* How to Get Where You're Going: Free Maps and Charts
(A writer writes:) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
When I joined BOC you promised me the joy of accomplishment, fame, fortune, technical experience, comradeship and a cook-out. But it just didn't happen that way. What went wrong?"
You had no joy of accomplishment because whenever there was work to be done your busy relating with other lazy company members;
You had no fame because you had little performing talent to begin with and he did nothing to improve it during the course of the year;
You had no fortune because we reward only those who actually produce our in come;
You had no technical experience because we couldn't trust with the equipment;
You had no comradeship because you're such a nuisance to those of us try to get the job done;
And I don't know why didn't come to the cookout. Perhaps your invitation that lost in the mail. Or something.
Here are some other genuine reactions to belonging to BOC:
The letters* reproduced above represents one person's reaction to the BOC experience: somewhat bewildered, a bit disappointed, a tad disgruntled.
"It's my whole life. It's the best thing that ever happened to me."
"Perhaps the most meaningful and valuable experience of my life..."
"I loved every minute of it--it ended too soon."
"I don't know what I would've done this year without it."
"This has to be one the most exciting thing I've done yet."
Same company, same show, same advisers... but quite a different reaction.
After five years of watching some people succeed so brilliantly and so thoroughly enjoy this entire experience, while other people--perhaps equally well-intentioned--fail miserably, we've decided to try to offer some help.
So here is a book of advice, sincerely intended to help you wind your way through the thirty-odd weeks of BOC with a maximum of enjoyment and a minimum of tranquilizers.
With a good little achiever who religiously follows every word of advice in this pamphlet become of BOC SuperStar?
We don't know. But it's worth a try.
* Alright, alright... we just made-up this letter. (Can't slip anything past you, can we...)
WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO
A lot of things will be doing in the next few weeks may seem a waste of time. It may help remember those bewildering moments that our primary goal is the same as that of any other organization-be it federal government, Lions Club, or the Neighborhood Fun Club which meets Wednesday afternoons in Billy's garage-and that is: Self Preservation.
Everything we do is calculated to help perpetuate the project.
Whether it's could collecting publicity, the clippings, urging you to sell more commercials, reprimanding those of you who've mangled the J A Center rules, or pleading with you to flush to W when the toilets after you you use them ... it's all done to help discontinue this project with a minimum of interference and complaints from outside.
It may further help you understand our actions if you understand our goals... and their priorities
1. We shall produce the best show possible.
2. We shall make a profit.*
3. We shall offer everyone the opportunity to participate in all phases of the operation, so long as No. 3 does not louse up #1 and #2.
So now you'll understand why those with all the acting talent of wooden indian wind up with minor roles rather than everyone's having a nice starring role each week;
And you'll understand why someone with a speech impediment won't be permitted within eight feet of the announcer's booth;
And you'll understand why even though you're a real whiz on your paint-by-number set, we still give all the art assignments to the Art Director;
And you'll understand why the audio engineer simply must know his left hand from his right... and why the cameramen can't possibly be 3' 6"... and why someone who is still telling Polack jokes just doesn't belong on the writing committee.
What were saying is this: all the earnest desire and good intentions in the world simply don't take the place of real talent and skill and experience. We hope that doesn't seem too harsh... because things will get a lot harsher before you get a lot older.
And while that heavy-handed bit of philosophy since then, will make you a promise:
|Talent, skill and hard work will be rewarded. |
We wish we could assure you that life will make the same promise, but it often works out differently. Enjoy it now.
* If we were a real business, #2 would change places with #1... because you can't produce great art unless someone picks up the bill. Luckily, WNDU-TV sustains us.
THE GLORIOUS MYSTERY OF BONUS POINTS
Now let's talk about money. If the company is successful, there will be some money left over after we pay all our bills. Now, boys and girls, who should have that money for his very own to buy things with?
SHOULD IT BE JOHNNY?
Johnny came to only four writers meetings this year, but he did make it to filming session or two. He was often late to the taping sessions, and--although that did delay our work--he did apologize profusely... as he was leaving early for unavoidable appointment. Unfortunately, he had to be out of town on four weekends and had to miss taping sessions, but it really wasn't his fault. Being a well-rounded person, Johnny had many other obligations and was quite honestly too busy to take on extra duties for the company.
| or || |
SHOULD IT BE BILLY?
