research on tv production role
Before submitting my application, I managed to squeeze some time into researching my role. I had a look at the ESF Media website and the official Newtek (brand of Tricaster) website which explains the audio setup.
A week before the official 'make', I switched to the role of PA in order to challenge myself. I looked through a few websites and videos in order for myself to understand the role.
This was the video provided on Google Classroom which allowed me to understand how the control room worked and it gave me a basic idea of how the PA was supposed to work.
Textual analysis of 1 TV ‘Make’
The set is designed as plain brown flooring with the background setup like a living room, with a giant TV in the back. There is not much visual appeal in this case because the main focus of this 'make' is on fitness, meaning that viewers should be focusing on the instructor(s). The words on the TV screen 'New Year's Fitness Week' already indicate that the people in front of the camera should be doing something related to fitness, and upon seeing the space at the front of the living room, it can be easily assumed that they are doing a fitness exercise demonstration. The set is designed this way to communicate to viewers that they can be doing these exercises at home.
The Make Table
Although a table is not applicable for this ‘make’, the use of the large space towards the front allows each exercise move to be demonstrated clearly. If there were lots of obstacles or objects in the middle of the stage, the instructors would have difficulties in demonstrating and the flow of the demonstration would be interrupted.
There weren't much resources needed for the make, but there were a few text descriptions during each exercise which communicated the names of the exercise to the viewers. The identity of the programme is communicated through the logo of the show popping up from time to time - ‘Live! Kelly’. The use of the large-screen TV saying ‘New Year's Fitness Week’ also provides a context of the concept/theme for the episode. In the middle of the show, there was a graphic text which encouraged viewers to send a message to Kelly (the host), showing the 360 commissioning aspect with social media.
There is one demonstrator with one leading and one supporting. What makes this ‘make’ interesting is that Jim Parsons was invited as guest along with Tony Horton (fitness trainer). Horton is the demonstrator and delivers the moves to the audience, Kelly is leading the show (as she is the host) and enables the show to flow smoothly, and Parsons supports the show by adding bits of humour. All 3 are dressed in fitness wear - Jim Parsons especially appealed to the target audience, as fitness wear may not seem to apply to his job as an actor. This connects to the viewers at home, encouraging them to do exercise like Parsons. The use of the celebrity also draws in more viewers and publicity, as fans of Parsons would most likely result in increasing the amount of viewers for the show of that segment.
Use of Language
The tone of demonstrator Tony Horton is very energetic and enthusiastic, encouraging his two other supporting members to do the exercise, ultimately making its way to the viewers at home. The style of language hints some humour and wittiness, but overall the choice of language explains the exercise routine in detail, with references to everyday things and humour which appeal to the target audience. Horton often says that the exercise is fairly simple/easy along with “You’re killing it!” sort of encouraging comments and how the exercises are fit for everybody which encourages viewers to try it at home. Both Kelly and Parsons add in witty ad-libs for humour which keeps the audiences' attention throughout the whole 'make'.
There are three different shots used in around five cameras. Big Close Ups, Wide Shots and Close-Ups. The visual variety allows viewers to maintain interest and see how the exercises are completed clearly.
Big Close Ups are used for showing the move in detail. In this case Horton explains how the Super Skaters work the muscles, hence the cameras zoom into his calf to show his muscles working. The medium close ups are used for directing the focus to whoever is talking and for building a connection between viewers watching at home along with the presenters. Cameras 2 and 3 do these shots from different angles - but more specifically camera 1 is an almost-wide shot which is utilised at the beginning and end of the show. It is the principal shot which is returned to.
The wide shot was used to allow viewers to see the movement as a whole and giving them a clear picture of how it should be done as well as the conversation between all 3 members. This is the shot which allows viewers to see movement on the floor. This is camera 1's job.
Cameras 4 and 5 provide medium close ups and a side view of the cast.
No stings were necessary as the main focus of this was mainly to showcase a few of the moves in P90X within a short period of time, and not too many close ups were necessary for this make.
