Tales of the Tape - April 1992

Dennis-Daniel apr91Tales-of-the-Tape-Logo-1

by Dennis Daniel

This month's subject is Re-energizing.

I feel good today. You ever get that cranking feeling? That "I'm indestructible" surge up your spine? Boy, I've got it today. This morning, the shower felt invigorating. My thoughts were radio bound. I couldn't wait to get here and play. What a great job! Creating audio images that give people visual perceptions. It's a one of a kind undertaking. It's unique. And we do it for a living!

It's easy to forget.

When that pain in the bunhole salesperson comes banging at your desk or door with last minute rush copy: a real generic, retail oriented rambling piece of crap that just about anyone could cut and makes you hate the sound of your own voice....

It's easy to forget.

When you feel belittled by upper management because you're never recognized by anyone for the rabbits you pull out of your production hat everyday....

It's easy to forget.

When you look at your paycheck every week and weep because you're making diddly squat....

It's easy to forget.

Buddies...pals...production comrades in arms....

DON'T FORGET!

We create magic. Yes! MAGIC! To take it for granted (no matter how much you make, no matter how much you're stressed, no matter how much you're unappreciated) is to sin against the gift. We are here because we want to be (and if we're not, by all means, get out!)

Happiness and peace of mind are luxuries in this world. Like life, they come and go. Good days, bad days. Good spots, bad spots. NEVER MIND! Keep focused and remember...WE ARE THE GIFTED ONE'S. We can make images come to life in the minds of our fellow man. Okay. So we sell a lot of crap to people. Maybe it's stuff we don't use, don't care about. SO WHAT? Unless you're out there saving the whales, we can't be bothered with moral questions about what we do for a living. That way leads to madness, take it from me. I had this bizarre period in my life, about three years ago, when I started to get real hung up on what I was doing for a living. Sell! Sell! Sell! Get those unwashed masses into those clubs, car stereo stores, ski warehouses, insurance companies, car dealers. Why am I doing this? What does it all mean? Will I be doing this the rest of my life? TAKE IT FROM ME... KILL THOSE THOUGHTS! The job of Production Director, like anything else in life, is what you make of it. Look at it for what it is and build on that. It's okay to have a couple of rushed spots on the air that you're not too proud of. Chances are the listeners could give a cow chip. They aren't judging you. It goes in one ear and out the other for them anyway. Just think, eventually, you'll have a brilliant spot on the air that will make you feel proud and mighty. It will happen. One great spot is worth ten lousy ones.

The trick to staying alive and fresh is: never lose that magical feeling about what it is we do. No entertainment medium is more instant and gratifying. The minute you do it, it's on the air! To me, this is nothing short of a miracle. If you write an article, you have to wait for it to be published. If you make a movie, you have to wait for all kinds of things to be done before the finished product. On television, much time and effort has to go into what people will see. Radio is instant.

Production Directors should be the laughing gnomes of radio. Who else is given the responsibility we have? Who else has such trust placed in them. Best of all, we don't have to take the heat if a commercial fails for one simple reason: advertising is not an exact science (just ask the guy or girl who came up with that "Herb" campaign for Burger King a few years ago). All the market research in the world can't guarantee results. (Ishtar...Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty. How could it lose?) If you are ever made to take the heat for a failed campaign, shame on those putting it on you. We can only do what comes naturally, from the gut. No guarantees. None.

Next time you're watching TV, take a good look at all the ads. Count how many different kinds of products are sold. You'll find, to your horror, that they're all pretty much the same in their respective categories: drugs, cars, cosmetics, food, beverages, movies, TV shows and socially oriented services. All designed to make us feel better, look better and live better. All created to sell something...90% of which we don't need. And, yet, the artistry that goes into their creation is astounding. Even the crappy ones have their own unique niche and charm. Well, the same goes for us and what we sell on the radio. Most of the time, it's the same old crap. SO WHAT? Find unique ways to sell some of it; use tried and true methods to sell the rest. Just don't get hung up about it. Enjoy it! Hey, what the hell, huh?

Best of all, we don't have to worry about aging. Our voices will only get better with time. No one has to know how old we are. As long as the spots sound good, we're home free. So many people can't believe I'm who I am when they meet me for the first time after hearing my voice on the radio. Now, if this isn't job security, I don't know what is.

So what are you bitching about? Get back to work!

One final note: If you really do hate where you're working or being a Production Director, think hard about changing your profession. After twelve years behind the mike, I can tell you that it's my undying love for the profession and the people I work with that keeps me alive and excited about the medium and what it has to offer. You can't be creative in a vacuum. The spark must exist within. No matter what the outside interference may be, you've got to internally care with such a passion that nothing... NOTHING...can sway you. It's the secret to longevity. It's the secret to creative power. It's the secret to rejuvenation.