Do you ever wonder where the laugh track comes from or what it means to be "taped in front of a live studio audience"? It refers to those TV shows shot in a studio where a single take is captured with multiple cameras and edited on the spot. I recently had an opportunity to work in a professionally equipped multi-camera studio on multiple sit-com style shorts. The opportunity? Learn alongside Tisch students as they figured out live-editing, the pressures of a studio setting, and how to work in TV. I’m game!
I was happy to learn about working in a studio alongside them: after all multi-camera studios are where most sit coms are still filmed!
“Iced Coffee” was one of the first projects I used to get me feet wet. In this short directed by Theo Rosenthal I portrayed a wife desperately coping with the unexpected arrival of an unwelcome guest – her husband’s old friend played by Jacques Pepler. It was a complex scene to capture in only one take: all subtext!
“As directors,” Theo explained, “it was also our job to give the script life by working with the actors. This is where Christina came in, and to be frank, she was a fantastic actress to work with. From the moment we met in the casting call she was upbeat, friendly and incredibly enthusiastic. When we got to the actual rehearsal and production, it was also clear how seriously she took the work… to see the director's vision come to life.”
I also worked with several students from Studio A including Brigid Kelleher and Camille D’Elia. Since I was less familiar with the crew in studio A it was a great chance to see how my new skills would translate. They did! Camille elaborates: “In a live studio, anything can go wrong, so really the only thing you can rely on is your actors. We tried to let you have a collaborative part in the creation of the character and overall performance, and it was successful. At our screening yesterday, some of my classmates even pointed out that it was obvious that the actors understood the scene and hit action points that I wanted them too. Overall, it was a great experience!”
As Camille explained, anything can happen in a live-studio and it ultimately comes down to trust: trusting the crew, the director, the other actors, and your own choices.
Feel free to watch part on and two of “Iced Coffee” and Camille’s “The Visitor” below. As you can see from part one and part two there was a steep learning curve: we all improved dramatically as we learned the ropes. (Can you spot the boom in part one?!) I’m so glad I could familiarize myself with the studio format before walking onto a professional set – now I’m set for set!