Saturday, September 12, 2009

A lesson in television

My favourite part of working in the television industry is the learning process. Okay, I'm lying. My favourite part is actually the lavish champagne and oyster parties, the gossip magazines (we're talking local Quebec ones, folks, don't get too excited), and seeing my name in the credits. No, but seriously. I have been learning so much about the filming process in the past few months.

I thought TV shows were filmed in chronological order. This is false (I learned the hard way). Instead, we film according to the location. For example, if you think about Sex and the City, they most likely shot all the scenes in Carrie's apartment in the same week. Then, all the restaurant scenes the next. This saves a lot of money, but requires a lot of costume/makeup changes within a short period of time. That's why so many people take pictures on the set, and write notes about every little detail, so there's continuity. Maybe most people know that already, but I guess I was quite clueless about that kind of thing.

I also learned that most crew guys wear T-shirts of their previous production (at the end of every show or movie, you usually get a present, such as a tee or baseball hat with the name of the project) to work, and have silly nicknames they insist we write on the call sheet. This is not important info, I know. I'd be happy to answer any of your television related questions, if you have any!

We're now done filming the first part of our series (it's a series of ten one-hour long episodes), so we're taking a little break in filming for a few weeks. To me, it means frantically preparing the last few episodes we'll be filming in October, and the production (of season one) officially ends in November. In all honesty, I have a love/hate relationship with the whole television industry. Sometimes I get so frustrated working 14-hour days, getting calls on my days off, spending hours fixing papers jams in the copier, or go for coffee runs (The Devil Wears Prada, anyone?). But then again I sit around on the set and observe, and think about how lucky I am to be working in such a creative field.

{Food from the craft table. We're being fed constantly on the set. It's nice, but dangerous for your waistline. I have to use lots of self-control, and work out twice as hard!}

{Petting the production dog. A lot of people bring their dogs on the set, which I love!!}


Kelly said...

This is so interesting! I didn't know anything about filming and what not until now. It's all so interesting.

I hope you enjoy your few weeks off and don't get too stressed!

Enjoy your weekend, lovely Vivian :)

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you have a pretty neat job. At least there are a few aspects you like about it. I think what I hated the most about mine was that there was no chance to be creative + when you're dealing with finances people can be douche bags.

Anonymous said...

I'm so jealous! Coffee runs aside, your job sounds pretty kickass. Why do the crew guys wear stuff from their last projects?
And btw, your sandals are really nice :-)

Vivian said...

V- i wish i knew!

Nicole Leigh said...

I love all your insider info! I went to school for television production so I'm hoping to do exactly what you do!

Grace said...

Fascinating information. I never thought about them filming one location at a time.

Love Grace.

Carrie said...

This is my first time stumbling across your page. I read your profile and you sound like a really interesting person. I know all about wanting to travel, wanting to return somewhere, and wanting to be always on the go, go, go.

Just wanted to say I really enjoyed reading this post. I learned a lot actually about tv production. Thanks for sharing that part about the food. Thought it was only a rumour, something they do to look good when they're filming behind the scenes.

Hope you're having a good weekend.

All the best,

Tania said...

this was such an interesting post! i always wondered that thing about the chronological order. I guess this way you haven't got a clear idea of what the film is alotgether until the very end of it! Your job is interesting because, as you said, there's a lot of creativity, and that's exactly what i want from my future job, too. Most of my classmates will end up being Medicians/Advocates/Economists/Engineers [ bet mostly engineers ] and not for a particular love of theirs, but just because they're highly retributive jobs. Most of them, i'm sure, will end up doing something they loathe. I won't be stuck in anything like that. Despite my will to become sickenly rich, i want my job to be something i love, something requiring more than just study, something requiring an ability you're either born with or not :)

Nicole Marie said...

ok your sandals are adorable!!

i knew they didn't film in chronological order but i didn't know they film all the same location for all the scenes at one time. thats crazy!! but so cool!!

i bet that food is so hard not to cram in at every second! i don't think i would have any self control

Fashion Doohickey said...

Yeah busy bee, i suggest a break too! ;) Cool blog! :D

Life Abroad said...

I love hearing about the television industry! I know nothing about it, so it's really interesting learning all these insider tidbits haha!

Ps. I left you a little award on my blog :)

Anait said...

I didn't know that all the scenes that take place in one location are done together, although now that I think about it, it makes sense.

I agree with the others, it sounds like you have a fun job...the "devil wears prada" slavery is part of paying for the experience, I guess!

Madeleine said...

I really enjoy reading this stuff. I love learning about the film industry so I hope you will keep writing about your experiences with it.

Anonymous said...

This is such a great post. Shooting the script out of sequence must be stressful on everyone. My first thought was about the poor actors. I know it's their job but it still must be difficult to give authentic performances when the shoots are out of sequence.