So we had had a play in the studio. We had learnt how to use all the equipment to a minimum standard and some of us had learnt a bit more about one bit than another. We had tried and tested every role, well the ones who wanted to really test out broadcast media. I leapt on the opportunity. I thought it was fantastic. I love broadcast, studio tv shows!
The next part of the project was meeting my group in full and then deciding on who should do what roles. I feel something I did very well at this stage was really getting involved with some of the more taxing and engaging roles and therefore people knew I was both competent and confident (equally important) in these roles.
There were a few roles that appealed to me. Firstly, I hate doing the same mundane job, I like difference and excitement – something that changes everytime you bring it to the table. Secondly, I have been in the Air Training Corps for 7years and have worked my way through the prestigious rank structure to the top and although I am not power hungry, I like being somewhere near the top, a managerial role and I also find I am good at it. But I’m never afraid to get my hands dirty!
The first role I considered was Director. I found I picked it up pretty quick in our practice sessions and liked how it worked in a live show. I also found my cadet skills and experiences coming into play accompanying my social skills and found myself very comfortable in this role. Another role which relates to this one very well, is Producer. Though a more managerial role behind the scenes, I thought I would be well fitted for this type of role. The cadet experience would kick in here. I would also be on hand to offer aesthetic advice – about how the show looked or certain aspects of the show rather than on a technical side.
These were the only two gallery positions I wanted really. The other two were in the studio, the first being the floor manager. At this point, it would seem apparent that I only want positions where I get to control people or boss them about. I would just like to make it clear that I think I would be better suited to these roles and more of a driving force at the top end due to past experiences. I would reach my full potential. Anyhow, back to business. As floor manager, I would have a managerial role as well as being the medium between the gallery and the studio. Of all the roles, I found this the trickiest as you really have to be switched on and paying attention whilst relaying instructions to people.
The final role, the one I ultimately went for, was presenter. I’m no novice when it comes to performing and at that – performance in different situations and scenarios. I also have a quick wit, imagination, sharp sense of humour and an uncanny ability to make conversation out of any topic, any situation. This really helped in our practice sessions as everything was fresh and different so people did not get bored. I also worked with a lot of different people practicing this role. Different people gave entirely different performances and co-presenting styles. There were a few people I found myself very likened to work with as a presenting duo.
The reason I chose presenting over the other four roles I had in mind was a simple luck of the draw of my studio crew. I found myself with strong but sensible characters who had the skills and the ideas but more so had the drive and ambition. I heard rumours of who was going for different roles and drew up scenarios in my head of who would be suited to what, how I would work with them and possible problems. When we came to applying for our roles:
– Director was favoured by Tom. I’ve never worked with him before but I knew he was hard-working, motivated and an all round nice guy. I did manage to see him have a go at director and thought he handled it well. I was therefore happy to have Tom as my Director.
– Producer was favoured by Daniel. I was very happy with this. Having the pleasure of working with him in the first week of our first semester, I knew he was very hard-working and committed. He would not just give up on a half-arsed job. I did not know him that personally however, so I did not know how I would work with him that well. But I had immense faith.
– Floor-manager was split between Michael and Helena. I was good pals with Michael all year and knew I could work with him (by this point I was sure about going for presenter) as my floor manager. In practice, we had a very good team work and understanding. I hadn’t seen Helena in action unfortunately and didn’t know her too well. But I was happy working with Michael in this role.
– I then went for presenter. Without sounding big-headed, I was quite confident I would get it. The only reasons for this were that I had a good social status with most people in the group and got on with most of them and also the fact that most of them had seen me in action presenting. They had already known what type of person I was in the presenting hot seat. Due to the fact I had done it countless times, I think it went in my favour. Also, something I completely forgot that I had brought up in my ‘audition’ was the fact I present on a radio show.
– Next was my co-presenter, who would I be sitting next to, speaking to in front of camera and hosting the show alongside. Janet was the one who got the job. Before we started rehearsing, I confess I hadn’t seen Janet work so I had no clue how she was and would be. But, without going into analysis too much at this point, Janet and I clicked instantly and we knew we would work very well together.
