10-5-2020 Hector Perez - 3 minute read
We were recently nominated for a Chicago/Midwest Emmy award. One of the most frequently asked questions I get from students and colleagues is ‘How do I make my programs competitive ready?” Throughout my career, I’ve been nominated 20 times and have won 6 Emmys. In all those entries, I have used a formula that I was taught in school and that I’m happy to share with you. Content + Creativity + Execution = Production Value. This equation seems easy enough to understand but at times, a producer may only focus on part of these values. If you want to have your work compete with others, you must always be asking yourself and your team, “How can I
make my content better?”, “Am I presenting my content in a highly creative way? And finally, on the technical side in the execution of your project, “How outstanding was the camera work, the editing, special effects, the audio, music selection and narration of the final product? I’ve found this formula to be useful not only in documentary work but also in TV commercials. Always try to improve in the formula values of this equation and you’ll be a successful producer. It’s not so much about winning awards as it is about doing your best.
9-11-2020 Hector Perez - 3 minute read
Looking Beyond Today
Being a business person, I know how demanding the day-to-day operations of a business can be. At times, these duties can consume all your time. But what I tell students and other business owners is to make time to look beyond today. I’ve always have loved gardening. You put a seed in the ground… you water it, and it grows. That same concept applies to business. Ideas are your seeds. And if you want to grow your business, you have to plant those ideas to see if they’ll grow. The word that you hear being tossed around by business consultants is to be able to ‘Pivot’. Here they are referring to the ability to take your business in a different direction, adapting to any situation. Here at Rocket, we are focusing on adding more services such as 2-D and 3-D animation and expanding more into Podcasting. Of course, we will continue to produce documentaries and TV commercials for our clients. But because of all the COVID concerns, some clients are postponing their projects. With our 4K cinema camera rentals down 80% in April, we knew we had to ‘pivot’. By looking beyond today, we were able to expand our motion graphic services into a new space of animation. That move has already paid off with 2-D projects for the Illinois Census and the Chicago Board of Elections. Now is the perfect time to rethink and grow your business… ‘Pivot’.
8-24-2020 Hector Perez - 2 minute read
Green screens offer the film maker an opportunity to choose a background after the initial recording. I’ve had situations where I had to record interviews in a large conference room with the only prop being a conference table. By green screening these interviews I was able to add backgrounds at post. This might sound easy at first, but if your chromakey isn’t set up right, it can turn to be a nightmare during your edit. In setting up for a chromakey, there are few factors that I want to share with you. First is to separate the talent as much as you can from the green screen. You don’t want any green color bouncing back onto the talent. Second is to light your green screen as evenly as possible. In the field, I recommend using two LED lights on your green screen, crisscrossing their pattern, a trick taught to me by the late founder of the Film and Tape Works, Jim Mahoney. Third, backlight your talent. You need to create a feel of separation when your adding your background. And lastly, shoot at the highest resolution that you can. I shoot all our chromakey interview scenes at 4K at 30 or 60 frames per second. You will also want as much depth of field as possible to keep your subject sharp allowing the key to cut better. The last advice I have is to bring along hair spray. The hardest thing to key is unruly hair.
8/11/2020 Hector Perez - 2 minute read
Working with Passion
In our field of marketing and production, I feel the most important element that you can offer your clients is the passion that you bring to the project. The excitement that you bring to projects goes beyond the ability to perform the work. To me, passion shows a willingness to go beyond the expected. Clients are always looking for that “Added Value” in selecting the right company to help them grow. You may not have the most experience of your competition or the downtown Michigan Avenue address or many other factors that clients use in selecting a marketing or production company but where you can level the playing field is in the energy, the excitement… the passion that you bring to your work. I believe ‘passion’ has been my added value since I began my career. When I’m asked by students, how can you stay positive, passionate all the time, I tell them just to practice smiling. With or without clients, be passionate, be passionate about your work, be passionate about life. In our field, attitude goes a long way. When I hire crew, my decision is based on a person’s passion for his/her job. I personally will always choose the passion of an individual over their experience. I remember Oprah Winfrey once saying, “Passion is energy.” It’s up to you to bring your special energy to every project that you work on because when you work with passion, you’re working at your best.
8/5/2020 Hector Perez - 2 minute read
What is creativity? As the creative director for Rocket Productions, I’m often asked this question. Everyone wants to know if ‘creativity’ is something that you can learn or study. My answer usually surprises students and colleagues. To me, creativity comes from the mental state of not knowing. Too many times, when we think we are being creative, we are simply going back to what worked well before in the past. And if you are a director, that going back to what you did before becomes your style. There is a lot to be said for experience, but experience can keep you from doing something differently, especially if you experienced success in the way you do things. What I have learned over my career, is that running a successful campaign one year will not guarantee your success the second year even if you apply the same creativity to the project. I can’t thank enough my advertising professor Bob Higgins who taught me to think differently… to think new. When we were children, it was all about seeing something new and exciting and that sparked creativity in us. Here at Rocket, we offer a service called ‘Concept Development’. To me it’s the best part of my job. It allows me to be creative… to be kidlike and allow the ideas to flow. So, when I’m asked “What is creativity”, I answer, “creativity is the enthusiasm to see something differently”.
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