by Andy Capp
Geez, THIS bodes well for the New Year! This is my thirty-sixth stab at this column, and I can tell you that after thirty-five false starts, hopes are not running high at the moment.
How did this happen?! I mean, for the last four years I've been full of...ideas. Radio is a hell of a big playground, even the little corner Production resides in has more twists and turns than the O.J. trials. Somehow, even when it seemed like it was time to call Jerry V. and scream, "I GIVE," some ride this business had given me would come to mind and I'd pull out of the tailspin...until now.
I suppose I was due. The well has dried up on me in the past writing commercials and promos. I remember it happened once when I needed to update a promo for KELO FM's Royal Treatment. Zero, zip, NOTHING was coming to me, and the old promo was going from moldy to crusty to crispy critters as I slam danced with my muse. It got so bad that I would take the long way around the building to the bathroom rather than go by the PD's door and face the inquisition. I mean, who wants to admit to the boss, "Guess What? I'm clueless!!! The odds of getting any great ideas out of me are worse than Drew Carey's winning the Kentucky Derby bareback! You really should just fire me and hire the next living thing through the door as my replacement...a slug has more on the ball than I do!!!!" Oh wait, bad example. I finally pulled one out of the hat that time. After writing "Royal Treatment" on a legal pad a few hundred times, I noticed the names "Roy" and "Al" and the word "Treat" were staring me in the face. Changing the "ment" to "mint" I did a mistaken identity bit where confused KELO FM listeners were calling "Roy and Al's Treat Mints" to enter the contest. Bah, Dump, Dump! A silly, one joke promo, but a promo none the less...Lord, I AM getting desperate! I think I've already told you that story!!!
Maybe some of my earlier ideas weren't that bad. Let's see, 1001 uses for those dusty old carts, Garlic Breakfasts and other ways to discourage client recording sessions. How about "Production people are from Mars, Salespeople are from Uranus?" Hey, I've got it, "A Production Person's New Year's Resolutions!" Okay, they're my resolutions, but most are generic enough:
1. "I will learn all the functions of my audio software." It's so easy to learn what it takes to just get by, as feature-ridden as DAW software is these days, but when I started working with ProTools at KidStar, I realized that the more I knew, the quicker the work got done. It almost became an obsession among the producers there to find "THE move" that no one else had found, the perfect shortcut to a basic task on the software. Now that I'm back with Session 8 and the acquired SAW, I'm trying to dig in and learn at least one new move a day, not only to improve my own work, but to share what I learn with the other producers.
2. "I will practice my voice work." Sure, like my mouth doesn't get enough of a workout in the prod room every day! Actually, it doesn't. There are days that go by when I voice nothing all day. Some days I only record others and put everything together. Worse, while my own voice doesn't always get the workout it needs, my character voices are couch potatoes by comparison, only coming out for holiday sales or the occasional Morning Show routine. To really be a master in this life, a writer writes, an artist paints, a voice talent TALKS. I've been writing up a list of all the characters I do with the idea of taking some time each day to go through the list and practice each one, even if I just read the paper aloud in each voice (including my own) in a variety of emotional styles. I'm also working on a list of characters I don't do, but who could come in handy, for example, there's a certain voice that will still be in demand for at least the next four years, one I never learned in the first four. I intend to record Mr. Perot and really work on the voice....
3. "I will take time to really develop my free-lance business." I mean more than having the business cards printed! Yes, the days are busy. Yes, I'm fried at night. Yes, I've already spent hours in front of recording equipment. Yes, yes, YES!!! Why even try? Because a dream will always be just that, unless I put forth the effort to make it real (my wife would add that the other reason to try is all that damn equipment I just HAD to have...).
4. "I will become more organized." I'm envious of the people I know who write everything down and then go back and refer to their to do lists, who don't have clutter or even so much as tidy piles on their desks, who always know the date when they write a check because they've checked their calendar at least fourteen times a day. The closest word to "Organized" a person might use in describing me is "Chaos." Knowing that, this is probably the Hindenburg of resolutions for me, but as many of my anal friends have pointed out, I would have more time to work on those other resolutions if I'd get my poop in a group (I might even be writing this column before deadline day!). I suppose I could start by replacing the '92 calendar in my DayRunner...now where did I put that?
Darn it! This doesn't seem to be going very well either, does it? I suppose I have to face facts. I just won't have a column in this issue! I'd still like to take a moment and wish you everything you want and deserve in the coming year. As my friend (and former boss at KidStar) Klem Daniels recently pointed out to me: it's not called "Another Year," it's "New Year," a new beginning, a new chance, a new shot at everything you want out of life. I hope you get it. And I hope I get eleven new ideas for a column....