Welcome to the PIT List!

I'm a network field producer who also worked in local tv as a line producer and field producer. Over the years, I have had the great fortune to work with super people. Now I'd like to pass along what I know and rant a tad.

"Dear Maggie..." pitlist@gmail.com
I check it sporadically, but I love answering emails, so if you have an issue or difficult person you need help with, don't hesitate to shoot it my way.

Maggie L

Maggie L
One of the rare times I'm in the office

Monday, July 23, 2007

Random script advice

Each producer has his or her take on scripts. Here's mine...

Vos- no longer that :20
Vosots-no longer than :45
Pkg-no longer than 1:20 without prior approval
Minipkgs-(a clean way to put together a teasable national story. Anchor voices) no longer than a minute.

Sample VOSOT:
Anchor/on cam for a graph
Then next graph or two under video.
Sot :05-:15
Back to video or on cam for tag.
Pacing is everything.

Write like you're talking to your Mom. We're natural story tellers. When you talk to someone, you automatically put the most interesting thing first. Hey Mom, did you hear about the guy who... blah blah blah. But for some reason when we write, we have a tendency to muddle it up and make things a lot more difficult than they need to be.

Write to video. With desktop editing systems, it makes it a whole lot easier to look at it. Your show and your scripts will improve dramatically if you keep your video in mind. That said, I'm not a huge fan of shot-for-shot editing instructions. But if you're writing "take a look at this blue car," it might make some sense to throw in a time code for the shot.

No lip flap! (Meaning, don't use a soundbite as broll. It's extremely annoying. And lazy.)

No mindless file! If you use file, reference it. "This is Mariah Carey the last time she was in town..." or, "City council first took up this issue at their last meeting. This is video from that meeting..."

Empower writers to "produce" each script. Tell them to let you know if there's great NATS or SOT that needs to be added. Or if something needs to be dropped.

Only producers make graphics. It will give your show a consistent look and feel. And on the point of graphics, they should say EXACTLY what is in your script. So if you write, "...about 2/3 thirds of people like ice cream," the graphic should reflect that. It's a pain to read one thing and hear another. Also, try to keep graphics slim. Don't stuff everything on one page when two would look better.

Last thing before you print- reread each script aloud. Your ears will catch mistakes your eyes miss.

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