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19 The Studio Production > The Floor Manager - Pg. 330

PART 6 Production Techniques FLOOR BLOCKING Using this method, the director works out on the studio floor, viewing the camera shots on studio monitors. Guid- ing and correcting performers and crew from within the studio, the director uses the intercom to give instructions to the AD or technical director for the switcher (Figure 19.3). During the actual recording, the show may be shot as seg- ments, scenes, or continuous action. THE FLOOR MANAGER The floor manager (FM) plays a major role in studio pro- duction and is usually brought into the project from the beginning of production. During the studio preparations for the rehearsal, the FM checks to make sure that the studio and crew are ready to go at the scheduled time. Progress checks ensure that there are no staging hang-ups. This may include making sure that all action props work, the scenery and furniture are in the planned positions, the doors do not stick, and similar checks. As the performers arrive, the FM welcomes them and makes sure that they are taken care of. This usually includes telling the talent when and where they are required. The goal is to ensure punctuality, which is an important aspect of the FM's duties, whether for rehearsal starts, turn- arounds at the end of a rehearsal (returning equipment, props, sets to opening positions), or studio breaks (meals). FIGURE 19.3 Floor blocking allows the director to sit in the studio, reviewing the camera shots from a monitor. Note the quad-split monitor in the lower-right corner of the photo. The director can see the shots from all four cameras being used on this production. 330 Rehearsal When the director is in the control room, the FM is the director's contact on the studio floor. Wearing a headset, the FM listens to the director's instructions on the intercom system and then passes this information on to the talent. The FM anticipates problems, rearranges action and grouping, adjusts furniture positions, and performs other tasks as instructed by the director, marking the floor where necessary and supervising staging and prop changes. Normally, the FM is the only person in the studio who will cue and stop all action based on the director's instructions. Most directors rarely use the studio loudspeaker system to talk directly to the talent, as this can be quite disrupting. The FM talks back to the director over the intercom. Being on the spot, the FM can often correct problems not evi- dent to the director in the control room (Figure 19.4). A good FM combines calmness, discipline, and firmness with diplomacy and friendliness--making sure to put talent at ease, and always available, yet never in the shot. The FM maintains a quiet studio, yet understands that various last-minute corrective actions may be needed. FIGURE 19.4 The floor manager, or stage manager, is the director's representative in the studio. The floor manager is the person in the middle of the bottom of the photo. Recording/Transmission When the director is ready to record or transmit the program, it is the FM's responsibility to confirm that all studio access doors are shut, talent and crew are standing by in their open- ing positions, and the studio monitors are showing the correct images. The FM will cue the announcer (Figure 19.5).