It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was just waking up from a nap, one of my favorite weekend activities. Rubbing my eyes, I looked at my phone and noticed I had a missed call, a voicemail and a text from my boss. Not knowing what to expect, I immediately called her back and quickly learned that, for the next few days, we would be preparing to handle a live feed production centered around the most powerful man in the free world: President Barack Obama. In an ever-changing field, media professionals are always learning, but the importance of detail, communication, teamwork and client/customer service never became more apparent to me than when I was organizing a live feed of the President of the United States’ address to General Electric employees in Waukesha, WI.
At eMedia Studios & Services, we aim for perfection, but this was a production where we couldn’t miss anything or overlook a single detail. Our list of normal live feed essentials was checked, double-checked and triple-checked, but this production was far from normal. As the week went on, our list grew. From pre-production through post-production, it’s important to consider every facet, and be prepared for anything, and everything, that could possibly happen. Despite early mornings and late evenings, the crew had to effectively communicate to keep our attention to detail at an all-time high.
If there’s anything I’ve learned that has helped me the most in my career, it’s that no one should ever be shy. If I hadn’t fully learned and accepted this idea in the past, it fully sunk in during this production. As a young professional, I often ponder when the appropriate time is to offer insight, ask a question or provide feedback. As long as we listen as much as we speak, and manners are present, the answer is “always.” During the preparation for President Obama’s speech, it was vital that all lines of communication be kept open. We were working with United States government personnel, the White House Press Corps and corporate General Electric employees, so this was certainly not the time to be shy. A successful production of any kind includes hours of discussion, brainstorming and strategy by an experienced and dedicated team because, in the end, nothing beats experience.
Besides the fact that the eMedia team is immensely dedicated and passionate about its work, some of my finest coworkers are those with years of experience. I consider myself lucky to be confident in any crew I organize. During the Presidential live feed production, our veteran broadcast engineer and talented videographer displayed endless knowledge and pristine customer and client services, while the entire department provided invaluable support. It was their knowledge that really carried the day, and helped the entire production staff keep cool and ensure a smooth, well-planned event.
Throughout the days leading up the President’s visit, it became very clear how important it is to practice top-notch client and customer service skills, no matter how high-stress the situation or how tired the staff might be. Our team, and our clients, were on site until the late hours of the evening and arrived on the day of production before four a.m. Through all this, our experience was still enjoyable. We viewed our work as a grand opportunity to showcase our capabilities, and wanted our clients to remember the experience just as we would – successful and fun. Never underestimate the value of a good memory.
In the end, after the long days, sleepless nights and the consummate planning, the entire live feed production came out a complete success. GE employees across the country watched our live feed and heard the President’s message loud and clear, and we were pleased that everything came together perfectly. Though the important preparation factors shined a little more brightly throughout this particular production, they hold true through every project we handle. As media production professionals, if we can view a production as a whole by paying attention to detail, thoroughly communicating, practicing sincere teamwork and providing an enjoyable experience for our clients and customers, our jobs (and our clients’) can be successful and fulfilling.