PART ONE- Job Roles in the Creative Media Industry
For each production stage of our crime drama I have taken on a very different role. I have researched each of the roles I played in each stage of production and found out the qualifications I might need and how much money I could make if I decided to take on these roles professionally.
Being a screenwriter involves researching and developing story ideas as well as writing screenplays.
To do this role you will need to have in an in-deph understanding of plot, story and narrative. Narrative is the structure (what goes when), story is the sequence of events (the sequence of events) and plot is the sum of events (a summary of everything that happens). You must understand how film effects audiences and how it can be used to manipulate an audience. You must be familiar with how to present screenplays, both how to format them and how to present them to potential buyers. You must have a creative imagination, bring to life individual characters and create backstory’s so that they are well rounded and developed. It is important that you can write visual using sound and dialogue to support action. You must be dedicated and well organised as well as being able to work as a team to strike deadlines. To make it as a script writer you must be ambitious, realistic and be able to handle rejection.
How to become a screenwriter?
To become a screenwriter you need to try and attract attention by writing some screenplays ‘on-spec’ (self-financed). You should also prepare pitches, synopses and outlines of your screenplays so that they could be presented to potential buyer. You should also try and practice as much as possible and possibly go to writing classes to refine an improve your writing.
Rates of pay
The amount a screenwriter gets payed can really vary depending how log you have been writing and how well established you are. The median is $56.283.
In the first couple years of writing you can around £20K or you could make nothing it completely depends on if your script gets picked up or not. A writer on the rise can make around £30-£80K per year and someone who has been doing if for a while and is ‘in the game’ can make up to £150K. A name/brand screenwriter and make £250K per year.
A director is responsible for the look and sound of the production. They must enhance, refine and realise original ideas into finished programs.
Directors must be able to translate a writers, producers and other originators visions into a coherent, marketable, entertaining or informative program. They must understand all post production, production and post-production aspects; work well with and be aware of others and their contributions and show diplomacy and sensitivity when working with others. It is important that they can conseptualise ideas and think visually and creatively. They must have excellent communication, be able to lead a team and motivate a crew and have a methodical approach to work, with a hight stress tolerance and stamina. Know how to use creative and technical techniques and know the difference between built and single camera techniques. It is also vital that they have good auditing and financial skills and understand relevant health, safety and legal legislation and procedures.
How to become a director?
There is no one way to become a film or TV director. There are many challenges facing want to be directors but the three main challenges are; getting got at your craft; learning how the industry functions and actually becoming part of the industry.
Most common way to become a film director:
This graph shows the percentage of people, who were interviewed, who took each route to become a director. Although is is not a comprehensive graph of everyone who took that rough it gives a good idea of the distribution.
The same people did a survey to find out what sort of degree the directors had. They found that not all directors had a degree in film. The current generation of film directors are in fact very educated with four out of five people having at least one degree.
To become a TV Director, you will usually need to be an experienced member of a production or post production team. You could start out as a Researcher and progress to be a Script Editor, a Story Editor and finally a Director and/or Producer.
Alternatively, you could work as a Runner, 2nd Assistant Director, 1st Assistant Director or a Production Manager before becoming a Director.
Another route in is to start out in a technical role, e.g. camera or editing. You could also work as a theatre director, acquiring valuable experience of working with actors, before moving into television after undertaking specialist technical training on single and multi-camera directing techniques. Gaining the technical skills of direction does not however guarantee the move across to become a TV Director.
Rates of pay
Although I couldn’t find an accurate, comprehensive list of the rates for directors, I did find one for an assistant director.
As an editor you will need to work closely with the director to craft the finished project; work in the edit suit for long hours and be able to run a team of assistants and trainees on big projects.
You will need a technical aptitude, be familiar with a range of editing equipment and have wide experience of post production. Creativity is important, you must have an imagination and understanding of narrative and be able to work creatively under pressure. Patience and attention to detail is important as well as a highly developed aesthetic visual awareness. You must have excellent communication skills, be able to lead a team and be well organised as well as knowing the relevant health and safety measures.
