Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Essentials in Community Access Television - Lesson Eight, Television Production

Everyone comes to television school with their own ideas about what they want to learn and what they want to do with their education. You need to decide before you enroll - which choices will benefit you the most. Make educated choices and then you will be able to achieve your goals in life. Before you enroll for courses in television production, you need to decide if you want to take the studio or the remote/field course. And before you decide that, you need to figure out what kinds of shows do you want to produce.

Weekly, Monthly or Specials? Do you want to produce only specials or do you want to produce a weekly or monthly show? This is what you decide first. If you want to have a weekly show, you might do best by taking both the studio and remote class. By doing that, you safeguard your upcoming weekly show and you are always prepared with tapes for future shows. As a beginner it is hard to produce a weekly show. (This requires researching, getting guests, talent, hosts and co-hosts and possibly audiences. And imagine doing this for a show every single week? So, if you decide that you want a weekly or monthly show, you will help yourself by applying for both the studio and the remote/field television production classes.

Field and Studio Shows: : By being certified as both remote and studio producer, you can do your shows in the studio and you can always do some field shows to fill in the rest of the weekly shows. I've done that for a number of years. I tape some studio shows and then tape lots of field shows. By doing this I am able to keep a regular weekly show on the air. Honestly, if I had been certified for only studio shows, I most likely would not be able to maintain a weekly show (only because my personal life has been extremely busy last year and this year, so my field shows always come to the rescue). So, take my advice, if you like and if you are serious about having a weekly or monthly show, be certified in both studio and in field/remote shows.

So, once you make your important decisions, register for the classes and go to each and every class. Do not miss classes. If you do this you are depriving yourself of the needed education to be a certified studio and or field producer. If you can afford ( by time and money) to take only one of the courses, opt for the field/remote course and then after that take the studio course.

Studio Shows: :Studio shows are produced inside the studio building, inside the studio. The producers use the rooms (control room and studio, and dressing room and sometimes the conference room) during their reserved time slot to produce a show. All work is done indoors by certified studio producers. Note that no uncertified, banned or suspended producers are permitted to use any of the studio or remote/field equipment ever, until their suspension time is officially up. If you, as the Executive Producer of your own show, permit anyone uncertified to use or handle the studio or remote/field equipment, you stand the great possibility of being suspended yourself. Do not risk your valuable certification by breaking the rules of the studio and of Administration. Do not give in to peer pressure. Be yourself and follow the rules of the studio. When you reserve the studio for your show, you are responsible for the equipment that you sign for. Handle everything with care. When it comes to handling the robotic cameras, the Executive Producer should be the one to move them into place in the studio and the other producers can move the other studio cameras into place. Instruct everyone in the beginning that no one touches the robotics cameras - except you, the Executive Producer.

Count your equipment before bringing it inside the studio. And count it again before you return the equipment.

This is only a suggestion, which comes from experience; I suggest you begin with remote shows instead of beginning with studio shows. You will need a minimum of four other producers to help on your show in most community access studios. It is your choice how you begin. Only you know yourself better than anyone else does. So, make wise choices.

Field/Remote Shows: These shows are produced in the field at remote locations. These shows can be filmed outdoors or indoors at different locations. If you have your own studio, that is wonderful, you can use that. You can take the community access equipment out by reserving it. Field shows/remote shows are not permitted to be filmed inside the studio as the studio area and equipment are for the sole use of certified studio producers and for studio shows. Field/remote producers are permitted inside the studio as talent, co-hosts or hosts, but they cannot use or touch any of the equipment. And they do not count as a producer when you are counting your required number of producers to film a studio show. (In some community access studios, you are required to have four other producers to help on your show when you use the studio. These four producers must be certified studio producers). For all remote shows, you need to take extra care of the equipment by always knowing where each piece of equipment is. You can have your cameras and other equipment stolen if you do not keep an eye on it. So be diligent in protecting your field/remote equipment. Have one specific crew member keep an eye on the equipment and you supervise the whole show so you are in a sense keeping an eye out also. Bring plastic or tarps or special plastic camera bags with you to protect the camera from water and moisture when it rains. (You can buy these specific camera bags (They encase the camera in plastic and you can keep taking pictures because there is an opening for your hand to operate the camera and an opening for the lens). These are especially useful when you are filming at the beach where the sand and the water is splashing all over the place.

