Artist Bob Hennessy

Speaking of series, this week on Ready4Air we are continuing our series, “Gimme The Mic” with Bob Hennessy’s post on recording voiceovers at home. Hennessy is a retired veteran network cameraman who has found a new career in the voiceover industry. In his most recent post Bob shared ideas on how to improve your auditions. This week Bob is going to concentrate on home recordings.  He writes “you can set up a very good home recording for way under $1000” -sounds like a pretty good deal to me.  Read more about setting up a voiceover studio at home later this week.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Gimme The Mic) -Voiceover Work And The Daily Auditioner

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image17270888

Another one of our upcoming series is a, behind the scenes, look at the world of television reality shows. In the next few weeks, Ready4Air will get up close and personal with  a reality show producer, a reality show creator and a former reality show participant to find out the “real”  when it comes to reality TV.

Reality shows have been around for a long time, remember “Cops” and  MTV’s “Real World”?  But the relaunch of reality  television was back in 2000 with the launch of Mark Burnett’s “Survivor.”  Now, almost 15 years later no one could have predicted that reality television would evolve and still be around and thriving. The genre is a big money maker  for the television industry and it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon.  In our series we will take a look at this growing industry.

Related Post:Ready4Air TV – Repost: When Gremlins Hit The Television Control Room

Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Countdown to “on-air” can be a roller coaster of emotions for talent and crew all depending on what is going on minutes before airtime. Every person has a designated job and we all know anything can happen and, in television, it usually does. Looking back at the picture above, I can only guess what was happening in the moment for both Steve Ramey (show’s line producer) and Larry Michaels (show’s director) as they were looking over their shoulders.  This week Ready4Air goes behind the scenes minutes before a show goes to air.

So stay tuned.

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Coming Up: The “Real” in Reality TV

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

Read More...

Ready4Air The Week Ahead |Brands & Bloggers | Filling The Audience Seats |Finding On-Air Chemistry

BBDMMA.1

March 17, 2014 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect, Culinary Cues, Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

BBDMMA.1

At Ready4Air we are definitely ready for some warm weather! Spring is in close view and after Thursday, March 20, nature will begin to bloom. Our team at Deborah Mitchell Media Associates is also in bloom and excited about a few things on the horizon including our chance to work with more bloggers and brands. We will be offering a spectrum of opportunities for bloggers and brands to work together in social media and social TV through customized blogger outreach campaigns and brand awareness programs. These campaigns and programs will be  ideal for corporations eager to leverage specific markets within the blogger community.

DMMA will collaborate with blogger networks on campaigns including Twitter parties, which are strategic, interactive online discussions, and blogger events. The blogger community is very diverse and we have access to a niche group of bloggers that includes fashion, food, beauty, travel and of course mom influencers.  And if you are a blogger or personality interested in honing your on-camera skills we offer training and placement on your favorite television show.

 

Kelly and Michael Audience

Speaking of television shows, this week on Ready4Air we take a look at the audience who help bring a television show to life. A television host will be the first to tell you that their audience is a big part of a show’s success. The audience  brings energy, fun and sometimes make for  a  few good on-camera moments.  So  the job of show audience coordinator, who manages the fans who come out to support and be entertained,  is a very important one.

This week we hear from the head audience coordinator behind one of television’s hottest morning shows, Live! With Kelly and Michael. We’ll find out how much planning goes into getting an audience for the show,  if the audience receives anything for being a part of the audience and whether or not  the audience ever gets to meet or take pictures with show hosts Kelly Ripa or Michael Strahan.

DebAmadeus

 

As I gear up for my monthly visit with Chef Amadeus in the radio show  Southern Passion Lounge, I am taking a look back at a few of our past conversations about chefs  and branding. Being a chef is busy work and while they are busy creating culinary magic in the kitchen it leaves very little time for them to create and implement a social media presence and strategy. During my conversations with Chef Amadeus we figure out and I give tips on ways  for chefs to get started in the social media space.  This week, I will revisit a few of those leads.

On Screen Hosts.CoHosts

If you’ve been keeping up with the new show Arise, On Screen (where I am the Executive Producer), then you know that every week we have rotating co-hosts who join show host Mike Sargent (Film Critic) to review upcoming movies. Sitting in the co-host seat is not as simple as they make it appear and is even more challenging when you are sharing the co-host seat. It’s a delicate balance. Every week we decide who is the best fit to sit in the chair and banter with our host.

This week on Ready4Air I will share what goes into the decision process and when I know it’s the right fit. So stay tuned!

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Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

 

Read More...

Ready4Air (Gimme The Mic) | Voiceover Work And The Daily Auditioner

Bob Hennessy, VoiceOver Artist

March 13, 2014 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

Bob Hennessy Editing

By Bob Hennessy

First of all, I’d like to thank Deborah for inviting me to post on her blog.

As a regular voice auditioner, both from studios and from my home setup, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way. I would like to give you a few ideas to improve your auditions. Some you may already know but may overlook them from time to time. Consider these tips as friendly reminders.

Practice, Practice, Practice

First, practice, practice, practice, not only commercial copy, but all kinds of copy. Sites like Voices.com or Voice123 will provide you with a vast array of different reads every day. The fee to join is not that expensive and your first booking will probably cover the cost anyway.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Gimme The Mic) | Hit It And Quit It! Self-Directing Your Voiceover Auditions

Bob Hennessy in action

Enjoy Your Studio Auditions

Second, go to and enjoy those pesky studio auditions. Honestly, I think they are fun because each one is an adventure. Remember, the client has given the casting director a very specific idea of what they want and it’s so important to listen to direction and follow it carefully. The smart casting folks will usually say, “Do a read for me your way and we’ll work from there.” Don’t be surprised if they take you in a few different directions. Many times, that’s to see if you can follow direction and change the read on the fly.

Related Post: Ready4Air | Gimme The Mic: Would You Buy A Product From This Voice ?(AUDIO)

Develop and Keep Character Voices

Third, develop and keep up with your character voices, whether it’s an accent or a character you’ve created. I have what I call my “Walmart” voice, my “Jersey (Joisey) voice, and my “Emerald Isle” voice. Being a Hennessy helps with that one.

Bob Hennessey 2009 Headshot

Finally, be prepared for ANYTHING at an audition. Maybe you’ll have to read with two or three other people, or maybe it’s a product or service you have no clue about. I once auditioned for a condom company in Sweden and they wanted someone to sound as if they were making the female reader orgasm! Nothing is off the table, especially when they’re ready to pay you handsomely to do it.

All the best and keep talking,

Bob H.

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Coming Up: The Power of Youtube

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

Read More...