How to become an editor?
When I looked on the Creative Skill Set web-sight i could not find the best way to get into TV related editing however I did find how to best get into film editing and I should think that the career paths are similar.
Traditionally, you could go from being a Runner to a Trainee, Second Assistant, First Assistant and eventually to become an Editor. However, with digital editing, 2nd Assistants are now only employed on very big budget films.
As a Trainee with at least two years’ experience you would have to work as an Assistant in television or on low budget films for a considerable period of time before becoming First Assistant on feature films. Some big budget productions take on Trainees and Second Assistants, and it is important to keep up to date with films in pre-production by reading the trade press.
If you can work with an Editor as an Assistant, you may be allowed to carry out the assembly edit of some sections of the film. If you can become an experienced Assistant, you may also work as an Editor on short films, which will enable you to showcase your talents.
Pay rates for a TV drama editor?
I have also compared the three roles I played in each stage of production and looked at which role would best suite my ability as a film maker.
Working conditions and locations:
An editor will spend most if not all of their time in an editing suit and a screenwriter will spend their time at home or in an office writing. A director spends most of their time on set, at various locations for filming wether that be a studio, film or television set or on location . Usually a writer and editor will work normal working hours during the week. A director however,spends long hours on set, often until late, and will often be required to work weekends or public holidays.
Which job pays the most?
Out of all the job roles being a director pays the most money if you are a first assistant director but as I have shown it can vairy depending on what budget of the film or TV show. Being a screenplay writer pays well but only if you are at the top of your game and are very well known. Another problem with being a screenplay writer is your scripts could not be picked up at all and then you would make nothing. How much you make as an editor also depends on far you are in your career path. However, even as a editorial trainee you can make £500 in a 50 hour week which is above the minimum wage for the U.K., £7.50 per hour, and would be worth it if you were really interested in becoming a professional editor.
Which role would suit me as a profetional?
Personaly I think the role that would suit the job of a screenwriter. This is because I am very creative and good with coming up with new and original ideas. However, I have not had much experience writing screenplays and I know from the experience I have had that is is hard to wright realistic dialogue. I have had fun however writing scrips and I enjoy visualising ideas and creating characters. To improve my writing I might apply for the BFI Film Acadamy screenwriting course, where I will get to work with profetionals to develop my skills.
I also think I would suit the role of a director as I am extreamly organised and work well with people in a team. I also am good at visualising ideas and bringing them to life.
Finish collage. I will start off by finishing my course at Exeter collage, UAL level 3 media, with merit or above. During my time at collage I will try to get involved with as many things as I can. I will enter film compotitions and make my own short films and documentary’s outside of collage. I would also like to go to film screenings and conferences if possible, to learn more about the industry.. I will also try to write as much as possible in my own time as we don’t get much chance to practice screenwriting in collage. -2 years
After collage I think it would be good to gain work experience in the film industry and more world experience. I think this would be good because it would give me more to put on my personal statement and make university’s more likely to accept me.- 1 to 2 years
Then I could go to university and take a course in screenwriting. Just one of the university’s I could go to would be the Central Film School in London. The BA course lasts two years, which is unusual as as most BA course last three, this means the course is highly intensive. The minimum requirement for the course is 64 UCAS points, which I should be able to obtain if I get at least a merit in my current course. However, if I did a course that was this compact I would not have time to write or create films in my own time and I think it is important to continue this. Therefore I might want to look into other university’s that offer similar courses, go to them and have a look around and see what would suit me the most. – 2 to 3 years
Alternatively, if I entered any film competitions and was successful in winning, I could be offered work with the company so ran the competition. Then I may work with them for a few years before deciding to go to university as this well help me develop my skills and give me a better understanding of what it is like to work in the industry.- 2 to 6 years
After University I will continue to write and create pitches for my films. I will also continue to create my own self-financed films to get more practice. As well as applying for jobs and sending my scripts to production company’s.
