Off Screen MADNESS of a TV Show!!! (Backstage – Part 2)

Hello again. I’m back with the off screen madness part 2. I ended first part on the Creative’s call. But still, the to-do-list of creative team member never ENDS! Let me tell you what a creative member would/should/have to do. Let’s see some more colors of the creative team member.  

Creatives act as a link between the shoot, edits, meetings and the channel. Being a creative team member, you should know each and everything about the show, actors, characters, story and screenplay at the tip of your tongue! Anywhere anytime anyone can ask you “arery 3 number scene mein who bacche avoid ho sakte hai kyaa?” And you realize you do NOT have a life! Your life is your own show. My mom used to tell me, “Beta I feel you are married to your show.” LOL! Yeah. That’s how dedicated a creative team member should be! But no matter what, creatives are entitled for all the blame-games. Hahaha! (Just kidding) 😉 Those who are passionate enough and love their shows or the moneys involved would definitely like to be a creative. So you think you can become a Creative? ;(How about a Reality Show on this topic? Lol!)

EP’s Call Time:

EP (Executive Producer) constitutes an integral part of the production team. He is the one who prepares schedules and arranges for the locations and sets etc. He deals a lot with actors aur unke tantrums + dates. He has to be the one who can lie in favor of his situations. Complicated right? Or interesting? He definitely makes you think and he has this one thing in his mind, no matter what; my telecast has to go daily on-air at the said time! And he devotes his life for it! Often there are fights between EPs and Creatives because of script issues. Sadiyon se chalte aaye hai –Creatives-Production ke jhagde! There is just no end to it. But for any show to be a hit, there has to be a PROPER and PERFECT co-ordination between these 2 departments. “Ladte jhagadte telecast toh nikal he jaata hai – A famous line by ANONYMOUS production head.

Actor’s Act/Tantrums:

Ala la la la… Actors actors actors. Mostly for whom we all watch the shows. Beware! They are different from their on-screen image and characters. When you actually are shooting with them for more than 12-14 hours a day, you get to know the ‘real’ people who they are! Some are good, some are bad and some are like the ones on whom I’d not even like to comment anything. I have personally witnessed same actors acting differently every time I’ve interacted with them. After all, we make them the stars. Ab jab hum he unhe utna sar par chadhayenge, fir toh who bhi uske maze lenge he na. But most of the actors are professionals. And it should be like that also. After all, a healthy work atmosphere is something everyone would want. But at times, actors do throw a tantrum saying ‘main yeh costume nahi pehnugi’ or ‘yeh lines kaat do.. kyaa likha hai yeh? Bakwas hai..’ etc. But Creatives definitely know the ‘trick’ to tackle their actors. After a while, creatives are used to with all these and they take it as a ‘pinch of salt’. And at times they two become the best of friends 🙂

Director’s Cut:

Let’s move on to this! A director is like the captain of the ship. He/She has the ‘next-to-last-word’ in the shoot. He/She works under a lot of pressure. He/She has to daily shoot an episode (or a major part of it), get the best out of the actors, think from the creatives’ + editor’s + audience’s POV.  Director will keep on re-taking the shots until and unless he/she is satisfied with the actor’s performance. When the show is new, it’s a great challenge for a director to set it up. Once you have crossed few episodes, everyone enters the ‘soapy mood’ and actors become ‘one-take’ artists. And the director EXACTLY knows at what point to say 2 words: ‘ACTION’ and ‘CUT’!

Editor’s Scissors:

Editors mostly are included in the post-production team. They have to be super fast with their work. They are the final ones, seeing the episode before it’s on-air. But agar –cut-to-cut situation aa jaaye toh sabse zyada pressure inhi par hota hai. They need to give edited telecast footage much prior the on-air time! But sometimes, online editing also happens. And segments reach one after the other. Like you’re watching a particular show; when first break happens, it’s the end of first segment. And when ads are going on, second segment is up! Cut-to-cut situations are crazy! And editors are like angels at that time! In normal cases when editors are editing a particular episode and if they cut one whole scene (of course with the creative supervision); the director starts cribbing! “Mera scene kaat diya… Kaatna he tha toh batade shoot he kyun karwaya..” LOL! (Being a creative, you just have to listen this, make some faces and move on) Yeah that’s the best way to deal it!

