Production Crewing in San Diego

I love what I do. There is definitely truth to Confucius’ saying, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to see my name in “the words” as I used to call them before I knew they were actually called credits.

My wish finally came true. After spending a few years as Production Manager for a San Diego ad agency, I earned my first two official TV show credits on ESPN’s Homecoming with Rick Reilly featuring Tony Hawk, and from 4 episodes of What Not to Wear, TLC’s longest running primetime series and one of the longest running makeover shows in television history.

One of my production credits from Season 8 of "What Not to Wear." The show's final episode airs in October 2013.

One of my production credits from Season 8 of “What Not to Wear.” The show’s final episode airs in October 2013.

Since then, I’ve started my own Social Media & Web Marketing business and have worked as a freelancer on a number of TV commercials, promos, web videos, a documentary, and am currently part of an Effie Award-Winning campaign as the Field Producer (and Casting) for Walmart’s TV commercials in San Diego (The Effies are the advertising equivalent of the Oscars to motion pictures). Click here to watch one of the compilation videos on Walmart’s YouTube channel.

Click on the photo to watch these compilation videos on Walmart's YouTube channel.

Earlier this summer, the San Diego Film Commission closed its doors. While I am by no means equipped to offer anywhere near the scope of services that the 38-year old organization (who will be dearly missed) did, I can still alleviate some of the burden on productions coming to shoot in San Diego. When you hire Media Melanie to crew a production, you’re getting the piece of mind that comes with the knowledge of an experienced producer with extensive local contacts for equipment rentals, crew services, casting, and more.

I’ve worn many hats in the production arena:

  • Media Traffic Coordinator
  • Production Assistant (PA)
  • Wardrobe Assistant
  • Office PA
  • Production Coordinator
  • Production Manager
  • Casting Producer
  • Field Producer
  • Producer

One of the things that all of these roles have in common is knowing who to call for what. Need a jib? I’ve got you covered! What about a camera package? Exceptional DP? Editor? Hair & Make-up Artist? Wardrobe? Eager PAs? Craft Services? You name it, I will make it happen.

Interested in learning more? Contact me today!

Shopping for Flooring in a Sequin Dress

While watching daytime TV today waiting to see the commercial I just produced, I couldn’t help but notice what the talent was wearing on a local business’ ad. If you look closely at the photo below, you’ll see a handful of young people adorned in some very interesting outfits. It made me wonder who was behind the choice of wardrobe. If I had to guess, I’d say the client.

A good TV producer should always provide input on wardrobe when shooting a commercial.

Shopping for flooring in a sequin dress.

Wardrobe Matters

I’ve worked in the TV production industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve had quite a bit of experience with wardrobe. When I worked as Production Manager at a San Diego ad agency, one of my duties was purchasing wardrobe for talent. A couple of years later, I was a freelance Wardrobe Assistant on a McDonald’s commercial, and have since dealt with wardrobe on various spots I’ve produced. While I may not be the most stylish person in my own wardrobe choices, I know what looks good on camera. The strapless striped dress, sequin dress, formal dress with a big pink bow, and the other outfits pictured above are the opposite of what I would have chosen. I wonder if other people watching the same ad had a similar reaction, because my first and immediate thought when the commercial came on TV was, “Seriously? They are really wearing that?”

Image vs. Authenticity

When making a TV commercial, it’s important to tell an authentic story while also maintaining the right image, whether that image is classy, casual, family oriented, value driven, or whatever. I have a few theories as to why the business chose the talent and wardrobe they did for this particular commercial.

Perhaps they wanted to reach a high-end demographic. If that was the case, they should have used older talent who potential customers can relate to, and then in turn dressed them in clothing that they would actually wear when shopping for flooring (MAYBE a notch above that). That being said, they should also consider a different media buy because this commercial aired during a pretty trashy daytime talk show that I wouldn’t normally watch.

Maybe the business wanted to showcase family in the commercial to promote family values. I get that! But putting them in clothing more appropriate in church or at a school dance doesn’t really make sense. Dressing up is always fun and it has its place, but not in this particular TV commercial.

A Keen Eye

This commercial wasn’t very high-budget, so there was probably no wardrobe supervisor or stylist to purchase wardrobe options ahead of time. I’m wondering who gave the talent wardrobe guidelines (my guess is the client) and who was responsible for letting them go on camera this way (ultimately everyone on set). I would think that the hair and make-up person would have said something to someone, or at least the Director and/or Producer could have suggested a quick trip home to change clothes or to Target to buy some casual options. Or perhaps everybody thought it was just fine, which is the most alarming scenario.

When I work on a commercial, I always ask the talent to bring options with them. It never hurts. Or, on higher-budget jobs, there’s a wardrobe person or stylist who is responsible for purchasing plenty of appropriate options. Either way, there should always be at least one set of eyes on every little detail, ESPECIALLY wardrobe, before saying ACTION! A good TV producer should always provide input on wardrobe when shooting a commercial. There is a way to find compromise with what the client wants and what will produce a quality finished product. It’s all about how you say it!

