Ever wondered what it’s like to work in the team responsible making the ‘bit in between the programmes’ for the CBBC channel? Well, Sophie McCoy – is part of that team and gives us a peek behind the scenes and describes a day in the life of a producer at CBBC Live.
Making some 2-minute links for Children’s TV might not seem like that big a task but it’s surprisingly complex. The team comprises runners, researchers, APs (assistant producers), producers, a series producer and exec, an art design team, production management team, programme schedulers and then of course the studio and gallery crew – lights, camera, sound, vision mixer, floor manager and presenters.
My favourite days are producing live mornings, when our 6-12 year old audience is off school and getting a well deserved lie-in! My alarm goes off at 5am (I actually have 2 alarms set to be sure I don’t oversleep) and I aim to get into work for 6.30am. We’re usually on air at 7.45am so that gives me enough time to go over the scripts, deal withany last minute problems that have arisen, get any user-generated content together, brief the crew and so on.
Once the presenters are out of make-up and on the studio floor, we make sure the UGC, music, sound effects, props and anything else we need is in place for a quick line run or two, to make sure everybody involved knows how the link will go. It’s important not to over-rehearse though as it takes the spontaneity out of it all. Then before we know it, our gallery PA is counting down from 10 and we’re live!
Whilst we’re on air, the AP directs the links and crew whilst I have an overview of time left on the link and its content. It’s my job to make sure everything goes how it’s meant to go, and to quickly steer things back on track if it’s going awry – being a producer means keeping a cool head, making fast decisions and trying to keep two steps ahead of everything that’s happening.
By 10.30am, we’re usually off-air, having made 10-12 minutes of live TV during which anything could have happened. Depending on the day, we may have a quick 10 minute break then start over again with pre-recorded links for the weekend or the following week when the kids are back at school and our morning’s output is pre-recorded. After studio, it’s over to the office to catch up on emails, sign off scripts, brainstorm the following week’s content, watch new programmes and whatever else pops up.
I absolutely love working in Children’s TV, even after 18 years. People are genuinely lovely to each other and it’s not unusual in our office to hear raucous laughter all day long as people try jokes out, test new games and re-watch our best links. For me, CBBC is the pinnacle of Children’s TV and I still feel a sense of pride walking into Bridge House, the home of the channel, every morning.
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