Channel’s Telecast:

Once the final episode is ready, it’s sent to the respective channel and they telecast it. They have their own editing panel. Who re-edits, if required. And if there, the technical goof up takes place or if the channel is not able to telecast any show on the said time, it has to bear HUGE losses! It might even lose its audience. But even this kind of situation takes place. It’s just that we industry people take it with a ‘pinch of salt’ and move on. As somewhere at the back of our minds, it’s present “No show can succeed without an obstacle.” We seek positivity even in this! 🙂 Yeh toh thi telecast ki baat! But before that, there are ‘a few’ channel people who are so wannabe writers; they will read your script and add their own inputs in it. With due respect to all channel and their employees, this is not-so-cool thing and nobody wants it, until it is really something out-of-the-box or innovative. This just adds to irritation which production houses are already submerged in! But most of the channel people are really cool! They take a back seat and let the production houses take control. In this way, you get a better package (I feel). But all thanks to the channel for their creative inputs in promos and support with the production houses…You guys are the BEST! 🙂

Producer Pays:

Money talks louder than words! Aha! After working for 24*7, 30 days a month and 365 days a year; showcasing some of the best shows, it’s time to pay their dues! After cutting down on your social life, your family life, your entertainment, you screw up your health, when you start working for your show and treat it like your own baby; when it brings a smile on people’s face and more and more people appreciate it, and you get paid good money for it! Believe you me, if you’re passionate enough then in the end it’s all WORTH it! And Producers pay those BIG BUCKS to the actors, technicians and other crew members for their hardcore efforts!!! I’ve some of my friends who always keep on telling “I earn a lot, but I don’t get the time to spend it on myself”. Yep. This is true when you’ve struggled a lot and made your mark in the industry. Initially you’ve to slog for sure! It’s not easy money. As people say, it is HARD EARNED!

Last but not the least – TRPS Rule !!!

Haha! It’s as simple as black and white. If TRPs increases, there is profit and if it decreases, it might incur losses. Some people believe the numbers doesn’t make any difference. Some believe they are the only thing! Well, to each it’s own.

I hope you all have enjoyed reading this part as well as have imparted knowledge. And now you know ‘whom to blame’ if you do not like a particular thing in the show. 😉 Hahahaha!

Thanks for reading!

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Off Screen MADNESS of a TV Show !!! (Backstage- Part 1)

Hello guys. Today, I’d like to share some off-screen madness which actually is a very important part of any TV show. Believe you me; it’s a lot of work, still, it’s crazy FUN! Aur ek baat hamesha yaad rakhna... Chaahe kuch bhi ho jaaye, TV shows mein galti sirf aur sirf “Creatives” ki he hoti hai. Been there, done that! It’s an unsaid FACT! 😛

Ideation:

For any TV show, one needs an ‘idea’. Be it good or bad, an idea is an idea. It can change the scenario of TV, can change mindset of people or can also irritate them and compel them to switch onto another channel. When concept meeting takes place; ideation team digs out most ‘uncommon’ ideas and showcase them. Or, they find the most ‘common’ ideas and try dealing with them ‘differently’. When ideation meetings are on, it’s a great sight to watch out for. I’ve observed, some people being busy on their Blackberry Messenger updating ‘how bored I am!’ or ‘this meeting is going on since ages!’ or ‘what a brilliant idea was that!’ etc. Some others are scratching their head saying ‘we need a proper hook to weave the story’. Someone keeps on passing humorous comments which make everyone LOL! Someone might give a sub-plot to the actual story and make it some another weird story. While this madness is going on, the Producer is on some other spree only and says, (Just an example) ‘I do not like this, or I like this, or give me something NEW and FRESH. Kab tak I’ll make only love story, love-hate story, family drama, or kitchen politics? Aaj kal Youngistan pe bade acche shows ban rahe hai. Why don’t we all make some show on Youth?’ And everyone goes silent for some time. Meeting gets dispersed. And next meeting takes place with Youthful discussion or some other random idea. LOL! Fun na?

