Be Careful What You Ask For…

I received a call from Atlantic Television in NYC awhile back… nothing unusual, they were doing some advance work for a company in London, could I do the sound. I was free for most of their schedule, so sure, I’d be glad to help out. They told me this would be for National Geographic, but that it would be a small crew shooting a reality-style show. Nothing unusual there… but then things started happening to indicate this wouldn’t be the usual shoot. One of my students was hired as a location scout, and she was looking to build a set in a commercial space, and the number of shooting days started to climb… a lot…

I was skeptical that it would happen at all, but thanks to a number of fortunate events, the shoot was scheduled for Chattanooga (originally was going to be in Knoxville) and I was contracted to be the location mixer for not just a single show, but an entire series. I can’t disclose much… we’re shooting under a working title, which may yet change. But there will be eight initial episodes.

For our little production community here in Chattanooga, this is HUGE. We’ve never had this kind of opportunity here before, so for much of the crew, it’s a large block of work. Just speaking for myself, in three weeks I’ve already surpassed the number of shooting days for all of last year. I’m a little pooped, but any day that I can go to work is a good day.

My work area on the set. I've brought out nearly all of my gear for this shoot, and having the resources available has been handy.

And thanks to some less-than-satisfactory work by freelancers in other towns, I’ve been cleared to work on out-of-town shoots with the crew as well… their policy is to use local talent whenever possible to save money, but I’ve been given an opportunity for more work. It reinforces the idea that, as a soundperson, it’s important to be on your toes and make the extra effort whenever you can. The concept of “added value” applies well here. I do all I can to make myself as invaluable as possible on (and off) the set. Getting good, clean sound is, of course critical, but there’s always more that can be done on the set. Dressing cables, keeping detailed sound reports, making sure the talent has water, helping load, carrying cameras, helping change lenses… even sending emails suggesting good spots to eat around town… it’s all important and has helped me secure  some additional dates.

And there’s more to come. While most of the studio crew takes a break tomorrow, I’m heading out of town in the morning to shoot at Cirq in Atlanta, then the next day in Collegedale, then back in Chatt, then a date in Knoxville next week, with two more possible dates in between.

My cart rolled onto the set for taping. I'm using my Sound Devices 442 mixer paired with my Edirol R4Pro, which is serving as the master timecode source for two Sony F900 cameras. Here I'm set up for a wireless camera link, but we went to hardwires after the first day. The wireless worked fine, but since the cameras are connected via coax to the monitor cart, there wasn't any advantage

One response to “Be Careful What You Ask For…

  1. Sounds like you are having fun with this one as well! Congrats to you and your crew!

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