Category Archives: Ray’s Expertise

THE KTLA MORNING NEWS JULY 8, 1991

This week we celebrate the 29th anniversary of the (original) KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles – the Barbara-Carlos-Mark-Sam version was the highest-rated local morning program in TV history! This show provided me with so many life-long friends, a treasure trove of memories and videos, it brought me a mantle full of Emmy Awards and it bought me my first house and half a dozen cars! A few years ago, I wrote a book about my phenomenal experiences starting up the KTLA Morning News…Like No One’s Watching – Transform Your Local Newscast Into A Hit TV Show!  On the off-chance that you haven’t read it, I’m posting the first chapter here – all about the little show that  became a monster hit – completely by accident! Continue reading THE KTLA MORNING NEWS JULY 8, 1991

WHAT BRITNEY CAN TEACH NEWS DIRECTORS!

-CLOSE-UPS CREATE A CONNECTION-

Let me ask you a question. What is it about Britney Spears that transformed her into a legendary superstar?

Is it her voice?

Maybe.

Is it her catchy, heavily produced pop tracks?

Possibly.

Is it because she’s hot and jumps off the TV screen in every one of her music videos and TV appearances?

Continue reading WHAT BRITNEY CAN TEACH NEWS DIRECTORS!

THIS IS HOW YOU DIRECT “LIVE” TV!

It’s absolutely essential that I point out to you moments on “live” TV that totally “nailed it” – when all the pieces come together to make an amazing TV moment. The clip I’m presenting today, which I would have given anything to have produced, I’ve watched dozens of times, examining every nuance that makes it so powerful. And I urge you to watch every frame again and again. This is how a director, a producer (to a lesser extend here), and the on-air players come together to create an amazing, incredible, emotional moment. Watch first, then I’ll dissect. Continue reading THIS IS HOW YOU DIRECT “LIVE” TV!

PERSONALITIES THAT POP

With Asha Blake on the set of World News Now

There came a time in my career when I began to recognize that I excel in two areas of TV news – the first is in finding, mentoring, and producing personalities. I’m not referring to newsreaders or prompter-jockeys, but true personalities. In addition to the The KTLA Morning News team, I’ve been fortunate to have worked alongside some of the best news personalities in television. Continue reading PERSONALITIES THAT POP

HYSTERICAL PRESS JUNKET HIJINKS!

With Stephanie Schuler at the launch of the TVG Network.

Doing press junkets can be very tricky for reporters. On one hand, you’ve got a celebrity who has been answering the same questions, over and over again, for every local TV station from Los Angeles to Schenectady. (S)he’s bored and (s)he’s cranky and (s)he’s often judgmental in his/her crankiness. Next there’s the overprotective publicists. They want to ensure you ask questions only about the movie and not about the star’s personal life.  They hover right over you, just off camera, during your carefully timed five-minute-and-not-one-second-longer interview. Any deviation from the plan and the publicist shuts down the shoot.  And finally, there’s you… waiting your turn for over an hour, jet lagged from the red eye arrival and the early morning screening of the film. You’re just hoping you look decent for your cutaways, praying you ask questions that make some semblance of sense, and hoping they’re fresh and different from all the bigger-name TV news royalty waiting ahead of you in the green room. Thus are the trappings of a blockbuster hundred-million dollar movie studio junket. Continue reading HYSTERICAL PRESS JUNKET HIJINKS!

A “MUST COVER” IN YOUR NEWSCAST!

—CODE 1000’S CAN BE CREATIVE!—

We call it a “Code 1000”. It’s a mention upper management wants you to include in your newscast.  It might be a charity event the station is sponsoring that they want you to shoot and mention in a :30 voice-over at 11pm.  Or maybe  they want you to promote a free flu shot giveaway the station’s part of at the Walgreens down the street. Or it could be something as obvious as promoting a Cheers marathon happening this weekend now that the station has bought the syndication rights to the sitcom. Continue reading A “MUST COVER” IN YOUR NEWSCAST!

MEGYN’S COLD TRUTH

NBC’s recent firing of Megyn Kelly was no surprise to those of us who know how to “read” TV News talent. Megyn was incredibly successful on her Fox News Channel program. That show appealed to men, most of them over 60, who were looking for right-leaning pundits hoping to pick political fights with their foes. That’s the essence of Sean Hannity‘s little bully program and the format fit Megyn nicely because she’s better looking than Hannity. In that format, Megyn Kelly shined.  But there’s a problem. Continue reading MEGYN’S COLD TRUTH

MY LIFE-ALTERING SHOOT

A year or so ago, I released a book about a TV producing experience that dramatically altered the direction of my life. It involves a woman who has become a very good friend of mine, British medium/clairvoyant Lisa Williams. I discovered Lisa quite by accident when I was searching for characters for reality shows I was producing. It is an understatement to say that Lisa “blew my mind”.  Along with her jaw-dropping psychic abilities, she was a made-for-TV talent. Breathtaking on screen. When I shot her pilot in Manhattan, she’d never done any on-camera work before, but her warmth and genuine authenticity grabbed viewers through the camera and didn’t let them go. Continue reading MY LIFE-ALTERING SHOOT

RAISING THE BAR

As you move through your TV career – or any career for that matter, it’s important to determine where you set the bar for yourself – despite where the bar is set for the place you work – which will always be lower. I’ve compiled this list of “rules” that I’ve sort of adopted through the years and made my own. Take what works for you and throw the rest aside.

1 – KNOW WHAT YOU STAND FOR

Continue reading RAISING THE BAR