Studio Production A3
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or subtitled, “The Rough Side of Community Television Production”
After you have finished your courses and you have become certified as a community producer, you are able to reserve the studio for small blocks of time so that you can tape your shows inside the studio. Ask all your questions, regarding time slot , equipment etc, before you get started. It helps if the corporation that you are volunteering at has an updated manual with instructions, rules, regulations and guidelines. You can refer back to the manual and make sure everything in your production is in tip top shape.
Pre-Production and Studio Behavior
You need to know what you are taping, and all the details. Arrange ahead of time, with your guests, talent, audiences so that everyone knows location, times, and any other details that they need to know. When you have guests, talent, audiences, you should make it easy for them by giving them directions, and all studio details that they need to know before they arrive. (Some corporations have security desks, guards, etc, and the people you are inviting need to have photograph identification to get into the building or to get into the parking lots).
Release Forms, Permission Forms and Responsibility
If you are having children or teens, anyone under legal age in your productions, make sure they have a parent or legal guardian with them (or the proper signed release forms with them. Personally, I would not have children on any of my productions unless they were accompanied by parents or guardians. But this is just a personal preference. You decide on your own productions, what your standards or guidelines are. And though legally, the parents or guardians are responsible for the children, you have to remember that you, the Executive Producer, are still responsible to see that all equipment, cameras, cables etc, are handled with care, and not handled by anyone that is not a certified studio producer. Now, while this all might sound complicated, or at times scary, don’t worry. You can begin productions, when you first start by inviting only adults, and inviting people that you know. Make your first productions easy on yourself, since you are a brand new producer.
Who’s In Charge Here?
Now, who exactly is ‘in charge’ of the production as it goes on air, and behind the scenes? This is different with each production and with each producer. Some producers like to be the host of the show but don’t like to do any behind-the-scenes work or pre-production. Other producers like to be the host and the director -even though they are not in the control room. Nothing is really written in stone, except that as the Executive Producer, you have the main responsibility, and possibly a lot of the work. And the work is easier when you have co-producers or assistant producers that are reliable, professional, on-time, and serious about television production.
Do You Need Help In The Studio?
Sometimes help is of no help if they are not paying attention, or if they are of the mind that they are at a party instead of being at a television production. We’ve seen them all, all types in the studios and in the field. There are producers that will come in and sit behind the control desk and use that time to catch up on their personal business. There are others that will sit there, and right in the middle of ‘on air’ , are playing with their own cellular phones or talking with uninvited guests in the control room. In over 20 years of production, volunteer production, we’ve seen and heard it all. We’ve heard things said in the control room that were not supposed to be heard by the Executive Producer or by others , simply because someone didn’t turn the microphones or headsets off . Yes, this happens.
In The Control Room – BE In The Control Room!
So, bottom line is this, if you are in the control room, or if you are in the studio, be a professional even if you are not getting paid to be there. Don’t play around in the studio. There are playgrounds and parties for that. Nobody expects you to be ‘on your own time’ if you are in the control room or if you are in the studio . That doesn’t work well for productions.
Does The Shoe Fit?
Do you know any ‘helper’ producers that use production time as their own personal time? Do you know helper producers that arrive late, or others that literally just hang out and hang around the control room while other producers are trying to concentrate on the production and work on the production? Do you know helpers that invite ‘uninvited’ people, guests or other producers into your production while the program is ‘on air’ ?
Silly Questions or Stark Reality?
If it is your job to work at the Tri-caster computer or at the control desk, do you permit unauthorized people to come into the control room during production to handle the equipment, or to use the computer while another producer is using the studio and control room for their production?
To the newcomer, these questions might seem ridiculous. However, after you have used the studios and control rooms for over 20 years, you will learn that these are good questions and they need to be addressed before the things happen and things will happen! Now, it’s not as bad as it sounds. For the most part, most people are professional and most people are polite, and most people will put your television production before their personal life. It is just a handful, just one or two in your decades of experience that might need re-training, or perhaps polite instructions.
Not To Worry
While I have posed some questions and statements that might appear to be about the possible negative sides of community television production, usually, it’s more good than bad. So, don’t let any of this convince you to not enter into the field of community television production. Venture out into this exciting, interesting world. You will be glad that you did. All you need to know is that the same individuals that are out on the street are the very same individuals that you’ll meet inside the studios, personality-wise. So, while you need to be professional, don’t leave your ‘street-smarts’ outside the doors of the corporation building.
You Can Still Have Fun
As you maintain your production as a professional production, you can still have a comfortable atmosphere during your production. Smile, be polite, be professional, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you . Spread and share kindness, that goes a long way. Just keep the party out of the control room and out of the studio area. If you want to have a party, do that afterwards, not during the production.
After A Few Productions, You’ll Learn
That’s right. After doing a number of productions, you will have learned which producers are helpful, and which producers are there to take up space, or which are there just because they have to be there. You want producers that are there because they see a need to produce television in a serious and professional manner and they go to it.
The Bottom Line
You will learn as you go along. You’ll learn about the personalities of the volunteer producers, about the studio preferences of producers, about how producers handle helping out, whether professionally or not, but you will learn. Time will tell.
One of the best ways you can learn is by watching community television . Watch entire shows, from beginning to end. Watch the credits. Listen to the productions, and then check the credits to see which producers are working on that production.
Some productions won’t have credits. That is an Executive Producer personal preference. You do not have to have credits. That’s up to you.
This is community television, that means there are no sponsors, no advertisers to complain to about the production. While you can make complaints to the corporation heads, you still are in complete charge of your production regarding – censorship.
Nobody can censor what you put in or on your show (within legal guidelines of course). Ans that’s just the thing that makes community television good and bad. If you want someone to just sit there for 20 minutes to recite the alphabet or read the dictionary, and you are the Executive Producer, you can do that. Other than legal guidelines or rules and regulations, there is no censorship , not supposed to be any censorship in community television.
No, you can not bring a wild tiger into the studio; no you can not bring drugs or alcohol into the studio.
That’s common sense, but other than things like that, this production is totally yours – as the Executive Producer. You can still air wild tigers and other wild animals, you’ll just have to produce the video as a field/remote video.
A good book about VIDEO BASICS is by Zettl (Book is VIDEO BASICS) . This book covers all the technical stuff , mixers, switching and Post production Editing, Microphone, Lights, Microphones, and Video Cameras. You name it , it’s probably in this book.
Questions, comments and constructive criticism welcomed in the comments section.
Though that’s not the end of this discussion / topic, this is the end of this article. Check back to read the next article in this series about Community Television Production.