Tips and Techniques

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With 13 plus years in Indian television production, I was curious to know, what would it be like to work on the other side, with an international crew. I had worked on international formats and heard a lot about how pat on they were, they stuck to their schedules, each and every person knew exactly what their role was and how they had to execute it. Pre-prod seemed to be absolutely strong. I had only heard these things, never experienced it. Part of the opportunity came through while working on the show, ‘Pokerface’ India, an U.K based format show. I got my hands on the much treasured ‘Show Bible’, the production schedules and some other documents. I started looking through it, scavenging for information on what made them so ‘professional’, to say the least. Suddenly, one of the pages of the schedule, jumped out of my hands and planted itself smack in my face. On the page was the final casting interviews, scheduled a month before the show went on floor and had this written: 8:30 am- car arrives at studio gate. Contestant 1-walks from gate to studio door- 30 secs. 8:31 AM-contestant 1 will be met at studio door by AD 1. Briefing 1 minute. 8:32 AM-contestant 1, meets with panel. 5 minutes. 8:38 Am-contestant 1, leaves studio. 8:40 AM-contestant 2 arrives at studio gate…… And so the schedule continued. The pre prod was run like a tight ship. With this sort of preparation for the shoot, the concept could go wrong but not the execution. Everyone knew what everyone else was supposed to do! Actually, let me correct that- everyone knew what they were expected and supposed to do. 1. Pre Prod is key, invest in it. Each crew member should know what their responsibilities are. Experience no.2, was working on IIFA 2011, with Wizcraft. One morning I got a call, I was told that we were to shoot an episode in Toronto. I really didn’t have to think much, I said yes. I was on my way to Canada, ready for my 1st shoot experience with an international crew and little idea what to expect. Very much like Eddie Murphy’s character in Coming To America. My first trip ever, to a 1st world country. I got off the flight, completed the formalities, waited for my ride and headed straight to the studio for my 1st shoot. I worked with 3 crews, all from Toronto and the teams (except for me) worked in shifts. Each team comprised of 1 director-me, 1 cameraman/woman, 1 sound engineer and 1 assistant. The team I worked with the most was Eric Schumer-DOP, Gary Oppenheimer-Sound Engineer and I’ve been trying to remember the assistants name-Ben, If i’m...

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