Ready4Air (TV) — More Tips For Your First Time TV Appearance

Framed Carol Story

March 11, 2014 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

 

Carol Story, Former news and talk show producer Photo Credit: Jude Milner

Carol Story, Former news and talk show producer
Photo Credit: Jude Milner

Carol Story and I were office neighbors, my cubicle was across from her office,  during my 10 years at CBS News The Early Show. We hit it off from day one and have remained friends since.  Carol and I were one of the few producers around who successfully made the transition from talk show production to news. She spent many years working for talk show pioneer Phil Donahue and I with  Geraldo Rivera’s talk show. We grew up in the  old school television trenches and  lived to tell about it.  

As a guest, if Carol was your producer, you were very lucky because she cares and always goes above and beyond to make sure you are prepared and give the best during your television appearance. This morning Carol Story is back with more tips on ways to master your tv debut.

Carol Story, Former Talk Show and News a Producer Photo Credit: Jude Milner

Carol Story, Former Talk Show and News a Producer
Photo Credit: Jude Milner

By Carol Story

STUDIO ARRIVAL

On the day of the interview, arrive at the studio well-ahead of the interview.  You will probably wait in a greenroom with show staff and other guests.  Aside from briefly introducing yourself and your topic, do not engage in conversation about your interview topic.  “Leaving it in the greenroom” is a well-known problem.  The guest discusses something before the appearance in the greenroom and then mistakenly thinks they’ve already said it when they are doing the actual interview.

Related Post: Ready4Air (TV) — 3 Tips For Your First Time TV Appearance

GET A GRIP ON YOUR EMOTIONS

Nervous is OK, terrified is not.  A few pre-appearance jitters are fine and are to be expected. Feelings of terror are not fine and guarantee a bad interview. Remember, nothing bad is going to happen.  You have been invited to be a guest because you have expertise in a field.   You are interesting.   Nerves lessen as you answer that first question and your enthusiasm and passion take over.

LIGHTS, CAMERAS, ACTION

When you are taken into the studio for the interview, ask where you should look.  Are you looking at a camera or at your interviewer?   Do not be afraid to ask questions before the interview begins.  Do what you need to do to feel comfortable.  If the chair isn’t right – ask for a pillow for your back.  Ask for water if you need it.  Make sure you aren’t distracted because your throat suddenly went dry or you’re in a chair and your feet don’t touch the ground.

Related Post: Top (3) Things Television Producers Should Avoid Doing When Booking Me as a Guest

Finally, there are a few universal truths about media interviews. No matter how well prepared you are, you might get asked an off-beat question. Try and enjoy the moment. You will leave the set and be sure they shortened your interview time. If you had an hour you still wouldn’t have had enough time.  You will think of five or six things you meant to say, but forgot. Later, on reviewing your tape, you will decide you need to go on a diet and get a new wardrobe.  That’s just the way it goes. Try and enjoy the experience. You’ll get better with each interview.

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Thanks Carol. Love ya!

Coming Up: We catch up with Designer Vicente Wolf

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

Read More...

Ready4Air The Week Ahead |Prepping For Your Voice Over Audition|More Tips For Your Debut TV Appearance

Vicente Wolf
Photo Credit: Vicente Wolf Associates, Inc.

March 10, 2014 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

Former CBS News Producer/Talk Show Producer Carol Story Photo Credit: Jude Milner

Former CBS News Producer/Talk Show Producer Carol Story
Photo Credit: Jude Milner

All the news from last weekend’s  Oscars broadcast forced us to move last week’s Ready4Air calendar around a bit and we are back on track this week. Beginning with…

Former CBS News Early Show producer, Carol Story, will be sharing more of her great advice on how to ace your debut television appearance in her post “More  Tips For Your First Time TV Appearance.” Last week Carol told us when “You are outside of your comfort zone. The stakes are high. You want to make a good impression….You need to prepare for your interview. Not rehearse, not over-prepare. Just be ready.”

Related Post: Ready4Air (TV) — 3 Tips For Your First Time TV Appearance

Check out the post and find out just how to get ready for your interview.

Bob Hennessy in action

In our continuing series “Gimme The Mic”, super talented voice over coach Marla Kirban was back with us last week with a few tips on how to make your home studio voice over audition tape stand out from the competition. This week, voice over artist Bob Hennessy, who I met during the holidays, will share insight on how to take your voice over craft to the next level.  Bob wants you to know that it’s important, “be prepared for ANYTHING at an audition, maybe you’ll have to read with 2 or 3 other people, maybe it’s a product or service you have no clue about…Nothing is off the table, especially when they are ready to pay you handsomely to do it.”

Related Post: (Gimme The Mic) – Hit It and Quit It! Self-Directing Your Voice Over Auditions

Vicente Wolf Photo Credit: Vicente Wolf Associates, Inc.

Vicente Wolf
Photo Credit: Vicente Wolf Associates, Inc.

The last time we met up with Designer Vicente Wolf, he gave us a few ideas on how spruce up our indoor space during the cold winter months. Vicente believes that when decorating, creating texture in a space is another good option to bring life to a room. Wolfe states, “Texture helps define the mood and look of a room. It’s a subtle way to make a strong impact. Texture in interior decorating is very important, adding nuance and charm to a room. Texture refers to the surface quality of objects; the quality that can be not only touched but also sensed in memory. By incorporating a variety of textures to your room, you enhance the flavor of room by developing its character.”

Designer Vicente Wolf has been very busy since our last interview. This week Ready4Air will catch up to him and hear what the designer’s brand has been up too.

Stay Tuned!

Coming Up: Preparing for Your Voice Over Audition

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

Read More...

Ready4Air (Gimme The Mic) | Hit It And Quit It! Self-Directing Your Voiceover Auditions

Marla Kirban Voiceover
Photo Courtesy of Marla Kirban

March 4, 2014 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

Photo Courtesy of Marla Kirban

Photo Courtesy of Marla Kirban

Last summer, my former voiceover coach, Marla Kirban, launched Ready4Air’s first-ever voiceover series Gimme The Mic. The three-part series took readers behind the scenes of what it takes to do voiceover work and become a successful voiceover artist.

Marla is back this week with more for your arsenal. If you are already working as a voiceover artist or want to work more in the field, Marla has outlined a few ways to ace that audition you can now submit from home.

Marla Kirban Voice-over

Voiceover artist Marla Kirban

By Marla Kirban

“With talent being so plentiful, it is important that people get out of their own way.” – Linda Weaver

Play the numbers game

One is the loneliest number.

One of the realities of the voiceover industry right now is that you’re likely to be recording your auditions at home and emailing the mp3 to your agent, casting director, or producer. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. You have to work against the impersonal aspects of the industry by making sure you get some face time with your coach and your colleagues, and when you’re offered a chance to be directed on an audition in person, take it. These experiences build your ability to work by yourself without sounding like a robot or getting lost in perfectionism and insecurity.

