A Pretty Good Guide for Making Pretty Good Student Programming
2nd Edition – The Redux – December 2014
So you’re thinking about doing a show for WUTV? Awesome! But what does it take to turn your show from being just a twinkle in your eye to part of WUTV’s regular line-up?
You’re about to find out.
The following is a five step guide designed to introduce you (a potential WUTV producer) to the process of making student television at Washington University in St. Louis. This guide is primarily an overview of the new show process at WUTV. Once you’ve decided to commit to doing a show, WUTV staff will provide more comprehensive guidance on the logistics of WUTV (i.e. how to borrow cameras from the station, gain swipe card access to our editing room, etc.)
That said, let’s begin.
Step 1: Deciding and Setting a Time Table
These two things might seem pretty basic, but you’ll be surprised to see how important they prove to be.
This might seem minor, but it really is important. You could be entertaining the idea of doing a WUTV show; however, until you really decide that this is something you definitely want to do, it is unlikely that you’ll be willing to give the effort necessary to make your show a reality.
In order to make sure you actually get your show made it’s necessary to set a time table for yourself at this early stage of the process. Read over this guide and attempt to set realistic dates for achieving each step. Obviously, your time table will not be perfect, but it’s better to have a baseline to adjust from than to be working in a time vacuum.
We would love to hear from you at this stage in the process. You can send us an email at email@example.com or stop by our weekly meetings. Check the rest of our website to find out the day and time of our meetings for the semester.
Insider Tip:Try picking a specific time of the week that you will devote to working on your show. Make sure it’s a time that you will consistently have free and stick to it. It’s amazing how much this can help.
Step 2: Brainstorming
This is the most consequence free stage of the show development process. Now is the time to just think about ideas for your show. Here are two recommendations that will help you brainstorm for WUTV.
Pinpoint What You Like
Think of television shows and movies that you watch. What do you like about them? Is it the genre, the content, or maybe just one specific on-air personality? Try and isolate as many individual elements from the shows that you enjoy and try to figure out exactly what you like about it. Conversely, you might try looking at elements that you don’t like in a program and try to think of ways that you would improve upon them.
Be Bold… But Also Realistic
Something that we will highly recommend you doing at this point is observing current WUTV programs so that you can get an idea of the practical limitations you might face. This will help you zero in on exactly how you can do your program. You might want to do an action show where buildings blow up every week; unfortunately, unless you can convince Wash U to do some major renovations, it is unlikely that this will be possible.
Step 3: Bring It All Together
At this point you should come into wUTV with a show proposal form, so the details of the show can be ironed out. Once again, please check our website to find out the day and time of meetings for the semester. If the time of the meetings does not work for you, send us an email.
The more people who come to this meeting, the merrier! Since this is when the details of the show will be nailed down, it’s important to get everyone on the same page. At the meeting we will work out the “Who, What, Where, When, and How.”
Figuring Out the Who, What, Where, When, and How.
WHAT is the concept of the show? Not just a rough idea: “American Idol at Wash U” but exactly what it will be shown in a specific episode. Are there different segments of the show or it is free-flowing? Etc.
WHERE is the show going to be filmed? It could be the WUTV studio (but maybe you decide to dress up the set to give your show a little more character). If you decide you’re going to film in a dorm room, try to decide exactly which dorm room you’ll be filming in.
WHO will be on screen and who will be off screen? It’s important to have talented people in both positions for the show to be successful. It’s also probably a bad idea for one person to do both.
WHEN will it be filmed and when will it be distributed? These will be the same time if you’re doing a live show, but if you’re doing a taped show there could be a significant gap between them.
HOW is the logistics of creating the show. Will you need WUTV equipment or training? Do you need us to set you up with actors or crew? How many hours do you think it will take?
Step 4: Make Your Show…. Right Now!
An obvious step? You’d be amazed at how frequently shows get to this step and then fall apart. Make no mistake, producing the show will be hard and many unexpected obstacles will emerge. You might film a great interview, but when you go to edit it you’ll realized that for some reason sound just didn’t record. No doubt, these moments are maddening, which is why it’s so important that you commit to following through.
We can give you a 100% guarantee that you will not be 100% happy with how your first show turns out. Things can always be better, but if you obsess over everything you might end up producing nothing. Setting deadlines and timetables become MOST important at this stage. Your cameraman might get mono but you just have to keep on schedule; either find another camera person, or figure out a way to shoot with one fewer crew member.
This is your first show, not your last one. Just finishing it is an accomplishment for which you can be proud.
Step 5: You’re Done!
Well not really. You probably have a lot you’d like to improve about your show. Moreover, just continuing to achieve the same level of success will be harder than you expect, since you might not have the motivation that comes from the excitement of doing the first episode. Don’t panic though, now that you’ve done one episode you know you can do more!
Best of luck,
WUTV | We’re easy. Just turn us on.