Billy came to two or three writers meetings--every week. He was usually first to arrive are filming sessions. He ran for office and was elected--which meant lot of extra work for him. This week is only mother passed away, he was only 15 immensely to the taping session. (He would of skipped the funeral for a writers meeting, but his father wouldn't give them the car). It was Billy who suggested a Christmas Day filming session, and when they carried him out of the studio with a 104º temperature the weekend of the flu epidemic--he was planning a publicity story for his school paper.
Now... do you have any more stupid questions, boys and girls?
What follows should be blatantly obvious to most of you at least those of you wise enough to realize that to make money does not mean to simply print it. We probably would not even bring up the subject of economics were it not for the individual who loftily informed us one year that money would not rule her life ... but added that it would but added that when it came time to split the profit, everyone should share equally.
So we shall patiently explain. The money belongs to those who produced it, and to whatever degree possible in proportion to their responsibility for producing it. It belongs to those people who struggled out of bed on Saturday morning to arrive on tim ... and to those who gave up free evenings to write scripts were built props ... and to those who suffered mightily for sub-zero filming sessions. It belongs to them because the money would not exist without them.
It remains then to devise a plan for equitably (not equally) distributing the profit, and thus we created our Bonus Points System. It is designed to reward--materially--those who work and create and sacrifice for the show. It is designed to penalize those who impede work or merely come along for a free ride. It has been field tested for several years and is further refined each year. And the only ones who seem to complain about and of those who do nothing all year.
So... be happy in your work. Nobody is in this for the money, but what we have will be yours. And remember: he who reminds you that money is the root of all evil may well have his hand out for spare change before the sentence is concluded.
EXTREMELY OFFICIAL BONUS POINT PLAN
|PART "A": ||25% of our Net Profit is shared equally by all members of the company. |
|PART "B": || |
The remaining 75% of the profit will be distributed to members according to their accumulation of Bonus Points. Throughout the year, Bonus Points will be awarded for extra work. At the end of the year, the total of all members' bonus points is divided into the 75% balance of the profit, thus establishing a monetary value for each point. This figure is multiplied by the number of bonus points each member has accumulated. This amount is added to the equal share (Part "A") of the initial 25% of the profit and paid to each member. Points are awarded or subtracted as follows:
WRITER'S MEETING ATTENDANCE: 1 Point. (Morning, Afternoon, and Evening sessions count separately.)*
FILMING SESSION ATTENDANCE: 1 Point. (see above)
COMMITTEE MEETING ATTENDANCE 1 Point.
THURSDAY MEETING ATTENDANCE: No Points (mandatory for all)
SATURDAY MEETING ATTENDANCE: No Points (mandatory for all)
MISSING A SATURDAY MORNING: Deduct 10 points (no excused absences with the exception of SAT tests or serious illness. However, 1 free Saturday off without a deduction is permitted).
SPECIAL ART OR PROPERTY CONSTRUCTION: 1 Point.
PUBLICITY STORY PLACEMENT: 1 Point. (2 copies must be turned in)
SATURDAY LATE ARRIVAL
Arrive after 8:15 -
Deduct 2 points
8:15 - Deduct 3 points
8:30 - Deduct 4 points
9:00 - Deduct 5 points
9:30 - Deduct 6 points
10:00 - forget it
Leaves at 1:00 PM -
deduct 3 points
12:30 - deduct 4 points
12:00 - deduct 5 points
11:30 - deduct 6 points
11:00 - deduct 7 points
Bonus points are tallied on a weekly basis by the personnel director, the VP of production and the producer, and are posted cumulatively on a charge in the JA Center meeting room.
If a member quits the company prior to our link official liquidation, he relinquishes all claims to Bonus Point payment.
* If, in the opinion of the committee, a member materially impeded progress at writers' meeting or a filming session, no point will be awarded
SHOULD YOU BE A WRITER?
| || |
"The sense of humor is just the balance of all the faculties of man, the best security against the pride of knowledge and the conceits of imagination, the strongest inducement to submit with the wise and pious patients to the vicissitudes of human existence."
