February 2010 Highlights

Production 212: OK... So Who Is "Grasshopper" Here?

by Dave Foxx

It has been said many times that the teacher often learns much more than the student. Two months into having you ask specific questions, and I'm still getting some real posers. More than once, I've been forced to do some research of my own because although I might know generally what a good answer would be, I want to make sure that I'm not operating on any false assumptions or old, out-dated information. This is really turning out to be a great learning experience for me.

Notes Off The Napkin: Relevant Writing

by Andrew Frame

Relevance, by definition is, "pertinence to the matter at hand." Using a cartoon of a running cheetah helps to visually reinforce a symbol of how fast my customer's oil change facility is. Or, for the case of non-visual media, a sound of running feet, or a car zooming through the audio field. An image of a sequoia can be used to help the imagery of solidity, reliability, lasting presence. A ships horn could drift into a fun cruise. A smooth jazz riff can play into a relaxing, upscale night club. Relevance isn't a foreground part of your script. It's not the words. It's more part of the theme, and the importance of relevance to the theme is dependent on where you place it – fore-, middle-, or background.

Test Drive: The MXL "Harlan Hogan Signature Model" VO:1-A Condenser Microphone

by Steve Cunningham

Harlan Hogan is not just a world-renowned voice actor, with a string of credits that goes back several decades and includes brands like Raid, Heinz Catsup, and Life Cereal. He's also a teacher of voiceover talent and an author of several voiceover books. Naturally, one of the most frequent questions asked by his students is "which microphone should I buy?" As an audio engineer and college professor who teaches recording, I get the same question myself quite often. It can be tough to answer, since there are so many good sounding inexpensive condenser microphones to choose from today. Harlan decided to take a different approach: Why not design a condenser microphone with voice acting in mind? So Harlan commissioned MXL, the brand name used by Southern California-based Marshall Electronics for their broad line of studio and live performance microphones, to create for him a microphone that was designed specifically for voice actors.

Feature: Why Great Ads Don't Make It To Air

by Sheldon Hovde

What's the number 1 reason great ads don't make it to air? Read on my friends. An eager young writer gets a new order on her desk. There's a small "done" pile to her left, and a very large "to do "pile on her right. Usually the new order would go to the bottom of the right pile, but something about this client peaks the young writer's interest. She picks up the phone, dials the phone number on the order, and shortly begins a conversation with the new client. After a short chat about objectives and details, the eager writer gets right to work. Sure, she has a lot of other things to do. More pressing things. But this script has that certain energy that can't be ignored. After finishing up a few minor tweaks and giving it a quick proof read – Voila! It's done. Will it win awards? Who knows – who cares. It'll work, she's certain of that.

Q It Up: The RAP Network Speaks - What happens when your home studio computer crashes? Part 2

Q It Up: If you're employed, hopefully your company has someone who can come to your rescue when your studio computer has problems, but what happens when your home studio computer crashes? How much do you know about computer repair? Does someone else do the repair, such as Dell Support or a local computer repair shop, or do you troubleshoot and fix the problem yourself? What steps have you taken to ensure that a crash or failure on your home computer results in minimal disruption of your routine? If you've suffered severe data loss in the past due to any kind of computer crisis, what did you learn and what practices did you put into place to prevent such loss in the future? Feel free to add any other thoughts you might have on the subject!

If you have a question for the RAP Network, email it to editor@rapmag.com!

...And Make It Real Creative

by Trent Rentsch

I often wonder what life is like in some copywriter's homes... (sfx: door opens) Copywriter: Well, hello, Honey, Martha, my beautiful, but somewhat uninformed-because-she-spends-the-day-watching-Food TV-wife! Martha: Oh, hello, Dear Martin, my handsome, highly-paid-because-people-are-certain-that-those-in-advertising-makes-tons-of-money-yet-we're-on-our-third-mortgage-husband! How was your day in the big world of Advertising at ABC Agency... call 1-800-555-12-34? That's 1-800-555-12-34?

Radio Hed: Don't Do It Yourself

by Jeffrey Hedquist

Recently I needed a door put into a frame that was slightly out of alignment. I've done this before, but it takes me a long time. I just don't do it often enough to be good at it. I don't know the techniques, or have all the right tools, shims etc. I did the smart thing – hired a skilled carpenter. He had it in 1/3 the time it would have taken me, plus he came up with a creative solution for fitting the door in that never would have occurred to me. He was the expert. So are most of your clients. Each of them does something better than the people who buy from them.

The Monday Morning Memo: Substance Over Style How to Advertise in a Recession

by Roy H. Williams

"If you say that there are elephants flying in the sky, people are not going to believe you. But if you say that there are four hundred and twenty-five elephants flying in the sky, people will probably believe you." - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Ah, the power of details. Every ad has style and substance, cheese and meat. Most ads are cheese because ad writers are rarely given meat. Style cheese includes layout, angle, tone of voice and hyperbole. Substance meat is provable fact and concrete detail.

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