The Last Show on Earth – Producer

This was our final show broadcasting from inside the University. For this we pitched an idea and we could be as creative as we liked… Therefore this was the ideal show for me to be the producer and a chance for our group to use a new format of show for the CCI TV channel.

Before I go into details about the process let’s first find out ‘What is a Producer?’ 

“Producers have overall control on every aspect of a film’s production. They bring together and approve the whole production team. Their key responsibility is to create an environment where the talents of the cast and crew can flourish. Producers are accountable for the success of the finished film. They steer the film from beginning to completion and beyond.”

Go onto Creative Skillset for more information about what is needed to be a producer. 

A producer must have creative vision, be self-motivated, motivate other people and be good at problem-solving. I know that I have strong skills in all of these so thought I would be perfect for this role.

I learnt from the previous shows how important it is for group organisation, time management and the importance of a strong script (which we had lacked in parts for the other two TV shows). Therefore I did vast amounts of planning before the production started as the idea was ambitious.

The idea: To produce a broadcast set in the future, on a spaceship, to raise awareness of climate change. 

Please see below for the full show and to jump forward to the year 2060.

At the first production meeting we all came up with some ideas and managed to come up with a production plan that everyone was excited by.

I am very passionate about the planet and love learning about space so thought that it could work well to conjoin both of these topics. This gave us the chance to talk about a serious issue but in a fun and engaging way. After discussions with the executive producers it was decided that we needed to keep the show serious to have the desired effect on the audience. 

I remembered a radio show that I had heard about called ‘HG Wells’s story of a brutal Martian invasion of Earth‘, I decided to take the idea of this and to make our broadcast seem like humans were actually leaving Earth on the date we went live. This was done by utilizing social media and creating teasers for the show. We set little snippets of the show out on social media with the date to get people talking about the show, which worked extremely well and we managed to have a large audience turn up to watch the show live. 

If you want to see how the production team all work behind the scenes for this show, please give the video below a watch! It is exciting to watch back and see how it all comes together. 

I had to organise and be prepared as it was a huge production. We wanted to give the audience the most realistic experience therefore everything needed to be well thought through and planned. I made sure that everyone in the group had more than one role and that people had deadlines for when things needed to be completed. This encouraged the group to start their roles early and for us to achieve everything we did. This gave us structure from the beginning and allowed everyone to feel involved in the production the whole time. 

Since we had various pre-productions to film there was a lot to think about. This included; props, costume, actors, locations, paperwork (including risk assessments). The separate filming days that I arranged were for the following:

  • The opening on the spaceship, the adverts, the teasers 
  • The breakthrough signal of people trapped on Earth
  • The performance for the end of the show 
  • Arranging for a graphics student to make planets 

The content: 

The idea for the adverts was to break up the show and lighten it up. Also to be ironic with the fact that even in a crisis people would still be trying to sell things. It is to represent the consumer society that we live in and it is inevitable that if people keep going through life with this strong consumer attitude then climate change will keep getting worse. We decided to film 5 adverts, roughly 30 seconds each. It gives the idea that the audience are passengers and can actually purchase these items (on Facebook live someone commented on how they could vote, which I think demonstrates that the show was believable). Oh and we were the first ever CCI TV Channel show to go Live on Facebook…which is rather exciting.

Filming on the day went well, managing to get lots filmed with two different virtual sets, one for the announcements (inserts throughout show) and one for the adverts. The virtual sets were similar, so we could stick with the spaceship theme, but by showing two locations, the production looked bigger (to make it seem even bigger could have used a different actor for it).  For the adverts we used a box and greenscreen blanket to make it appear that the props were floating, but had the actress pick them up to demonstrate they are real and not a hologram. This allowed us to be creative and to further our skills in using green screen. 

The breakthrough signal section I was most worried/apprehensive about. As this is a crucial element to the show. Planning for it involved finding actors available to film in the evening (to ensure darkness and limited sound levels  in the CCI studio). We booked the area we needed and found two actors/actresses. It was hard to nail down as everyone is busy at this time of year, so involved lots of promotion and emailing, but from this met some interesting contacts for the future.

As producer I gave a list of props to group members assigned to set, and they were responsible for gathering the correct props for the shoot. I had a vision which we definitely fulfilled. This made the hub (the area where we usually broadcast the live shows) look like people had been living there. For the script I provided direction and research to make it panicky but also factual. This was to make more of an impact with the audience if they are hearing things which relate to them through the news.

When filming I wanted to have 2 angles, as it was a longer section, so by breaking it up with 2 cameras keep the audience interested. I wanted the actors to interact with the camera to make it believable and had them move it (the production team actually moving it) which added more to the story. When editing this we added a record message over the top with a time and date (for the future date) and had the signal keep cutting out and jumping with a battery low sign to add to the ‘drama’. With the idea that the video would seem more authentic.

The performance at the end was a song written for the show by a team member. This shoot we filmed a few weeks before the live show and we pre-recorded it as it was difficult to use the other studio on the day we went live. The idea came from a few of us in the group discussing Titanic and the scene where the ship is sinking, but the group of men carry on playing their instruments. Myself and the director made sure we went to the shoot with a clear vision and only had to film the performance a few times. From this I learnt how to plan a performance and even put myself on a camera for this production, getting to develop my camera skills in a live performance. 

Below are photos taken throughout the process of ‘The last show on Earth’. 

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It was important to have a strong Script and storyline for this broadcast to work. Therefore we had this looked over and I made changes to make sure that all the sections worked together. This was important to me as on prior shows we had feedback that not all of the script linked (since different people wrote for different sections) so the script had to sound the same throughout. I think we did a really good job at getting the storyline across and that we got the message out there which we wanted. On reflection I would have changed some areas of the script as they were too long and we could have included an interactive section with the main presenters, to break this up. 

I have learnt a huge amount from producing this show. Firstly that I am a very creative person with strong organisational skills and the ability to see my ideas through to conclusions. I managed to plan all of these shoots and arrange all of my group members effectively, which led to our successful show. Secondly I learnt that not everything will appear the way you imagined and that’s okay. Some things end up turning out better and some things are just too ambitious for the time scale. Thirdly I learnt that time scheduling is very important and that I was lucky the timings worked out effectively and we managed to have a complete 30 minute show.

Finally I have learnt that I have the skills and creative ability to be a producer as I am imaginative and ambitious. I am calm working under pressure and manage to motivate others within the production team. This has been the most challenging role that I have undertaken however it has been the most worthwhile and we have produced a show that I am very proud of.

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