-A. A. Milne *
The writer's committee is a vaguely defined group of zealots who meet constantly to create the weekly scrips. As the year progresses, the group invariably becomes an elitist corps, ruling the company's production by virtue of their high degree of involvement and understanding.
At the outset, the committee is large, nonproductive and a social outlet for anyone in the company having nothing better to do. By the time the committee hits its stride, it consists of no more than 5-7 members who are more concerned with the quality script then with some place to go on a Tuesday night.
The regular writers devote more time to BOC than anyone else in the company, and the benefits derived are in direct proportion.
Early writers meetings tend to be dominated by experienced members, and frequently seize upon projects tentatively discussed in past years. If you are new to the group, here are few points to keep in mind when you attend your first writers meetings:
| #1. ||You are welcome ... but unlikely to feel so. Like all cliques, the writer's committee is difficult to infiltrate. Persevere. |
| #2. || |
Don't expect your early ideas to be greeted with Hosannahs. Much of what you suggest will probably be technically impossible, a rehash of something we've already done, or simply not in keeping with the spirit the show. In time, you'll have a better idea of what we can do effectively. Persevere.
| #3. ||Stick to the subject. The committee (those talkative debbils!) are prone to digress. This results in an embarrassing lack of script which, in turn, leads to evil Friday night writers meetings. |
So ... don't be depressed if your ideas are rejected; most ideas--from everyone--are. Don't give up after two meetings and quit; it gets easier as we get to know each other. Don't be afraid to voice your opinion; BOC depends on fresh blood to renew itself.
But some people just aren't writers. Art by committee is difficult at best, and if you tend to strike up idle conversations while we struggle for ideas, or if you wander about looking for something to do... perhaps you just aren't right to write.
Finally, if you wait to be invited to writers meetings, we may never see you, as we rarely call people for writers meetings. This procedure: check with us at WNDU when you get home from school. Then cast off your shyness and leap in.
Dear Beyond Our Control:
"Caught your program today. Haven't laughed so hard and long while. You have great writers!"
- S. L. Ernsberger
"It's my favorite TV program. The writers have a fantastic sense of humor."
- J. Bella
"I didn't realize they allowed such stupid stuff on television ."
- A. Beach
Paw Paw, Mich.
* This has nothing to do with what follows but it's a nice quotation.
HOW TO TAKE YOURSELF A PART... A GUIDE TO CASTING SESSIONS
Now want to of a very sticky business: who gets the juicy roles? Sticky, because the most often heard complaint from membership goes like this: "The same people get the good parts week after week. Stop playing favorites ... give everyone a chance!"
Let's just pause a moment and see if there's any validity to this complaint, shall we?
Each Thursday evening, the writer's committee, looking battered and apprehensive because their collective creative ego may soon be mauled, delivers a 10 to 25 page script. The scripts are handed out to the entire company at the same time. For the next 10 minutes orso, everyone read the script... muttering derisively, snorting and discussed, occasionally offering a mild chuckle for the writers. We then hold brief auditions, with each hopeful actor trying out for the part of his choice. The producer and a production manager, with the occasional assistance of members of the writers of staff, make unnecessarily quick decision and award the part. Then we go on to the next part.
At the end of the year, when we go back and review the videotapes... sure enough! Three or four guys and a like number of girls have gotten most of the choice parts. So we must be playing favorites. Post hoc ergo proctor hoc, right? Wrong! The same people get got the good parts because they were better actors... No amount ofare twisting or personal friendship is going to get everyone who does casting to give a role to someone totally unsuited for it. But there are some hints we can offer to help make casting sessions more efficient and give you better chance to get some sort of role:
|Hint # 1: ||when you get the script, read it. Try to figure out what the skit means, and then try to understand the characters motivation. That figure it figure out how to distinctively interpret the role. |
|Hint # 2: ||be realistic. The part calls for grandfather and haven't started shaving yet, think twice; makeup has its limitations. Don't try to change the SEC to sex of a character just to give yourself an opportunity for the role. And don't try out for everything in the hope of getting anything. |
|Hint # 3: ||When someone else is auditioning, keep your mouth shut. |
|Hint # 4: ||When you audition, and give it all you've got ... whenever that might be. Now was not the time to be shy about using gestures, facial expressions and anything else may have in your repertoire. |
|Hint # 5: ||When 9:00 PM approaches, don't put on your coat and lead a charge to the exit unless we've finished with all business. A lot of important details must be held until last minute at these sessions. |
Now then, if you get the part, take some time to prepare for it... lest you never get another. Try to commit the material to memory, even if you plan to use cue cards as prompters. Try to rehearse the part with an accomplice.
