Jamming With Jim Cramer

Triton Digital
January 4, 2012
Radio: The Social Media
January 12, 2012

Jamming With Jim Cramer

I’ve had the good fortune to direct some inspiring celebrity talent throughout my career, from plucky pitchmen like Fran Tarkenton and Richard Simmons to accomplished actors like Leonard Nimoy and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

Perhaps the most fun I ever had was directing two, 90-minute sessions with CNBC’s Jim Cramer, recording commercials for his financial advice website at TheStreet.com.

We entered each of the sessions with three commercials to record.  As is my practice, I like to steer the talent through a variety of inflections on virtually every line.

So, “I love ice cream” could become……..

  • I looooooooove ice cream!
  • I – LOVE – ice cream.
  • I……………love ice cream.

…..or countless other variations.  Except I didn’t really get the chance to do this with Cramer.  Because he did it first.  He’d read a line and instantly put his index finger up to stop me from commenting because he had another inflection he wanted to record.  After a half-dozen different takes, he’d look up at me and we’d improvise a few more.

When I returned to our studios with the full set of tracks, our Production Director had everything he needed to mix-and-match versions to craft copy from wild-and-crazy to the sophisticated educator.  All of these became variables worthy of testing – and sure enough – one version of the read performed better than the others.

Cramer and I created copy variations on-the-fly, trading licks like two guitarists in concert.  Not every voice talent is this willing to bend, twist and vocally contort.  And I can tell you there is a direct cause-and-effect in the profitability of campaigns where the voice talent is always ready to lay down another take.

Jim Cramer’s years of experience, injecting entertainment into what was once stiff and stale subject matter, have honed his instincts to play the delivery many ways.  Many on-camera celebrities won’t bring that into the studio.  But there’s real value, in every session, in asking the talent if there’s a way they’d like to read the script that hasn’t yet been recorded.  Often times, those are the best takes that deliver the best results.

Mark Lipsky is the President and CEO of The Radio Agency. Please follow The Radio Agency’s Blog “Sounding Board” by subscribing to the email or RSS links above.Visit our website TheRadioAgency.com