Related Post: Ready4Air | Gimme The Mic: Would You Buy A Product From This Voice? (AUDIO)

Voice-over Coach Marla Kirban & Anouk

Voiceover coach Marla Kirban and Anouk

Take three!

When you’re recording an audition, follow the instructions of your agent, casting director, or producer for the project. They will tell you if they want you to state your name for each take. They will usually ask you for three takes. Make sure the takes are different from each other, or you’re wasting your listener’s time.

Two hours? Are you kidding?

If you find yourself taking two hours to record a thirty-second audition spot, you’ve just destroyed every probability that you’ll get the job. You’ve gone into the realm of “trying to make it perfect.” There’s actually no such thing as a perfect read. If you’ve tried to edit out your breath and small imperfections, because you’re a Pro Tools maven and you can, then you’ve probably also taken the heart and the meaning out of the read. It should take no more than about twenty minutes to get your three takes.

Five-second decision.

As a voiceover performer, you probably never thought you’d have to be a director, too! Remember that this is not a finished spot, and the casting team can often tell within five seconds whether or not you will be in the running for it. Sometimes, sorry to say, they can even tell by how you state your name. Please don’t indulge or torture yourself just because you have the time and equipment to do so.

Related Post: Gimme The Mic: Training Your Voice For Voice-Overs

Minute men.

Years ago, as an in-house director at ICM, talent was lined up outside my booth. Each person spent one minute recording a 60-second spot (with a bagel in one hand and a coffee in the other), did the audition, and left went about their day. Most of the time, when I’d call and tell them they’d booked it, they’d say, “When did I audition for that?”

Don’t put all the weight on the result. It’s a numbers game now, so quantity is almost more important than quality. Don’t put ALL your energy into one spot. Your team needs it as soon as possible. If you’re not there by the second take, it’s not going to be getting any better. My students call my office when they’re in doubt about what to submit, and I can give some direction on the phone.

Distinguish yourself from the multitudes.

If you’re a pleasure to work with, and deliver your auditions FAST and professionally with decent audio quality and with respect for the schedule and integrity of your agents, casting directors, or producers, they will hang in there with you until you book.

What are your pet peeves and favorite parts about self-directing your auditions and submitting from home?

Marla Kirban has a BA in Theater Education and Speech from Emerson College. After working as a theater teacher and raising a family in Connecticut , Marla started her second career in Los Angeles, working for ICM as their in-house Voiceover Director with talent such as Jane Lynch (Glee, Best in Show), Megan Mullally (Will & Grace), and Jim Cummings (voices of Winnie the Pooh and the Tasmanian Devil). Marla has coached voiceover talent from her studio in New York City for the last 20 years, and has done audition coaching for Meg Ryan, Harvey Keitel, Julia Stiles, Frank Langella, and Val Kilmer.

To contact Marla, you can find her here: Marla Kirban Voiceover Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/MarlaKirbanVoiceover

Marla Kirban Voiceover on Twitter https://twitter.com/MarlaKirban @MarlaKirban

Coming Up: A Letter to Brands

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Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

Read More...

Ready4Air The Week Ahead |Your Voice Over Auditions| Dear Brands |Tips On Your 1st TV Appearance

Mike Sargent, host- Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi Film Critic and Bobb Rivers Film Critic  Photo Credit- Debbie Mitchell/Michelle Lynne Madar

March 3, 2014 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect, Current Events, Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

Mike Sargent, host- Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi Film Critic and Bobb Rivers Film Critic  Photo Credit- Debbie Mitchell/Michelle Lynne Madar

Mike Sargent, host- Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi Film Critic and Bobb Rivers Film Critic Photo Credit- Debbie Mitchell/Michelle Lynne Madar

Like most movie fans  this morning I am waking up with a major Oscar hangover. The 86th annual Academy Awards ceremony was last night and it was exciting and ran late.  Congratulations to all the winners!  Awards went to many of the usual predicted suspects including, Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto and Matthew Mcconaughey. Lupita Nyuong’o received a special birthday present with her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.  

I have been in an Oscar haze for at least two weeks prior to last nights show . My team over at Arise On Screen, with host Mike Sargent, have been working on our Oscar show, Oscar Nominations, Milestones and Predictions, which aired on Saturday.  Turns out our predictions were right on target!

Marla Kirban Voice-over

Marla Kirban Voice-over

As for the week ahead in Ready4Air, a few friends are back. Voiceover coach, Marla Kirban, returns with the post “Hit It and Quit It! Self-Directing Your Voice Over Auditions.” In her post, Kirban reminds aspiring voice-over candidates: “One of the realities of the voice-over industry right now is that you’re likely to be recording your auditions at home and emailing an .mp3 to your agent, casting director, or producer. There are advantages and disadvantages to this!”

Tomorrow check out what Marla has to say about ways to make the most of a voice-over audition recorded at home.

Related Post: Ready4Air | Gimme The Mic: Would You Buy A Product From This Voice ?(AUDIO)

Photo Courtesy of I Don't No

Photo Courtesy of I Don’t No

Two weeks ago I promised to write a post about what exactly brands need to know in order for bloggers to successfully work with them during social media outreach campaigns.  It’s taken a little longer than I planned. In Ready4Air (Brands & Bloggers), I’ve decided to turn the post, Brands, Please Let Us Know What You Need In Campaigns, into a letter.  After experiencing my own false starts with a few brands in the past six months, I think a letter to the brands might be a better way to go. So stay tuned for my letter.

Framed Carol Story

Former CBS News Early Show producer, Carol Story, will be sharing more of her great advice on how to ace your debut television appearance in her post “More  Tips For Your First Time TV Appearance.” Last week Carol told us when “You are outside of your comfort zone. The stakes are high. You want to make a good impression….You need to prepare for your interview. Not rehearse, not over-prepare. Just be ready.”

Related Post: Ready4Air (TV) — 3 Tips For Your First Time TV Appearance

Check out the post and find out just how to get ready for your interview.

Finally a special thanks to our latest Ready4Air (Film) guest contributor, teen film critic Jackson Murphy, for his take on the Oscars and is accurate predictions! Click the video above to hear Jackson in action.

Welcome back to all our friends!

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Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

Read More...

Ready4Air (TV) — 3 Tips For Your First Time TV Appearance

Former CBS News Producer/Talk Show Producer Carol Story
Photo Credit: Jude Milner

February 27, 2014 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

Carol Story, Former Producer CBS News The Early Show Photo Credit: Jude Milner

Carol Story, Former Producer CBS News The Early Show
Photo Credit: Jude Milner

Today, I am happy to have veteran news and talk show producer Carol Story in the house. Former CBS News Early Show producer, Carol Story, always has  great advice. Once a producer, always a producer, and even though Carol is enjoying her life these days  away from the hustle and bustle of  television news, she still has some great tips on how to ace your first time television appearance.

By Carol Story

You finally landed that interview.  You’re going to be interviewed about your new book, magazine article, and project.  You’re excited, nervous and overwhelmed. You are outside of your comfort zone.  The stakes are high.  You want to make a good impression.   Time has never been your strong suit and you don’t even know how long three minutes and thirty seconds are.  You need to prepare for your interview.  Not rehearse, not over-prepare.  Just be ready.

Maximize the Pre-Interview

The chances are good that you are going to do a pre-interview. If you are lucky, the producer doing the pre-interview will have read your materials and ask relevant, meaningful questions. While you are on the phone, jot down the questions you’re asked. They can help you review later. Your pre-interview is the roadmap for the direction the interview takes. Pay attention to what is asked and remember your answers.

What if the questions in the pre-interview aren’t the right ones? Before you finish the conversation you should add or suggest any information you feel the producer has overlooked and that you feel is pertinent. It’s your interview and your input is valuable for the producer.

Related Post: Top (3) Things Television Producers Should Avoid Doing When Booking Me as a Guest

Don’t finish the pre-interview without asking a few questions of your own. They include:

 

Who is Interviewing me?

Would you like me to spell and pronounce my name for you? Details are important and occasionally, the obvious ones get overlooked.

Your Appearance

If this is an interview for television, figure out what you are going to wear. This is not the time to radically change your fashion, hair and makeup style.  It is the time to look as good as you can. Do not wear anything that will distract from what you are saying.  How many times have you watched an interview and said, “What happened to her blouse or hair?”

Don’t upstage yourself.  Wear something comfortable and that gives you confidence.

Interview Prep

Do not over think the interview. Don’t memorize. Identify three key points you want to make keep them in mind before you enter the studio. Figure out how long three minutes is. Make sure your answers are sentences – not paragraphs. Avoid off-the-cuff jokes and remarks. You’ll use up valuable time and risk them falling flat.

Related Post: The Top (3) Things Television Producers Should Do When Booking Me As A Guest

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Coming Up Next Week: More Tips For Your First Time TV Appearance

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

 

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Ready4Air (TV) | Designing The Right Set For Television

Photo Courtesy of Deborah Mitchell

February 20, 2014 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

Television Set4

Photo Courtesy of Deborah Mitchell

Last summer when I was brought on as Executive Producer of the woman’s talk show Our Take on Arise TV, part of my job was to help coordinate the look of the set. Along with Eugenia Harvey, the show’s Director of Programming and stylist Dorcia Kelley, we created the show set in record time and on a limited budget.

Shopping with interior stylist Dorcia was a lesson and an adventure.

Related Post: Social TV and “Our Take” When Old School Meets New School

First, she knew the stores and did her research ahead of time so we were very focused in choosing our items once we arrived.  Of course, we checked out the items on sale first , checking our shopping list as we went along. I asked Dorcia a few questions about what goes into designing the right look for a television set.

She emailed me the following answers in between shopping for a client:

Is designing a studio set like decorating a room at home or house?

“No, both are very much different. With designing a studio set you must consider back drop, height of correspondent, and what colors the audience will response to in a positive manner.”

How closely do you work with the clients/producers to create the final style?

“You always work very closely to both. Your job is to execute their vision.”

How important is the budget?

“Very, any job you do the budget is always important. It can be the determining factor for shopping at Restoration Hardware, getting custom tables built or shopping at thrift store trying to score a bargain.”

Photo Courtesy of Deborah Mitchell

Photo Courtesy of Deborah Mitchell

Almost a year after helping us pull together the Our Take set, I asked Dorcia to look back and critique it.  She told me that she would have done a few things differently. When looking  back at the set, Dorcia described it as: “very movie theater driven that had masculine appeal with pops of color. I would have loved to see it brighter. I’m a fan of bright color sets that are modern.”

Related Post: Ready4Air (Social TV) | In The Movie Critic’s Corner With Arise “On Screen”

As it turns out, the movie theatre set with the masculine pops of color of the old set are perfect for the show I recently launched  Arise On Screen. Arise On Screen is a weekly movie review show hosted by film critic, Mike Sargent, that airs on the weekend online in the United States and internationally on SKYTV and Hotbird .

We are still working on the “look”  and feel of the show and recently changed the back wall. When planning a set Kelley stated, “The first thing to consider is the back drop. For example, will there be a green screen, etc.”

Above is the set with our new  background wall. Dorcia said if money were no object she would change a few things.

Photo Courtesy of Deborah Mitchell

Photo Courtesy of Deborah Mitchell

“Well, my new idea on this set design would actual be very low cost. I would approach the style of this set from an old cinema prospective by using two studio directors chairs with leather backs, place a tall chrome table in the middle of the directors chairs and prop a Hollywood studio lamp in the back.”

Photo courtesy of Deborah Mitchell

Photo courtesy of Deborah Mitchell 

“If I could only change two things on the set because of a limited budget I would change, The chairs!”

Thanks Dorcia Kelley,  good to know and  I will definitely keep this in mind!

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COMING UP SOON: How to self direct yourself during a voice-over.

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA).  She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

Read More...

Ready4Air TV: Top (3) Things Television Producers Should Avoid Doing When Booking Me as a Guest

Photo Courtesy of Heidi Skonlik

February 18, 2014 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

 

Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

In her post last week, Top (3) Things Television Producers Should Do When Booking Me As A Guest,  Heidi Skolnik, an expert who appears regularly on television, shared a few tips on what producers can do for any guest who wants to have a professional and successful television appearance. Skolnik has learned a few things working with producers over the years.

Skolnik explained, “When working with television producers, I have come to learn which moves help make an appearance be the best it can, and which ones you want to avoid. Look for clarity and feedback, and you’ll be please to see all that television producers can do for you.”

Related Post: Ready4Air (TV) | The Top (3) Things Television Producers Should Do When Booking Me As A Guest

Today in her guest post, Top (3) Things Television Producers Should Avoid Doing When Booking Me As A Guest, Skolnik shares the flip side of the coin and tells us what producers should AVOID doing when booking her on their show.

Top on the list, don’t call her by the wrong name!

Photo Courtesy of Heidi Skonlik

Photo Courtesy of Heidi Skonlik

By Heidi Skolnik 

Top (3) Things Television Producers Should Avoid Doing When Booking Me As A Guest

Call me by the Wrong Name

I value accuracy in my field, and I hope that producers do the same. Once a mistake has been made live there’s no going back. It’s okay if someone checks before we start to avoid any mix-ups on air.