Speaking of wardrobe picks, there’s the whole “Wardrobe Malfunction” category with TV in general…YIKES! I’m not even going there…but you can read about it here. Have you noticed any commercials with a ridiculous choice of wardrobe? Or am I the only one paying attention to things like this? Tell me!

Need professional video production services for your business, please contact Media Melanie today!

HBO vs. Showtime

The past few years have given way to exceptional premium television programming, creating fierce competition between networks.  From HBO’s early success with The Sopranos to Showtime’s hit show Weeds, premium networks are exceeding the expectations of viewers by utilizing well-known writers and actors and consistently delivering quality new programs.

Fortunately for them, this trend makes it much easier for cable subscribers to rationalize the extra monthly add-on to their bill in this wavering economy.  I’m guilty of cutting back in other areas but unable to give up my premium TV channels.  TV is clearly a huge priority in my life; I like to consider it “professional development” for my TV and film production career.  Great rationalization!

At the 2011 Golden Globes, HBO easily beat Showtime in nominations and awards.  Showtime wasn’t far behind with nominations for United States of Tara, Dexter, Nurse Jackie and The Big C.  But HBO won ‘Best Television Series – Drama’ for Boardwalk Empire, claiming victory over Showtime’s Dexter.  Boardwalk also earned ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama’ for Steve Buscemi, again beating Dexter‘s Michael C. Hall.  Showtime came through with a win for ‘Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical’ for Laura Linney’s role in The Big C (one of my favorites).  Congratulations, Laura!

Despite HBO’s commanding presence at the Golden Globes and my liking of “Boardwalk,” Showtime still dominates my DVR.  Here’s why:

Shameless with William H. Macy – This new series is CRAZY and entertaining from start to finish.  I was a fan in the first 5 minutes of the pilot.  “Shameless” is one of my favorite new TV shows (tied with Ancient Aliens on The History Channel).  Hats off to William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum whose fiery characters keep the plot rolling.  I’m not normally a Macy fan ,but his extreme alcoholism and insane antics make for an endearing train wreck.

Weeds with Mary-Louise Parker – This show has come a long way since suburban Agrestic in season 1.  No longer the simple pot-dealing mom, Nancy Botwin has had more ups-and-downs than most soap opera characters.  Even with it’s unrealistic plot lines and occasionally lackluster episodes, Weeds still has a hold on my heart.   It helps that Hunter Parrish is easy on the eyes.  Season 7 will be back in 2011 and I can’t wait!

(Hunter Parrish)

Dexter with Michael C. Hall – While many fans were disappointed with the season 5 finale, I enjoyed the season as a whole and was delighted to see Julia Stiles join the cast.  Sidenote:  I don’t think she had anything to do with breaking-up the marriage of Hall and his wife/on-screen sister Jennifer Carpenter. My question is:  Will season 6 be the end for vigilante serial killer Dexter Morgan?  I hope not.

United States of Tara with Toni Collette – This Emmy award-winning show Executive Produced by Steven Spielberg sheds a hilarious light on mental illness.  Collette’s character Tara Gregson lives with Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder).  WOW.  Props to Collette for playing different roles throughout each episode – she is amazing.  I also adore her on-screen husband Max Gregson (played by John Corbett), he’s easy on the eyes in rugged teddy bear kind of way. Apparently I value good looking men on my shows.

(John Corbett, image from Showtime)

The Big C with Laura Linney – Who knew that cancer could be so funny?  Linney has a knack for turning the malignant into the laughable.  Her character Cathy Jamison is a complete bitch who you can’t help but love.  The first season was bittersweet but ballsy with a lot of “Did she really just do that?” kind of moments. Gabourey Sidibe and Oliver Platt round out the exceptional cast.  Catch up with this one on-demand before the next season!

Showtime isn’t perfect though; the latest season of Californication is lackluster and new series Episodes with Matt Leblanc didn’t make the cut on my DVR.  Friends constantly remind me that I’m missing out on HBO favorites like Big Love, True Blood and Entourage, but for some reason I prefer the dysfunctional/drug-ridden/serial killer/mentally ill/diseased plots that Showtime does so well (don’t judge).

With 5 favorite shows on Showtime and only 1 on HBO, (Boardwalk Empire,) I choose Showtime.  Where do you stand?

Media Melanie is a marketing consultant in San Diego, specializing in Social Media & TV Production. Visit mediamelanie.com to learn more! @mediamelanie on Twitter & Media Melanie on Facebook.