If you ever bring your own equipment into the studio building, you need report it to the Security Guard, who will take the serial number of the equipment and write it in the log book. Do not leave your equipment around, unattended, or you might lose it.

Pick up and return all equipment on time. Give yourself an extra half-hour to pick up and deliver all the cameras, lights and whatever else you did borrow. It is your responsibility to do this on time and there is no excuse for lateness. Do not plan on being late and then giving a story to the equipment room. Plan on being early, then you will not need a story. Remember you are a professional producer. Act like one at all times.

Take full advantage of any other free or low-cost courses that the studio offers in the future. And here are a few suggestions and ideas on how to keep your field show going successfully.

Buy an inexpensive hand-held camera or borrow one and practice, practice, practice. Be taping all the time; you can erase the tapes and tape over them a certain number of times before you need to discard them or stop recording on them. Tape constantly, to get the feel of the camera and to practice your photography. Carry your camera with you as if it is an extension of your body. Learn to photograph as much as you breathe. There, you have a good head start.

Tell everyone that you know that you are doing television shows and offer your community a voice on television.

Instead of sticking with a specific clique of producers, mix with all the new producers and older producers. This will give you a good mix of producers on your first and following shows.

Do your research constantly. Take each day as an opportunity to meet and greet people who might be possibly new talent, hosts, and co-hosts for your show.

Tape now for a show that will air six months from now. Tape that far in advance. If you think that far in advance and if you take both the studio and remote courses, you will have enough tapes to produce a weekly show. You can use the mini-studio and the field shows to fill in the gaps where your studio shows leave off.


Prepare, prepare, research and then prepare.

Do everything on time and according to schedule.

Treat all individuals with respect and dignity.

Listen and observe carefully.

Wait to produce your first show. (Help many producers on their shows first before you produce your own show).

Read as much as you can about studio and field production.

Visit this site for information about television production

If you want to learn more about television production, contact us anytime.

Sabotage in the Studio: As unbelievable as this might seem, from time to time, there is talk about sabotage on the studio set. This is a reason that you should get to know people, watch how they work, see whom they are. Really watch and see what people have as goals, what is important to them. Check out their values and how they treat other producers. Do they come across as if they are the only ones who know how to produce television shows? Do they come across as if they are the boss in the control room rather than coming across as if everyone in the control room is a team member? There is a difference between being in charge, being a great Director and being just a bossy person. As you experience more and more television shows, you will begin to know what is good for your show and what is not good for your show. Only observation will give you this information. Gossip will not tell you whom is good and whom is bad for your show, only observation and experience will teach you this. So, knowing that , do not listen to gossip about any producer or production team. Make your own decisions, your own judgments and do what is right for your show. The biggest asset you have that will secure your future in any place in America is your confidence in knowing that your opinion matters, your opinion counts and that your gut instinct is always correct. Listen to your own gut instinct when producing your television shows, when building your team and when enlisting others to help on your show. Always listen to your gut instinct. Luckily, I have not had anyone sabotage my show, but I write about this because I have heard talk about it. So, take it all with a grain of salt, and observe, observe and watch your show. If you have trouble deciding which course you want to take, take no action. Talk it over with your friends and relatives; get into brainstorming sessions and you will have the answers you seek.

So, what do producers get or give when they produce television shows? Usually you can tell when a producer is interested in sincerely helping your show and when a producer is just all out to get what they can get -- without giving. Most times, if you find someone who is all "get" and no "give" that producer is usually , probably not the best producer for your show. You can get , give and receive in other ways besides with solid products. (i.e. Some bring food, others bring leads, books or food for the mind; still others bring sincere care and friendship; while others give sincere advice and helps along the way). It is usually very easy to find the givers and the takers. What is best for your show, if you are sincere, is to have a balance in both. Be neither a taker or giver but be a good balance in between there.

Remember that there is no need to rush into the course if you cannot decide which one to take. I have updated this article on March 21, 2008, for your convenience.

For your reading convenience and information, I have updated this article on April 13, 2008.

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