adjacent productions

I’m bored so here’s some general tv production stuff. I’ve been wanting to post these concepts in a meta but decided to give them mostly their own post.

We’ll round the ratio for the hourly screentime to 1 even though most network TV dramas are 42 minutes. Producers of tv networks usually like a lot of coverage and shot variety so there’s more control and they can adjust timing. When I took film/tv production classes in 2012 or so, I was taught that networks budget about 18-20 hours of footage to 1 hour(rounded) of screen time. Looking around now, that seems to still be about right from what I could find. If anything, it might be more footage because pretty much everyone uses digital now and digital is cheaper than film by a lot. I’ve heard of 40:1 but I don’t think that’s normal. It is a thing though.

Typical projected filming with actors is about 12-16 hours a day for tv. I don’t know what the schedule is for all tv, but SPN apparently films for 8 or so days an episode. 

Below are the 6 cardinal rules of editing and how much each one is supposed to matter in the cutting room. These were taught to me in school using the book: In the Blink of an Eye by Walter Murch. The first 3 are pretty obvious, the last 3 are more technical:

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Meet the Crew: The Editors

“There’s a rotation of three editors cutting the shows,“ editor David Ekstrom points out. "We do that so we can stay up to photography as they’re filming. In an ideal situation we cut that day of film, so we’re one day behind cameras.” Essentially, what an editor does is “put together the show,” editor Anthony Pinker explains. “With different directors, we take anywhere from five hours of footage up to nine hours, and trim it down to forty-two minutes.” Editor Tom McQuade believes the great thing about his job is, “No two people do it the same way. My philosophy is, the first job is to put it as close to what’s written in the script as possible, and see if it works.”

“The final write happens here,” Pinker asserts. “By using film, we can emphasize or strip out B or C stories; we can virtually change how you perceive a character.” Ekstrom elaborates, “We’re choosing which performances, which angles, which camera moves to put in. Usually, that’s based on the sensibilities that we’ve developed with the people we work for.” For example, “Phil Sgriccia likes things fast paced,” McQuade reveals. “Kim Manners likes things to breathe. Each director has a different style, each story has a different pace, and that’s why I think the show’s so good – they aren’t carbon copies of each other. Some shows do a pilot and that’s the style, they do not want you to deviate at all.”

“We’re fortunate, because we’ve got a lot of creative latitude to make stylistic choices,” says Ekstrom. “In some cases Eric Kripke will come in and say, ‘You know what, that’s not really what I’m looking for here.’ And in other cases the producers are going to say, 'Wow, that’s great!’, According to McQuade, another great thing is, "the executives are in sync. When you work on a show where they’re not, it’s not fun to be an editor.” Pinker illustrates, “'Make it red.’ 'Who told you to make it red?’ 'The executive did.’ 'Well, make it blue.’ 'Why’d you make it blue?’ 'Well, the executive told me to.’ 'Oh… make it red.’”

“None of what we do is arbitrary,” Ekstrom emphasises. “The inside joke for editors is when someone asks you, 'Is there a better take?’ 'Ahh… yeah, I didn’t put in the take I think was the best…” Pinker adds drily, “I thought I’d put in this bad take so you could give me a note.’”

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