Monday, March 24, 2014

The Tension When Shooting a TV Episode

In writing my novel Star Time, I wanted to describe the shooting of a TV episode, so that my readers would get the sense of the tension that arises during the shooting of a show:  Here's an excerpt:

Biff Stanfield was nearly insane with worry. He had watched the rehearsal just before the initial take of the first scene between Sally and Chad and had nearly thrown up. The woman character he had created so carefully now seemed as contrived as a Saturday-morning cartoon, Chad's as stiff as an ironing board.

"It'll be fine," the man in the safari jacket answered.

John Rosenthal was a red-bearded producer-director who had cut his teeth at MTM and directed a dozen hit shows over the years. The high fees he now received and the residual checks that came in each month had made him a rich man. He was heavily in demand during pilot season because of his touch with comedy. This year, though, the project he and his wife, Marti, an experienced producer, had personally developed had fallen through at the last minute, and Marian Marcus had talked them into joining the team for Adam and Eve's pilot.

"You keep telling me not to worry,' Biff was agonizing, "but somebody sure as hell better!"

John smiled. He walked over to Sally and Chad. "Take it a little faster this time. And move a little closer."

"That's it?" Biff moaned when the smaller man returned to his chair. "If the world was collapsing in front of James Cameron’s eyes, would he just say, 'Move closer?'"

"Marti!" John called over to the pretty, round-faced woman in discussion with Marian Marcus near the side of the studio. "You've worked with Cameron. Would he have told them to move closer?"

She noted the hint of a smile as he spoke, and she shook her head. "Farther apart."

"John turned back to Biff. "I guess you have your choice."

Unnerved, Biff rushed away.

"Let's shoot it this time," John directed the cast and crew. "And let’s have it faster.”

Read more:  Star Time.

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