Writing Center Quiz Comm 360 Blog 4

     After practicing shooting a short talk show several times in my Studio Production class, we were asked to create a commercial for the writing tutoring center on campus.  We were given a script and were expected to follow their basic ideas of the shoot.  Basically, it was our job to make the commercial come to life with their vision.  Because the class had never filmed anything like this before and this was the first “nonpractice” shoot we had, I was a little apprehensive as to the quality of the final project.  After all, we are still students and are learning.  Fortunately, everyone involved truly took that into consideration.  Everything that was expected of us was more than do-able, we just had to put it all together.
     The first several days were spent planning the shoot.  Although I had few ideas about the actual shoot, I was looking forward to working with the script.  A really good idea was to write the entire script on a large whiteboard off camera so the talent could either read the script directly or memorize small sections of the script in several seconds and then say them into the camera.  So, when it came time to start blocking out the set and writing up the script, I volunteered, with two other classmates, to work with the script and put it on the whiteboard.  Because there were a lot of repeating words or phrases in the script, we collectively decided to not write every single word on the whiteboard.  Instead, we tried to put everything up on the board in order at least once and did not write the repeated words.  After all, many people were recorded reading the script, and in the final commercial different faces will be saying each phrase so the effect of repeated words/phrases can be done in editing.  Once the set up was done, production could begin.
     During the first couple shoots, I stayed out on the floor fixing any problems on the whiteboard.  For instance, the talent was having trouble reading certain words or phrases and that needed to be corrected.  After the script was completely set though, I got the opportunity to become director for the last shoot of that day.  Since I had not been in the control room, I was somewhat unsure at first, but other classmates helped direct me so the shoots looked similar to the other director.  The overall feel of the shoot was to have a close up of the person talking with little to no headroom.  After the first day of shooting was over, we had an additional chance to shoot more footage the next class, and my personal goal was to become more involved.
     For the next class, everyone was basically allowed to pick a position and then after a couple shoots, classmates would switch positions.  My first job was floor manager.  I enjoyed being floor manager before because I was in charge of ensuring everyone on the floor was doing the things that needed to be done.  However, this time I felt that I had much less direction and was standing a lot not really doing much.  The director decided to shoot footage of the talent practicing for the first couple shoots so there was less nervousness and so it was more genuine. Thus, my only real job was to lead the microphone checks.  After a couple shoots, the talent picked up on the fact that they were being recorded practicing so shooting had to commence as it had the first day, where the floor manager would give the countdown and then the real shooting began.  After a couple of shots though, I gave the floor manager headset to another student and headed for the control room.  In the control room, I did not actually have an active part, but I was content with watching the rest of the shoot transpire.  So, for the last few shots, I was more of a passive player.  I found this to be just as good a learning experience as working directly with the shoot.  For instance, I learned that the director needs to be concise and clear, especially when speaking to the floor manager and camera person.  Because those two individuals are on the floor, they have a completely different perspective and experience than in the control room.  It’s the director’s job to make sure those people know exactly what to do, even if it seems odd or unusual to them.  The second thing I realized was that the camera person has to have complete faith and trust in the director.  At times, the camera screen looks slightly different from the television screen, so the camera person needs to take all orders from the director to compensate.  Overall, though, I learned that shooting anything in the studio is fun and sometimes even challenging.  The production team must efficiently work together and communicate with one another to fix any problems and ensure the best shoot possible.  I look forward to shooting more in the studio over the semester.


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