This past weekend, Reel Media Group held it’s first Sports Broadcasting workshop of 2016. My favorite moment came from one of our attendees (who by the way has a big future in this business) who asked this question, “How do I get my producer to not ignore my ideas?”
Here’s the reality: Welcome to broadcasting. Everyone thinks they have great ideas and no one can understand why they don’t get Emmy’s thrown at them for their innovative thoughts. Here’s another reality, you must learn to stop listening to your ego. This applies to much more then idea creation, but for the sake of this discussion, we’ll only focus on that aspect.
This is your ego telling you that you know how to produce better content then everyone else in the room. Step back for a moment and look around. Do you respect the people you work with? Do you think what you end up collaborating on together has been worthwhile or something better then that? If the answer to both of those questions is yes then consider for a moment that those people you work with believe their ideas are equally as strong as yours and maybe they think that their ideas should be taken more seriously by you.
Furthermore, the higher you travel in this business, the more people will be sitting in those planning meetings. All of them believe they got there not only because of their specific talents that they bring to the broadcast, but because their ideas are the ones that will make a difference.
It’s easy for us on air people to think we have the answers. And because we are the ones became the voice and face of the broadcast, we can easily slip into a pattern of self importance. Ego is a drug and in broadcasting you can overdose on it easily.
I was an anchor on Sportscenter, inarguably the most iconic sports program of it’s kind. Quite possibly, Sportscenter will go down as one of the 10 greatest TV programs ever created. Being the face of the version I hosted was a privilege but it also provided career validation. I made it. I made it on my work ethic, my skill and yes my ideas. But there were so many days I left the show and was angry that I felt like MY ideas weren’t incorporated into the show. I took this personally. How could they not listen to ME! Fortunately, I was not the type of person who made this a public issue with my show unit. But I took it home with me, stewed in it. It was my ego telling me they should be paying more attention to ME. Yet, I loved my co-acnhor, loved the producers and our group in general. I rarely had any real objection to anyone else’s ideas. But deep down, I thought secretly, I know and they know that my ideas are better. And I could only rationalize why they weren’t being implemented more. And all of those made up reasons were feeding my ego.
Learn to enjoy the process of collaboration. As you can see, idea creation and acceptance is only one of a million different issues that can separate, not unify a show unit. The object is to have everyone feeling as if they are contributing because when everyone is invested and egos are left outside the workplace, the magic of great content just occurs.
In this regard, when someone else has an idea that maybe you were thinking at the time is OK, but mine was better and the end result was something everyone liked, make sure you let the producer or whoever came up with it know how great their idea was. When you feel like you aren’t being heard, often the reaction is to shun the people whose ideas were used. Don’t be that person. Be inclusive. Let them know how great the execution was. Because next time when you come up with an idea that they like, there will be no part of them that will feel like their ego is threatened by you. They’ll be more likely to say, I like that, lets do that.
Now there was one aspect of this question that was troubling. The person who asked about ideas being “ignored” said that some of her ideas were being used, but that she wasn’t the on air talent being asked to execute them. This is troublesome and deserves further inquiry.
There are two possible things at play:
- The producer prefers a different on air talent. You need to find this out immediately because if you aren’t being utilized in the position you are there to fill, you’ll need to move on as fast as possible. You deserve the truth so the question must be asked and not in an accusatory way because….
- So many ideas are presented all the time, the show unit forgot you came up with it. This is what I like to refer to as subconscious stealing. Honestly, the person doesn’t remember who brought this idea up or even when it came up or in some cases, thinks they thought of it themselves. Remember, there are so many minute details that go into every broadcast every day, sometimes who said what falls right through those enormous cracks. In this case, the producer might be embarrassed by this “mistake.” And if you sense that is the honest truth of the matter, laugh about it. Move on. Tell the producer you appreciate that your idea was used even if he couldn’t remember where it came from. Trust me on this, that will never happen again.
One final note on this subject: Sometimes your idea does suit a better on air talent. Learn to be OK with that. In fact, this is the ultimate sign that you are a team player and not solely out for yourself. Your ego won’t be happy about it but your spirit will and your career will advance because of it.
Later this week, I’ll discuss the other revelation from this past weekend: Focussing on what it is you want to do in broadcasting before you end up hosting something you have no interest in. You can check out a recap of the event and tips from our guest, Gerry Matalon, here on RMG’s Facebook page.
As always, I want to hear from you: Bram@reel-Reporting.com is my direct email. You can follow me on Twitter: @RealBramW
Take a listen to my podcast “Talking Heads with Bram Weinstein”, here. Our twitter feed is @TalkingHeadsBW. My co-host Marc Sterne is @MarcSterne. A pre-emptive warning: I curse a good amount in it but (and this my ego talking): the episodes are getting funnier and funnier…
(Photo Credit: Elizabeth Sagarin)