First off, I have been extremely busy traveling and shooting, which has let me to neglect my blog but my new goal is to post at least 4 times a week. I will discuss my trip in Paris tomorrow or later in the week but first I want to discuss the project I was working on most recently this last week a reality show about real estate. This job was a last minute hire when discussing the job with the producer (who turned out to be the production coordinator more on that later). I explained in the price they were paying they would get 2 wireless 3 channel mixer and boom. I explained to them for most reality shows a 4 channel mixer and 3 wireless should be used since there is normally more than two talent on camera at any given time. She explained to me that this was simple shoot and the 3 channel package was enough. I asked her if I could speak with the producer and she said she was. So I show up at the job and find out that we are covering 5-7 people with two camera and they want to know how I am going to do this I explained that they needed a 2nd sound person and I really needed a 3rd wireless and my 4 channel mixer. When they told me what they wanted to pay for a 2nd sound person I told them it was to low for me to call anyone I knew.
Fortunately the 1st day was mostly sitdown interviews with all the talent so i was able to handle it. About midway through the day they tell me that they found a sound person at there price willing to work as a local who was from out of town with a 3 channel package just like mine. When they told me this I knew it was going to be a interesting 2nd day of shooting.
Day 2: I go out with my crew to shoot a bunch of short quick scenes with each talent talking on the phone. All these scenes took place inside or outdoors in very quiet locations. The producer told me that we had to move fast so I told him, “I can boom each of these 5 scene easily and we can save time because I won’t have to lav the talent I explained to him that it would take me 3-5min to lav each of the talent and that it doesn’t matter if we are shooting for 15 min or 15 hours to get the lav to sound correct and be hidden. He bit my head off and told me, “We must lav everyone all the time no exceptions!!!!” So I did even though the Boom sounded better for everyone of those scenes and will be used. I don’t understand why people won’t let me do my job the way I wanna do it. I know when I can boom a shoot correctly and when I cannot. So after these scene we meet up with the 2nd crew and I meet the other “Sound Person” and it gets interesting.
The second I saw the other sound guy I knew it was going to be a long day. He was 18 right out of high-school and had never done any sound outside of a news studio before and had the following equipment package:
3 Sony ECM hardwired lav’s
1 Azden shotgun microphone
So we set up for this complicated table scene I tell the producer that I can cover the whole table with the boom pole and it will be easier if the other sound guy just takes a break. He then responses :” I don’t believe you can” I respond it is a scripted scene as long as they don’t go off script I can. So after the producer talked they made me lav half of the table and then complained when I couldn’t hide the Sony ECM lav’s as well as my Countryman EMW. We shot the scene and I covered it all successfully with the boom. The rest of the day was an uphill battle with me trying to make up for the other sound guys shortcomings. That evening at dinner the producers complained to me about him and I told them they got what they paid for. What I really wanted to tell them was I told you so.
I just don’t understand producers and production companies sometimes. They had planned this shoot out in advance but didn’t bother to try and book me till 1 week before. Why do companies always think good sound will just come naturally? Why do producers think that a lav is the only way to get good sound? I am hired to be a sound mixer let me do my job correctly and get you the best possible sound and stop making my job more difficult than it needs to be. I often think “Why don’t I become a producer?” I know I can do it better!