TV session troubles again....

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by jaywalker, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. jaywalker

    jaywalker Member

    May 11, 2007
    Last month I posted a thread about a TV job I've got coming up, here's something new and I would be gratefull for any feedback.

    After looking at my board the musical director said he didn't trust it and that I should use something more professional like a zoom ar line 6....:jo

    Based on the fact that he has no experience with guitars or effects I told him where to stick his line 6.

    We have now been asked to pre-record the tracks (as a back-up) just in case MY board goes down (no chance of that, all cables are new and I've never had a single dropout in 25 years of playing).

    I suspect the real reason is that they want to pre-record is to esentially play it back on TV, as backing tracks.
    This is against my personal ethics, last time I was forced to mime on TV I took some duct tape and covered my mouth with it as well as my hands to make a point (didn't get my money for the gig, but made the headlines).

    Does anybody here think this is an unreasonable request?
    This prejudice is based on the MD's lack of REAL experience with real bands, and he certainly knows very little about effects.

    Any seasoned TV guys out there who have some good arguments/examples?

    If so, thanks as always.
  2. jhumber

    jhumber Member

    Aug 15, 2007
    To be honest, it sounds like you're kinda ungrateful for a line of work that most people here would give their left arm for. You're getting to make a living out of playing guitar. Accept that. Also accept that as a guitarist, you're a very small cog in the bigger wheel, and the TV producer probably doesnt care about your guitar sounds anywhere near the level you do.

    My advice: suck it up, stop seeing negatives, and be grateful you're making a living on your instrument.

    From the session work I've done in the past, I can tell you that pleasing the producer is the most important thing there. You might have the best chops and tone in the world, but if they a) don't like your attitude or b) don't like what you lay down on tape, you probably won't get a call back.

    Out if interest: did you ever get hired again by the people who hired you when you taped up your mouth and hands?
  3. skylabfilmpop

    skylabfilmpop Silver Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2006
    Unfortunately Jon if you want to keep doing sideman gigs you have to defer to the MD. Jerk, Twit or whatever, hes still your boss and ironically you'd think a musician would be laid back but the norm is for the MD's authority to be absolute on the verge of draconian. Do two things. First get a multi effect thing, TC makes one that doesn't totally suck, and then get your pedalboard built professionally, or do it yourself so it looks like it came from CAE or Racksystems, put it in a roadcase so it doesn't get damaged in transit, and in showing up with it looking super pro, no one will question it. The pre record thing sucks, but the reality is likely that the show can't handle the live sound or the logistics of setting up for a band. Pre recording is pretty common, I'd say I have seen it 90% of the time on TV from Saturday Night Live to iconic artists at say the superbowl. I know some of the artists personally and know they are synching because they told me, a couple of them are some of the biggest best players in the world. It does suck but what you are really doing is promoting the band/record etc. Put that in perspective and enjoy playing at club gigs and festivals and come to terms with the TV appearance being what it is. Or give your MD my number, I am an experienced Los angeles based player with an EU work permit and a pro rig that I can have rockit cargo pick up in the morning, and there's about a hundred more guys behind me.....
  4. jaywalker

    jaywalker Member

    May 11, 2007
    Thanks guys, I know it may seem I'm being a git, but not really. My board works perfectly and sounds like it should, it's just that the MD has no experience. Nobody round this neck of the woods uses/can afford effects so I understand his fears.

    I refuse point blank to mime/lip sink, I'm part of the honesty code movement and have spent two years working on a campaign for correct labeling of live TV broadcasts and concert tickets so as not to decieve ticket buyers when it comes to lip syncing. I'm the founder of the project in this country (Slovakia) and have achieved results already (small smilley type faces stating wether something is live or mimed on live TV)

    The people from the taped mouth show had no choice but to hire me again as I'm the only one who can get the job done to the required extent round here, and they actually helped with the anti-mime campaign using their own footage as a strong argument against miming, It actually helped them.

    With this project they think my face/playing can help ratings a lot, but its stupid for them to dictate conditions based on what a theatre MD thinks of my board. My board doesn't look bad at all (when I clean it:)), it's just BIG as hell.

    The MD called(30 mins ago) after watching a few of the soundcheck tapes and seems to have come around to a logical way of thinking, but it's still the principle that is at stake.
    I'm the arranger/band leader and if I say I need my board then that's the way it is. The MD is more of a run time/tech director who says which song get's played where.

    Anyway, enough grumbling, I will be posting a daily blog of the show (running live for 2 months twice a week), will post links here to for those interested in the battle! I need a ton of old 80's effects for the show so it's already looking pretty cool in terms of retro pedals!!
  5. dc_jcm800

    dc_jcm800 Member

    Oct 4, 2006
    Large cruise line shows on ship all have backing tracks, in case of failure or mistakes. It does not matter how good you are, think you are, how good your equipment is, or how many fans you have. A production company has one goal only, to provide an entertaining product as perfect as possible.
    I have also done professional broadway touring company shows. Same deal,they have a sequenced track just in case.
    I had one MD on my case just because I didn't have a volume pedal. A volume pedal! He didn't know any better, but I brought one in and never used it. He demanded great chops and respect as well.All said and done, I have been working for this guy off and on for the last 10 yrs.

    Personally, I would be happy to be on TV. Your fans and friends know who you are.
  6. jaywalker

    jaywalker Member

    May 11, 2007
    Thanks, I understand the producer's arguments. I myself produce shows for various stations, however the emphasis is on live music, warts and all.
    Backup is one thing, but miming is another. even if my amp went down I have an AB to a sim FOH. That has happened before and nobody even batted an eyelid. Not even the bass player!

    We've since agreed to sequence some keyboard parts; as that's where any potential problems may ocour moreso than with the guitars.

    I'm going live.

    I won.

    If this were a little charity show recorded during the day I wouldn't have minded the rest of the guys miming. I can't though.
    We are going live to 20 million people Febuary 24th. That kind of show is a producers nightmare, but also the end of my career if I mime.

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