Thing that can go wrong… just might go wrong on live TV

I am the Programming Intern for Sprout, a 24 hour preschool channel based out of the Comcast Building in Philadelphia. I spend three days a week at Sprout, and at least one of these days is spent as the Production Assistant (PA) on their live show. The Sunny Side Up Show (SSU) airs live, every day, out of the Sunshine Barn (the studio) with Chica (preschool chicken puppet) and one of the four hosts. The show goes live at 8:50am and ends at 12pm. The show is laid out as an interstitial, so it airs in between other shows and as bumpers for commercials. There are 13 links that make up the show, each being approximately 3-4 minutes, and a few “squeezes,” which are about :15-:45 seconds and are used to share viewer submitted pictures and messages.

Monday is the day that I most frequently PA on SSU. I have to be at the office by 7:30am and I leave the studio after I prep for the next day’s show, usually around 1pm. Then from 1pm to 3:30pm I spend upstairs on the Sprout floor. It is my responsibility to dress the barn before the show starts and prepare the props, crafts and costumes throughout the show. I am also responsible for lowering Mr. Mailman into the shot when he needs to deliver birthday cards to the Chica and the host to share with the Spoutlets at home, which happens 4 times throughout the production. The Sunshine barn is such a small space that only myself, the Chicateer (Chica’s puppeteer) and the host are in there. There are three cameras but they are robotically controlled from the control room, which is in the neighboring room separated by a window.

Wednesdays and Fridays are spent mostly at a computer on the Sprout floor of the Comcast building (about 6 floors higher than the studio where the live show is taped). Sprout is a small company, about 85-90 people, so everyone fits on one floor. I spend my Wednesday and Fridays in the Creative Suite with two Production Assistants. It is my job to help them and the Production Scheduling Coordinator with their everyday tasks. Some of my projects have included creating Call Sheets for guests, organizing talent applications, sifting through Partner Programming to find needed footage, organizing viewer submitted videos, formatting message that “crawl” on the bottom of the channel and organizing birthday card sent in to be shared on the show.

One of the coolest parts of my job has been learning what goes on behind a live show and being able to be an intricate part of it. One of the most challenging, but valuable, parts of my job has been learning how to make decisions, while executing them in a matter of seconds before the show goes live. I have learned that things will go wrong with live television and learning how to roll with the punches has been a valuable experience. Sprout has a specific voice and look so I have to make sure that every decision I make and everything I execute reflects that Sproutastic style!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *