T356 - Week 9 Spring 2015
- Finish up visualization, storyboarding & blocking
- Scripts & rehearsals
- Start in on production people & unions
- PSAs. Some have been doing a wonderful job with this, others have dropped the ball. I'm scheduling timeslots this weekend. Please let me know by the end of this week if your client needs a specific time slot. We're going to wrap 10 minutes early so I can meet with the Wednesday lab about their PSA times.
- Dramatic scene pitches and proposals are due in lab this week. Will
pitch scenes & select
- Next week we'll produce the Performance Pieces
- PSAswill be produced the following
- Following 2 weeks: Dramatic Scenes, then Final Projects
Quick Notes on producing your projects:
You need accurate lighting plots and floor
just for us, but for your classmates. Nothing impresses me more
than when producers start their setup by giving someone a floor plan
and saying, "Here build this. Let me know if you have any questions."
Delegate. Take charge. Don't hesitate to ask someone to do something.
If you or your group isn't in charge, volunteer to help. These acts don't
Finishing up Visualization:
Visualization is part of the pre-production, or planning stage.
Nothing saves you more time and makes your
project better than pre-production- a.k.a. planning.
spend time thinking about your projects. The more time you spend picking
your script and shots apart before production, the smoother and quicker
it will go.
Visualize every single shot! Beethoven could write his music
entirely in his head. You can do the same thing. Imagine the first
fade up from black. What do you see? You can do this with every single
shot along with the soundtrack. Put it in writing in the form of your
script and shot sheets. If you can learn to do this you will have great
success producing your projects.
When blocking a scene - don't forget
the basics, such as establishing time and location. When in doubt
start with an interesting shot (a dolly or jib shot, a close up of a key prop, etc.) and then show us the establishing shot.
When blocking two-person exchanges OTS
(over the shoulder) shots work well. Avoid profiles.
TV is a close-up medium.
Avoid using too many long shots and medium
long shots. Use close ups and extreme close-ups to to tell your story. Try to use close-ups for key dramatic or information moments.
The Role of the Director
The Director has many roles- these aren’t clear-cut
- Artist - convey message with style
- Psychologist - get different personalities to work at their best
and as a team. Be positive & confident. Don't ridicule or blame.
- Technical Advisor - Have enough of a technical background to know
the possibilities and limitations of people and equipment.
- Coordinator - must be able to coordinate a lot of different tasks
that might not have a lot to do with each other.
The more time you spend on pre-production activities, the easier the
production phase will be. You will need to focus on the following:
Process message (objective)- What will the program
accomplish? Know your communication goals. Keep these at the forefront
at all times.
Production method - The most appropriate method of
production (live, field, multicam etc.)
Production team & communication - The producer
is responsible for organizing the team. Establish communication methods
early. (E-mail, meetings, phone numbers)
Scheduling - The producer is responsible for creating
a master production schedule. Know who needs to do what when. (Establish
artistic needs- then storyboard)
Script formats (there are many types of scripts- often you need more
than one) Students should be able to identify at least three different
scripts and describe their purpose.
- Fully scripted: includes every piece of dialog, every
single shot, VTR cues) There are different versions of these for news,
film, documentary). Here are a few examples:
- Semi-scripted: indicates only partial dialogue. The
opening and closing remarks are included. Our Studio 5 Perspectives talk
show is a good example
- Drama script: focuses on dialogue and action, not specific
camera instructions. (Link to Cybercollege example) There are some famous examples on-line at http://www.filmscriptwriting.com/samplescripts.html .
- Show format: lists only the particular show segments
(intro teaser, title sequence, welcome, on-location, roll-out bumper, etc.), Useful for producing live shows when parts have been pre-produced.
- The fact sheet or rundown sheet: performers ad-lib
based on this which resembles bullet points/list. Popular for fund drives and shopping channels.
Whatever you use, it must be clear, readable and consistent. Look at
the examples in Zettl. Students should be prepared to mark a script.
The idea is to present as much precise information with as few markings
as possible. Don't write out "Ready to roll VTR" cues. This
will only work to disassociate you with what's really going on.
Unless specified, the default transition is a cut In other words, you
never have to have the word "cut" in a script.
If possible, walk through the scene in rehearsal, marking cameras and
shot numbers with pencil.
Once finalized, your AD can mark everyone else's script.
Make a numbered shot sheet for the individual cameras. This way if you want
to delete a shot, you can refer to it by number.
