Today we had a three and a half hour TV studio session to run through the script and try to perfect the show. Things went a bit awry and in the whole three and a half hours we achieved very little. I’m not sure what’s going wrong, maybe it’s because in a group of 24 people only 14 are showing up to the sessions!
It took us forever to set up, I think these long studio sessions make us work slower because we make the most of having so much time. There’s no pressure, therefore we don’t all help out or work as fast as we can. Setting up the talkback didn’t take too long, but it was a good hour, maybe even an hour and a half, before the set and the gallery were set up. Then we faffed around and I don’t think we even managed one full run through.
As the PA it’s very difficult when you don’t have the show’s timings, so today we timed each section and I noted it down. My work before our next session is to type up these timings coherently and write down cues of when to count items in and out, my maths is terrible especially when I’m doing it on the spot and if I don’t have the cues all written down with exactly when I need to count the whole show will go to pot; which is something we found today!
The script keeps being changed, and I don’t have an up to date version of it so timing the show is very difficult! With only three weeks left before broadcast day I think it’s time we left the script as it is and start working on the more important things; like, for instance, actually running through the whole script!
The thing that’s bothering me about this module is not being able to choose our groups. Now that we’ve been doing the course for a year I think most of us have an idea of a) who we work well with and b) who we can rely on. Being plonked into a group of 24 people has been a challenge, and only about 14 of us turn up regularly.
We are getting there though, I think we just need to have more of a sense of urgency when we have a studio practice so that we learn to set up in a short amount of time and get started quickly. It would be wonderful if everyone actually turned up but something tells me that it won’t happen! The 14 of us who have been turning up are likely to be the only people on set for the assessment so we just have to work around it.
We have a minimal amount of things left to do, it’s mainly just a case of fine tuning and practicing. I need to write down the timings properly in a way that I can understand it so that the show can run smoothly and to time. People keep commenting on the fact that in every run through the timings change because the presenters speak differently each time or stumble on their words, but because in broadcast it’s so so important to run to time it’s the PA’s job to enforce the same timings every time no matter what. When you start counting it’s the presenters job to wrap up what they’re saying in time for the next item. So the timing’s shouldn’t change at all, and that might be somewhere we’re going wrong. I’ll base my notes on the timings from today’s session and those will be the timings for each studio item from now on. There is still a section of the script left to time because it was changed today, but we have almost all the timings now, and we are well within the 12 minute mark.