Now then, if you don't get teh part, keep trying. But somewhere along the line, take a long look at yourself and realistically appraise your talent. Perhaps you just not an actor...
* Now don't nod unless you really know what that means.
IS THIS HOW THEY MAKE MOVIES?
Some of our most memorable moments will take place during on location filming sessions. Few who survived will ever forget the bloody frostbitten feet of our Winter Olympics; the heat, dust and cockleburs of Tarzan's Rum Village Adventure; the host manure of "Hercules and The Hard Job."
Aside from our desire to create a good film, our product our primary a did during on location sessions is to remain in conspicuous. The things we do may well startle and confound the natives of the neighborhood, who may well respond by summoning the authorities. This may well result in the way, embarrassment, that public-relations and 20 years to life.
Similarly, in selecting the location site, one of our prime requisites is seclusion. With the geeks of Balkan, few of are understandably temperamental actors can turn in performances. We also prefer sites within easy easy driving distance so we don't burn up most of our time traveling.
Thus, the ideal filming site could be a desert island, privately-owned, surrounded by high fence and located next door to the JA center. Lacking this, we compromise.
Now, Four Free Tips:
Finally, here's one question that not to ask that filming sessions: how long this is going to take? We usually have no idea. And if you have an urgent commitment near the time we're filming, it might be wiser to skip the session altogether that then to have to leave in the middle of things.
** Dress appropriately. Within the limitations of the cost him, be prepared properly protective clothing. If there's a foot on the snow on the ground and the temperature is 5 degrees, don't wear sandals. This is suggested not only for your health before the good of the film; you can't give us your best when your extremities are solidifying.
** Remember your crops. If you agree to bring something special, bring it. Or at least, called a prop manager ahead of time so a substitute can be made. Daylight those early during the winter when most of our filming is done, and we don't have the time to the lay filming while we scurry about looking for props.
** Protect private property. If someone is kind enough to permit us to film on their property, we owe them a great deal of care. Be particularly careful around photo flood lamps; they operate at high temperatures and can burn clothing carpets, human flesh, etc.. Avoid using nails and take that can leave permanent marks only fasten things to walls.
** Make liberal use of newspaper to protect floors or tables. If we have a lot of wires on the floor, station yourself and your the whites or the camera and catch falling objects. If you break something belonging to an unaccompanied member, who will pay for it. The payment comes out of our profit.
** Lend a hand in on the cleanup. Don't walkaway from the chaos when we're finished. As in the studio, it gets done faster if everyone pitches in. It is not been the few.
Before we ever set foot in WNDU-TV's awesome studio 6C, you'll receive a thorough (color slide illustrated!) orientation, absolutely without charge. In it, you'll be told what not to do, where not to go, how not to act, what not to touch, and other pertinent rules of great importance to your health, our sanity, and the future of this company.
In the meantime, ponder if you will,
General avoidance of pandemonium
Avoid and help discourage what spinster English teachers generally referred to as "horseplay" in the studio. Ball games, body contact sports and similar vulgar displays of physical ability are all forbidden in the studio, as damage to equipment and/or each other can easily result. Since soundproofing for WNDU radio is not at all what it might be, please avoid excessive noise in the hallways. When you hear the production manager warble "STAND BY!" in a commanding tone, fall silent immediately.
Since the WNDU stations have other things on their mind besides producing BOC, you are not permitted free run of the building. The lobby, the Art Department, AM Radio Control, and the TV Control Room are off-limits unless you have a specific assignment in these areas. To put it more simply, stay in the studio unless you have a compelling need to travel.