Overall I am very happy with how well I worked on this project. To start off with we had lots of problems when we first started filming, with actors and location but I managed to reorganize everything in time for the next week. I stayed calm during times of high pressure, and when our producer was unavailable I stepped up to the position. We met deadlines even though it was tight and we ended up with little time to complete the project we worked with efficiency and professionalism to get the job done in time. We had regular team meetings to update each other on the progress we had made and find out what was left to be done. We also had a very small team which made getting everything done in time and to a high enough standard hard. I think I was very reliable as I came in everyday and always competed any work that needed to be done, even if that meant working in my own time. I am very proud of what I have achieved with this project and I have learnt a lot of new skills such as improving my editing ability. I am particularly impressed with how our opening title sequence turned out and from the peer feedback we received, people also though that the opening sequence was good the also said we had a ‘really strong opening’. If I was to improve something it would be the audio as when we originally recorded the audio we had problems and it did not record properly. Another thing that could have been improved with our crime drama was the fact that some of the footage was shakey and even adding a stabilizer didn’t help that much to stop this we should have used a tripod or a steady-cam. In retrospect, the line up scene looks a bit out of place. I possibly could have been improved by cutting more quickly between more witnesses but I am not sure and think it simply just doesn’t fit the rest of the opening. I think we all worked well as a team and all pitched in with something. I was a little bit frustrated that one of our team wasn’t always there but in the end that couldn’t be helped and we managed to carry on regardless. As I acted as the producer in the end I cant ask them how I did, but if I was to give an honest opinion of how I did I would say that I did very well. I worked efficiently and got everything I was meant to done, I am particularly proud of how I worked on the script and editing and I am now very interested in writing more scripts in the future. However I feel that I could have got things organised quicker and started planning sooner than I did so that everything went more smoothly and we didn’t have just a week to get everything finished. Something that I would still like to improve in the future is my camera skills. I have not had much chance to get behind the camera and improve my skills and I would like to learn more about visualizing how something will look on camera.
PART TWO- Evaluate Your Finished TV Drama
Todorov’s Narrative theory states that there are three main parts to a narrative;
- The story starts with equilibrium, everyone is happy and life is normal
- Disequilibrium. Something happens to disrupt normality and this has to be confronted to restore the equilibrium.
- Finally the equilibrium is restored but it is a different equilibrium.
This can be applied to almost all narratives, in a crime drama these three stages are very clear; everything starts out normal, there is a murder which disrupts the equilibrium and then a different equilibrium is restored when the criminal is caught. Most crime dramas have a linear narrative and follows the normal format of time. Crime dramas can vary when it comes to whether they are single or multi-strand. Some crime dramas follow one main detective that the viewer generally supports and wants to succeed, while other, like NCIS, follow many characters. Also in most typical crime dramas the detective is the main protagonist and the one we follow throughout the series.
My crime drama does not follow the standard format of crime drama narrative. Our equilibrium is not a happy normality in fact it is almost the opposite. If the episode did follow Todovo’s theory the ‘equilibrium’ is someone getting away with the murder of his brother and the disequilibrium would be him being caught, then the restoration of a different equilibrium would be him getting out of prison and becoming a criminal lawyer. The format of our crime drama is also non-linear the opening starts just after the murder of Elliot’s brother and it is very clear that he did it. Throughout the episode it would cut between the past, showing issues with the two brothers, and the present. The crime drama also has a not so typical format as the protagonist is actually the murder but the audience are compelled to support him and want him to succeed as they’re shown things from his past that show him in a good light and make his actions look reasonable. In crime dramas there are two types of codes used to move the narrative along; enigma code and action code. An enigmas code is when the narrative is moved along using unsolved questions and an action code moves the narrative along via action and conflict. Our crime drama uses both of these codes as do most crime dramas. Our crime drama uses both of these codes in the opening straight away as there is a murder and questions are left unanswered about why Eliot killed his brother.
