Production is Production

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"Production is Production." That's a favorite quote of my producing partner, Melissa. Which always struck me as hilarious because, as a saying, it's not really saying anything. What she means is, "regardless of how big or how small, all productions are essentially the same."

And I think that's mostly true.

Whether you're vlogging in your bedroom or making "The Avengers 2," the process is effectively this:

  • You have an idea for the thing (whatever it is).
  • You make a plan to make the thing (most often: a screenplay, followed by a schedule; sometimes just a rough outline in your head).
  • You get the money (sometimes millions from investors; sometimes whatever's in your wallet).
  • You hire the people to make it (a crew of hundreds; or yourself, filling every role).
  • You make the thing.
  • Then, you put it out (distribute, broadcast, upload).

Production is Production.

But having worked on and visited many sets the past few weeks, I'm surprised by just how similar these productions actually are.

Last night I was invited* to a taping of Watch What Happens Live, a very funny live talk show on the Bravo network, made in a very small office in the West Village of Manhattan. The week before, I guest directed a couple episodes of What's Trending for Geek Week at the YouTube Space LA.

My Damn Channel Live, the show I directed (and helped build with Melissa) last year**,  has at one time or another been compared to both of these shows. But I had never actually come into physical contact with either one until now. We'd been working independently, siloed on our own private islands. But you'd think we'd all been exchanging notes.

It's amazing how similar the productions are. How we all dealt with the same problems of doing a live show. How alike our pre, production, & post schedules are.  The same feelings of elation after a successful broadcast. Even the prop closets look the same. And how everyone always says, "it looks so much bigger on screen!"

Sure, Watch What Happens Live is a larger show with a bigger staff than My Damn Channel Live or What's Trending. And Jimmy Fallon's and Conan's shows are obviously even bigger. But I imagine they're not too dissimilar.

After all, Production is Production.

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*I was the Tricaster operator for a Watch What Happens Live event at Vidcon, so I got friendly with their fantastic production manager.

**RIP.

WWHL Set