Social Media and Dog Adoptions – My Pledge to Make a Difference

I love social media and have made it a big part of my life by starting my business, Media Melanie.  I also love dogs!  These are my two rescues, Paco and Maya:

Paco is almost 2 years old and was rescued from Second Chance Dog Rescue of San Diego; he was a Mexican street dog from Tijuana.  Maya is about 4 years old and was adopted from the San Diego Humane Society; I have no idea how she ended up there, but I’m glad she ended up with me.  They are both a huge part of my life and I wish I could adopt (a lot) more, but I don’t have the ability to do so at the moment.   Henceforth:

Love for Social Media + Love for Dogs = Promoting Adoptable Dogs (not adopting more dogs)

The past few weeks I’ve casually posted links to adoptable dogs on my Facebook and Twitter profiles.  My heart fluttered today when I noticed that a Shiba Inu I had grown fond of and longed to adopt myself finally found a home. It may or may not have had anything to do with my social media efforts, but either way I’m happy and overjoyed when adorable dogs like him are adopted.  Since I can’t adopt them myself, I’m promising to be a voice for them by promoting them on Facebook and Twitter as often as I can, in hopes that I can help them find a good home.  Here are links to successful social media/adoption campaigns:

http://social-media-optimization.com/2010/10/successful-pet-adoption-drive-campaign-on-facebook/

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2010-12-03/story/social-media-used-drive-pet-adoption-jacksonville

What Can You Do?

Please follow me on Twitter @mediamelanie, “Like” me on Facebook and subscribe to my blog on WordPress. When you  notice that I’m posting about a dog who needs a home, please RT (retweet) the post or share it with your friends.  It’s that simple.  A little bit of social media love goes a long way.  Sharing is caring!

A TV Show in my Future?  Let’s Make it Happen!

One of my role models is Shelly Bookwalter from the show “Last Chance Highway” on Animal Planet. Check out videos of Shelly here! Shelly works with Kyle Peterson, owner of P.E.T.S. Animal Rescue Road Trips.

Together they have allowed for tens of thousands of dogs (and cats) to be saved from high rate kill shelters.  Awesome. I wish I had the resources to do what they do.  BUT…

With my love of social media and dogs as well as my experience in TV production, I’m ultimately dreaming of getting my own TV show where I go down to the streets of Tijuana, rescue dogs and find them homes.  How amazing would that be?  All I need is a little bit of support:

  • Resources to provide a safe and loving location to house the dogs until I find them homes
  • A strategic partnership with an existing dog rescue, foster program or organization (think Cesar Millan)
  • An investor to fund a pilot episode
  • Some really awesome volunteers and animal enthusiasts

Please spread the word to help my dream come true and also to make a difference in the lives of dogs.  After all, dogs don’t have a voice of their own.  Feel free to add to the idea and comment on this blog, I’d love to hear what you think.

Melanie Kellogg

“Media Melanie”

Who is Media Melanie?

Media Melanie is a freelance Media & Marketing Specialist based out of San Diego, CA.  Areas of expertise include:

  • TV & Film Production
  • Media Buying
  • Social Media
  • Ad Sales
  • Copywriting
  • Email Blasts
  • Promotions
  • Event Planning

Media Melanie has years of experience in a variety of professional settings that include an ad agency, a corporate marketing office and on-set at multiple TV and video shoots including TLC’s “What Not to Wear.”  Media Melanie is also a published freelance writer who contributed to multiple issues of Modern Fix Magazine. 

The most recent educational milestone for Media Melanie was in 2008 when she received a “Media Marketing Specialist” certificate from San Diego State University’s College of Extended Studies; she also earned a BA in Communications (cum laude) in 2002. 

For a full professional profile please visit Linked In and also keep up with Media Melanie updates on Facebook and Twitter!

Size Does Matter

Size does matter. These days the size of your friend list on Facebook, followers on Twitter and network on LinkedIn can make you or break your role or position in any field or social circle.  Is your cable package big enough?  Do you have the premium stations to watch that hyped-up series on HBO like the rest of your friends?  Those with basic cable and local stations are dwindling, especially with the downfall of analog TV to full digital and DVR. What’s the average amount of video content you consume in a month between Hulu, YouTube, NetFlix, OnDemand or even ads at the gas pump? Good luck measuring. Unless you are one of the few and proud who has sworn off social media, refused to get a cell phone or still protest an email address – you know exactly what I mean. Personal media consumption is growing at an uncontrollable rate. 

   

If the size of the proverbial boat matters, then so shouldn’t the “motion in the ocean.” Society is increasingly driven by and motivated towards media outlets.  If you’re pushing out content then make sure it’s relevent and worthwhile to those your push it to. Nobody wants to be inundated with more junk in their online trunk. When offering a product or service try to consider how your next status update will be viewed by your customers or clients. Conversely, take in quality content to increase your knowledge base.  So the next time you post a status update or tweet a thought please try to make it matter – the Internet seems infinite but that doesn’t mean it needs more clutter; make it a “resource” not a “regress.”