Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The kid point of view

When I travel a long way by car I always have those little single serving boxes of raisins with me. They're a good snack and can keep your energy up if you're stuck on a stakeout or have a really long drive ahead of you.

Anyway, the last time I opened one up I noticed how small it looked in my hand. Sure, it was probably downsized, but it made me think back to grade school when my mom always put one of these in my lunchbox.

It wasn't that much bigger back then. My hand was smaller.

Which brings us to another pet peeve of mine, shooting stories about small children. Wow, I just love video of the tops of kids' heads. Or that interview of the child craning his neck, staring straight up while he gives an answer to a question.

The solution to shooting a good kid story: kneel down.

If you want to show the viewer what the world looks like from a five year old's point of view, you can't do it standing up with the camera on your shoulder. Crouch down, kneel, whatever. Get the camera down to the eye level of the child. Make the teacher look like a giant.

You see parents do it all the time. They crouch down or kneel to talk to their small children. You should do the same. To give the adult viewer the perspective of a small child, you have to get down to the kid's level with the camera.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Happiness is the new black (or, why you should stop obsessing over market size)

I think we took the car keys away from Mom when she turned eighty. Anyway, she didn't argue, but missed shopping on her own. Until she discovered television shopping networks. Mom was a trusting soul and believed the hucksters on the tube, but every once in awhile she'd buy something that would fall apart and have to be sent back. The conversation would always go something like this:

Mom: "I can't believe this fell apart. It's got a designer label."

Me: "Ma, the label next to it says Made in China."

Meanwhile, some markets and stations could be made in China.

A market size is just a number. It's a label, like one from a designer. You might think the number stands for a list of specifics, but every situation is different. Just because a station sits in a certain size market doesn't mean it's a good situation for you. The product could be awful, the ND could be a cylon, the company could throw nickels around like manhole covers, the city could be a dump.

Yet most of you look at the magical number first, before anything else. You'll live in God-awful places and work for demonic managers rather than take a job in a market with a slightly larger number.

Because, God forbid, what would people think? "He turned down a job at market 40 and took one in market 50! He must be an idiot!"

Here's a news flash: what other people think of your decisions or career has no effect on your happiness. The market size number where you're working will not make you happy. What will leave you feeling contented is a challenging job in a nice station situated in a great place to live.

I've had several clients over the years who would get good offers from solid stations, but if those stations were in markets with a number that wasn't appealing, they would hesitate. It would always be the one thing that seemed to trump all.

Market size is a number, that's all. It doesn't guarantee quality, doesn't mean your work will improve, and, most of all, doesn't insure you'll be happy. You don't want to end up with a "Made in China" lifestyle simply because of a label.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Check out my second blog

Okay, I know this might not interest most of you, but for those of you who want to check out my fiction, visit my writing blog:

And, uh, buying some books would be nice considering this blog has been free since 2007.