Production Magic

Somthing that is both daunting and thrilling about anticipating joining the world of television is the whole aspect of production.  While my major is writing and producing, I am definatly more on the writing side of things (if you couldn’t tell).  That being said production is quite a bit magical to me.

It’s not that I don’t know how it works.  I’ve taken the classes.  I know how much work goes into it, but there’s something so amazing to me about how it actually does work.  I find that something magical takes place when producers, directors, camerapeople, actors, lighting directors, and every other little job under the sun comes together to create a story.

Everyone in the mix is reliant on the others to help make their part shine.  Actors need make-up and wardrobe people to accentuate their abilities.  Camera work would all be for naught without lighting to make it visable.  It’s likely that no one would be able to do much without caterring and craft services.  If one member drops the ball, then the whole can quickly unravel and fall to pieces.

The paperwork and pre-production work that can be so tedious to me, shows its worth once I’m on set.  As a student director the shot I wanted for the next take was ready to go because I had draw out the storyboards.  My exclamation of “Magic!” was met with a quick rebuttle from my proffessor.  Not magic, just work done right.

Having a headset is the best experience on a set.  Being plugged in to the chatter lets you in on all of the secret drama that pulses under the surface.  Cruise between chanels to hear what the cameras are saying and to figure out what’s going on with the lighting team.  Evesdrop on the private line to hear when people are frustrated or annoyed at each other.  A request over the com can put an entire set in motion.

A production is always in motion to some extent.  In a studio production the floor director mediates between the talent and the control room.  On location a new shot needs to be arranged and agreed on between the director and art director before hitting record.  Even is no one is moving discutions are being had and decisions are being made.  When the director makes the call, all the players jump to their positions. 

My favorite moment on set (and I’ve experienced it on both student and professional productions) is the moment of quiet before things start happening.  The little moments between takes when the director calls action; right before the actors start talking.  The stretch in the morning when cast and crew is still arriving and all is quiet on the headsets save for the occational “mic check”.  The minutes during takes where the only sound is what the audience will hear, weather they hear it at a five second delay that passes as live, later that day, later that week, or later that year; remembering it from my angle instead of the camera angle makes watching it again that much sweeter.


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