Unreality (swears ahead)

Right now, I’m on a long-term assignment in the development department of a cable network that mostly does reality TV. It’s an interesting perspective. In general, I don’t watch much reality. People getting drunk and fighting simply doesn’t interest me. But it does interest a lot of our audience. There are days when I leave work feeling optimistic for our future as a network and my future career. We’ve come up with shows that could be educational or uplifting if they ever made it to air. There are other days when I go home horribly depressed, because all day I’ve watched sizzle reels of breasts bouncing up and down. The people who make those reels are generally pitching shows about how women are empowered by virtue of pleasing men sexually as often as possible. To those people, I don’t count as a person because I do not consider my vagina to be public property and I have nothing else of value to offer. There are many people who think the most important thing a woman can be is beautiful. I consider it much more important to be smart, creative and ambitious. To the producers pitching these shows, the most and, in fact, only important thing a woman can be is sexually available. It makes me despair for my industry. But the people I work with are wonderful. They’re smart and funny and honestly want to make good TV. The “women as objects” shows don’t generally make it past the pitch phase. So there is, in fact, hope.

And now, a story (because I promised you swears): I’ve seen Standards & Practices notes before on shows I worked on, but on scripted shows they’re a bit different. They’re more concerned with content and less with language because, as a rule, the writers know not to put bad language in a script to begin with. But on a reality show, their concerns are that everyone who did not sign a release is blurred out and swears are bleeped. So S&P reports will often just have a list of words to be bleeped out, all in capital letters, with timecode. I laughed when I received this e-mail from our S&P department:

I reviewed [show], episode [number]:

Act 1: okay
Act 2: okay
Act 3: okay
Act 4: okay
Act 5: 1:32:25 SHIT
Act 6: okay

Thank you.

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About Generation Coax

I am an aspiring TV writer, amateur photographer, and craft hobbyist.
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