The TV Quiz Show – Reflection 1

The road to this story has been a bumpy one to say the least. Knowing full well the clock would be against us (one week less than the group before us), we got together before we’d even done our radio shows in order to discuss and plan our TV show ahead of time. An online group was set up on facebook, with which we used to make sure we were all happy with our roles, and make sure everyone was up to date on what was happening with the developing project.

The final idea we came down to was that of a movie quiz show. It would take the style of Never Mind The Buzzcocks, but where that revolved around music, this one would revolve around films. We decided we would have several rounds – one involving the identification of famous one-liner, and another involving charades. An audience could pick up the rules easily, and it was a well-known concept that would be easily applicable to a large audience. What’s more, a lot of us knew a lot about films, so we were well-equipped with the research. With the roles finalised, and the idea seemingly agreed, we were all thoroughly looking forward the project as we went into our first week.

The first problem hit us straight away – during the very first seminar we had, our lecturer effectively scrapped our idea and told us to start again. Given that this seminar clashed with the All Students Meeting (when all lectures are meant to be cancelled), I had to leave this meeting as I was filming the event for Source TV. Apparently, many others left thereafter, possibly to head to the ASM themselves. Out of the eighteen of us, six were left, and they finalised a concept around an identity-based game, where the theme would be mystery people, and this notion of ‘identity’. I know the lecturer wanted us to be more original than our initial idea, however I feel that we did not have time for these changes. Altering the concept undid almost all our work prior to this first week, and I imagine it left a lot of people feeling a bit lost. We had decided on our initial idea as a group. The idea we stuck with was decided by six. This was no doubt going to affect people’s motivation for the project.

Personally, I was much more for the movie idea. The reason I kept my mouth shut during the seminar was because I had no input to give. Given that we have three weeks to make this artefact, movies may have been cliched, but it would have been accomplishable, and it would have been generally a ‘safer bet’. However, the final decision fell to the producers and director, and they went with it, and thus so did I. However, only a few hours later, in-fighting broke out amongst the group on facebook, knocking everyone’s confidence in the project. Despite that the issues were resolved in the end, the atmosphere was definitely a little negative the following day. Whether it had anything to do with the change of idea I can only speculate.

The following week, however, things got even worse. Now doing several run-through attempts, I started to realise that my position of ‘camera operator’ was a slight mockery of my professional title. For this project, we decided to use something called ‘Chromakey’, which is where the blue background we concealed in The Gents Show would actually be used as a sort of ‘green screen’ (ie: we would put a digital background behind the presenters and guests). This, however, meant that the cameras in the studio would not be able to move, as the movement would affect the digital images through the lens. Thus, as camera operator, my job in the studio is to set up my camera… and that’s pretty much it.

On one given day, our lecturer came in and gave us a big boost of confidence by telling us we were all going to fail because none of us had put enough effort into this project. I’m sure everyone had their own feelings about this, but for myself, as a camera operator who can’t operate his camera, its questionable how much effort is actually expected of me. In an earlier session today, I actually dragged a seat behind my camera and sat on it, only serving to make sure the camera didn’t move, and change the focus or zoom slightly if the director ordered. Shortly after the telling-off, our lecturer then re-shuffled three of the roles – namely, a producer, a VT operator and a set-designer got demoted to ‘web designers’ – positions that did not exist for the other group. This throughly de-motivated those members, which dragged some of the rest of us down further still. Now, even the roles we had all agreed on before the show were changed. And all with only two weeks left to go.

Ultimately, I think we are a hard-working team that are doing as well as we can with this project. I think the majority of the problems with this project have come from external influences, rather than internal. Every time we do a run-through, the gallery members are sorting out technical issues, whilst an ensemble of camera operators and presenters wile away the hours in the studio beyond. This project is nothing like The Gents Show. In my opinion, the show we created in Term 3 is shaping up to be better than this one. Considering this show will largely be based on technical skills in editing and graphics, we wont really know how good or bad it is until days before the hand in. But having gone from producer of a radio show I was quite proud of, to a camera operator who sits in a TV studio all day, it is hard to really reflect on anything at all related to this project.

Although I feel most of the gallery personnel are having much more input into this project than we are, it is not a stretch to say I chose the camera operator role this time to defuse my responsibility for this project. Being a set designer on The Gents Show is by many a mile the worst thing I have had to do on this course so far. All I wanted to do this time was set up cameras, film stuff, and take orders from a floor manager. However, with this in mind, I still think my current role takes the biscuit a bit – especially considering the things that other projects demand of me – operating tracks, conducting interviews, organising marketing events, creating separate projects in groups and on my own… I have much to do, and I feel that when I sit at my camera in the studio, I am not being pushed, technically or creatively. I am almost unused. And that for me is the main issue here – I have nothing to reflect upon because I am not developing in any way in this project. All that is developing is my patience – which in all fairness is quite well-grounded anyway. Perhaps this is a reality check for all us ‘Formats’ lovers – ‘shut up and do your job’. Yes ma’am!

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