Keeping up the fantasy

Fantasy Football. The name says it all. Given the opportunity, which football fan wouldn’t fantasise about being  the owner of their own football team, with the best players?

Have you wondered what your favourite footballers would want on their teams?

Well ,’Fantasy Football Club’ which airs live at 9 PM on Sky Sports, features football veterans doing exactly this. The show lives up to  its name, ‘fantasy’, as players of different teams and countries are put into the same team.

However, the TV crew is trying to keep up the fantasy of the show for the audience watching at home. Just like the ideal fantasy, the making of the show is no fantasy. After being a part of the audience, comprehending the mechanics of how a TV show is shot has become easier.

There is a great deal of effort put into shooting one episode of a TV show. It’s not just the TV crew that works, its also the audience that works towards keeping up appearances.  

The milieu 

One of Britain’s most popular channels,  ‘Sky Sports’ is located in Osterley. The Sky TV campus is unimaginably large, and its possible to never find your way back. The audience is led to the main reception, and are asked to wear wrist bands. The security check for men is thorough.

There were no female security guards to frisk the women audience.

There is also no ladies’ bathroom in Sky Sports studio, which is highly inconvenient. The studio was really dirty and it was hard to believe that this was one of Britain’s  top TV studios. There was also no seating arrangement for the audience.

Usually, the lack of audience is one of the major problems for a TV producer. As usual, the audience is expected to wait, since the guest of honour is running late. 

Behind the scenes – The process

Audience with hosts Paul Merse, Max Rushden and former footballer Emmanuel Petit
Audience with hosts Paul Merson, Max Rushden and former footballer Emmanuel Petit

Photo credit : Fantasy Football team

Image via https://twitter.com/fantasyfc

The producer cleverly uses a particular formula for each episode. He puts the best bit of the show for the last, to keep the audience engaged until the end.

Tickets for watching a show are usually free. Members of the audience who were wearing English football club T – shirts were ordered to stand in the front. Children and women, who are also considered a novelty, are also positioned in the front, in an attempt to capture diversity.

The Floor manager, who often manages the audience, always has instructions. The audience receives a cue as to when to applaud, when to cheer and when to react. In certain situations, they are told how to react, when the camera is panned their way.

If the applauding and cheering is not loud enough, the audience may have to do more retakes than the host or guest of the show.

The guest

The show which is claimed to be a live telecast, is definitely not live. “It is shot one day in advance,”says Frankie, the floor manager. “The guest on the show is not booked in advance either. It’s solely based on their availability.”

“No matter how hard the crew tries to book the guest in advance, it may never fall through every time.”says Jani, the assistant producer.

The elements of seriousness and humour are usually mandatorily included. The guest is expected to say something funny, while the hosts are compelled to laugh, just like the audience. If the guest is naturally witty, this assists in inciting laughs.

The crew

The coordination of the camera crew coordinates, their excellent understanding of shots and choice of angles is to be extolled. There is no miscommunication with regard to any shot.

The cameramen knows when to capture the reaction of the audience, and for how long, while the floor manager arranges the props for each shot, within milliseconds.

Every shot is well thought out and pre-planned. The TV producer thinks from the perspective of the audience watching at home, along with the camera crew.

They know the art of selling the show. The crew understands their target audience. The host makes every sentence he says unbelievably spontaneous and natural, that is the conversation, the jokes and the questions. He seems genuinely interested in what he’s saying.

Clearly, making  an TV episode is not as simple as it looks. The process is an art that hasn’t received enough appreciation.

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