Production Times
January 2014
Sharing video production from across the country., sprinkled with
a bit of news, humor and other tid-bits.

Welcome 2014!
I hope you had a safe and happy holiday season.
7 questions with...
The seven questions segment features (you guessed it)  7 questions and answers regarding this industry from various perspectives.

This months guest is Fred Fechter: producer, director and editor at KENS5 San Antonio.

How long have you been in the business?


Twenty years that seemed to have flown by.



What got you into the business?


When I was in high school a friend and I would make movies on Super 8 film. Mostly horror because you only needed a scary mask, but we did a Star Wars-ish short as well. He converted his bedroom to a studio with dolly tracks to shoot some space scenes. At that time I KNEW that I was going to be working in film or TV.


After high school I took some time away from school to get married, work a lot and put my wife through school. After our son was born I figured out that due to time restraints I was on an eight year plan for an associate degree in RTF (Radio, TV and FILM) and that I was running out of time to start a new career. I quit college and got a job at a TV station.



Share with us your most memorable horror story.


I was shooting commercials for a local car dealer that became my worst TV experience.


The spots had the spokesman walking a line of cars and he'd rattle off the prices as he passed the cars and we'd lead him from the back of a moving pickup truck. I'd shoot the spots.  A grip and myself would keep time and mark time code.



They weren't hard spots to shoot or post but we'd typically to do 40 to 60 spots. All of the spots were day and time specific. They'd have lines like "How're you folks doing this Wednesday afternoon? Come on out to XYZ Cars for the deal of the week" but we'd do them for every day then wait a couple of hours then do the night versions. And it seems like we did it for every model of new car the factory made.  

We were getting into position to do the night spots and the guy driving the truck slammed on his brakes while in reverse sending everything flying out the back. Everything, including the grip, the camera and myself!   We were bruised and had road rash but we had to finish the spots. So we set up again only to find the camera's viewfinder was broken. Luckily we had a field monitor and we hooked it up and did the shoot all broken up with broken gear.

 To top it off I had to post the spots overnight for dubs to be ready the next morning.

 TLDR: fell out of a moving truck got hurt and broke the camera. Still finished the shoot.



Featured Videos

Every issue I will feature a couple of pieces of production from my clients across the country.  Who knows, maybe someone from the other side of the nation may turn you on to a new trick or twist.
If you have a piece that you would like to share, let me know and I will feature it in an upcoming newsletter!

Soooooo, this is what happens when an overworked producer decides to vent in his own passive/aggressive manner. Thanks to Robert Izquierdo, KFOX El Paso for asking me to voice this one!

  BRET MICHAELS Rock My RV Star's Motor Home for Sale at MHSRV com
Bret Michaels RV for Sale

One of the great things about this business is that there is almost no limit to the types of projects that I am privileged to be a part of.  Thanks to Mike Schrengohst for hiring me.


This is what a drone can do!

NVM Aerial Demo
NVM Aerial Demo

 The footage that can be obtained from a drone mounted camera can be spectacular. There are a few production companies around the country that have this capability and more are on the way. (See article in sidebar) This is the aerial demo of one of my clients, New Vision Media from Columbus Ohio. If you need some aerial footage, contact them today! Jerrud Smith 614-222-0966


And Finally......

I KNOW some of you have this posted outside  of your production suite.

 Be resolute in 2014!

Top 10 resolutions for 2014
Lose Weight
Getting Organized
Spend Less, Save More
Enjoy Life to the Fullest
Staying Fit and Healthy
Learn Something Exciting
Quit Smoking
Help Others in Their Dreams
Fall in Love
Spend More Time with Family
 (Source- University of Scranton. Journal of clinical psychology)

The study adds that 45% of us usually make a resolution and that 38% never make one.
Which side do you fall on? 
Also, 39% of people in their twenties say they achieve their resolutions  in a year while only 14% of people in their fifties say the same. My theory? The twenty something's resolutions revolve around ambitious goals like resolving to finally get up the nerve to ask Susan for her number or finally taming the end boss on the hardest difficulty in the newest MMORPG..While in one's fifties the goals are much more difficult - like trying to stay up til midnight on New Years Eve.

