Are you ready to peek behind the celluloid curtain?
First and an easy myth to dispel, hardly anyone (especially in TV) shoots on film anymore. Gone are the days of men working with chemicals to develop the film negatives
As a friend of mine, a 1st Assistant camera man about developing houses* said “there a lot of men in clean white coats standing around now doing nothing now”
This will be a blog to give you little about inside of Television and by that I mean real TV. I state this to intentionally side line Reality TV. I don’t mean to totally disparage to reality TV, I even watch some of it. I even worked on one show that held a dear place in my heart.*
I am talking the work horse of the TV industry and I think one of the toughest to produce; episodic television.
Television is harder than Film. It takes a strong will to handle it
A film set is like baseball. You have periods of pitches and missed swings. This would be your walk and talk scenes and the stuff that moves the plot along. Now and then there will be a hit which equals to a car crash or a shoot-out. The main difference is that like baseball a film can go (they won’t admit it) over to get it done.
Television is like football. Every day is like being shot straight out of canon. You have eight days to shoot your show (some are even doing it less), eight days to get it done. Since the TV show has a running premise you can set up your plot in the first few minutes of the show. It’s all about making the next 47 minutes (this is the minutes, give or take, without commercials and is actual footage shot) move fast without you changing the channel.
While you are shooting your episodes, while your days creep into 13, 14, and 15 hour days (I have seen a few 19 hours) there is another director prepping the next episodes. There is no “just tack on another day.” The director is booked for that set amount of time. He or she might be going to do another show after yours and he will leave when he or she has to.
Every day is like a full day of all-out hustle. Just like Football
How do I know this? I am a First Assistant Director for 20 years and I have been working in Television for the last 10.
Here is the one of the closest clinical definition I found of what I do:
A 1st AD’s (the short way to say it) list of responsibilities is what listed in the link is like saying an Obstetrician comes in the day of a birth and catches a baby.
I will be getting into all the mysteries no one will tell you about this crazy business and why it is such that way.
Who ever heard of a business that takes all the most up to date and scientific safety equipment out of a car so it can better crash? *
You’ll learn what a best boy and why that name came from the shipyard docks.*
Then there will be stories that you will only be able to hear in person and with no recording devices.
But we will get into that later.
If you good grammar, read and English teacher’s blog.
*means that will be answer expanded on later.