Sometimes, This Stuff Just Ain't Easy

Behind the Scenes
Feb. 15, 2019
Sure, it looks easy. Our goal is to have some fun on television every week. So we try and make it look flawless and enjoyable. Everything from the jokes to the music, and from the guest conversations to the comedy bits – if we made it look difficult, it would be far less enjoyable to watch. But the fact is that hours and hours go into producing each 30 minute broadcast. Joke writing, sketch writing, sketch editing and logistics, guest research, segment producing, audience coordination, music coordination, marketing and promotion, show editing, closed captioning, crew coordination, and show editing are just some of the responsibilities that add up to make the show you see on TV every weekend.
Sometimes, when one thing goes wrong, it creates a headache. When a few things go wrong, it creates a problem. When several things go wrong, it takes a miracle to put the show on the air.
And that’s where we are at this week.
Let’s rewind and explain what happened and where we are today.
LAST FRIDAY (Feb. 8, 2019):
Everything was basically set. Most of the guests were booked, confirmed, and their segments had been planned as much as they could.
Monologues had begun to be written.
Skits were planned and/or written.
Plans were being made…but then, we checked the forecast. Snow. Snow for Tuesday night. And snow for Wednesday. And because we record at The Gracie Theatre on the campus of Husson University with an army of students from the New England School of Communications at Husson…when Husson cancels classes, we cannot record our show normally. So, with snow in the forecast for both Tuesday night and Wednesday, we had to pay close attention.
The snow forecast had intensified. It was time to come up with a cautious Plan B. Could we reschedule? Not really…our next taping is two short weeks after this one was scheduled. Maybe we could record earlier in the day? Or the next day? Or not at all? We decided to alert our team that there might be a change for the taping, but we were not sure.
We made the call. We had to cancel the taping. The forecast had intensified, calling for snow Tuesday night into Wednesday, with ice and sleet to fall following the snow. We had to make the call so our guests, staff, and crew had enough time to prepare. We posted a blog letting people know we had canceled the taping (worded with a tinge of “clickbait”) and that we would have a new episode airing this weekend. Our guests who had been booked were immediately rebooked for future taping dates.
We made arrangements to produce a show outside The Gracie Theatre on Wednesday…in the elements. NESCom students and staff pulled together the setup, jumping at the chance to problem solve the wants for this taping. We secured fitness guru Amy Badger to chat about staying fit in the winter, we pulled an archive performance from Chris Fyfe we had just been waiting to use, and we secured a very funny cameo appearance by broadcaster and former weather forecaster Ric Tyler. We also had a skit that could still be used in this particular show, even without a live studio audience. Joe Kennedy and Brian Nadeau were both on board to join in this scaled-back version of our show.
Oh, and also, our website crashed.
One of our guests pulled out due to the storm. We adapted. The storm let up for a while in the late morning. But then, just as we turned the cameras on, the wind started whipping around and snow started falling again, creating a brutally cold and annoying set of weather conditions for us to do this show. It took us about 2 hours to record the 30 minute show, complete with walk-throughs, do-overs, promos being recorded, and footage being reviewed. At the end of it all, we were happy…
…but our website had still crashed.
On the plus side, we secured our Southern Maine taping for this spring and will be excited to share that news…once our website is back up and running.
The show was edited down to be closed captioned. However, the skit we had PLANNED to include in the show (the one that was to be pre-produced and would still be useful even without an audience) fell through. There was one final moment necessary to make the skit “work.” That final moment evaporated. So late in the game, the only plan B was to pull an old skit, and include it in the show as though it were new. (Shhhhhhhh…) It’s another one of those things…in a perfect world, we could have come up with a new idea…but this show has to be on the air in two days, meaning the stations need it in house in about 24 hours.
But, it was edited and ready. There was still work to be done, but after about 2.5 hours of editing, it was mixed down and shipped off to the Closed Caption people.
Meanwhile, the website was still down. We figured out a path forward, but there was still no joy in - land.
Surprise! The Closed Caption people didn’t Closed Caption our show. No real reason other than they just…apparently…forgot. They also couldn’t promise that it would be delivered to us (the closed captions) until late Saturday. That was something we couldn’t do. SO…we got permission from all of the stations to deliver the show to them late (on Saturday) and there will be people at each TV station responsible for making sure the show gets ingested into their systems properly so it looks, sounds, and comes across clean…and the Closed Captions are visible.
Speaking of those Closed Captions, even as I write this, your fearless host, Dan Cashman, is transcribing the show so that Closed Captions will be included in tomorrow night’s broadcast.
So, this is local TV production, kids. It’s not always glamorous. If I know Dan, he’s typing away, laughing at the moments he enjoyed in the show while putting the words on the screen so the hearing impaired population can enjoy the show as much as the rest of us. But I’m sure he’d rather be enjoying his Friday night in other ways.
There were about a dozen things that could have derailed a new show from airing this weekend. So far, all of those things have been addressed and the show is back on track. It’s the hard work and creativity of the team – including our staff, and the staff & students who are on the crew at NESCom at Husson University – that brings this show to you each and every week. And it’s that dedication, pride, enthusiasm, and creativity that makes me – and likely everyone involved in The Nite Show – proud to be a part of it all.
And, as you may have noticed, our website is back up and running. Get your tickets to our next taping on Feb. 27 by clicking here. We’ll be there…
weather permitting.