Writer’s Wit:

Once the ideation team has decided upon some idea and finalized it, further process follows. Story, Screenplay and Dialogues constitute the writing part of the show. All these 3 have to be crisp and solid to interest the viewer. Writers do churn out their brains in meeting; and think of ‘out-of-the-box’ scenes to bring a smile on people’s face. It’s the writer’s wit and lines which we see actors performing in front of the camera. An actor cannot become a character, unless writer clarifies peculiar characteristics of the character and gives them proper nuances. Writers think of all those books and plays and movies which they have watched and picks out small and big characteristics and allocates to different characters. Or they make characters being inspired from ‘real’ life and adding ‘tinge’ to it. Once characters are finalized, story and screenplay follows.  And on other side, casting team starts their work too!

Casting Christ:

You must be thinking why have I written ‘Christ’? Well, if a show gets the best cast (which is very difficult but not impossible), producers actually Thank God for it! Because, to broadcast a well churned out idea, one needs a blend of awesome actors. 100s of people audition for one show and only ‘a few’ of them are lucky and talented enough to get selected. They get a chance to showcase their talent. Just one chance, either to MAKE it BIG or try harder! Once, the casting is locked, show ka ‘Om Shree Ganeshay Namah’ hota hai. Shubh din dekhkar muhrat shoot and then the actual shoot starts !! BANG !! Bring it on!

Cameraman’s Roll:

The best part which I admire about the shoot is, whenever the shoot starts, before that we all Thank God, say our prayers and daily first shot is of Lord Ganesha. Then, the first scene is discussed between the Director, Cameraman and Creatives (sometimes). Director will define the shot and the block; cameraman will do his lighting accordingly! Oh man! Some cameramen take hours to finish up the lighting! And some finish it up very quickly. At times, just to play the prank, cameraman says, roll and actor starts performing. After director says cut, cameraman says “arrey roll he nahi hua tha”. Hahahaha! (I’ve done this once too! Just for FUN sake!)

Silky Smooth Shoot:

Haha !!!! Kaash aise shoot hota…!! Jab tak koi problem nahi hoti din mein, shoot adhoora hota hai. Shoot doesn’t complete without some problem! Daily on-set, you’ll find people trying to solve some or the other issue or a fight. Kabhi actors ki dates ko lekar problem, kabhi writers ke likhe hue lines ki problem, kabhi costume stylist ki fitting ki problem toh kabhi production requirements ki problem. Kuch na kuch utpatang sa roz hota hai. If it doesn’t happen then, it’s not a TV serial set! On a TV show set, you’ll find some people constantly talking on their phones (they are generally creatives or executive producers). Spot boys running here and there to deliver some or the other things to actors/directors and other people. Some people resting on their respective place wherever they are seated. Mic dada will give mics to all the actors. Sound dada will check the sound and say ‘ok’. Finally actors will come, Director will set the block and cameraman will do his lighting. Kabhi galti se day ke scene mein night ki lighting ho jaati hai toh hungama ho jaata hai! Aur galti kiski.?? Creatives ki..!!! Wonder how ??? Creatives are asked “tum set par karte kyaa ho? Dekha nahi cameraman galat lighting kar raha hai. Brief nahi dee thi kyaa..??” And creatives are speechless. Because the scene was actually discussed as well as it’s always mentioned in the script whether it’s a day scene or night! How can you blame a creative if the director or the cameraman has not read the script properly? But, aisa he hota hai. After this issue is solved, actors do rehearse before their takes. Then, Light…Roll camera… and… ACTION! #phew such a task na?

Creative’s Call:

As one scene gets over, preparation for the next starts. Ab bhai ismein bhi toh ‘locha’ hai.. Shopping ka scene hai aur shopping bags he nahi hai. Market place ka setup bhi thik nahi hai. Junior actors enough numbers mein nahi hai.. Problem ek ho toh bataye! This is like crazy! And in the end it’s the creative’s call! He/She will say fine, shift the scene to some other interior location like a hotel corridor or something; depending on the content of the scene and link of the screenplay. You can’t just change the location out of the blue! Creatives visualize and do come up with logical and illogical solutions. LOL! That’s what they are paid for!  

Well, that’s it for now. Rest shall be posted soon. If you have liked the above stuff and LOL-ed, please do comment and then wait for my next post which will include second part of the “Off Screen Madness of a TV Show”

— Direct dil se from one of the Creatives 😉