Directing in television production is all about coordinating the various activities which when put together bring production to a success. Each person involved has to put in their best in terms of contributing their quota as far as the production is concerned under a single director. Directing assumes its greatest importance when the message is to be given “live” by the artists or performers. Directing here involves both technical and non technical activities under the director who does the job of directing in any broadcast production.
At the end of this unit, you should be able to:
- give a clear definition of radio and TV directing
- spell out the duties of a director and production staff in television production
- explain the term Rushes in television production.
3.0 MAIN CONTENT
3.1 Definition of the Term “Directing”
Directing is the act of bringing the various aspects of production to make sure they all run efficiently to achieve the station’s objectives. In the process of directing, the director has to use his creative and analytical prowess to bring the various aspects of presentation together.
He has to reduce the language of the script to the level of the crew members or artists and event to the level of the audience members if the need arises. He may also assign appropriate language to the characters. For, it would be a disaster to have a character in a programme who is supposed to be illiterate speaking good English.
Directing takes care of scenic composition “as an extension of reality, imagery as a replication of subjects, themes and structure as determinants of presentation styles (Owuamalam, 2007:165).
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 1
- What is directing in television production?
3.2 Directing in Broadcast Programme
The principal aim of directing programmes in a broadcast production is to achieve the acceptance and believability of the production by the station’s audience, and to retain the aroused interest through suspense device. The arousal of interest could be in a heroic act or a sense of loss. The audience members being human beings are bound to react to some of these scenes.
Owuamalam (2007:165) is of the opinion that the person directing the production understands that the audience members are the reason why broadcasting exists. He as such tries to explore all possible artistic strategies to ensure that programmes meet the expectations of the specified target audience.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 2
- Directing programmes does not mean commanding. Discuss.
3.3 Duties of the Director
It is the duty of the director to supervise technical staff as well. His duties do not end with non-technical crew. He makes sure that all the necessary lights for the production are not only in place, but functional. He checks the various monitors within the studio to make sure that the camera shots tested by the cameraman are in workable condition. He also ascertains the images on the monitors as they would meet the desires and quality of the production.
The director has to be economical with time and other resources. For example, where scenes involve crowds like the funeral and dance arena, it would be more economical to do the shooting at the same time instead of having to go back to the same location after the initial shots had been taken.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 3
- How would a producer who is a non-technical staff supervise technical crew?
3.4 Duties to Production Staff
Production normally begins with a script. Then the cast are recruited or hired as artists who perform various roles in the production. The director works very closely with these sets of people. This group of people are popularly known as above-the-line staff or non-technical personnel, because as the name indicates they have nothing to do with the technical aspects of the production; even if some of them are technically educated or have knowledge and skills in the technology involved in production. These persons are then cast into or are assigned various roles. This is followed by intensive rehearsal to train and become or acquire proficiency in their roles for the production. The director grooms the artists to suit their assigned roles. This is achieved through performance instructions and directions at the instance of the director.
A programme director could be likened to a football coach who makes sure that the team members collaborate their efforts as a team towards the realisation of their dream, in this case, that of producing a programme according to the objective of the broadcast station.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 4
- What is above-the-line crew in broadcast production?
3.5 Taking Care of the Rushes
All the shots that were taken and are taken during production or performance are called the rushes. The director returns to those shots at the editing stage with the aim of selecting the best shots as has been indicated by the script. The director can alter the script submitted by the producer to meet the realities of production.
The director normally interprets the action in conjunction with the programme objective. And in the end, it is what the director wants that is presented to the station’s audience. In doing so, he or she has to be conscious of the main message in the original script. His or her alteration should not be at the expense of the objective of the script and that of the broadcast station. The first critic of any production tends to be the director. His reaction to performance is not different from those of the target audience probably because he has been on the job and happens to know the station’s audience through research. He therefore falls in a position to know what is good or unsuitable for the audience.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 5
- Why does the director often use his own script during production?
We have discussed in this unit the definition of directing, directing in broadcast programme, duties of the director, and his duties to the production staff and taking care of the rushes in production by the director. Directing and the director has to do with the person assigned the responsibility to make sure that both human and material resources are put together in a harmonised manner to achieve the station’s objectives in broadcasting.
Broadcast programmes, if they are to be understood by the audience, ought to be delivered in line with the rules of grammar, diction and phonetics. These must be strictly adhered to when using language to communicate thoughts, ideas and feelings.
Whatever forms a programme takes, the director is the final person in the process to get it on air for the audience to view. It is therefore the duty of the director to ensure that, whatever form the programme assumes, it will have to satisfy the station’s audience and be in harmony with the objectives of the broadcast station.
8.0 TUTOR-MARKED ASSIGNMENT
- Why do you think it is necessary for the director to tamper with language used by the producer of a programme
- What do you understand by the aroused interest of the station’s audience?
- What do you understand by the term Rushes?