Creating Successful Sundays – NASCAR Style Preparation

To the average viewer this last Sunday was a normal day. From a production standpoint we had a few errors. It is always my practice to review the issues on Monday and see what we can do in the future to prevent these types of issues. Sometimes these issues are hardware failures or operator mistakes that are going to happen and are hard to prevent. Sunday we had one of each. I really don’t loose any sleep over them. The ones that bother me are the ones that could have been prevented with some preparation. We also had a few of these this weekend.

Now some of them we could have not really foreseen, but hind sight is 20/20. Let me give you an example. A mic cue was missed. Being that I have mixed many services, I know that errors happen. Sometimes you get distracted with muting some channels and you forget the open up the next mic. Now being that I understand the error, I know that it can be helped by the producer reminding the audio team of what is coming up. This Sunday I was bothered when I reminded the audio team of the next mic cue and even let the engineer know what mic was being used. When the cue didn’t happen I was a little hot under the collar. After the service I debriefed with the Audio Engineer and found out that the cue was missed due the host using a mic that was on the praise team VCA that was muted. This is not the a normal mic we would use at that point in the service, and lead to the A1 missing the cue and taking a second to find the issue. Oddly enough this mic was used because we were out of 9V batteries. Such a simple thing can lead to preventable errors.

In my past, I raced cars and spent much time studying NASCAR crews and their processes. If you have ever walked through the pits during a race weekend you would see about 5 sheets of paper taped to the cars. Almost all of the teams have long checklists with everything that needs to be completed on the car before the race. I would bet that these lists started much shorter and have grown from experiences such as I had this weekend. I think that it is time to start a Sunday checklist that can be used in preparation during the week and on Sunday mornings. As we all know mistakes are made, we just need to make sure that we learn to prevent them the first time.

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