Trending in 2014
Well, the new year will naturally bring it's share of the latest and hottest in video production trends.  One thing is for sure, there will be plenty of fads that will be added to the trash heap of bad ideas- but a few things will make it into your tool box. 

It's a bird, it's a plane... wait - it's a remote controlled helicopter!
No longer the realm of the high end productions- it's not necessary to go to the airport and rent a plane or helicopter for the day to get killer aerial footage.  Today, its as simple as strapping a camera to a drone and let the imagination run wild!  If your department doesn't yet have one of these babies in the budget, perhaps there's an independent contractor in your market that can help you produce some really unique work. Do you have any plans to use this new angle in your work?

Y2k when 4K is coming!
4K resolution for broadcast video is coming fast.  I know some of you are shooting 4k video via Red One so your production is ready for the coming trend. Other camera mfr's are now producing 4k capable gear.
The biggest stumbling block for widespread use of 4k video is the simple fact that 4k TVs and computer monitors are outrageously expensive. Until the number of homes with this new technology warrants, 4k will remain on the edge of the horizon- but it is on the way. As far as the readers of this newsletter  are concerned, it may still be a benefit to produce in 4k if possible- we all know how poor an SD spot looks on an HD TV- before you know it, we will have the same issue with HD spots on a 4k TV.  Hmmm, food 4 thought!

7 Questions continued 



 If you could make your "dream" commercial, describe it (interesting location, actors, product etc.) and why?


I almost had a client bite on my dream concept. The concept? Just a phone number on the screen for 30 seconds. That's it. No logos, no copy, no music, just a phone number for 30 seconds. You know people would end up talking about it and end up calling the number.


 If you routinely deal with AE's who cause extra work for you (late with copy, poor directions, last minute changes, not letting client know what to expect, etc.) how do you try to deal with them?


I deal with AEs and clients daily and the best way to handle any issues that might pop up is to remember that people are just people. Bitching about a problem doesn't make it go away, but finding solutions does and it impresses those around you.

 Try to keep it all in perspective. Nobody has ever died because a spot didn't make its air date.


Is there any special equipment, software or services that you have just discovered that really help your productivity/creativity?


 Are you on an Apple and need Photoshop but can't afford it? Go to the Mac app store and get Pixelmator. It'll be the best $15 bucks you'll spend. 


Are you going/have you gone to the NAB show- what did you get out of it (or hope to ) If you went, what was the overall mood of the event?


Never been. Frankly it seems like a bad idea to get that many TV people together with that much alcohol.


Given your career, do you find yourself dissecting the commercials you see on TV or movies that you watch and critique the choices that the producers made?


Dissect yes, critique no.  

I always want to try to figure out the production whether that's writing or editing. But for the most part I just watch the spot and figure out if it's an effective spot or not.  

I don't see the point in trying to critique other producers. Most commercial producers answer to the client. A client won't air a spot they hate.


How does this effect your enjoyment of media?


When I watch a movie or TV show I just try to enjoy it. I try to leave work at work.  

If somebody goes through a lot of trouble and heartache to make a show or a movie the least I can do is pay attention and try to enjoy the story they are telling.  

Hopefully, they'll do the same for my projects.


If you were to go to a different market to work in the same field - where would it be and why?


I'm quite happy where I am, but if I had to leave I'd have to go someplace with a great local music scene. And good BBQ.  


We all know of producers who freelance outside of work. Whats your feeling on the subject?


It seems like some people are hustling. That's great, I get it.

But when was the last time you grabbed your significant other and watched a sunset?

We only get so much time on this planet, seems like a waste to spend too much of it working.

NOBODY on their deathbed wishes they'd spent more time at work.



Thanks to Fred for taking the time to share.
If there are any questions you would like to see answered in the 7 questions segment, feel free to drop me a line. 


Until next time, happy producing!
Jon Goffena
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