06 August 2007

What I've Been Doing

A few people have asked me what exactly I do at History Television. A fair enough and quite normal question to ask. I ask people all the time what they do when at work.

Here's a quick breakdown: the other people (the actual employees) at History give me projects to work on. I work on them, then they give me more.

I also do lots of other things.

We all clear now?

Alright. All kidding aside, I get to, as I said before, watch films and tv shows. It's called "screening" in the film and television industry, and when one receives an advance copy of a show or film, that's called a screener. I've been watching screeners for a series called Crime Stories. Since it's a History Television original series, we ("we" is more a "they", since I am only an intern, and don't really have a whole lot of say in what happens) actually have a lot of input into how the episodes turn out. Not total control, mind you, but editorial and producer-type input. So the production company will go through many stages for each show, from the idea stage, to the scripts, to the screeners.

There may be multiple versions of the script, which are submitted to us, and we read them and give them back for revision. Same for the screeners. The company will submit what is called a "rough cut," which is exactly as it sounds: a rough version of what they envision for the final show. The narrator in the rough cut is likely just someone who works in the studio, there may be footage missing, and the music and sound effects are likely not finalized. Next is the "fine cut," the last step before the show is complete. Again, we'll watch the screeners just as we read the scripts, and submit to the production company what we'd like to see changed, where the story is weak, what needs tweaking, etc.

For Crime Stories, I've been watching the rough cuts and marking down all the scenes with grisly violence. Each cut, rough or fine, or anything else I watch, really, for that matter, has a time code right on the screen. Here's a screen shot with a time code from Deadwood, my favourite show on History (the third and, unfortunately, final season airs on History, beginning in September):



So every time someone is shot, or stabbed, or there are scenes or oral descriptions of violence, I mark down the time, along with a brief description of what is on screen. Its to make sure we are okay to air the episode during daytime television. We wouldn't want any children watching someone lying in a pool of blood, or seeing a re-enactment of Richard Ramirez (a very sick, sick individual) knifing someone.

I've also been working on a project where I check out what's going on on other networks. A bit of seeing what the neighbours are up to, so to speak. I can't say much else about it. It's top secret.

But I would like to share a show with everyone I came across that I think is absolutely hilarious. It's called Flight of the Conchords. It grew out of a stand-up act. Check out this video on YouTube. The two Kiwi blokes who are the stars of the show have some of the driest humour I've ever heard.

In a totally unrelated vein, I came across this great app. More reason for Donna and I to live in Toronto, not some walker-unfriendly suburb.

3 comments:

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Ollie said...

Sounds like a tough job Bryan, but hey, someone's gotta do it hey! Watching TV programs on history - how cool is that!

Ollie

Robert Campbell said...

Bryan are you still blogging here?
Rob Campbell from Dumpdiggers would like to talk to you. Also you should erase the comments from bernard n. shull - he is a machine schilling for big pharma.