You are responsible for your actions, whether in the studio, halls or washrooms. You are expected to participate vigorously in the cleanup of the studio after taping; do not contrive early exits to avoid the fun. If you remove properties or scenic and equipment for storage, it is your responsibility to get them back exactly where you found them - hopefully in the same condition. Our goal as we leave the studio is for the place to look as if we had never been there. Cleanup also applies to office chairs, typewriters and other office equipment we must use. The more delicate nuances of good breeding such as cleaning hair out of the wash basin and flushing the stools will also be appreciated. Smokers, find an ashtray. Broadcast equipment
Unless authorized to the contrary, hands-off. . .
Taping sessions are tiring and inefficient. Be prepared to amuse yourself during the long lulls with a minimum of turmoil. When arriving, leave coats and jackets on the lobby coat rack to minimize confusion in the studio. Bring some sort of change of clothes each week - usually one formal and one informal outfit. Do not invite friends and relatives to the taping session unless authorized by the Producer. Please observe cast and crew calls on time. Pitch in one the dirty work is being done; it will be appreciated and you feel more a part of things. But do not ad-lib critical jobs on your own ... such as changing microphone connections. If you're moving something heavy, gets some help. And if someone in authority tells you to do something... do it. Argue about it later if you feel you've been abused, but in the meantime, get the job done. Finally: take the initiative and be friendly to the full-time employees of WNDU; they are harmless unless molested, though some of them do not trust anyone under thirty.
THE LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK OF STUDIO JARGON
AD LIB Impromptu un-scripted action or speech
AUDIO The sound portion of a telecast
BARN DOORS Adjustable shades clamped to lighting units
BATTEN A suspended pipe from which lights, scenic backgrounds or special props may be hung.
BOOM A long pole-like device used to suspend a micropnhone. A loud noise.
BOOTH Small, hopefully soundproof enclosure from which an announcer may speak into a microphone.
CAMER CHAIN The TV camera, its cables, video controls and power supply
CART Abbreviation for cartridge; a device for handling endless loops of recording tape
CHOKER See Lavalier
CONTROL ROOM An enclosure in which all elements of a TV production are controlled. A place to stay out of.
COPY Written video and audio instrucitons; a short script
CRAWL A visual teqhnique in which titles move verticaly on the TV screen
CU Script abbreviation for Close-up
CUE A signal by sight or sound to begin the action, speech, music, etc.
CUE UP to bring a tape or record to its starting point, ready for playback
CUT A cue to halt the action; also to "Kill it." A portion of a record or tape. On film or videotape, avisual switch from one scene to another.
CYC (Pronounced "sike;" abbreviation for cyclorama) Large, neutral-color, seamless curtain which covers the back and sides of the TV studio.
DIRECTOR In charge of translating the written script into a finished program. Stages the action, arranges lighting, plans camera shots and cues all the action.
DIRECTOR, ASST. TO In our production, a person assigned to help the WNDU director.
DISSOLVE The gradual change from one picture to another on film or tape.
DUB A copy of a video or audio tape; also, the verb, to make a copy of a tape.
EDIT To put together various segments of a program
FLATS Large wooden scenic backgrounds, decorated in various ways.
FLIP STAND A wooden easel-like device to support artwork for a camera shot
FLOOR MANAGER Member of the company in charge of production in the studio
FORMAT A second-by-second proposed outline of the TV program
GELATINS Colored transparent films for lighting units
GROUND ROW floor-level row of floodlights, hidden from view, which illumniates the cyclorama curtain.
HEADSET A set of earphones and microphone for 2-way communication between the director and the technical staff.
IDIOT Large cardboard sheets containing the script, used as a prompter
LAVALIER A small microphone worn on a cord around the neck
LIMBO A style of studio set-up in which the background is blank
LIP SYNC The on-camer mouthing of previosuly recorded words, in an attempt to achieve the illusion of speech
LOGO A piece of art used as an identifying trademark
LS Scripts abbreviation for Long Shot
MENU A vertical board on which letters may be arranged for titles
MONITOR A closed-circuit TV set in the studio or control room
MS Script abbreviation for Medium Shot
OUT-TAKES Portions of a film or tape edited out of material used on the air.