Now we all had our roles, in a team of very competent and committed people (there are more than mentioned above although they were the ones relevant to MY job role ambitions) we were ready to start about deciding on what would go in the show. We were given ‘Fantasy’ as a show topic, our broadcast had to contain content and be based around the ideologies of Fantasy.
We had group discussions about what each of us regarded fantasy to mean to us. So many different areas, topics, stereotypes/clichés came up and we were all quite in agreement of the broadness fantasy covered. We then decided to base our show around the clips we would be showing in them – the clips we had to collect from the web. We also decided on the type of clips we would be showing; these would be clips that were trying to take the fantasy ideologies out there and relate them to or in real life situations.
After everyone pulled together their ideas and clips they had found and showcased, we decided on our three rather quickly. One that depicted a ‘real life fairy’, one the took the fictional game of Quidditch from the Harry Potter franchise and showed how it could be played in real life, and finally one that showed people who, in real life, believed they were vampires.
A draft of a potential script was conjured up with my input in certain areas – I got to put across ideas of dialogue I wanted to include. However, when this was brought forward in the group discussion, it was clear that our idea were heading in the right direction, but we were lacking content that TV studio shows have (I will come back to this point in a moment). A second draft was created. This one incorporated an interview and a guest musician. We were quite happy with this and after a few re-drafts, we had come up with the format of our show and got rehearsing. However, when we got back into the discussion groups, it was pointed out to us that we had no viewer integration. This was very crucial and got written into the script – we would as for viewers opinions on a topic and, during the show, instruct them of how they could get involved (phone number, email, website, Facebook site etc).
The viewer feedback was incorporated into the fairy video with the audience sending in their comments (these comments were read out by the presenters) as to whether or not the footage we showed was real or fake, a ‘game’ we coined ‘Fact of Phoney’. The interview would come in response to the vampire pic. The musician would play over the ending credits.
A problem a few of us sussed at this point was how on earth we ‘sold’ the show. By this I mean what style did we put our show under and what was it like. We confirmed together to class it as a clip show whereby audiences send in clips or videos they have found online, we show them and talk about them. We related it to shows like ‘Rude Tube’ and ‘Russel Howard’s Good News’. One could say it was an internet video version of ‘You’ve Been Framed’ which has evolved with the current media technologies and relies on the internet for people to send in their clips.
The set was a big issue and quite difficult to do. Everyone’s ideas got muddled and confused and nothing was set in stone. The set really is something I wish we had put more effort into. A ‘sky theme with clouds’ hardly represents fantasy. But it still worked which was good. We did have one problem with the set however. This was the contrast between it and the presenters. Janet, being dark skinned, is completely the opposite of me – pasty white pale, almost vampire looking! Really bright backgrounds contrasted with me badly (as I contrasted her) and dark backgrounds contrasted Janet very badly. We settled for the sky theme which. although being bright, it was simple and not overwhelming.
Our team could, by the end of production, set up and be ready to start work in 10 minutes, though there always seemed to be an issue with sound. Apart from that, everyone got plenty of practice into fitting the schedule and making the show look slick but interesting. We could not have done that if it were not the camaraderie we formed.
As a presenter, I couldn’t just walk into the studio and pretend I knew what I was doing. I had to do a bit of research. I’ve already covered shows that inspire me and that I enjoy and with them the presenters. I like the presenting styles of people like Phillip Schofield, Keith Lemon, Steven Fry and the way presenters are on Blue Peter. I know Rude Tube was our show’s influence but the presenter Alex Zane (I did not like the weirdo that followed him) was too sarcastic and pessimistic for my liking. I decided to turn my efforts toward the Blue Peter way of presenting. I remember growing up with the show and presenters like Simon Thomas, Matt Baker and Liz Barker (these being personal favourites). I liked their serious yes lighthearted approach to presenting, being like fun school teachers but still remaining professional. This is how I styled my performance.
Check out the Show!
Some pictures from production: