Once again we are back in the TV studio to produce our very own format production. Last time round the role I wanted to do was floor manager, unfortunately I was landed with the role of VT producer. I put all of my effort into the role but as a whole did not enjoy it, this time round I was determined to get the floor manager position and this time round I got it. The floor manager position is important for the whole production to come together effectively for many reasons. The role is the main form of communication between the director and the studio floor, it is a means for the director to give instructions to the presenters and vice versa.
Today we started to re familiarise ourselves with the studio and get comfortable in our roles, to test how much we remember from last year we simply got the presenters to talk about different subjects and tested out different types of timings and camera angles. We have not been given anything in the way of a brief as to what our show must contain so the sky’s the limit for what we can do! This does however cause some problems in that we are finding it hard to come up with a solid idea that is practical and realistic, we have come up with a couple of basic ideas that may be able to be developed into usable formats.
One of our ideas was based around a prank theme. There was a number of ideas as too how this could be turned into a format TV show that included having the pranksters and prankees interviewed on the show as they talk the audience through the pranks they have done and posted online. Another idea was that it could be some kind of quiz show in which the contestants get to decide the end result of a prank as it happens. This could be a show similar to channel 4s ‘Rude Tube’, ITVs ‘You’ve Been Framed’ or MTVs ‘Punk’d’.
Barney Jones has worked in the BBC for 25 years and has edited for David Frost and Andrew Marr during his career. He has been present at some of the most famous interviews that have have been shown on the BBC and has experienced all types of politician, popstar, actor and historical figure in the business.
In 1993 he started editing ‘Breakfast with Frost’, a new flagship show on Sunday mornings. The idea of politics show on Sunday mornings was a new concept that hadn’t been done before and so would hopefully attract a new type of audience. The very first show set the tone for the type of guests it would include by having the current prime minister John Major and the presenter Jill Dando, two very high priority guests that were able to take part due to Frosts contacts and status in the industry. Other very high profile guests that featured on the show included George Bush senior and Nelson Mandela, demonstrating Frosts ability to simply ring up someone like the president of america (arguably the most powerful man in the world) and ask them for an interview.
David Frost interviewing Eric Clapton
‘The Andrew Marr’ show started in 2005 as ‘Sunday AM’ bus in 2007 changed to ‘The Andrew Marr show’. The Show took over the slot that ‘Breakfast With Frost’ had previously held and continued with the serious interview format with high profile guests. At first Marr wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea of the show but was later convinced by the idea that it would be more arts based than Frost’s show had been. Much as Frosts contacts in politics and overseas had been useful in getting guests for the show Marr had many contacts across the arts world, another way he could get guests that would not come on the show in the past was his less aggressive interviewing style. There were certain people in the politics and the arts that refused to come on to ‘Breakfast With Frost’ due to his sometimes invasive questioning that made him one of the most famous interviewers. After the interview with Keith Richards, Barney Jones admitted that it was a much better interview that if Frost had conducted it due to their personal interests.
Apparently David Cameron was a very polite guest
Barney Jones’ insight into TV format production was a great help in getting to know the way the professional industry works, especially dealing with guests. Hearing how people that we see in the papers actually act in real life situations was surprisingly interesting, and proved how much they act up to cameras or actually are themselves. Hearing about the people he had met and the places his job has taken him over the past 25 years definitely made me more interested in a job in format TV than I had previously been.
So we now know what idea were going with and have researched the genre so can now start putting ideas down. We have decided to try and imitate the styles of channel 4 or 5 documentaries that try and evoke as much emotion in there subject so as to make the show as entertaining for the viewer as possible. A lot of these shows are known for showing someone in a fragile emotional state and subtly trying to squeeze as many tears and tantrums out of them as possible. We will be playing on this idea by putting our zombie character ‘Steve’ in situations where he would feel socially awkward and evoke emotion. There will be a producer character that will act as an interviewer to ask Steve questions such as ‘how does that make you feel?’ after he has, for example, been thrown out of the pub.
Here’s an example of Mitchell and Webb taking the mick out of such programmes.
The Documentary will be in the form of an interview in a dark room and shots out on location in various places around Coventry. This will include a pub, shops, offices hopefully with the participation of some members of the public. We want some actual genuine public reactions to our zombie being out in the streets to make it seem as realistic as possible. This will be done by having him ask members of the public for directions and then going up to them afterwards and seeing what they thought of him.
This is the reaction we are hoping for
We are trying to create a type of black comedy by showing the plight of Steve’s position but for the entertainment of the viewer, which might seem a little sadistic but it is true that people find entertainment in the misery of others. This is shown in various films and TV shows which are essentially centred around the failure of its main characters, for example the show ‘Extras’ starring Ricky Gervais is based his consistent failure to make it as a real actor.
At the moment it is still a collection of ideas but it is making good progress and should be really fun to produce! Next to do is to sort out make-up, script and sound.
After hearing the feedback from our pitches we now have a solid idea to move forward with. We realised that organising the brightest star idea may take more organisation than we have time for in the limited time scale. There were many problems with the childrens interview ideas such as the need for individual parents permission and the obvious problems with filming children and posting it online. There is also the problem of the unpredictability of children and that we may not get any usable footage making the whole project a complete waste of time, therefore that only leaves the zombie mockumentary.
The genre of the ‘Mockumentary’ is a mixture of comedy (mock) and documentary. The genre started in the 60’s with films such as the Beatles film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and the original radio show ‘War Of The Worlds’, which took the form of a real news broadcast with no introduction giving the illusion of an actual alien invasion. Since then many mainstream films have incorporated the mockumentary such as Sasha Baron Cohen’s film ‘Borat’ and the animated comedy ‘Surfs Up’. It Became popular in prime time television due to the success of Ricky Gervis’ comedy ‘The Office’ which even included a US version, and ‘I’m Alan Partridge’ which starred Steve Coogan as a failing radio presenter. A lot of these films rely on the main character thinking they are more interesting or funnier than they actually are to create the funny, and often awkward, situations. The films are often depict the main characters as secretly depressed e.g. David Brent or Alan Partridge to create humour for the audience.
Its the beginning of my second year in media production and straight away we have to have a project done in only 4 weeks! The brief for the project was very general allowing us to create pretty much anything we wanted to, this gave us an opportunity to pitch an idea we may have always wanted to make but never had the chance. Almost as soon as we started we had 3 solid ideas to work with and pitches for them.
Disabled People – The Brightest Star
Alice is 15 and lives a normal happy life. She goes to school and takes part in clubs like swimming and basketball. She loves talking bout clothes boys and her favourite tv shows with her friends. the only difference is Alice has Cerebral, this mean she has limited use of her limbs and is wheelchair bound. We want to show the positive sides of her life to show why we should be grateful for what we have.
Zombie Mockumentary – The Life Of A Dead Man
Tom is a 20 year old typical male: good at sport, likes video games, going out and spending time with friends. However, he has difficulties doing all this as Tom finds it hard socialising, which isn’t his entire fault: people are just too judgemental. Our documentary follows Tom in his day to day life to see what it’s like and how he copes with every day tasks. Oh, and we forgot to mention… he’s a zombie.
Never work with children. Or so the saying goes. But this time we’ve thrown the rule book out and so this short documentary looks at life through a childs point of view. Asking lifes most important questions, a group of children show us the answers through their eyes. With hilarious results.
We will be pitching these ideas to the rest of the group and seeing what feedback they give us and what project they recommend that we go forward with.