Micromanage your Information

I am always flattered when a producer wants my expertise and I love to share what I know with the public. If a producer is booking me I hope that they can trust my information so that I can be the best professional that I can and feel comfortable sharing my own creativity and opinion.

Not Call Again!

Although I am being a bit flippant here, I always appreciate feedback. If I did not meet expectations, I would love to know why or how I can improve. If I did a great job, I would the opportunity to be back on the show.

Heidi Skolnik, MS, CDN, FACSM, is owner of Nutrition Conditioning, Inc., a nutrition consulting practice that helps individuals, teams, and organizations achieve health and performance goals, serving the greater New York Metropolitan area. Heidi relies on science, not fad, and delivers the most current and proven concepts to promote optimal health, and improve performance levels – in every day life or athletic competition.

You can find Heidi on Twitter at @heidiskolnik, and on her Facebook pages, Heidi Skolnik and Nutrition Conditioning.

Based on your experiences, what do you look for from producers when being booked as a TV guest?

COMING UP THIS WEEK: Vine turns 1. Find out how to tell a story in .06.

 

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA).  She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

Read More...

Ready4Air (TV) | The Top (3) Things Television Producers Should Do When Booking Me As A Guest

Photo Courtesy of Heidi Skonlik

February 11, 2014 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

Image 15

This year I am asking seasoned television professionals to share their experience on the best way to get Ready4Air.  I can always tell you what I do and believe a producer should do when booking a guest, but I’ve also learned that it never hurts go right to the source.

Our guest poster today is Heidi Skolnik, a nutrition consultant, who has appeared on both local and national television and I’ve actually worked with her back in the day for CBS News The Early Show.

Photo Courtesy of Heidi Skonlik

Photo Courtesy of Heidi Skonlik

By Heidi Skolnik

As a seasoned guest on television talk shows and news programs, I know that guest appearances give great exposure, are great experiences, and can be a lot of work. When working with television producers, I have come to learn which moves help make an appearance be the best it can, and which ones you want to avoid. Look for clarity and feedback, and you’ll be please to see all that television producers can do for you.

Related Post: Ready4Air | Gimme The Mic: Speaking With Authority

The result: a professional, successful segment. And an invitation to return!

Top (3) Things Television Producers Should Do When Booking Me As A Guest

Express enthusiasm about having YOU specifically

Their enthusiasm feeds my enthusiasm. I hope that producers come to me for a specific reason. Understanding what they think I can bring to the table is, of course, flattering, but more importantly, it ensures that I will provide what they’re looking for.

Give clear direction on what their hopes are for segment

I like when producers share their vision for the story, and offer background information about why the segment is happening when it is. As I plan, it is helpful to have specifics in mind. Did a particular story inspire the segment? Is the piece part of a new series? Is the producer hoping my story will target a different audience? Knowing the producer’s clear expectations helps us all be on the same page so the final project is cohesive and successful.

Related Post: Ready Teleprompter Is Tricky Michael Bay: Use These Tips For Next Time

Provide constructive feedback

I like knowing what I can do to improve at any point in the process, but feedback is particularly helpful after the segment is over. Though “job well done” is always nice to hear, I frequently wonder if there was something I should have done differently. Specific comments about my presentation, tone, or talking speed help me adjust my next appearance so the segment is better for everyone.

Coming UP next week from Heidi- Top (3) Things Television Producers Should Avoid Doing When Booking Me As A Guest

Heidi Skolnik, MS, CDN, FACSM, is owner of Nutrition Conditioning, Inc., a nutrition consulting practice that helps individuals, teams, and organizations achieve health and performance goals, serving the greater New York Metropolitan area. Heidi relies on science, not fad, and delivers the most current and proven concepts to promote optimal health, and improve performance levels – in every day life or athletic competition.

You can find Heidi on Twitter at @heidiskolnik, and on her Facebook pages, Heidi Skolnik and Nutrition Conditioning.

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

 

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA).  She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

Read More...

Ready4Air (TV) | TV Hosting 101: Driving A Segment And Interviewing Guests

Mike Sargent with Valli Dawn Hart & Stephanie R. Green on Arise On-Screen
Photo Credit: Mike Sargent

February 5, 2014 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

 

Rene Syler with Arthur Kade Photo Credit Debbie Mitchell

Rene Syler with Arthur Kade
Photo Credit Debbie Mitchell

Most of the time, when someone enters the television industry–whether in front of or behind the camera–they get jobs in smaller markets with the end goal, if desired, to work in the #1 market, New York City. If and when someone gets to New York City, it indicates something about their skills and ability to get the job done.

As a born and bred New Yorker who studied media and graduated college in the Big Apple, I was lucky enough to begin my career in New York City and have spent my entire professional life here. As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the best of the best in the television industry. Journalists like Geraldo Rivera, Bryant Gumbel, Barbara Walters, and Harry Smith are a few I grew up watching on television and eventually had the opportunity to produce and work with later in life. However, with the great opportunities comes the pressure of doing well and the chance to soak up a long list of valuable lessons.

Ready4Air | Gimme The Mic: Speaking With Authority

Photo credit: Debbie Mitchell

Photo credit: Debbie Mitchell

When it comes to hosting or anchoring a show, the job may appear easy, but it is much harder than it looks. I spent four years as Geraldo’s cohost on his daytime talk show, Geraldo, where I answered one or two questions during the hour, and it was hard. Geraldo, the pro, saved me from a few fumbles and mumbles, reminding me that it’s not easy to walk, talk, and be smart. While some personalities are born naturals in front of the camera, others have to work really hard to look and sound natural.

Related Post: Ready Teleprompter Is Tricky Michael Bay: Use These Tips For Next Time

As a producer, I realized over the years that although each on-air personality I worked with was very different, they all shared a few of the same qualities that made them shine in their jobs. Here is what I’ve observed from those successful personalities over the last 25 years.

TV Hosting 101: Driving A Segment and Interviewing Guests

Do Your Homework

As a television host, you are juggling several different things in your head at once. Names, facts, dates, etc. all in front of your guests, crew and audience so the pressure is on for you to be accurate. It is a producer’s job to keep your information up-to-date and accurate, but most personalities I’ve worked with did additional homework. Bryant Gumbel was known for doing his homework. As a producer on CBS News The Early Show, you researched and wrote at least 10 suggested questions for the segment. Once the interview began, Bryant had come up with different questions. If he used one of your questions during a segment, you were lucky. Harry Smith once told the producers to always find one nugget of information about a guest that no one else has revealed.

