Submitted by Don Doman
Once upon a time people with talent were sought out and paid fees based on how good they were. This was before the proliferation of computer programs and a blurring of between good and bad.
Dorothy Wilhelm, writer and professional speaker once said, “There is only one thing worse than not having a video . . . and that’s having a bad video.” She was talking about a video that gave examples of a professional speaker’s work with quality recording of audio and video as well as a voice/over introduction explaining the scope and variety of work the speaker would perform, a closing with reasons to hire the speaker, along with musical backgrounds, and graphics.
In the 1980s the funny definition of an expert was “somebody who knows almost as much as you, but has a slide presentation.” Usually that meant a good slide presentation.
Technology and computer programs have made everything topsy-turvy. If you have a PowerPoint Program you can create a slide program. As a member of several community organizations I can’t tell you how many boring slide presentations I’ve seen. I’ve attended meetings where the program should have been interesting, thought provoking, and worthwhile . . . and then had to brace myself for a boring twenty minutes of slides containing too much information, or in hard to read fonts. The same is happening with video production.
If you have the top cell phone you are a photographer and videographer at the same time. You can even edit your images and videos on line. People with no musical skills can piece together clips into melodies. And worst of all on Fiverr.com you can hire people to write for you, have people record your scripts, and present your service or product in a video ad for as little as $5. But just because someone can take a photograph, record a video, write something, or put together a slide presentation doesn’t mean they should.
I studied fine arts in college and so I know about composition, colors, figure/ground contrast and more. I know about lighting, fill lighting, back lighting, spots and keys. I have a collection of lenses and filters. I can take a photographs better than most people, and yet . . . I would never represent myself as a professional photographer. I know my limitations. However, I’ve met people who think they are good enough photographers without any schooling or training to charge people for their services. They don’t know their limitations and I pity their clients who don’t know quality.
We’ve used college interns and hired people from the local television technical colleges. We’ve long encouraged careers in marketing and media production as have our other professional friends.
In video production I work with “talent.” Those are the people that act in front of the camera, or provide “voice over” commentary. Their skill is what can “sell” a message. Clients sometimes say, “I’ve got a daughter who can do the . . .” Sometimes I can convince them to use a professional, but it’s getting harder.
I’ve known Jim Cissell for over twenty years. I originally hired him to host an infomercial on the then new DMX music channel for cable. One job led to another. Jim has provided voice overs and professional voice-over recording services for hundreds of corporate video narrations, national award-winning radio and television commercials, documentaries, on line web tutorials, and medical and surgical procedures for nearly half the Fortune 500 from his Seattle recording studio. People can hire him and then listen in and give direction via phone as he records, but I don’t like that. I trust Jim. I can describe the voice and attitude I’m looking for. Jim has yet to fail me. Jim is still in demand for quality productions, but the calls are becoming fewer especially for non-broadcast productions. He spends his time on the racing circuit . . . a little different talent. This is his 9th season racing in PRO3.
Writers, directors, artists, musicians, actors, and others have always struggled. Today is just a little different with the constant change and influx of new programs, equipment, and possibilities. Aspiring production people and talent should get proper training and experience and think of all the new innovations as tools for their tool box. Then they need to demonstrate their readiness to perform and deliver.