The three exercises were broken down into a few easy steps - with Horton first introducing and explaining the theoretical side to the exercise, then describing in detail how it is done. Time is condensed in this make by only repeating the movements one or two times, then moving on to another - as the main purpose of the make is to create publicity for Horton’s P90X and New Years' Fitness Week. These transitions can be indicated by Horton’s body language and spoken language, proceeding to demonstrate as the other two presenters follow along.
There are 3 different segments - the intro where Tony Horton is enthusiastically training with another male and female in a set separate from the main set and is then introduced by Kelly through a casual conversation ; it moves on to the demo where Horton shows and proves to Kelly that there are alternatives or other ways to ensure that the exercises are suitable for anyone, another important thing is that Horton usually explains the exercise along with its benefits and which muscles it works out before the supporting two try out the move. The different segments are indicated through conversations between the three members on set - for example ‘let me show you’, ending with ‘that wasn’t bad’. There were also graphics showing the names of the different P90X exercises to clearly show viewers which one is which.
Analysis of the correlation between developing technology and how this is used by TV shows to communicate and market to its audience
As soon as we entered the world of the 2000s, more media forms became accessible with the rise of technology. More demographic areas were brought up, fit to the likes and preferences of the general public. We were also given an opportunity to enhance our viewing experience. It sometimes acted as a distraction in our daily lives, and it sometimes acted as an opportunity for self-pleasure - after all, it plays a multimodel role. With hundreds of thousands of television shows produced every year, the show I decided to analyse is none other than CSI : Crime Scene Investigation (Las Vegas). It is a forensics crime drama which follows detectives working in the Las Vegas Police Department Crime scene Investigations bureau, catching criminals with the help of scientific/technical methods. Usually, each episode introduces a different crime and is solved by the end of the hour, with some episodes extending it for more complex cases with cameos from celebrities or other actors in the industry.
Now, moving on to analysing the reception of CSI at a young audience - to what extent will the media affect people’s lives? Will they be engaged and filled with interest, or be brought with negative effects? The effects debate discusses both positive and negative reactions to the crime TV show. Some of the direct effects include the Hypodermic Needle Theory as well as the Cultivation Theory (George Gerbner). Most of the theories were applied under the notion that audiences are actively engaging with the content provided, except for the needle theory.
The hypodermic needle theory may only provide simple reasons as to why a viewer may respond or behave differently after watching this show. It is simply because viewers are described as laboratory rats with concepts of committing crime continues to be hammered into their brains. This in turn puts the blame on the TV producers as viewers were passively absorbing the content. It had been applied to mainly the 1940s and 1950s, therefore this would be called an introduction to some of the more modern media theories.
The Cultivating Theory is about how audiences are influenced by what they hear or see on television, absorbing content that is given to them. This means that reality portrayed on television is easily believed by audiences for the longterm. The reality portrayed by television producers is definitely not an exact copy of the world we live in today, as the storylines are usually more dramatic and exaggerated in order for viewers to maintain their interest. To an extreme, viewers could even be influenced with the crimes involved in the show and even begin to aid the crime rates.
With this much exposure to psychopaths, murder, killers, classified as people with brutal responses to the world, viewers could even switch in the way they perceive their world. The Cultivating Theory is almost like a big umbrella, underneath hides the Mean World Syndrome. The setup of each CSI is typically the crime being committed, although not much is shown as towards the end of the episode where the producers bring viewers through and explains the whole process of how the crime occurred, or even how it was planned. The dead body acts as the spark to the rest of the story. `The use of nordic noir in the drama also brings out dark and gloomy imagery (from deliberately saturated imagery) as the crime is taken place at night - encouraging a fear for the dark. The concept of a threatening world is once again emphasised as the crime already takes place within the first five minutes of the episode. The prominent features of the mean world syndrome is accentuated by allowing viewers to connect and witness the story of a character they understand best. For instance, in episode 24/25 of season 5, Nick Stokes was targeted as victim of a kidnapping case, as he was buried alive in a coffin by a mysterious assailant. As the viewers are able to understand or even empathise with the main characters to a certain extent as the whole process is documented, the distance between the character and viewers is shortened. It allows the target audience to wonder what if it were to happen to themselves - as if “the world is going to get them”, generating a fear for the outside world. Once again, this links with the Cultivating Theory, as viewers are believing in the reality that is portrayed on television.
