Friday, August 18, 2006

The business psychologist and the Big Brother celebrity (part 2)

This whole TV thing is wearing me out. So yesterday was my third filming day with Jade Goody and Hollywood PA Heather H. Howard.

I'm no stranger to TV, but here are some random observations on what goes on at a shoot:

1. Everything takes longer than the director says it will. So on one evening we had a car booked to take me home at 8pm. When I eventually got into the car, the driver told me that I would have to sign for 105 minutes of waiting time (not my problem - the production company's paying!) So everything takes a loooong time. Maybe it's because the director and producers are just incredibly optimistic about how quickly things can get done. Or maybe because the director always wants to do more shots than they need to cover different situations when they get into the edit suite. And technical (and non-technical) hitches always crop up that no one could have foreseen. Stuff like the double-sided sticky tape drying out and bits of the set falling apart.

2. If you want to 'get into television' and manage to secure a job as a runner or researcher, make sure you make yourself useful. Your job as a runner is not to stand there and wait until someone asks to to lend a helping hand. A runner should constantly be asking everyone - the director, the producers, the assistant producers, the researchers, the talent, the camera crew, the sound recordists - whether anything needs doing. And that could range from carrying pieces of equipment around and making cups of tea or standing in front of a light and acting as a human shield to make sure that there isn't a bit of flare in a particular camera shot. Good runners anticipate needs and make themselves useful. If you're a runner and people have to keep asking you for help, they'll quickly stop asking because it's too much bother. And eventually you won't get asked back to work there. End of your career.

3. There's a small amount of acting involved in making a reality TV programme. So even though the programme is mostly observational - i.e. we the panellists make genuine decisions - there is also a staged element to it. So we had to do lots of mean and moody staring down the lens of the camera. Plus mean and moody marching down a corridor. Eventually they'll put a voiceover on top of those shots and maybe some dark and brooding music to make us appear like right bastards! Oh, and in terms of the panel, my role is to be the tough and sarcastic one - think the Simon Cowell of the team!

That's all for now.