Know Your Guests And Elements

Show producers are responsible for gathering research, conducting the guest pre-interview and gathering all the supplemental elements (video, photos, and graphics) that are related to the story. Your producer should know the story inside out. In addition to reading the notes your producer has prepared, talk to the producer. He or she might be able to give you a few valuable tips about dealing with the guest that is not translated in the notes. As a producer on Geraldo, we were responsible for giving him a guest and show overview a few minutes before the show. This is once Geraldo finished reading stage manager Mike Jacobs’s blue card interpretation of our notes. LOL! We were also backstage during the show and could fill-in any important notes. Geraldo was also never one to stay on script. So once a producer put together what you thought was a good flow for the show, he would change it around. I will admit his changes were usually right and made for a more exciting show.

Mike Sargent with Valli Dawn Hart & Stephanie R. Green on Arise On-Screen Photo Credit: Mike Sargent

Mike Sargent with Valli Dawn Hart and Stephanie R. Green on Arise On Screen
Photo Credit: Mike Sargent

Be In The Moment, Listen To Your Guests, And Follow Up

Every host goes into an interview with questions and ideas of what they want to talk about, but it’s important to listen to what your guest is saying. If your guest says something that is amazing, unexpected, or newsworthy, then your job is to follow up. Yes, it will take you off your planned path of prepared questions, but it could lead you down a more exciting road. The only way you will know is if you listen.

Drive The Show Or Segment

As the host of any show, you are in charge of keeping the energy up, your guests engaged, and the conversation flowing.  The guests will follow the host’s lead. The hosting job is a delicate dance where the host, within an allotted timeframe, must make sure the guests have a chance to talk, respond, and introduce their points. If the host does his homework (see above Do Your Homework), then he or she will be successful in driving the key points in the conversation to hit all the important talking points and elements. In some cases, the host might have to gently cut off a guest and keep the conversation moving, all while reading the prompter and paying attention to cues from the show stage manager.

Finally, if things begin to fall apart, just take a minute and breathe, that way the producer in the control room talking to you in your ear can help get you back on track.

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Coming Up: A Night with Mozzarella Cheese

 

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell
Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

 

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA).  She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are interested in “ Book Case TV” or are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. If all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

Read More...

Ready4Air (Gimme The Mic) | Would You Buy A Product From This Voice? (AUDIO)

Framed Radio Microphone

October 16, 2013 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV | By

Framed Debbie at Radio Mic

Today, we wrap up our series “Gimme The Mic” with a critique of my voiceover demo. My burdgeoning voiceover career never really took off, even with the help of NYC voiceover coach Marla Kirban. I sought out Kirban almost ten years ago after many people told me that I have a nice voice and asked, “Did you ever consider doing voiceover work?” Because I also spent a couple of years recording the ticket call-for-action announcement on Geraldo’s talk show, I really thought I could have a new career.

For those of you wondering what a voiceover artist does, here’s a quick overview. Voiceover artists provide voices for television, radio, commercials, documentaries, and even corporate presentations. They read a narration or act out a voice. It turns out a lot of it is acting and creating a feeling in a convincing speaking voice. A narration or script might be long or short and voiceover artists can be paid anywhere from less than $100 to thousands of dollars. I recently saw the independent film In A World, which gives a little behind-the-scenes look at the industry.   Check it out if you have a chance.

Voice-over Coach Marla Kirban & Anouk

Voiceover Coach Marla Kirban and Anouk

In last week’s installment of Gimme The Mic, voiceover coach Marla Kirban, who has a long list of celebrity clients, gave us a few tips on how to prepare to do voiceovers and how to master the craft. A good speaking voice is a plus, but not enough. The field is VERY competitive and hard to break into.

RELATED POST: Gimme The Mic: Training Your Voice For Voice-Overs

Ten years ago, I was not be deterred by the above information. I bought one of Marla’s package deals and got started. The package included several classes a week, weekly copy to take home and practice, a list of agents and casting directors, and, of course, my demo. I attended several sessions a week for a few months and even participated in a “pro-jam session” where I read copy in front of a large group for practice. Ugh! Talk about nerve-wracking.

When my sessions were over, I walked away from the experience having learned a few things.

Lesson #1: Talk to one person. Marla used to remind me to breathe and pretend I’m talking to one person. Easy to do standing in a room in front of her.

Lesson #2: Once you get the copy, create an opinion and attitude. If it’s happy, sad, serious, or jovial, there is an opinion in there.

Lesson #3: The copy has an intro and body. It also has has rhythm and timing. I used to highlight certain words to emphasize and underline other words. I usually put an accent on the product.

Lesson #4: Smile! It turns out that smiling during your read adds levity. It relaxed me and you could hear the smile in my read.

When Marla read the same copy as me, she would put on a big smile and own it. Our two reads sounded very different, and, of course, I wanted to sound more like her.

Marla Kirban Voice-over

Marla Kirban Voiceover

When an artist goes in to audition, voiceover clients are very clear about the voice they want for a spot. Female, male, white, black, serious, sassy–you get the picture. In last week’s post, Marla explained, “A voice that’s perfect for a voiceover is the one that the producer wants. There’s no perfect voice; just the one that the ad agency feels is right for the product they’re selling.”

Marla and I spent quite a bit of time working on my “black, sassy girl” voice. I think she wanted Atlanta Housewife NeNe Leakes and I was giving her Valley girl. LOL! I also had problems giving her a sultry and sexy voice at at 9:00 a.m., standing in a light-filled room with a coach watching me. Today, the whole thing makes me laugh.

When it was time to record my demo, Marla coached me through it and I felt much more natural than when I first walked into her studio. In the end, I was quite happy with the final product and actually felt pretty good about my chances of getting a deal. Since you haven’t heard my voice on television or anywhere else, I bet you can guess how this all turned out.

After mailing out at least 25 demos and running to a few casting calls with no response or call back, I gave up the voiceover dream. Ten years later, I still have the box of demo tapes. Other than the 25 agents who I sent it to and my family, no one has heard this demo until now.

For our series, Marla agreed to critique and give my demo a facelift or earlift, in this case. LOL! Here is what she had to say:

“Voiceover styles have changed. Things aren’t as animated as they were before. Things are more matter of fact, even bored sometimes. There are a lot of spots on the demo that are a little too performed and over the top. It needs to be real, and not as ‘schticky.’ Sexy has been replaced by an ‘I don’t care what you think’ attitude. Less is more. Also, there are a lot of possibilities and opportunities to do industrial spots, video corporate spots, so what I’d like to have on the demo is something that is more informative to cover that category.

“The product might have to be more current, in keeping with what is around now. Gucci might be replaced by Michael Kors, for example. And technology is outdated very quickly. Your demo has somewhat withstood the test of time, but the clock is ticking! There are opportunities here to make it sound more current.”

Oh, God, do I dare?

Thanks, Marla!

