Sep 12, 2017

Quiet on the Set

Anyone who had the privilege to vote in the 1960 election remembers when the tide changed for Kennedy, a relatively unknown senator at the time. It happened during the very first televised presidential debate, where Nixon came off sickly and sweaty while Kennedy was calm, cool, and collected.

Later interviews would prove why: Kennedy prepped for the debate by reviewing his notes, tanning, and napping. As for Nixon, he had a stint at the hospital prior to show time and in some ways never recovered.

At Pixl, we take Kennedy’s methods for success to heart. And Nixon’s lessons learned are our lessons learned. No need to repeat history. So, when our clients get ready for a shoot, we can advise them accordingly.

Aside from the basic safety rules on set—don’t run, don’t move equipment, don’t do your own stunts—we have a few must-do’s to keep the talent working at peak performance. Take a look at these:

1. Makeup. We live in a world of HD, super wattage lights, and sparse sets. Makeup is your friend. We promise. And don’t worry, gentlemen, this isn’t a lifetime commitment. It’s so that no matter your tanning and napping schedule, you can be Kennedy and not Nixon.

2. Tempo. Adrenaline is good when you’re racing cars and whatnot; it’s bad when you’re racing through your script. Human speech tends to pick up when you’re nervous, so we advise that people practice: in front of the mirror, in their car, in the shower. Memorization isn’t always mandatory for a shoot, but with enough practice it’s a welcome side effect.

3. Wardrobe. Kennedy and Nixon were in black and white. You, on the other hand, won’t be. In the era of the green screen, flattering clothes do not happen by accident. You have to pay attention to pattern (no stripes!), contrast, color, and shape. It’s important to know that cameras handle high contrast poorly. Stay away from pairing color extremes, even as it relates to your skin tone. Remember reds and oranges tend to glow, unless they have earthy undertones. Busy patterns, like houndstooth, can dance on video and become distracting. Collars are good. Well-tailored clothes are good. Layers are good. Follow these rules and wear something that reflects your message, and you’ll be good.

4. Whereabouts. Of course we’ve got you covered as it relates to the shoot—framing, angles, lighting, check! But when you’re waiting in the wings, you still have a job to do. Always know where the camera is pointing and be aware when it’s filming. If you aren’t scripted to speak, don’t. Make sure your phone is on silent. Just sit back (preferably somewhere inconspicuous and out of traffic lanes) and watch camera magic happen. Ask not what your director can do for you, ask what you can do for your director.

In the end, Pixl will always be there to help guide you through the production process. It’s what we do. We’re like your campaign manager, and our only goal is that you win in a landslide.