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Continue Reading January 18, 2019 at 4:37 pm Leave a comment

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!

August 22, 2013 at 3:40 am Leave a comment

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!

February 21, 2013 at 11:11 pm Leave a comment

Casting Call for San Diego Moms

Are you a FUN and UPBEAT mom who loves to save money? Would you like to participate in a shopping challenge that may be featured in a local commercial for a national retailer?

I’m looking for REAL MOMS (no actors) ages 28-45 in the SAN DIEGO AREA.

If interested, please submit the following information to mediamelanie@gmail.com with “CASTING” in the subject line:

  1. Name, age, kids/ages, city, occupation (or former occupation if unemployed), phone number and email address
  2. List the three stores you shop at most for groceries, household items, health & beauty, etc.
  3. Include a recent photo

If you fit the criteria, I will contact you to set-up a day/time to create a short casting video.

There will be multiple shoot dates throughout the year.

Please pass this along to your mom friends & family: https://www.facebook.com/notes/media-melanie/casting-call-for-san-diego-moms/10151385637207667

 

Image 

January 10, 2013 at 12:31 am 1 comment

Social Media Contests and Giveaways

I’ve Been Feeling Lucky!

I’m a sucker for contests and giveaways, especially when they involve social media. When I was a kid I used to win grocery store raffles, event prizes and all kinds of random things – bikes, TVs, a video camera, savings bonds… For awhile I thought I had “used up” my lucky streak, but now I’m feeling it again and am just waiting for my next big win.

Not only do I enter to win a number of different online contests, but also I manage and promote them for my clients as part of my social media consulting services. Facebook giveaways and Pinterest contests are great way to grow “likes” and engage fans online. With the right tools and marketing strategy, a social media contest can work wonders for a company or brand!

I recently created a “Contests & Giveaways” Pinterest board to share some of these giveaways with my friends/followers. It’s a great way to put all of my entries into one spot for easy access, especially since many contests allow for daily entry by somehow engaging with the website or blog sponsoring the giveaway. For instance, if you tweet about a contest each day you can sometimes earn extra entries. Being a new mom (check out my Mama Melanie blog), the majority of the contests and giveaways that I enter are baby-related.

My Pinterest Board

My Chance to Win $1 Million?

But then there are the “big dogs.” I heard about the Lay’s Potato Chips “Do Us A Flavor” contest on a TV commercial in July and then saw it gain momentum online.

This contest is the ultimate crowd-sourcing activity, a method of turning consumers into brand advocates. In this case, Lay’s is inviting America to craft their own original potato chip flavors for a chance to win $1,000,000 OR 1% of the potato chip sales generated from the winning flavor over the period of one year. Entrants will be judged on (a) 30% Original and creative; (b) 30% Simple, straightforward and fun; (c) 40% Potential for delicious flavor for LAY’S potato chips. 

Chef Michael Simon and Eva Longoria are the faces of the contest

The three Finalist Flavors as selected by Lay’s judges will be developed and produced as a limited time offering on or around February 10, 2013. America will then vote for the winner using an “I’d Eat That” button instead of the traditional “Like” button on Facebook. In addition to the grand prize, 2 runners-up will win $50,000 each; there are also daily winners during the contest period who will receive $50 each.

I immediately took to Facebook to start creating my own original flavors

Lay’s (known as “Walker’s” in other countries), ran the same contest in other countries. Some of the past winning flavors include: Pickled Cucumber in Serbia, Caesar-salad-flavored chips in Australia and sausage-flavored chips in Poland.

“Builder’s Breakfast” was the winner in the UK version of the contest

The submission period ends on October 6th and the winner will be announced around January 15, 2013. For more information on the contest, read the official “Rules and Regulations” or visit the “Do Us A Flavor” App on Facebook.

What flavors have you created? Share them in the comments below!

September 5, 2012 at 10:03 pm Leave a comment

Adding a Basic Twitter Feed to your Website

Establishing a full-circle social media presence is so important in today’s digital age.  One of the key elements in achieving this goal is to incorporate social media widgets and sharing tools directly onto your website.  Your website should be the hub of your online presence with your social media profiles acting as branches extending from this central location.

Image from: Social Media Vision

Why add a Twitter feed to your website?  

