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December 2017
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In the magazine
Only available in print
  • The Televisual Commercials 30
    Jon Creamer introduces Televisual's exclusive annual report, the Commercials 30, and finds that while budgets are down and production companies are under threat from agency in-house units, commercials producers are finding new horizons beyond ads too.
  • Commercials 30: Best in Show
    Commercials producers also get to vote for their favourite directors, stand out ads and top rated agencies along with their favourite post houses, editors and vfx ops. We reveal the results
  • Commercials 30: The Top 30
    Televisual reveals the Commercials 30 itself, the 30 top rated commercials production companies in the UK
  • Music in Motion
    So what’s next for the music behind the commercials? Will it be another year in the ascendant for London Grime perhaps? Portugese house? Afro beats or the Angolan kuduro sound?
  • Televisual Factual Festival report
    Last month saw Televisual's annual Factual Festival return to Bafta. How to stand out in a world of ever increasing viewer choice was the big theme this time. Tim Dams reports
  • Alison Kirkham in interview
    At the Televisual Factual Festival, the BBC's controller of factual Alison Kirkham outlined the shows the corporation is looking for in the year ahead
From the magazine
Available to read online
  • 2017: the year in review
    Two very different stories – the rise of SVOD players and the Harvey Weinstein abuse allegations – defined TV’s year. Tim Dams reports
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The Art Of Studio Direction Back to Reports & survey Listing




Early stages


My first involvement with a project usually comes in the early planning stages, at a meeting with the executive and series producers of the show. This gives them a chance to outline their creative brief for the show and for me to ask questions about the project. It’s important in these early stages to establish the style and tone the editorial team are looking for, as this will likely affect the choices you have to make technically further down the line.

 Sometimes you come to a project before any design briefs have been sent out, so you can be involved with developing the overall look. But more frequently these days, the set and lighting designs may already be in place and it becomes more about working with key departments to bring the show to life. Develop a good relationship with your line manager in the early days, because invariably all ideas come down to money.   
 
Work with the best
I adore my crew and I’m lucky enough to work with the best in the business. It’s so important to build close working relationships with your team because they get to know your style and preferences and can preempt some key decisions. You spend long hours together, working in high pressure environments, sometimes far from home, so it’s really important to get along.

That’s why I’m always really keen to choose my key crew members; camera supervisor, vision mixer, script supervisor, lighting designer and floor manager in particular. I would say that while they’re all critical roles, the first call I usually make on a job is to my camera supervisor. I’m fortunate enough to work with some incredibly creative supervisors but special mention should go to the talented Nat Hill. We’ve worked together since T4 was hosted by Dermot and Margherita, live from C4 HQ at Horseferry Road and we’re still at it on series four of The Voice at Dock10, MediaCity.  

An eye for detail, a sense of humour and good communication are essential skills for a studio director. Your voice can be heard by everyone via production talkback, so it’s important to be clear who you’re communicating with and what the message is. The tone of your voice will set the mood of the crew, so it’s important to remain calm but enthusiastic, to keep energy levels up. I always have a team meeting with the crew on the morning of the show, to give everyone an overall sense of what the producers want editorially.
 
Coping with stress
Rescue Remedy (thank you Nikki Parsons) is one little tip I can pass on, but in all honesty, if you’ve been thorough in your planning and you’re well rehearsed, then it’s not stress that you feel, it’s just pure adrenaline. And I’m sure, secretly, that’s the reason we all do it.

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