The result of this belief in false reality can lead to two results : Cultivating Anxiety or Reassuring Anxieties.
Gerbner argued that TV is making audiences more anxious, cultivating anxiety as the image of a scary world could cause distrust and eventually increase the amount of crime taken place in our society. Viewers would begin to see the world as a dangerous place, affecting the way they see themselves, including personalities and self-confidence. Initial reactions may vary depending on the person, but some reactions may cause distrust. If the viewer is originally paranoid of the world around them, the TV show would emphasise this even more thus making the viewer's anxiety to worsen in some cases. Viewers may even refuse to watch the drama as it brings more anxiety rather than pleasure, the main purpose of the drama. A reverse emotional response may also cultivated, making viewers seem to see threats when they don’t exist - for example hearing echoes of gunshots or shadows in a quiet house when alone at night.
On the other hand, we can also argue that the amount of exposure viewers have towards this dark violent world of crime is another way of reassuring and comforting audiences. Specifically, the genre introduces crimes so they can be solved. The set-up (the crime being committed) is utilised to lead the audience through a variety of misleading complications, then leading to the wrap up. It is said that it is not likely that a genre would generate large amounts of fear in society, but viewers are reassured when the order and law is restored, in reference to the idea of catharsis where emotion is relieved after tension. Viewers’ fears in real life is played out in the form of a narrative/story, allowing viewers to face and perceive them differently afterwards. British sociologist Ellis Cashmore suggested that the resolution [towards the end of the episode] comforts the audience and restores the moral order. He also suggested that viewers are entertained by seeing heroes who live in danger from the comfort of their own living rooms, sharing the thrill along with other viewers. If we were to consider one of the episodes focused on a kidnapping along with a murder case, viewers would be witnessing the entire process of how the crime was solved, hence they would be reassured by the heroes reinforcing the law in the end, with the aid of science in this case.
Another reception theory that can be applied is Participatory Culture. It can be informally defined as how content is “remixed” on the internet. For instance, Archive Of Our Own is a website where creative fans on the online community take characters from the show, and write their own stories with the help of the main plot. These people can be called multipliers, as they take their own experience/imagination and incorporate it with the content that is given to them. The slacktivists would usually just share or (in Twitter words) 'retweet' the content. This makes the content even more valuable, as it is more contextually responsive, detailed with even hints of different cultures, in reference to Grant McCracken. Websites like ‘talk.csifiles.com’, ‘fanforum.com’ are forums which allow fans to communicate with each other and discuss anything regarding the show. With the aid of different media forms, users are encouraged to participate and engage with the show even more and enhancing interest. As Henry Jenkins once said, “if it doesn’t spread, it’s dead” - meaning that if the content has not been viral or spread amongst the internet (in original or remixed format), it's basically 'over'. There have also been a few controversies throughout the 15 years of the show which may have sparked interest in non-viewers. In 2004, two of its backbone actors had chosen to not report for work in an attempt for a salary hike ; and in 2015 one of the two actors had clashed with the writer on-set and was put on absence leave. This could’ve been media play, to attract more interest and viewers. The controversy may have disappointed existing fans but it would not cause them to stop watching the show - overall increasing the number of viewers for the show.
