OK…fair warning…this post is for the production geeks. I’ll get back to gratuitous player photos tomorrow. I thought it was important to talk a bit about what I’m doing on this crew. I hinted at it in earlier posts, but it’s really interesting to experience the difference between this type of production setting and the community media one. I’ve always said that we do the same thing that broadcast stations do…just somewhat pared down. That’s absolutely the case here but having never done stage managing on this level, I certainly can gain new perspective on the job. In our studio, if you have a stage manager, he or she is typically engaged with the director and camera operators. Here, I’m listening to the director first and foremost…but I’m also listening to the producer, the tape operators, master control back in Foxboro and of course, the talent themselves on set. The talent has IFB most of the time, meaning they can hear the producer through their earpiece, but there is still communication that needs to take place and that’s the role I fill.
As you can see, I have two talkbacks on my intercom. At the beginning of the week it was really difficult to figure out who to talk to and what they wanted to know. Each show has different producers and the directors sometimes change halfway through the show itself. But as time went on, we all got more comfortable with each other and if you’ve been watching, I hope it shows in the production.
I think the biggest challenge the crew has is the set changes. If you look at the picture below, I tried to give you a picture of the approximately 8 foot corridor between set A where the counter is and set B where the cushioned chairs are. Set changes need to take place in less than four minutes. All the cameras, including the huge jib camera need to dolly through that corridor one at a time and get in place in order to start the next program. It’s very challenging but like everything else, I think it’s improving.
In this picture, you’ll also see the two audio techs who are on the set. These guys have to mic and un-mic all the myriad of guests who end up on the set…most of them unplanned or late. Then there’s the challenge of getting them on the set and that’s my job. I have to talk to the producer, or sometimes the director to figure out if they are going to break in order for us to get a guest on or if we are going to try to sneak the guest on while the cameras are pointing in the other direction. All the microphones are hard wired too…no wireless. So there’s the extra challenge of making sure the guest doesn’t try to walk off the set before the mic is disengaged. I have to admit we were not very good at this at the beginning of the week.
Spirits are still high despite the fact that I forget sometimes that I’ll actually be going to a game on Sunday. Right now I’m going to use this press pass one more time to go get some up close player access…but I’ll leave you with one last tech shot – the view of the set from the perspective of the jib operator. If you want this job, you’d better start working out.