Monday, March 23, 2009

In which we Reboot a Bit

I'm not remembering anything showstopping from Show 3 itself; but the thing from Show 3 or thereabouts was what we have come to know as a Fair, Frank n Open Discussion of the Issues.

Keith wanted to talk while Barb got out of makeup, and shared a little about the guys, WLEX, and his feelings about the enterprise.

Our studio guys were basically the newest production hires, fresh out of EKU's Radio and TV Production curriculum. As the newest production hires, they occupied the sub-basement of the production pecking order; and the only way out of the sub-basement was if one of the day-shift production folks moved on. Generally, this never happened: the only other places to go to in central KY at the time were WKYT and KET; and since those were the plum jobs, nobody ever left there. Unless they left central KY. Which was unthinkable.

So our guys were condemned to the Midnight Shift for the forseeable forever, with no hope of doing anything interesting in the next decade or two; the News was all robocameras, fergoodnesssakes, and the formats for the Sunday AM Public Interest shows were frozen in aspic. Then we came along, with our merry disregard for everything that anybody Knew about the Right Way to Produce a Show -- and it looked even more hopeless than before, except that a) we seemed to listen to them, b) we seemed to respect their work and c) we seemed to have fun and wanted them to have fun, too. This from Show 1.

So everybody gets all excited and starts psyching themselves up for the show -- and here we are, doing basically illustrated radio. All Millie is doing is sitting up there, cracking jokes and making faces. Where's the television? What happened to all that talk of a month ago?

For my part, my $.02 is that we were hitting nothing but "Can't do that," for reasons ranging from the legitimate n plausible to the oh, please. And for all our brave talk, the reality is that the tape from Show 1 showed that (hate to say it) Bill was more right than not: as a teevee show, it might have been a brave experiment and fun in the studio, but what went out over the air kinda stunk. So we've been kinda busy working on what we could control, which is the character.

We talk about the character: Millie is stuck in a Grande Dame Diva rut that nobody is particularly excited about, with the possible exception of Bill. And as long as she's tied to the chair, not moving around and not reacting to anybody, we can't do much more with her than write jokes that nobody understands. We've got to pick up the pace and get more Stuff going in the show. Which means, Mr. Writer, that you have to put more Stuff into the script that we can work with.

Up to this point, the scripts are just Millie's monologues. And I point out that our understanding was that Keith & Co. would take care of the teevee part, we'd take care of the talent part. So if it's boring teevee, we need Keith & Co. to step up as well: it serves none of us for any of us to get all Artiste-y with the Show. Right or wrong, the guys' attitude towards The Talent reflected their legitimate reaction to how The Talent treated them in the past; and we have had our little experiences with divas as well. We don't play that game.

So we leave each other with a challenge: Given the basic lines of responsibility -- we don't tell them how to stage the broadcast unless the scene is written to be staged a particular way, they don't tell us what to say or do -- what can we do next week to get out of the rut?

Keith is not in for Week 4; Audio Jeff is directing, and Doug shifts from camera to audio. But obviously our conversation has been shared, because we walk in to the studio to say our howdys upon arrival, and the mood is most def upbeat. Barb n Bob go off, pumped. Jeff, who has been very quiet for the past month, is willing to read the Director lines. The guys want to see Barb enter -- they want to move the cameras! Doug is playing with sound -- there are sound effects being dropped in here and there, more or less in logical holes in the script. There is talkback that isn't scripted, and Millie responds appropriately. Everybody's energy is up without the franticity of Week 1. This show is working the way that it's supposed to work. And it's coming together in Week 4, just like we thought. And Week 4 begins the ratings month. Oh, we love it when a plan comes together.

We're moving into a series of PRC trash movies at this point -- the next one up is some detective epic, with snappy patter n guys in fedoras that don't come off when the hard-boiled dick socks 'em. The writing is now falling into a pattern -- too bad we won't be writing after a few more weeks, we should be off scripts by the end of the month at this rate -- and I call Keith Tuesday night and ask: How do you feel about doing a hard-boiled dick show this week? If the show's full of detective movie cliches running around the movie? Could you come up with a special open for the show?

Keith say he's got an idea.


  1. Heya... hope this is okay, but I finished that promo for your blog recounting of the show. Find it here, and let me know if you want me to change anything or take it down...

  2. Oh yeah... hit the HQ button as soon as the stream starts if you go to it... Youtube really screws with the titling in their low quality stream...