UPDATE!!! Deadline for entry has passed! 26 outstanding entries will be featured on the upcoming September RAP CD! Stay tuned!
by Dave Foxx
As I have noted here before, I get several to several dozen pieces of production every month asking for an evaluation. I’m pretty sure that the pieces that come my way have been polished and honed to the max, so I can truthfully report that most of these are really quite good. I’ve never had to encourage anyone to try a new profession and very often I’ll discover a gold mine of ideas that inevitably find their way into my own work. Once I even had to ask permission to use part of someone’s production on Z100 because it was just so brilliantly done. She was even kind enough to provide a mixout so I could easily re-voice it. I’m sure you can understand why I am always so willing to evaluate other producer’s work. It’s a constant source of ideas; a pretty valuable resource for someone like myself.
One recurring theme in many of the emails I get is a desire to produce my voice from the get-go. As strange as it seems to me, I get a lot of those requests even when there is no evaluation. I’ve gotten requests like this from producers all over the world, from Moscow to Dominican Republic and LA to Amsterdam. People basically volunteer their services, asking to produce stagers, sweepers and even promos for Z100 using my VO. I understand why they’d want to produce something to air on Z100, but many make it about using my VO, even if Z100 is not a part of the equation. Of course, I’m always flattered, but there’s a voice in the back of my head that asks, “What?”
In 2008, we held a little competition here at RAP Magazine, for which I provided the voiceover. Producers were encouraged to design and build a promo using my VO, which essentially took the VO quality out of the equation. The idea was to even the playing field a bit so that those who participated could have their work evaluated against others who were using the same voice track. The results were predictably mixed, but the overall quality was quite high. So we have decided to try this again, while upping the ante just a bit. This time around, the best promo, as judged by Program Director Sharon Dastur, will air on Z100. The producer will also get a one-year free subscription to RAP Magazine. Of course that producer will also be highlighted in this column. If the production is spectacular enough, Jerry might even consider an interview in a future issue. Additionally, the winning entry will also be featured on ReelWorld’s Production Vault/CHR, complete with mixouts, so producers all over the world can use your work.
Last time, the promo was for a free gasoline promotion. Prices had gotten way out of control and a recurring theme was people screaming and/or crying about having to take out a second mortgage to get a fill up. This time we’re going to make it about our most important commodity, music. This will be a pure music image promo.
While I hate the idea of putting any restrictions on your creativity, there has to be a set of rules to make the prizing work.
You must use music that is currently airing on Z100 at the time of production. If you go to Z100.com, click on Playlist/Recently Played, you will see a listing of all the songs just played, with the most recent at the top. Don’t forget that this list also includes recurrent category songs, so avoid titles you know have already come and gone in popularity.
In addition to the finished product, you need to provide mixouts for Andy and the crew at Production Vault.
You may use any effect and/or drop you have available, however if your promo is selected, it is subject to the licensing restrictions of Production Vault. The PV/CHR team will replace any effects or drops belonging to other services before posting it on their site to keep them in line with market exclusivity requirements.
The top 30 entries will be featured on the September RAP CD, and the top 3 entries will be presented on the October RAP CD when we announce the winner.
The target length for all Z100 promos is 30-seconds, however that’s a target. If you go a little long or short, it will not count against you.
As you will notice right away, the VO track is minimal. Philosophically speaking that’s the way any music image promo should be, at least to my way of thinking. The music is the star here, not me certainly. Listener drops and effects are permissible and even encouraged, but remember what we’re promoting. Key words for you to think about as you’re building your masterpiece are variety, fun and exciting, even though those words are not in the copy.
In 2008, this little bit of fun was more about your creativity and less about skills. This time, it’s just the opposite. We’re looking for some very cool skills, first and foremost.
Aside from the VO track you’ll find on this month’s CD, I have a pretty cool promo for a Six Flags Great Adventure™ Weekend. If you don’t have a Six Flags park near you, it’s a park full of big, mean, wicked roller coasters. While giving away tickets to a local theme park might sound a bit mundane for some, I can tell you that they are some of the hottest giveaways Z100 has every year. My hope (always) is that the promo lives up to the contest!
Dave Foxx is the Director of Creative Services for Clear Channel New York. He welcomes your comments and questions at