When it comes to working on long term remote gigs, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration before loading your car or plane. Steve Weiss, Production Sound Mixer of 30 plus years is beginning the reboot of Magnum P.I. in Hawaii and has tips for others that have opportunities like this. Steve Weiss has a way of bringing a clean tight mix to any production which ultimately ends up with less ADR.
Filming Sound in Hawaii
I have never been to Hawaii yet, but it is definitely on the bucket list. From what I hear, the seclusion and beauty calms the soul. It must be incredible to film there, however, it must be incredibly difficult as well. The location is plentiful with beaches and scenic outdoor locations gonna film in the beauty of the island – and productions shoot there to physically show this beauty. You will not be filming on stages very much when filming in Hawaii.
There is no doubt that filming in Hawaii will mean filming in the water (Rain Man products are your friend here). You will need boom operators that are comfortable being in the water or sitting with a driver on a wave rider. Now if the water in the ocean isn’t enough, it will most definitely rain all the time (and without warning). Being prepared for all these elements can be challenging. The simple items, like Pop-Up Tents and Bag-Its are great for quick rain protection when things get dicey.
Prepping for Long Term Remote Gigs
There is huge preparation you will need to do before placing your equipment on an ocean container. There needs to be an organizational process like no other, and there needs to be a list with all serial numbers and photos of everything that will go on the freight container. If there is ever an insurance claim that needs to be filed because of a sinking ship you have documentation. Have copies of this documentation with you as well as with your equipment as it ships.
Steve brings up a great thing when it comes to working on remote gigs. You need backups for everything. “Get 2 of everything as a backup” sounds silly and expensive, until you get to you location and notice you need more of something because the shooting parameters changed. This is also true of cables. You will want multiples so you can switch out at a moment’s notice without thinking twice. Then, if you get your Sound Utility Technician to watch our Soldering 101 Course, they can fix it for you and get it back in arsenal rather than sending things in for repair.
When it comes to housing, production will help you with a hotel, or allow for a housing allowance. Steve’s recommendation is to opt for furnished home (even if it costs a little more) which allows your to live a little more comfortably.
Besides the housing allowance, per diem is also something you will want to negotiate. It is there for every day essentials that you need to re-purchase and accumulate because you are not in your own home.
All of these things are part of the negotiation process. It isn’t just service and gear. There are no hard fast rules to negotiating, and it is always better to play slow and steady and negotiate. Always be negotiating, like Blas Kisic says in our Being Better Business Savvy course. All business is personal and great relationships are made along the way during your career – not all at once. Remember, with 10-20 loyal working clients, you will be working all the time!
One important thing to remember is not to fall out of people’s loops if you are on a long term show. Follow up with people and send thank you notes to let people know you are thinking of them. Make your connections and continue to build build build.