Review your TV programme:
Does the programme you have made work as a TV format (a programme made to a formula that is easy for the audience to follow, easy to produce in bulk and saleable around the world)?
I think Uni-Versus works well as a format, it has a clear structure and is easy for an audience to follow. The show has 3 rounds, the first two rounds can change dependant on what the audience has voted for the two teams to do, one round will always be in studio and one will be an outside challenge and shown as a VT and the final round will always be a quick fire general knowledge quiz. The only difficulty with the rounds changing would be having to think of new and fresh challenges for the contestants to take part in and keep the show exciting.
What makes the programme unique/different/interesting?
The programme is different to others already around because it involves students and lecturers and you don’t see this with any other show. Our show represents students in a way that is accurate for the mass student population. The rounds aren’t all question based and have some activity to them which makes the show more interesting as the audience can choose what challenges they do and this can add comedy to the show.
What elements of the format work particularly well (eg introduction, presentation, contributors, graphics, set, content, audience interaction)?
One element that works well for the show is audience interaction. We have social media pages on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and a website, through these methods audiences can vote for the challenges they want to see, enter competitions and look behind the scenes. As the target audience is students we needed to ensure that we have a good online presence. Another element of the show that works well is the content, the rounds feature fun and exciting challenges which are fresh and different to whats already out there. The only other show that involves students is University Challenge but this show is very academic based and fairly dated.
What do you think audiences would like and what would get them to watch again and again?
As our target audience is students and their lecturers might irritate them sometimes so the viewer will like to see other students going against their lecturers and will want the students to win. If they vote for a challenge they want to see they are more likely to watch to see if theirs gets chosen. As the challenges are student based and could potential make audiences see lecturers doing silly things this adds comedy to show which makes the show inviting to viewers to watch again and again.
What has not worked so well? How could the format be improved? If money/time were no object what would you do better next time?
I think overall the whole project worked well however a few elements could have been improved on. Firstly, if money/time were no issue I would spend more time working on creating a better set, in the end we just had a black background, a screen with the logo, yellow and blue lighting and a podium per team with a cut out of a letter (initially we were going to have printed stickers but we didn’t get these). We didn’t have any flooring and in my opinion I think the set looked a little unprofessional, you can see the cables, masking tape and it just looked a bit messy. Also I would change the colour black for a backdrop, it was very overpowering and perhaps a lighter colour would’ve worked better.
I would also spend more time to find contestants or once we found them spend time with them to make them feel comfortable when it came to the filming day. When we were filming the contestants seemed to feel a bit uncomfortable in front of the cameras and this perhaps affected the theme of the show, we hoped there would be some natural comedy but it felt a bit awkward.
Review your personal progress on this module:
How have you developed your editorial (storytelling) skills?
For the radio show my storytelling skills developed because I learnt about the importance of not having any gaps or awkward pauses. I wrote the rough script for The Past is Present and then we came together and finalised the script. I found it hard at first to write for speech radio because I am used to visualising projects but this was hearing it and I wasn’t sure how it would come across, we had to ensure we had all the correct sound effects to make the story work. I enjoyed this process because it was something I had never done before.
The TV show was a little different because we had such a bigger team, in the brain storming sessions we all sat together and gave our own ideas and formed the idea together. As a floor manager my job was to communicate with the presenters the timings of the show, when they could start talking and when to stop, this ensured the smooth running of the show.
What technical skills have you developed and how did you do this?
Over the whole module in both the radio studio and the TV studio I have developed my technical skills. In the radio studio I learnt how to operate the desk, ensure all the mics were on and working and also at the correct levels, at first I was worried about not being able to work it all but with practice I got used to the studio and it became quite easy towards the end.
On the TV project last year I was situated in the gallery so didn’t really learn how the studio worked, so this year as floor manager I learnt how to set everything up in the studio. I learnt how to set up the talk back system so we can communicate between the studio and the gallery. Once everyone knew how to set up their own equipment the set up time decreased.
What helped your overall progress? What have you learnt about yourself as a programme maker?
I enjoyed the whole process of both the radio and TV programmes, it was good to work under a tight time scale. As the producer for the radio show I learnt how to lead the team and also make the voice actors feel comfortable and keep the motivated while we recorded quite a few run throughs of the show. I had never really thought about working in radio but this module has changed my mind, I’ve learnt as a programme maker I can work well with a team to create simple but effective programmes.