First, you get more bang for your social media buck.  Website visitors will see what your most recent tweets are about and then, in turn, will follow you on Twitter simply by clicking on the widget – this is a simple way to gain followers.  Second, the Twitter feed will keep your website content fresh even if you haven’t updated it recently.  Chances are that you’ve Tweeted more recently than you’ve updated your website, so this tactic will keep your website visitors up-to-date with your social media activity all in one place.  Finally, adding a Twitter feed to your website shows that you are up with the times.  When a current or perspective client is visiting your website, they will be confident that you are “with it” and utilizing tools to make it easier to interact with your company or brand.

To generate the code to embed a Twitter feed on your website, follow these simple steps:

  1. Visit http://twitter.com/about/resources while logged into your Twitter profile

  2. Click on “Widgets” and then on Widgets for “My Website”

  3. Click on “Profile Widget” to get a Twitter feed

  4. Click on each of the following to customize your new widget

    • Settings
    • Preferences
    • Appearance
    • Dimensions 
  5. “Test” the code to make sure you are happy with the appearance and then “Finish and Grab Code” to finalize the widget

  6. Embed the code into your website or Blogger profile (utilize your web designer if you run into any issues)

To see how a Twitter widget looks on a website, please visit MediaMelanie.com

If you have any questions, please contact me today!

My next blog will cover adding a Facebook Like Box to your website…stay tuned!

December 28, 2011 at 9:05 pm Leave a comment

Yelp’s Review Filter

As you may (or may not) know, Yelp has something called “Filtered Reviews.”  If you’ve ever written a review for a business and then noticed that it didn’t get posted to their page, it’s considered a filtered review.  If you aren’t a trusted reviewer then your review will not be readily visible to other Yelp users.  Kind of disappointing isn’t it?

On their March 18, 2010 blog, Yelp posted information about this process.

Here are 5 important things to understand about the review filter:

1. Reviews that reflect perfectly legitimate experiences are sometimes filtered out by the review filter’s algorithmic processes. We agree this can be frustrating, but it’s the high cost we accept to avoid being a lassez-faire review site that people stop using. Everyone loses when that happens

2. Reviews are never “deleted” by the review filter; they are always shown on users’ profile pages. The review filter simply syndicates established users’ reviews from their user pages onto business pages. This automated process sometimes creates the perception that reviews are being deleted and re-added over time; what’s actually happening is users are becoming more-or-less established over time.

3. The best word of mouth is organic and unsolicited. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, Yelp discourages business owners from asking people to write reviews about their businesses. It’s tough for an algorithm to tell the difference between a business owner aggressively putting a laptop in front of a client and saying, “Give me 5 stars!” and that same business owner flipping the laptop around and manufacturing a fake 5-star review about themselves.

4. We’re purposely not elaborate about all the variables that go into defining an “established” user, because it’s a Catch-22: the more descriptive we are about what makes an established user, the less effective our filter is at fighting shills and malicious content.

5. Both positive and negative reviews can be affected. This is to protect Car Mechanic A from Car Mechanic B’s writing of malicious 1-star reviews about his competitor. It also protects someone with a toothache from being lured into the wrong dentist’s office based on 25 fake 5-star reviews he wrote himself.

Tips to Become an Established Yelp Reviewer

There are a few things you can do to enhance your Yelp credibility and hopefully have your reviews become visible.  The most important thing to keep in mind is that the more you use Yelp and interact with other users, the more likely your reviews will be trusted and in turn posted.  Start with these simple solutions:

  • Upload a profile photo
  • Add personal information to your profile
  • Create a custom Yelp URL
  • Review at least 3 businesses
  • Add friends on Yelp
  • Follow other reviewers
  • Send other reviewers compliments
  • Mark other user reviews as “Funny,” “Cool” or “Useful”

Managing Your Business Yelp Profile

If you’re a business owner who is discouraged by the amount of filtered reviews that don’t show up on your business page, you aren’t alone.  It’s important to remember that the quality of those reviewing your business is sometimes more important than the review itself.  Having more reviews can help your Yelp ranking so you can stand out from the competition.  There are also a few ways you can enhance  Yelp visibility for your business:

  • Claim your business profile (it’s free)
  • Address any negative reviews in a positive way
  • Interact with those who review your business
  • Offer a Yelp Deal
If you need help managing your Yelp account or other Social Media profiles, please contact me today for a complimentary consultation.

September 1, 2011 at 9:14 pm 2 comments

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