In my last post, I noted a few of the highlights from the closed door session on Thursday evening for us “Repeat Offenders.” The main event started this morning at 8:30 AM. We registered as we came through the door. A real treat was that this year we got to meet Dan’s 12 year old daughter Sarah, who helped check us in as we came through the door.
Sarah also found a place in the spotlight a bit later in the day, which I’ll mention in more detail in a moment.
The first main session was called “Your Station Imaging Blueprint”. Candidly, I had very low expectations for this session because I don’t write or produce station imaging; though I am the image voice for a few radio stations around the country. It turned out to be more valuable than I thought, because there was a lot of interesting ideas about ways to approach copy-writing. And I’m convinced that as we learn to write better, we get better at voice-over work.
Following this 3 hour session, we took a lunch break and one of my fellow repeat offenders, Steve Scellick came by our lunch table asking for donations of a dollar for Sarah (Dan’s daughter) who wasn’t being paid for her work. We all laughed and kicked in a buck. Then someone, I think it was Steve Cummings, mentioned the idea of writing a promo based on some of what we had just learned in Dan’s session, and using that as the way to present our little gift to Sarah. At that, Steve, Steve and I left for the main conference room to start writing. Here is the script we created:
An injustice has been uncovered. A wrong that must be righted. Somewhere in Southern California lives a young lady, (we’ll call her, uh, Sarah) trapped into a life of uncompensated servitude. Like any 12-year-old, she wants a new iPod. Fortunately, also in Southern California, a group of charitable souls hae gathered to help overcome this sad circumstance, to the tune of $39.00. To make the presentation on behalf of these charitable souls, here is Steve Scellick.
I was appointed the reader of this copy, and it worked out perfectly, because the first session after lunch was a half-hour set aside so that people who had written something based on our morning session. I waited until several others had gone first with their serious attempts at writing and then stood and walked to the back of the room. When it came my turn, I read the piece. We all got a great laugh out of the deal and Sarah got $39 toward her new iPod. It was great fun.
The afternoon then continued with a session called StorySelling. It was a decent review of the nuts and bolts of how to use stories to create effective radio advertisements. For me, it was the least valuable of the day’s sessions. That was a bit of a surprise, because I expected to get a lot from this one and very little from the first session and it turned out to be just the reverse.
The day ended with a panel discussion featuring 4 people (3 men, 1 woman) who used to work full-time in radio and now work full-time as voice-over people. A number of valuable insights and experiences were shared. The most valuable, from my point of view, was offered jointly by Ann DeWig and Steve Morris. They were talking about dealing with a director who gives a line-reading. Ann commented that this nearly always happens only when the director/producer doesn’t know what he or she really wants, so he or she resorts to a line reading. Steve mentioned that after he’s given a line-reading, he’ll often take a very humble approach and ask to help understanding exactly what they’re looking for. Are there any words that might help illustrate the idea.
Dick also mentioned, related to transitioning to being in business for oneself, that we need to take a serious approach to the business side of things. He recommended a book called “The Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Business Plan.”