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Jim Krause | Classes | P356 TV Studio Production

Drama Exercise


In lab you and your group will produce a professional-looking dramatic scene that lasts anywhere from 3 to 6 minutes. This exercise is meant to test your visualization, blocking, producing & directing skills. It will also give you a chance to add a piece to your portfolio. This exercise is worth a total of 45 points and has both individual and group components.

Proposals and Pitch - 5 points (individually graded)

Individually you will each submit:

  • Program proposal (a treatment helps, but is not required for the initial pitches)
  • Pitch (your presentation to your fellow students)

Pre-Production - 15 points

As a group, you will create a Pre--Production packet, which will include:

  • Program proposal
  • treatment
  • script
  • storyboards
  • floor plan
  • lighting plot
  • list of props, wardrobe, or special gear required

You will need to find talent (not members from your group), block the scene, rehearse and prepare sound effects, graphics, and music. Please make sure you rehearse the scene a few times in the weeks before the production is scheduled. Unrehearsed projects are always terrible and tend to waste everyone's time.

Rehearsed talent and thoughtful lighting, blocking, and framing are the core of what this exercise is about.

Production - 20 points (group grade)

As a group you will produce the project. It is expected that members of your group will carry out the key roles (producer, director, etc.).

Post-Production - 5 points (individually graded)

You will turn in a one page (minimum) critique the week after you produce your project. Address the group's pre-production efforts and the overall success or lack of it. Brownie points will be given for students who submit a version on IU Box of the final production.


  • Time: 3.5-6 minutes
  • Graphics: You must have a slate, title, and credits. Please consider your visual design treatment (colors, font, style, etc.) and design graphics accordingly. You might want to incorporate titles into an intro video, which could also set the location, time, and mood. It's important to credit your talent and crew.
  • Music/SFX: Your group must use at least one cut of music and one sound effect or sound bed. You might start and close your piece with some music. A background bed of sound can help "sell" the location (inside a diner, on a plane, etc.)
  • Talent: Members of your group can not function as talent for your own production. Talent should be drawn from other groups or outside sources. You should also be willing to serve as "talent" for another group.
  • Wardrobe & Props: Your groups is responsible for making sure the talen has any required costumes, props, and accessories.

Suggestions: Select a scene that works by iteself and is feasible to produce in the studio. Good scenes have a beginning, middle and end. The scene may be from a TV show, a movie or of your own creation. A good on-line source of scripts is Feel free to rewrite scenes to make them more suitable for your tastes and resources. So if a scene has 7 people, you could rewrite it so that you only need 4. Avoid comedy (unless you are good at it :-) Minimalistic sets can artfully represent complex environments. The most important aspects aren't set & costumes, but talent, blocking & lighting.


Week 1:

During lab, everyone will pitch their dramatic scenes. So be sure to bring the following to lab:

  • Pitch/Proposal (Describe the scene, scenario and action)
  • Script (detailed, two-column script or film style with clear storyboards)

We'll vote on ideas and assign production teams and times.

If your scene is selected, you will act as the "producer" and secure on-camera talent for your production and delegate responsibilities. You should designate responsibility. Consider who in your group can be in charge of securing props, creating graphics, carrying out sound design, etc. Make sure your talent gets a copy of the script ASAP so they can learn the story and their lines.

Week 2:
  • Refine script
  • Block and storyboard key shots (Do they work with your floor plan? If not, revise your floor plan.)
  • Have a Dry Run / Blocking rehearsal (refine blocking, delivery, make sure you can get close-ups of key dramatic moments).
  • Rehearse some more.
  • Build soundtrack, decide on microphone strategy
  • Create graphics ahead of time
  • Create camera shot sheets

On the day of your production, it is vital that you come to lab prepared!


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