Political Talk Show
Video Studio Operations
Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity
Students work in groups to produce TV format panel discussions on a topic relevant to their local experiences.
Each group member is on the panel. The discussion will be on a topic relevant to the group’s assessment of their communities. The group must be able to appreciate all sides of the topic. The video production must represent several sides of the topic.
Before the production is assigned students will be required to research social issues relevant to their community, using local media and histories. During class students will watch and dis- cuss examples of socially relevant panel formats from professional broadcasts. These exam- ples can draw from the full history of television, including early talk shows to modern cable news panels to web based productions, but discussions of the examples will focus on the con- tent’s ethical relevance and rounded treatment of the subject.
The production will be accomplished with one camera but must result in the appearance of a multi-camera, continuous scene. The goal is continuity and socially engaged content. The resulting piece of TV content should show concern for the topic and it’s affect on the intended audience.
Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?
Underpinning this assignment is the belief that socially topical media’s affect on it’s audience is an ethical concern, to be judged by the way the content treats it’s topic. One-sided treatments should be recognized as poor, multi-faceted treatments that respect several reasonable points of view should be recognized as high quality.
Given a rich and divisive topic, and a challenging production scenario, I hope students are able to approach the discussion from different sides and come to understand one another’s points of view, synthesizing their disagreements into high quality content.
By shooting the content shot-by-shot, they will need to pay careful attention to the pace and structure of the panel discussion, thus considering the various ways the ethical debate can be composed.
Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?
This is the second group project in the semester, occurring directly after the midterm. They should already be familiar with essential production concerns by this time.
The assignment begins with homework to research relevant social concerns in their own communities. The next class includes a half hour review of the format, political talk shows. Students are asked to find examples and discuss the quality of the examples to their intended audiences.
The students then have the remainder of the class period, about 1 hour, for a production meeting. During the meeting they agree on topics and a general strategy for the shoot. From the production meeting, students have a week to formalize their scripts and treatments.
The next week, students return with a completed script and treatment and begin producing the footage with classroom gear. After a full session to shoot, the footage is edited for home- work to create the final production piece. The students have the option to produce a document describing how the footage should be edited.
Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?
Students must be familiar with production documents, camera operation, lighting, and audio capture. It is a fairly high stakes activity, accounting for %10 of the final grade, but the ethical depth is not directly tied to this grade. Rather, content will be judged by production quality and concern for relevance to the intended audience. Preparation for this concern will be done in the class discussion of format at the start of the assignment.
Here is a portion of the technical instructions:
Shoot a panel discussion (Crossfire, The View) of 3 to 5 minutes on any subject. Each group member is on the panel.
The shoot will be done with one camera but must result in the appearance multi-camera, continuous scene.
The goal is continuity and system integration
– use close and room micing
– use thoughtful three point lighting throughout
– a variety of close, mid, and long shots must be exhibited
Before the shoot, provide:
– cam script/storyboard
– credits, all crew members and their roles
After the shoot, provide:
– raw footage
– edit decision list with time shot number, time referent, duration, and audio notes.
For the shoot, you will have – 1 cam
– one card
– 1 lav mic
– 1 room mic
– 1 mobile lighting rig – 10×10 space
Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?
I assess the project for teamwork, production focus, organizational pre production, and over- all composition. Given a range of prior experience with studio production I mainly look for improvement since the first group assignment. For the new ethical aspect of the project I use the ACCU ethical reasoning rubric.
Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?
I gave this assignment a test run during Spring 2017 and plan to do an updated version in Fall 2017.
For the Spring class, the students performed the production well, and they did genuine reasoning about the ethics of their topics. I was surprised by some of the personal revelations some of the arguments relied upon. While the personal nature of many arguments made for serious content, students did not attempt to argue for the sake of social good. One group strayed far from ethical issues.
The Fall version will begin with more prompt, asking students to consider their production as a public good that should have a positive influence on their audience. This prompt should take place during the initial review of the panel format, paired with discussions about the formats conventions for shot variety, lighting, and audio capture. The ethics of content must become a main concern of this discussion.
It would also be useful to focus students by asking them to choose a specific example to emulate, one that has clear social intent. This would provide a specific guidepost by which to
measure their production choices and concept of public good. I would like to give students the freedom to consider the full genre but some method is needed to steer their choices to- wards ethically resonant productions.
Additional Information: Please share any additional comments and further documentation of the activity – e.g. assignment instructions, rubrics, examples of student work, etc. These can be links to pages or posts on the OpenLab.
Please share a helpful link to a pages or post on the OpenLab