PLAYBACK To play program material perviously recorded
PRE-EMPTION The substituting of one program for a regularly-scheduled show
PROJECTION The room in which the film camera chains are housed
RISERS Wooden platforms of various sizes and heights used to elevate performers and props
SANDBAG A bag containing, not unexpectedly, sand, used to secure objects in place
STAND BY A request for silence and readiness in teh studio, indicating a take or rehersal is about to begin
SUPER To superimpose (electronically) one picture over another, usually lettering over a picture
TAKE An uniterrupted sequence of shots. To do something "in one take" is our goal
TAPE'S ROLLING An annoouncement from the director to the cast and crew, indicating that the videotape machines are in opeeration
TURNTABLE Device for playing a single record. Also a "lazy susan" device used for rotating props
VOICE-OVER An announcer's voice heard over silent film or slides, without the announcer's being visible on screen
TEN SURE-FIRE WAYS TO FULFILL YOUR DEATH WISH
In closing, here are ten really keen ways to get into trouble. And since the only real threat we can hold over you is excommunication, let's pretend that we have a point system. If you rack up 10 points, then I think the Membership Committee will want to have a parting word with you...
- Ignore whoever has the floor at the Thursday night meetings and chat amiably with your friends. Obviously what you have to say is more important. ONE POINT. ONE-HALF POINT BONUS: turn your chair around so your back is to the speaker.
- Ignore all those silly JA Center rules, like No Smoking in the meeting room. ONE POINT. ONE POINT bonus: insult anyone who comes into our meeting to make an announcement.
- Attend every writers' meeting religiously, but do nothing but digress all evening. ONE POINT per evening
- When someone tries out for part on Thursday evening, comment audibly on his poor performance ... preferably while he's auditioning. ONE POINT
- Make an urgent phone call whenever it's time to clean of the studio, the J A meeting room or filming site. ONE POINT. Alternate: insure that your transportation is leaving at once.
- While on location filming, make as much noise as possible, squealing tires, shoot the bird to passersby and otherwise attracted much attention as possible. ONE POINT.
- Break something in the studio. FIVE POINTS. Break something expensive, like a camera TEN POINTS.
- Flatly refused to obey orders in the studio when given by those in charge of the production. FIVE POINTS. Three point bonus: Explain to us how much better the company would be if it were run as a perfect democracy.
- Simply failed to show up at that filming session or videotaping session without letting us know in advance. FOUR POINTS. Add a three point bonus if you had a starring role in that session.
- Bring alcoholic beverages or dope to the studio. TEN POINTS.
Now, add up all your points and give yourself a FIVE POINT BONUS for using profanity in the studio when a microphone might be open and all Michiana might find out what it dirty mouth you have.
Now we're going to run the formidable risk of being accused of being corny, and offer some final words of advice on the topic of Team Spirit.*
So, donning sweat shirt and whistle, and easing over to a comfy spot beside the psychiatrist's couch, here's our pep talk/psychoanalysis for the year:
The type of person attracted to BOC is probably not team-oriented. We're not joiners and the mere suggestion of something like "pulling together" evokes a hearty retch.
As a matter of fact, for many of you, BOC maybe your first brush with a group effort. And if you always been on the outside looking in, the experience may be bewildering. The first reaction might be to express your treasured individuality in ways which might be damaging to the hive.
So, in the name of nothing less than our common goal, consider the practicality of the following:
On Saturday mornings, time is limited, the work is either momentarily boring or totally exhausting, the pressure is considerable, and the nerves are frayed.
You can help by pulling your weight... by pitching in when there's dirty work to be done... by being prepared so you can handle your assignment efficiently... and knowing what you're talking about before you throw your authority around... by not checking your courtesy of the door when you come in.
And you can help by making things easier for others... by lending a hand when you see someone struggling... by offering a complement on a job well done... by straightening out someone headed for trouble.
It's not as easy as sitting back and watching others struggle, and it's not as amusing as indulging in gossip and behind-the-back insults. But in the end, it's vastly more rewarding.
And for those of us sharing this common goal of a good show and a good experience, it is nothing less than a totally selfish option... the best reason in the world for doing anything
* We can sense your getting ready to skip this page already.