Friday, July 10, 2009

Mailbag: Care and feeding of photogs


How can you politely ask photographers to get this natural sound for you? My photogs just don't seem to get it. I've tried taking them to lunch, always carrying the gear, and everything else you've suggested before.

Well, this doesn't happen often, but if you're in an entry level shop you might be working with entry level photogs as well. Or, if the Chief is not motivated, that attitude can trickle down to the staff.

Asking politely, as you stated, is the way to go. You might note that the photog shoots great video and your story would be so much better with some nat sound. Or you might ask the photog to get video of things that obviously come with great nat sound, like a train roaring by. Make sure the shotgun mike is turned on. Then, after you edit your package, ask the photog to take a look and ask, "Do you like what I did with your nat sound, or can I do it a better way?"

Remember, you're working as a team and you have to include the shooter in the whole process. Most all photogs take pride in their work, and once they know you're working together they'll usually come around.

Dear Grape,

I'm going to start working on a resume tape for my 2nd reporter job.

I have some packages saved where I did not do standups.

On the tape I used to get my first job my three packages all had standups.

Should packages on a resume tape always have a standup in them or is it fine if there is none or just a fronted newsroom shot?

Well, a standup does more than get your face on camera. It should be used to put you at the scene, even if you're doing a live shot or newsroom intro.

For resume tape purposes, you always want packages which include a standup that shows your ability to think in the field. Something clever that ties parts of the story together, or gets you from one part of the story to another. Standup bridges show off that talent best. Many rookies have nothing but standup closes, so try to take a moment in the field and think of something interesting.

Sometimes, when a ND sees packages without standups, he or she sees that as lazy. Not always, but sometimes. Just something to keep in mind.


I've heard our company is going to require us to either take a few days of unpaid leave or a small pay cut. Does it make any difference which one I choose if I have to make that decision?

Well, I'd choose the time off. Extra vacation is always good for creative types, and I wish they'd bring back the old comp day system which allowed us to stockpile vacation time.

The downside to taking a pay cut is that it lowers your base salary, which means you'll also make a little less when you get overtime. Also, when your next contract comes up, if you decide to stay with the same station they'll look at the current salary. If you've taken the pay cut which knocks you down $1,000 in salary and they're offering a one thousand dollar raise, you'll be back where you started.

Sorry to say I'm hearing a lot of this, but hopefully things will turn around.


I'm a single woman and I constantly get calls from viewers who ask me out. I really want to concentrate on my career and want to move on anyway. Is there a simple solution to this problem without being rude to people?

I've seen this work many times...

1. Go to a cheap jewelry store.

2. But a two carat cubic zirconia ring.

3. Put it on the ring finger of your left hand.

Calls will magically stop.

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