Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mailbag: It's the most wonderful time of the year...

I hear most companies don't hire during the holiday months, is this true for the News Business as well?

Funny you should ask, as I was getting ready to do a post about old rules that are being broken.

Years ago you never, ever sent a tape out during sweeps because you'd never hear anything until after sweeps because the ND didn't look at resume tapes during this period. But this is the second year in a row I've had clients actually go on job interviews in the middle of sweeps. So that old rule is outta here.

Last year I had two clients get jobs in December, and that rarely happened as well. I actually got a job once in December, but that was a management job. So rule number two is history.

So these days you can look for a job anytime. Yes, there are good "hiring seasons" like March-April and June-October, but if you want to start your Christmas job shopping now, knock yourself out.

One thing to keep in mind: many people have contracts that end after November sweeps. So lots of people get pink slips during the holidays. (Lovely timing, huh?) That means there are openings that need to be filled.


Since you work for a network, I was wondering if it is even more cutthroat at that level. I'm at my first station and it is filled with back stabbers and I'm worried it is only going to get worse as I move up the ladder.

Well, strange as it may seem, the bigger they are, the nicer they are. The network people I work with couldn't be more professional or polite.

The problem with small markets is that people often get frustrated when they can't get out, then start throwing knives. And some people aren't talented enough to get out, so they backstab the people who are.

While there are jerks at every level, my experience is that it gets a lot better as you move up the ladder.


A News Director called me a few weeks ago and seemed interested, and now nothing. Does that mean I'm out of the running?

Impossible to tell. The ND may have gotten bogged down in sweeps (very possible), there might have been a hiring freeze since he talked with you, the task got pushed to the back burner (likely), or the GM may have overruled him.

But sitting around waiting doesn't do you any good. Keep looking. Always keep hooks in the water.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Please shoot enough b-roll. I'm begging you.

During one of my trips last month I was staying in a hotel, and, as I often do, I checked out the local newscasts. This was not an entry level market, so what I saw rather amazed me.

One package in particular was moving along when I saw some b-roll repeated. And then it happened again. Three times in one package. Inexcusable.

Later in the newscast there was a long voiceover. Same deal. B-roll repeated three times.

Yeah, that's what viewers want. Video on an infinite loop.

The other trick I've seen a few times (since non-linear editing makes it so easy) is b-roll in slow motion. Don't have enough cover shots? Slow down the ones you've got.

And I know photogs aren't doing this. Shooters always make sure they have plenty of video.

So I'm likely talking to those of you who are one man bands. If you've run into this situation even once, you need to get into the habit of shooting more b-roll than you currently shoot. When you're on a story and you think you've shot enough, shoot some more. If there aren't many video choices, shoot a sequence, or shoot the same thing wide-medium-tight.

There are no excuses for repeating b-roll. It makes you and the station look lazy.