Marla Kirban is a group instructor and Marla Kirban Voiceover seminars focus on the New York City market of voice-over, including television, radio, promos and narration. In her seminars, students get the opportunity to read copy, perform partner reads, and learn how find their niche. She has also taught at many universities around the country. Contact her at marlakirbanvoiceover@gmail.com or 212-397-7969.

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Photo Credit: Max Shuppert

Photo Credit: Max Shuppert

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA).  She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are interested in “Book Case TV” or are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement, follow Debbie Mitchell @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.

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The Week Ahead | My Voice-Over Demo Gets A Facelift | Hitting The Booking Lottery

Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

October 14, 2013 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV | By

Happy Holiday! If you are a television producer you are probably at work creating great TV content for your friends and family, who are at home watching on their day off.  One of the realities of working in television is that just because it’s a holiday does not necessarily mean you get the day off. Why?  Because TV is Not A 9 To 5 Job and that includes holidays!

RELATED POST | ATTENTION: TV is Not A 9 To 5 Job

Lora Wiley-Lennartz- Veteran Talk Show Producer

Lora Wiley-Lennartz- Veteran Talk Show Producer

This week in Ready4Air I revisit my conversation with Lora Wiley-Lennartz, an “old school” producer, who, a few weeks ago, told us about her years booking show guests without having the benefits of using social media. We reminisced and figured out that all those years of producing without new social media tools made us into pretty good detectives. LOL! Often while digging for guests the old school way we would hit on a few gem stories in the process. She’ll share how one of her random phone calls turned into a timely, daytime news story.

RELATED POSTS | What No Social Media? – Booking Guests “Old School” Style

Framed bookcasethemelogo1

We are airng new episodes of Book Case TV which airs on Monday nights on NYC Life Channel 25 at 9:30PM EST.  Missed a previous episode? Catch up on past shows and season one and two by clicking here.

Framed Debbie at Radio Mic

 

In this week’s installment of the series “Gimme the Mic,” my  decade-old, voice-over demo reel gets a facelift from Marla Kirban Voice-Overs.  Last week NYC based voice-over coach Marla Kirban gave us a few tips on how to prepare to do voice-overs and master the craft.

RELATED POST: Gimme The Mic: Training Your Voice For Voice-Overs

Kirban was my coach during my short lived attempt to pursue work in the industry.  A lot has changed in the industry. I’ll see how  my demo has held up over time  and Marla will tell me what I need to do differently if I were doing a voice-over demo  today.

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Photo Credit: Max Shuppert

Photo Credit: Max Shuppert

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA).  She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are interested in “ Book Case TV” or are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.

Read More...

Ready4Air | Tell Me…How Did You Get Into Television?

Roger Lee

September 25, 2013 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

Television Series.1

Well it turns out that this will be my last blog post for the summer series “Tell Me…How Did You Get Into Television?.”  Like any good producer, Good Morning America producer, Roger Lee met the deadline and got his post in on time over the weekend, the last day of summer as a matter of fact.  Although I worked with Roger at CBS News The Early Show for years I rarely saw him. Roger was Supervising Producer on the late night to early morning shift and coming into work when my day was done.

Whenever I arrived in the studio for an early morning segment and needed to add or change tape elements  for my segment, I would call Roger and he always had an answer or could fix my dilemma.

I really enjoyed reading Roger’s story because his answers gives us great insight into both sides of the television industry. Now let’s read what Roger has to say about how he got into television.

Roger Lee

By Roger Lee

How Did You Get Into Television?

I went to NYU and for the first two years, I had no idea what I wanted to major in.

As junior year approached, I was pressured to pick a major so I decided on communications – partly because it was so broad and there were so many things to choose from including PR, marketing, journalism. I essentially kicked the can down the road another year because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Going into senior year, I was pressured to do an internship. I went to the bulletin board at school and saw that WABC-TV was hiring interns. That was the newscast I used to watch so I decided to apply for it. I got hired to work the assignment desk for the summer.

Once I got in that newsroom, I fell in love with it and knew that was what I wanted to do. I used to go out in the field and watch shoots and interviews. One of the reporters who let me tag along with her was Lara Spencer. She was such a pro and always so nice to me and I picked up a lot from her. Small world that she is now one of the stars at Good Morning America, where I currently work as a producer. Sam Champion was also there at WABC when I interned and he is also as you all know the weather anchor at GMA.

What has been your favorite television job to date and why?

My current job is my favorite job to date. I worked at CBS News for 14 years and have so much love and respect for my former colleagues . There are some outstanding and talented people over there and I will always have a soft spot for them. Being at GMA for the last year and a half has been an amazing experience because I really am playing for the Yankees right now. From management downward, everyone is so hard working and dedicated. It is an absolute pleasure to work with such talented people. It truly makes all the difference in the world when you’re in a classy environment filled with people who are at the top of their game at every position.

Television has changed quite a bit over the last few years. What changes do you like and what changes don’t you like?

When I was learning to produce at CBS, we were still cutting tape to tape. So in terms of the technology those changes are great. It makes your job much easier.

The changes I don’t like are that media companies are hiring kids right out of school with little to no experience and paying them nothing. It forces older employees to keep up their tech skills to compete. Personally, I don’t necessarily see it as a bad thing because I never want to get complacent and let others pass me by.  Having to be technically advanced, forces out more experienced workers in favor of some kid who can edit because they got trained in school but lacks experience. These kids are willing to work for nothing to put in their time and they get taken advantage of.

We’re still in the early stages of the rise of the digital journalist where they do everything themselves. Ultimately, this will be the standard.

We will see what happens in the next 10-15 years when these same kids are trying to take the next step and there is a salary ceiling because they have been cycled out for the next crop of kids who will work for no money and have even more skills right out of school.

Also the industry is moving towards hiring more freelancers. There are fewer and fewer staff jobs now.

Most people think TV is glamorous and exciting. What two words would you use to describe the TV industry and why?

I can’t speak for all of the TV industry because I work in news. The two words I will use to describe the TV news business is Rewarding and Tiring.

It’s rewarding because it’s never dull. You’re constantly working on different stories and this is a career which will perpetually stimulate you. It’s tiring because you work long and odd hours and you can burn out quickly.

If you could go back and say anything to yourself at the start of your career, what would it be?

It would definitely be to network more. There are tons of people in this industry who have made very successful careers for themselves but are completely incompetent and are clueless about television. These people survive and thrive by who they know. Networking is the single most important thing to have longevity in this business.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned during your years in television?

Please see answer to previous question. I’ve seen the most hard working producers and editors, who do most of the heavy lifting for their respective areas and shows get passed over constantly in favor of incompetent sycophants. The important thing is to not be discouraged by this, work hard and stay above the office politics. Ultimately, a reputation for being diligent will still get you ahead.