From the very start of the series up till now, there has been a significant increase of mass media outlets, allowing us to view a variety of dramas and movies. There has been unprecedented choice over the last few decades. If you were to look at the UK, there were only three mainstream TV channels in 1976. There are currently at least 80 digital, satellite, cable or online channels on Youtube, Netflix & Amazon (Fire) etc… This theory of channel fragmentation links to Time & Place Shifting. This rise of technology has certainly provided us with the freedom to choose when and where television content is “absorbed”. CSI can be viewed formally and informally - through TV channels and illegal streaming websites. CBS is the producer behind this show and manages its distribution internationally, to a variety of channels around the world, AXN in Hong Kong specifically. Just like traditional programmes, channels producing the shows are figuring out ways to distribute to an even larger audience. On other hand, we have illegal websites like ‘onwatchseries.com’, 'putlocker.com', 'hulu.com' and so on, all sharing this content for free online. Watching CSI both legally and illegally have something in common - and it is that viewers are allowed to choose when and where they consume television content with the help of increasing mass media. This is an engagement based paradigm where the viewing experience is not communal unlike back then where programmes were enjoyed by families huddled around the television, but each member of the family is holding their own device is watching a programme of their own choice. There is also a rise of binge watching as a result of channel fragmentation, making viewers watch great amounts of episodes in one sitting.
As a result of young audiences watching CSI, we can analyse how they have received and engaged with the text with the Users of Gratifications Theory. Firstly, the show acts as a diversion and escapism from their daily lives, keeping them entertained. It allows their minds to drift away from reality and immerse themselves into the world of crime-solving and violence. Secondly, the fictional characters created by the producers are discussed by young audiences in the online community. The show ensures the crime solving to seem real with the main crime-fighting team to be brought to life, hence online discussion regarding the show can be easily found. Some viewers may choose to use the content provided as a tool to bond with other viewers, searching for similarities and common interests with other people, enhancing social integration. For example if viewers prefer seeing one pairing than another in the show (also known as ‘shipping’ - informal term), these people could have conversations within the online community, assisting with the development of social skills, increasing a sense of belonging for each viewer. Thirdly, viewers’ personal identities may be shaped according to the values presented by characters in the story. For instance, characters may inspire the audience with their values e.g D.B. Russell's granddaughter was kidnapped, allowing his ‘family-man’ values to be showcased. Opposingly, the viewers may be able to relate to the series or the characters which are parts of their own personal identity. If the viewer had a particular interest for science and crime solving, they would have a closer connection with the show as they would be able to relate to the characters' crime solving and curious nature ; In another case, a viewer could choose to watch television shows within the crime to ensure that they are living safely under law and control. The need for surveillance is also fulfilled through the show. As once stated by Blumler and Katz, the programme ensures that people are ‘staying in loop’ with the current happenings - in this case viewers are able to acquire scientific knowledge (although not accurate at times) and have an interest for this field.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs also explains how humans behave, and of course their needs. There are five sections, including physiological, safety, belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Once physiological needs are fulfilled by the viewer themselves, they will start to look for a sense of belonging. Whether it inspired from the team-based characters in the drama or couples in the series, viewers may search for love or friendship or intimacy, even possibly online. In terms of safety, viewers could feel either threatened or reassured, knowing that they can be easily fall victim to criminals, or knowing that they have the law and order on their side. Executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer also explores self-actualization with morality tackling and problem solving storylines which as a result supports a viewer’s personal growth, also known as esteem.
As technology rapidly advanced, more and more methods were developed in order for the show to be better marketed amongst the young target audience. All of these reception theories were brought up as a result of the show’s marketing. Some of their marketing techniques included social media, apps and games, behind the scenes footage etc. Social media is widely used amongst the target audience, hence CBS created an official Twitter and Facebook page in addition to their official website with updates after each episode, selling official merchandise with catchy descriptions and spreading awareness about the different deals and offers from different channels to catch up on the latest episodes. The CSI team had also created their own mobile game called ‘CSI : Hidden Crimes’ which allows viewers to become a member of CSI, finding missing objects and teaming up with others. Users who play the game without watching the drama, may also end up increasing the total amount of viewers CSI have. With the help of channel fragmentation, CBS uploads behind the scene footage of the show, attracting viewers with the amount of effort that is put into each episode as well as the actors themselves - attracting even more viewers. For example, they had a one shot, filmed in slow-mo for their opening of Season 10, where it was interesting to see how it all happened in 2009.