For scripts used for post-production (editing) note the take number
along with the other info (E.g. timecode numbers)
Floor plan & location sketch
Make an accurate one that actually depicts the shooting location. (not
necessarily just a studio)
If you make one that is accurate, to scale and show the cameras and
talent, you ought to be able to block the production on paper.
Immediate Support Staff
Floor manager (floor director, stage manager)
- Coordinates all activities on the floor
- Oversee setup of scenery, props & displays
- Responsible for striking the set (or seeing that it gets done)
Zettl has a list of duties the floor director carries out Students should
be able to list at least 4 things on this list for the quiz.
- The AD mainly assists the director during the production phase. In
complex productions, he/she can give the director ready cues and prompt
the cameras to line up specific shots.
- The AD also is responsible for timing the segments and the entire
Sometime they will stand in for the director during rehearsal so that the
director can carefully observe the shots
- The AD should always be ready to stand in for the director
They do anything that the producer or director assigns them.
(copying scripts, getting coffee, picking up talent, getting releases
Ideally anything that goes onto tape should be rehearsed
- Script reading
- Dry Run/Blocking rehearsal
- Walk throughs
Start with a script reading. Your talent should be present along with
the producer, PA, AD, and floor director. (All key production people)
You should have a floor plan handy to help people visualize their places.
Next comes a dry run or blocking rehearsal. The idea is to work out
the basic actions of the talent. In the dry run you can:
- Work in a large room if you can't get access to the studio.
- Mark the camera positions and the major set pieces.
- You can use a camcorder to see how your elements work in the frame.
- You should run through the scenes in the order they are taped.
- Practice your cues (cue John to enter)
- Time each segment
Walk-Through – Occurs shortly before the production
Technical walk-thru (don’t need talent. Go over lighting, audio,
camera moves etc.)
Talent Walk-thru (don’t need technical personnel.
- Mark precise positions
- Go through opening lines and skip to individual cue lines
Combined walk-thru: Can combine, talent, camera & tech in any combination.
Camera rehearsal/Dress Rehearsal
Review Dramatic Scene Exercise
Production People & Personnel
Production people are often classified as either above the line or below
Zeetl views above-the-line people as non-technical (writers, producers,
directors, talent, etc.) and below-the-line people as technical (TDs,
camera operators, lighting directors, grips, electricians, etc.).
Non-technical (Above the line) Personnel (condensed
In charge of one or more programs/movies. Manages money/promotional
matters in broad strokes.
In charge of an individual production. Is responsvbile for all
people working on a particular production.
Takes charge of remote production
In charge of directing talent and technical crew.
Assists director & keeps timing. Helps "ready" shots
in a multicam production.
Refers to all performers & actors
Portray other characters
Technical (below the line) Personnel
The main tech person in charge of all others.
Runs the switcher and often serves as crew chief.
Opertaes the camera (often called videographer)
Adjusts camera CCU (shades the cameras)
Runs the CG
In charge of lighting
Review: Production People & Personnel
Production people are often classified as either above the line or below
Unions & Legal Matters: most writers, directors,
talent belong to a guild or union as do almost all below the line personnel.
Non Technical Unions
- Actor's Equity Association -
American actors and stage managers in the theatre. (Affiliated with
- AFTRA American Federation of
TV and Radio Artists. The major union for TV talent. (Affiliated with
- it recently merged with SAG
- SAG Screen Actors
Guild. The major union for screeen talent. (Affiliated with the AFL-CIO)
- SEG Screen Extras Guild. SEG no longer exists. AFTRA and SAG have
contracts to cover extras.
- AGMA American Guild
of Musical Artists. The major union for stage singers. It represents opera and concert singers, production personnel and dancers at principal opera, concert and dance companies throughout the United States.
- (Affiliated with the AFL-CIO)
- AFM American Federation of Musicians
of the US and Canada. The major union for musicians.
- DGA Directors Guild of America
- WGA Writers Guild of America
- IBEW International Brothers of
- NABET National Association
of Broadcast Employees and Technicians - A subset of the Communication
Workers of America
- IATSE International Alliance
of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators
of the US and Canada
If you work with unions you should know their rules (breaks, overtime, salaries etc.).
Floor Director Cues (from Zettl - Chapter 16)
Standby - Show about to start
Cue - Show goes on air
Half-minute - 30 seconds left in show. Can form cross with two
15 seconds - 15 seconds left in show
Cut - Stop speech or action immediately
On time - Go ahead as planned
Roll VTR (and countdown)
Speed Up - Accelerate what you are doing (You're going too slow)
Slow down - too much time left
5, (4, 3, 2, 1) minutes left until end of show
Wind up - Finish what you are doing. Come to an end.
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