I think the opening of our crime drama successfully conveys what our crime drama is about. Straight away a victim and culprit are established; this shows an audience that the narrative is gonging to be about two brothers and the problems and events that lead to one of their murders. The opening title sequence shows that the narrative will be single strand and focus on the issues of one character. It also shows that the show would be heavily character based and that character development would be central to the show.
In our crime drama we tried not to use stereotypes. Typically in Tv and film women are portrayed as weaker characters or characters of mens sexual desire. Even in ‘Wonder Woman’ where the main character, who is a powerful female, is subject to the male gaze. The male case theory is the theory that women in the media are seen though the eyes of Heterosexual men. In crime dramas, it is unusual to see women in roles such as the chief of police or even as the detective. In our crime drama the head of the police department is female, the character is also not portrayed within the male gaze. This could be because the character was written by myself and Charlotte and are not viewing the women from a male point of view. This is another issue as many writers are males and do not fully develop their female characters because they do not understand women and how they may think, to stop this women should have an input on female characters and be in-charge of female charter backstory and development. Representation of race and ethnicity was not something we explored in our crime drama. However, we did not stick to any stereotypes.
I feel we have successful created a single camera drama using the relevant techniques. We successfully used continuity editing to maintain a clear and continuous narrative. A clear example of when we have used continuity editing is when we edited two shots together of the police officer sitting down, so that they flowed together and looked as if they had been shot at the same time.
We also used the 180-degree and 30-degree rule making sure when we shot from a different angle it was not under 30-degrees away and we stuck to the 180-degree rule by putting an imaginary line behind our actor, Josh , which we did not cross. We also did a master shot at the beginning of the interrogation scene where the police officer goes to sit down. We put a CCTV camera filter over it so that it set the scene up as an interrogation and gave the impression that people were watching over the integration. The master shot also creates dramatic tension and sets up the scenes as quite a intimate dramatic one between two characters. We did not use a shot-reverse-shot, we could have used this in the interrogation scene. However, although most of the studio was cleared of equipment and blacked out from the angle we shot at you could not see all the equipment and cameras behind us which would have been seen if we had filmed shot-reverse-shot. We also did not use an eye-line match but we did have a shot which panned up from the evidence to the criminals face which gave a similar effect.
For our opening title sequence we decided to be a little bit more experimental with the effects and shot types we used. We layered different shots on top of each other and changed to opacity. A shot when this works particularly well is the shot of the character’s eyes where we layered the same shot several times and added a red colored filter which gave the impression of disorientation, confusion and anger. We used music by ‘Massive Attack’ which we felt worked well as it added drama to the opening sequence. Se used a song by this group because the show ‘Luther’ used music by them and it worked very well to set the tone of the show and built the audiences tension and intrigue.
Here is an example of when we over layed images in our opening title sequence.
Our crime drama is aimed at people aged 25-40. We feel it would be aimed at this age range as the whole series would be primarily about law as the main character, Elliot ,becomes a criminal lawyer. We feel that this program would not appeal to a younger audience because law and criminal justice (or injustice) may not be interesting to them, it may also not suit an older audience because the main characters are quite young and older people may not relate or feel a connection with the characters. If anything was to put people in the 25-40 age range off it would be the age of the main characters as they are quite young, and people in the upper quartile of that range may not connect to the characters.
I feel if my TV crime drams was to be screened it would be on My 5.This is because this channel airs quite a few TV crime dramas such as NCIS, Chicago PD and Bull. It is a VOD (video on demand) service with a simpler system to Netflix. Shows can be purely on that channel or can be re-runs of previous shows. However, My 5 operates as a UK free view channel as well as online. I don’t think that our TV show would be extremely successful as it is not a typical crime drama and people tend to stick to shows they know or shows with similar content. I think that a Channel may be interested in buying the idea as is is quite different to other crime dramas. However, I don’t think that the channel would be interested in running the show for more than a few episodes as a short ‘one off’ unless the show did particular well. This is because the show is about purely one character and may not have the potential to ruin for several series and still be interesting and engaging.