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Meet Our Production Team: Q&A w/ Producers

by WireBuzz, on Jul 19, 2021 12:04:45 PM

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a video shoot? You might expect a handful or more team members running in the background making sure the lighting is perfect, the camera is set up straight, the interviewee’s hair is laid perfectly. What you might not know is that the whole shoot—the camera and lighting, and the planning is organized and performed by one or two people. 

Our production team at WireBuzz produces high-end video content that helps our clients hack their prospects' attention by appealing to the modern remote buyer, and ultimately, increasing their ROI.. Our intrepid intern Alexa Williams is here to help you get to know our three producers and learn about their experiences working behind the scenes with WireBuzz.

Alexa Williams: How long have you been on the WireBuzz team, and what brought you here to WireBuzz?

Alicia Longo: I've been with WireBuzz for almost two and a half years now. I finished my master's at Arizona State University and had the opportunity to work on a food show that was airing on Arizona PBS. It was really fun, and I loved it, but all seasons eventually come to an end. I applied to a bunch of companies, and low and behold, I only heard back from one—WireBuzz. Immediately when I walked into the office, I knew that this was the job for me. I could just feel the good energy.

Weslie Swift: The position I'm currently in at WireBuzz was recommended to me on LinkedIn. I investigated the job more, and it seemed like something I had done in the past, which I absolutely loved, so I was really excited about it. I was very fortunate to have what they were looking for, and I started working here in December 2020.

Christina Romero: I've been working at WireBuzz for about seven years now. I started off working as a content manager. I knew that I wanted to go more into the digital space, so when I saw the position, I got excited. I started out doing Breast Cancer Answers, which is a breast cancer initiative. It was our passion project. We worked with Genomic Health at that time. And, as we started learning more about video at WireBuzz, the role of video producer kind of evolved and buttoned up our process.

AW: What does a day on set look like for you and how do you stay organized on a shoot day?

AL: I like to get up at least a few hours early prior to call time to get the crew their coffee or tea, their breakfast, and review my questions if it's an interview shoot. 

CR: A typical shoot day always includes setting up two to three hours before we start rolling.

WS: A lot of the organization takes place beforehand when it comes to shoots so you know exactly what's going to happen and when. 

AL: Once we get to set, it's really all about managing the client and making sure that the director and freelancers have time to set up the set. 

WS: I talk with them. Make sure they're comfortable. Make sure they're aware of what we're doing, etc. A shoot can take four hours or 10 or 12 hours. It just depends on what we need to get.

CR: If our client or talent is there on set, we will debrief them about what to expect during the day and get everyone prepped. Talent goes into hair and makeup, and we make sure the set looks great. We double check all the framing that we have, and usually if we're doing interviews, I run the interview. 

AL: Before you know it, the day's over and we're taking down stuff and rushing to the airport. We have a great time on set, because we have an awesome crew and awesome clients. When it’s over, I actually feel sort of sad.                       

AW: Do you have any specific time management tactics that you use while on a shoot?

CR: To keep us on track, we put together a call sheet. This helps us stay organized and it's basically the schedule of the day. It helps me man when they need to arrive on set, when they need to be done with hair and makeup, or anything like that. 

AL: I cannot procrastinate. I must be on top of it, or I will drop the ball. I just know this about myself. So, if I know that I have a shoot coming up next month, I'm not waiting until two weeks before to find a sound guy or find a freelancer. 

WS: I make a lot of to-do lists. I'm a very big list person and that helps me stay on track of things so I can prioritize what needs to get done that day and what can be saved for the next day. 

AW: Do you think it's easy to go over budget on a shoot or has it ever happened to you?

WS: Budget is something that you must keep an eye on throughout the whole project. It's obviously easier to go over than under a lot of the time.

AL: Usually before we get to that point, we've already had conversations about what we can do to stay on budget. You usually won't go over budget as long as you've had the right conversations at the right time.

AW: How long, on average, does it take to set up a shoot while traveling?

CR: It normally takes about one to four hours just based on the type of shoot we have that day.

WS: I’d say it takes at least an hour to set up a shoot, but it could take hours if you want something super-nice and finessed.

AL: Sometimes we have access to where we're going to be filming the night before, so we can go there, set everything up, and then all we need to do the next morning is turn on some lights and make some final adjustments.

AW: How have you adjusted from in-person to virtual during COVID-19?

AL: I still travelled during the pandemic because I felt comfortable doing that. There were some clients who were uncomfortable with in-person interaction, so we had some of our shoots in a virtual setting.

WS: I started with WireBuzz in December of 2020, so they had already been virtual. I have found it interesting doing virtual remote interviews. That's something that I hadn't really done before while working in television. 

CR: Most of my projects ended up shifting to 2D animation and didn't need to be in person. We could use voiceover, but still communicate our messaging through graphics.

AW: What is your advice for a student aspiring to pursue media production out of college?

AL: Don't turn down any opportunities. Get all the experience that you can. Even if it makes you nervous, take those chances.

WS: Experience is very important. I went to school to do media and production, and while I did learn a lot there, I learned the most through my internships and working in the field. You can learn the theories and you can learn the ins and outs of cameras and lighting, but until you apply it, you're not really learning it.

CR: Try out every part of the process so you can recognize your skillset and realize your strengths. If you're good at organizing and delegating, I think a video producer role would be perfect for you. If you want to be more creative and conceptual, a creative director would be a better role for you.  

AW: If you were hiring new team members, what qualities would you look for? 

AL: I value communication and follow through. Even if you're not able to do something, ask for help. 

WS: WireBuzz loves to emphasize “OKGs” (our kind of girl or our kind of guy). What that means is somebody who is upbeat, fun, nice, and can make anybody feel comfortable. That's huge. Also, hard workers. 

CR: Sometimes the schedule exceeds eight to five, especially when you're on set or doing a shoot, so definitely someone who is driven and willing to put in the work. 

WS: Innovation is super big here, so I’d also look for people who are willing to think about things differently. 

AW: Finally, what has been your favorite memory with the WireBuzz team?

AL: When White Castle first opened in Arizona, we were all still working in the main office. It was 8:30 in the morning and our CEO Todd said, “I think we should get some White Castle.” So, at 9 a.m., I stood in line for an hour to buy 50 burgers. Then Jordan Herelle and I had an eating contest, and we tied at eight burgers each. I documented the whole thing on WireBuzz social; it was hilarious.

WS: There was a day early in my time with WireBuzz when we were moving from the major office to the smaller office and there were just a few of us in there packing up. It was so much fun getting to know the team and learning all the memories that this company had. That was really cool.

CR: I worked with a breast cancer survivor on a three-day video shoot. She never really talked about her experience, but she needed to do it for one of the testimonials that we were doing for one of our clients. Interviewing her was a very therapeutic session for her. I feel like I got so close to her over those three days. It was amazing to see her before the interview and after the shoot was wrapped. It was like she gained her confidence.


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