How a TV show gets made

How a TV show gets made

Getting a show from script to screen is
a fast and furious process. Some crews make thirteen episodes of scripted TV
in the same amount of time it takes to make a single blockbuster movie. So how do they do it? This process applies to all types of scripted TV shows – both dramas and comedies – but we’re gonna use an hourlong drama with a 13 episodes season as an example. Let’s say you’re the showrunner. This is what the next year of your life is going to look like. First thing’s first: you and the writers break the story. Meaning you plot out the major moments of the season. And then you assign writers to break the story for each episode. After multiple drafts a script around 45 pages is created. That’s about six hundred pages of material for
the whole season. At this point episodes are assigned to directors and
directors of photography who begin planning on their own and then there’s
the art department. They’re in charge of the whole look of the show. Let’s say the
show takes place in New York City in 1980. The art department researchers the
period so that everything as big as buildings and cars and as small
magazines and jewelry look realistic. Now let’s get shooting. To shoot 45 pages of material in about 8 days you need a serious schedule. A traditional script isn’t all
that helpful to a crew. So first each scene is assigned a location, time of day, and actors. After all these factors are prioritized the result is a document
called a white schedule. Once shooting begins every episode requires a table read.
That’s when the whole cast gets together and reads the script from beginning to
end. At this point the director works with the
director of photography to correctly block all the actors and every scene is
shot from multiple angles. A one-minute scene in a show could easily take a few
hours to shoot. Now you might not think your typical drama would not have a lot of
visual effects but something as little as a TV playing in the background of a
scene requires post-production work. Ever heard the phrase “we’ll fix it in post.”
Here we go. A post production team is comprised of
editors, sound designers, visual effects artists, and all the assistants and
coordinators that go along with them. Editors make the first cut of the
episode and give it to the director. Then the director’s cut goes to the showrunners.
The showrunners give notes, create a producer’s cut, and that goes to the
studio which then becomes the network cut. During this entire process things
like that TV with the green screen get pushed through visual effects. Once all
of the edits are final, a color corrector and sound designer begin to work their magic.
The dialogue needs to be cleaned up, sound effects put in, and the entire edit
needs to be mixed. OK, we’re almost done. It’s now several months after writing
began and the episode, fully mastered, gets serviced to broadcasters around the
country. But the rest of the show isn’t finished. Every episode is finalized just a few weeks, and sometimes just a
few hours, before it premieres.

100 thoughts on “How a TV show gets made

  1. I used to think episodes were made as the season went on, and then thought the whole season was finished before it was aired.

  2. "Once shooting begins, every episode requires a table read." – a table read is actually done BEFORE shooting begins.

  3. Nice video. Does anyone have a reading list of books about "How TV gets made" things like this vid but also with real examples here and there would be brilliant

  4. Can you do a "how a video game gets made"? These videos are perfect summaries! Great job everyone 🙂

  5. lol all this is cool and all, but all I really need is money! I can easily do the rest with a budget… I WANT A BUDGET!!!!

  6. I'm gonna write scripts for a random show called "Seven Fives" yeah a weird name I know it just popped in my head. Oh good chance this show will never exist because I made it up. But I will show it to some people see what they think.

  7. PLEASE PLEASE please PLEASE please please please pray THAT the lion OF the tribe OF Judah immediately AND Automatically gets his own tv show lmmediately AND Automatically AND permanently. THANK YOU ALL for all your loving prayers.

  8. I thought the video was gonna start from the very beginning: how someone with an idea reaches a network, how the idea for the show is accepted, etc.

  9. Wow that’s a lot of work I think being a YouTube creator seems easier and less stressful than making tv shows for a tv network.

  10. Yeah, there is a huge segment that was barely even touched on. Take for instance my dept. I am in set dec, the production designer is the head of my department, props, construction and art dept. Anywhere from hours, days, weeks to months in advance we fabricate, rent or purchase items and construct our sets which outside of studio is booked and overseen by the locations dept. Construction builds and alters pre existing structures, art dept makes all the signage, faux stained glass, and graphics, paint dept adds texture and color, LX rigs all the electrical components and then set dec fills the space with furniture papers, books knicknacks, puts up curtains and pictures. All this before a crew sets foot on a set.

    Then after it is all over we take every thing apart, ship our rentals back to where they came from store the things we purchased in warehouses. At the end of a season everything we owned over the course of the show gets boxed and catalogued and might be shipped to a different place if they decide to relocate the show. The longer a show runs the more backlog of furniture it accrues because if they ever need to do a flashback episode it has to be available. The behind the scenes of my dept never really gets mentioned on anything like this because most people aren't really interested in the bits that are more conventional, even though we really are using trades in an crazy unconventional scale. Everything that is put on a set is meticulously documented so that when it gets recreated or moved (for camera equipment and lighting) it matches up.

  11. Some scripted shows don't do table reads simply because they can't. They shoot the episodes back to back and sometimes get script pages on a daily basis so it simply isn't feasible. 24 also shot two episodes at once over 15 days as it was thought to be more efficient

  12. I wonder what would happen with animated shows. Probably simpler, except you have an animator and you can't have the shows as long, and I suppose they keep a voice recording studio for things like that.

  13. great video but frankly the post production of this video wasn't great. The background music was too distracting to hear her talk.

  14. Can you please make a video on what Residuals are, and how Residuals work. For TV and Movies. THANK YOU.

  15. Is the process the same for cancelled shows? Are entire seasons shot first? I mean, this was good but give us more!!l what happens to shows that are green lit then cancelled after 3 episodes? Etc.

  16. I wanted to do in future something with movies, tv shows etc. but omg it's too much. I wanted to be actor but I would probably fall asleep in reading table

  17. So right after a season comes out, the next season is already done? Or halfway done? E.g Power. Season 5 just finished so is season 6 filmed or not which is due to come in a year

  18. All of this work to promote an agenda and propaganda. I guess all of the time and money spent is worth the salt, in being able to brainwash an entire world.

  19. If you think this is cool, check out the South Park documentary, Six Days to Air! It goes over how they make each episode of the show in a ridiculously short amount of time.

  20. sorry theres just one thing ive always wanted to understand…when episodes start airing, are they already completely made and ready to be rolled out or ar they still being filmed even when the season's already airing just before the episode comes out?

  21. how i met your mother has a start to finish bonus clip on youtube too that someone uploaded. its really cool. takes around 2 weeks per eipsode minimum

  22. And I thought I could make 13 episode si:fi TV series (with 10min episodes) with 6 other people during the summer break

  23. meanwhile in turkey, one season for a tv show is aprox. 40 episode . wild and agressive market is bad for everybody.

  24. Ok this is very helpful for sitcoms which that the type of show I want to make but I also want to make animated show too how do they work

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