Resources on Google Classroom
Belinda Raji, TEACHER at SCHOOL Follow. "Audience: The Effects Debate." Share and Discover Knowledge on LinkedIn SlideShare. N.p., 18 Sept. 2014. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.
Murphy, Harriet. "Uses and Gratifications." Uses and Gratifications. N.p., 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.
"Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs." Learning Theories. N.p., 02 Sept. 2016. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.
All CBS CSI Social Networking Sites (Twitter, Facebook)
script for tv make
I did not take part in the scriptwriting process this time, but I read over the script, gave some suggestions, and contributed to group decisions. For example even before the production, Joy (our director) suggested that we switch to lava lamps. But I did not think that re-writing the script only a week before the assessment was a good idea. As a result we stuck to our idea of slime. The words highlighted in blue are my contributions in the script.
Our director decided to try out the official format for a TV production. I added in some time markers and additional sentences for the script before the day.
product documentation & evidence of process of 'make'
In addition to the beat, I also sent a few copyright free sounds to Jonathan (in charge of the Tricaster and graphics) as he had requested a few including the kettle boiling and explosion sounds for the sting.
During the rehearsal, we made changes along the way for the different cameras as we felt that some shots were too repetitive, and our camera operators did not have enough time to showcase their skills. Therefore I had an annotated camera script with markings on. Before the official ‘make’, I had also made a few markings on the script in terms of the time markers in order to ensure that our team was kept in time and it reminded me when to communicate with the camera operators during the change of shot.
During the rehearsal I was quite blank and did not have much idea of what I was doing as it took me a while to get used to my role. I was slightly confused in the footage as they had skipped a few of the shots written on the script.
This was supposed to be the final one but as a group we weren't too satisfied, therefore we did another take after this one. I think that this shows how each of us were doing our roles to the best of our abilities, despite me slipping me at one point when Jonathan had already switched the Tricaster to Camera 1. Overall I'm quite satisfied with the final product as each of us worked very well together.
Footage of Actual Production
The television audience has changed massively over the years. At our current age and time, families no longer huddle around the television and enjoy shows broadcasted by one of the three available stations, but each member of the family can now be seen holding their own devices, watching their own show of choice on a variety of technology. Therefore, platforms like YouTube or Vimeo would come in handy for distribution, as they are accessible from any device and available to watch upon interest, also known as 360 degree commissioning. This will allow our programme to be viewed by an even larger audience anywhere across the world. These platforms are also quite popular amongst our young intended audience of teenagers, thus making this even more effective. We could first start off with a smaller range, targeting South Island School students by creating an internal South Island School channel which supports a live stream as well as a replay after the event has finished. Even before the official broadcast, marketing on a variety of social media could ensure the amount of viewers to rise, as social media is widely used and content can be easily spread.
"360-degree Commissioning." 360-degree Commissioning - Oi. Oxford Index, n.d. Web. 01 Feb. 2017.
Final Evaluative Production Report
Our main goal was to deliver 3 minute television ‘make’ for our target audience of teenagers of our age. Overall, the production went quite well as we worked efficiently both pre-production and during the make. Although we had one or two disputes regarding the script-writing, our group was able to focus and prepare for their role. As for myself, switching from Sound Mixer to PA with less than one week before the official ‘make’ day did not seem like the best idea, considering my experience with the sound technology - but afterwards I felt that the PA role allowed me to challenge myself even more and gain even more knowledge in the different areas of the AFP course. I was able to communicate with most of the members on the floor quite well and announce the shots accurately. Within the almost-2 hour rehearsal period, I made quite some mistakes with occasional slip-ups, but I think that we all gradually grew accustomed to our role which led to the satisfactory final product. If I were to challenge myself even more, I think that the role of presenter would be quite interesting for me too, considering that I have performed on stage but not in front of cameras in a quiet room for a television broadcast. It was also a good opportunity for me to learn to work with other people, not just the people I usually work with despite it being more efficient, as I need to learn to be versatile.