What’s your secret to having a happy career in television?

There’s no secret. You have to love what you do. If you don’t, you will not be happy and you will burn out quickly.

What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded in the competitive television field?

It’s not a ritual or practice but the one thing that keeps me grounded is the knowledge that no one is irreplaceable. I’ve seen news presidents, legendary anchors, and top notch directors get kicked to the curb as if they didn’t matter.

You’ll meet all types in this business. No one should be walking around like an arrogant jerk anyway but they do and  co-workers will stab you in the back to get ahead.

Just stay focused on improving your skills and when you get to the point where you can say “these are the things I bring to the table” and you have some good contacts in the business you’ll do just fine. Look after yourself and stay above the office nonsense.

Which person taught you the most in your career?

I’ve learned from several people who have helped me to grow as a producer and a professional in this business. Always take the approach that you can learn something from everybody. Yes everybody, from the interns to the executives.

I was a supervising producer at CBS News and was very experienced. Once I came to ABC, I learned and was exposed to a different style of doing things from a stable of top notch editors. Everything from production techniques, to editing tricks, to editorial structuring of scripts.

You should never feel like you know it all. Your education in any career should never stop. I am a much more well rounded producer now than when I was producing at CBS and when I get back to management, I will be that much more effective due to my experiences here.

I have been fortunate enough to have worked under and learned from legendary producers like Steve Friedman and Michael Bass who I consider one of the best in the business. The one person who does stand out in terms of influencing me is the late (1959-2006) Gary Chern.  Gary was the Coordinating Producer at The Early Show. He was like an older brother who was always supportive and looked out for you and was such a calming presence in the midst of the madness that comes with putting two and a half hours of live TV on per day. If I could be half of the producer Gary  was, then I can say I am a success.

Take a look back at one of Roger’s greatest influencers in TV  — Remember Gary Chern 

WATCH HERE

What are your top three tips for TV survival?

Network, keep up to date on all the latest technology and don’t get involved in the office politics.

What are you most proud of in your television career?

There are so many moments that can’t all be listed here.

I am very proud of the work that I did at CBS News on September 11th…a day that will forever be scarred into the history of our country. I was blessed to be able to work side by side with some of the best editors and producers in the business to recount those poignant stories of loved ones lost and the tales of rejoice and relief from the unexpected reunions of families who thought they had lost their loved ones forever.  As a native New Yorker, 9/11 has affected me personally and as a journalist, 9/11  moved me and gave me perspective on why I do this job; working 12 hour days and sacrificing holidays to come to work. I do it because on those days, especially, we can make a difference just by sharing a story that touches someone; a story that others can relate to and helps to heal.

What other job would you have pursued?

I can’t imagine doing anything else. But if I must answer  I probably would be a rock star or point guard for the New York Knicks 🙂

What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to someone else who is considering entering the world of television?

News is not where the money is. Go into entertainment if you want to make money.

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Thanks Roger!

Photo Credit: Max Shuppert

Photo Credit: Max Shuppert

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA).  She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are interested in “ Book Case TV” or are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com. 

 

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The Art Of The Pitch

April 9, 2012 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect, Pros Talk TV And Social Media, Social TV, TV Production | By

After the end credits rolled on last night’s episode of AMC’s Mad Men, viewers were given a sneak peek of an upcoming reality competition show called The Pitch based in the world of advertising.  The program took us behind the scenes to see the creative process of what ad agencies go through to come up with a successful ad idea and land a big account. It kind of reminds me of Mad Men, but more specifically, it takes me back to those morning production meetings where producers try to sell, sell, sell their ideas and carve out a bit of air time to get their segment idea on an upcoming show.

It does not matter where the idea or story is being pitched–advertising or a television show–pitching is an art form. It can make or break your chances of landing the big client or securing a booking.

Publicists and personalities are constantly trying to pitch segment ideas to producers in hopes of being booked on a show. And if you are lucky enough to get a producer on the phone, you only have a few minutes to make your idea stand out. If a producer likes your pitch enough to take it to the next level, then she has to pitch the idea to her senior producers or executive producers in hopes of getting a time slot in the show. In both cases, since it is television, the goal is to present an idea in the most interesting, creative, and visually appealing way.

When you are preparing to pitch an idea, remember that you are competing with hundreds of other possible candidates to appear on a program and producers are busy. Time is of the essence. Keep it concise and clarity is key.

Here are three tips for Successfully pitching your story idea:

KNOW YOUR SHOW AND AUDIENCE

It’s a good idea to know the show’s programming history and format. One of my pet peeves was listening to a pitch that was clearly the wrong fit for the broadcast. I would actually ask the representative, “Do you watch our show?” A national morning show begins with a hard news hour and then transitions into a lighter news/entertainment hour. Most of the time shows will feature topics that are time-sensitive and relevant to events of the moment. Staying on top of current events is helpful. The “evergreen” topics are not time-sensitive, so their air date is flexible and can and will be bumped out of the lineup if a timelier story comes along. You really do not want to be an “evergreen” segment because there is a good chance the segment will not get on air. Morning shows have a large female audience, so try to think about why your story might be interesting to her and pitch it with that in mind.

FOCUS YOUR IDEA AND BE PREPARED

Mail or email your idea pitch to the producer and then follow-up with a phone call. Your email subject line should an attention grabbing headline. This is a good time to use your witty Twitter skills and create a headline in 140 characters.

Start your pitch with an introduction that is an overview of the segment. A segment has a beginning, middle, and end. Your intent is to grab the attention of the producer in the same way you want to grab a viewer’s attention. If there is a current study, survey, or video or audio tape that is related to the story, it is best to present it at the top of the pitch. I like to cover at least three main points in a pitch, and I always start with the strongest piece of information first. If your story has a guest, make sure the guest is ready to do the show and is accessible to the producer. Before you talk to the producer, try and think of every angle or question he or she might ask about your story (who, what, where, when, and has this story been featured on any other show–in other words, is this an exclusive?)

PROVIDE VIEWERS WITH NEWS THEY CAN USE

Since information is available 24/7 on so many different platforms, people are inundated with information. However, if you can provide a nugget of information that hasn’t been seen or heard anywhere else, that will be a big plus in your pitch. Viewers rarely sit down to watch a show; instead they listen to TV as they are multi-tasking. So you want them to hear something in the interview that will make them say, “Oh, I didn’t know that” and maybe sit down and watch the story. And isn’t that what you want in the end–for people to watch your story? To read more about pitching to the morning shows, click here.

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Photo Credit: Joan Massel Soncini

Photo Credit: Joan Massel Soncini

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA).  She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are interested in “Book Case TV” or are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement, follow Debbie Mitchell @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.

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