Studio Interview Exercise

Your first assignment in the studio is to direct an interview between two people – a Host and a Guest. Prepare a topic and write a rundown and script. Your topics may range anywhere from someone talking about current events to a movie review, discussions about books, impressionistic paintings, existentialist philosophy, heavy metal music, etc. Don’t make this assignment complicated – KISS: Keep It Simple Student!

The talent are not expected to have knowledge of the subject you choose. As long as the talent is engaged in conversation (they can always make up a conversation between two characters), the director can then call the camera shots to put together a show.

Required materials

·      One DVD-R (minus R) to record your show.

·      Ten copies of script and rundown (scripts must be typed in TV-script format – no exceptions, but leave the video column blank – that’s where you can write in your camera shots).

The interview will last approximately 3 minutes. You will be asked to submit a Rundown for all the crew. You can create your own rundown in Word by simply inserting a table with 6 columns and 5 or more rows. Try and keep the show OPEN and CLOSE to 10 seconds each, however, you are free to vary the times.

The Rundown will look like this:

You can add music during the open and close (bring in a CD of your music choice if you wish, otherwise we’ll have some CD’s available in the studio).

A Brief Explanation of Show Segments

In a commercial television newscast (or interview) the first segment before the commercial is known as the “A Block.” The section after the first commercial break is the “B Block,” and so on. A typical newscast may have Blocks A-E where the lead stories appear in the A Block, Feature Stories in the B Block, Weather in the C Block, Sports in the D Block, and Kickers (Fluff Stories) in the E Block.

The Story Numbers may vary depending on the structure of your show.

A Brief Description of Story Numbers

A0 – This is the OPEN for your show. In this assignment, the open consists of a camera shot and titles that appear over the shot, accompanied by music.  Typically, we open and close the show using the same wide shot and CG title.

A1 – The HELLO is a scripted introduction to the show and is read by the host. The HELLO is usually kept short.

A2 – This is the INTERVIEW portion of the show (unscripted).

A3 – This is the GOODBYE portion, which is scripted and read by the host.

A4 – This is the CLOSE and is where the title appears once more over the camera shot, accompanied by music.


What to Bring to Class the Day of Your Assignment

You will need to make at least 10 copies of your Rundown (with CG info) and Hello/Goodbye Script for each member of the production crew. The ten copies will go to the:

·      Host

·      Director (that’s you)

·      Technical director

·      CG operator

·      Teleprompter operator

·      Audio operator

·      Floor manager

·      3 camera operators 

Also, don’t forget to bring a DVD-R to record your project.

CG – Character Generator

CG is a term used to describe the text that appears on the screen that is used to identify the host and guest, the opening titles, and the credits. The script should include CG information:

  • Slate (director’s name, assignment and date)

  • Title of your show

  • The Names of your host and guest (along with attribution – you can simply write this in on your sheet the day you do the assignment)

Hello and Goodbye Script

Using the TV-script format, the Hello script is simply a brief welcome to the show and an introduction of the guest. The Goodbye script is read at the end of the show. The script does not need to be memorised by your host – they’ll read it on the prompter.

Be Environmentally Conscious

Television productions use heaps of paper. If possible, keep the rundown and script on a single page.

Production Time

We will attempt to get through half the class on the first day. There will be some time made available for rehearsals. Be prepared to stay until 4:30pm at the latest. Please make every effort to be in class on-time as your classmates will depend on you to operate an assigned position.  


This exercise is meant simply to “get your feet wet.” You’ll soon  learn to choose the timing of your shots more instinctively, knowing when to cut to a new shot at the appropriate time. You can always experiment with cuts to the wide shot or to reaction shots to help break up “talking heads”.