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Newbie IPTV question advice: Scripting an eps/segment!


thetron
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This is probably aimed toward darren

I'm starting off by writing episode based around building a $2500 gaming rig (not my money). I'm not sure how to script it from what i've written down and format it for the show

To give people some idea. I've scribbled down and have pasted it up into the wiki either for people to look at. Your welcome to contribute/help out or give me some tips, pointers, techniques or anything to get me set in the right direction!

http://www.hak5.org/wiki/2500_Dollor_Gaming_Rig_for_2007

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A script with some thing like that is a bad idea. You are far better off having two people backwards and forwarding. One asking questions, the other answering them in full, but that's just me.

People like to watch other people talk to other people, people do not like to watch people ramble on.

Make it a conversation, the viewers will learn more and will probably watch the entire thing.

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A script with some thing like that is a bad idea. You are far better off having two people backwards and forwarding. One asking questions, the other answering them in full, but that's just me.

People like to watch other people talk to other people, people do not like to watch people ramble on.

Make it a conversation, the viewers will learn more and will probably watch the entire thing.

u havent seen the episodes of patrolling (with sean kennedy) have you ?

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I can honestly say that I *HATE* the question/answer thing. It would be a nice change over the norm every once and a while, but take for example Jon's last coding segment, or that one with Paul in 2x04 demonstrating QEMU. What basically happens is that sometimes the person asking the question is simply asking confirmation on something. The person who gets asked the question can then just confirm or deny, and then expand on it a bit. In those two examples Darren, I felt, just took over the segment to either get the pace going, or to just get the damned thing finished, but that's not the point I'm trying to make here.

I'd say if you're going to do a Q&A type thing, tape each person separately, and give each person ample time to answer the question adequately. Then deal with the pace during the editing phase.

As mentioned, Patrolling is a great example of this procedure. As you listen to him it seems like he's going really fast, but oftentimes some of the filler in between words (the ummm's and aahhhh's) are just cut out. Check out episode 1 of season two. It starts out with one rather long take of his view on things, then you get the intro theme and such, and then you get a segment on clothing and camouflage. Check out that segment. You'll see what I mean. It's almost as if every pause he would have to take just to breath in as he's talking has been edited out. Result: Fast pace. And that always helps when talking about stuff that isn't too difficult to understand.

I'm personally very much pro-scripting as it prevents the endless "aah"s and "ummm"s. Plus because it's scripted you can try it out. Look on the paper and see if stuff needs to perhaps be worded differently or possibly even left out altogether as it isn't particularly relevant to the message you're trying to convey. If you're droning on about something, trust me, when it's on paper, you'll notice it immediately.

Then, with the dialog on paper, say it out loud and make sure you're able to pronounce all the words clearly, and if you can't, go with a synonym. See if a line flows nicely. See if the words you chose keep the pace you want to have. Time yourself. Set yourself a goal like "I want the segment to be about 5 minutes long. For that I'll do a 1 minute intro, 3 minutes on the subject, and end it with a 1 minute demonstration with perhaps a conclusion" and see if the current script will allow that timeframe. If it doesn't, adjust one of them, but be aware of it. Ask yourself "Do I really want to watch a segment on the MicroShaft Wireless teabag that lasts 15 minutes, of which 10 minutes is spent talking about what's so bad about a normal glass of water?".

Think about how you'll say the words. Droning on about something is more often than not caused by the person in question talking monotonously. When you script it, you can see in advance which words you want to emphasize, which you might want to muffle and at what points perhaps a brief pause should be put in.

Think about what the viewer will see. You in the center of the screen for the full 5 minutes doing next to nothing is boring. You should move about a bit, and preferably do more than just play with your hands (hi Cody!). Think about what you're trying to say, and how your body language can be used to add an extra dimension on the conveyance of that message. It allows you to emphasize things, or even ridicule them. Just like with the emoticons here on the forum :roll:. That stuff works IRL, and on camera is no different.

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I can't tell you what the right way to do this is. There is no right or wrong. I can however clue you in as to how we script segments on Hak5.

First, before we write anything we take a step back and look at the subject matter. We ask ourselves a few key questions. Is it something I'd like to watch? Is it something the fans would enjoy? Can we do this in the time we have to produce the episode? Will it fit into the timeslot we have allocated for this segment block?

If all answers are yes, we have a potential segment. The next thing we'll do is a bunch of R&D. This consists of googling, reading, regoogling, rereading, testing, possibly purchasing materials, and if all works out we've got something worth showing.

During the R&D process we of course run into little hitches. We make note of those as they'll be important to discuss when we finally roll camera. When the person headlining the segment is done with R&D and feels comfortable with the segment we'll pair them up with a "watson", or a second person to help drive the segment. That person's job will be to direct the segment based on questions provided by the segment headliner. It doesnt matter if both headliner and watson understand the subject matter, it's the watsons job to view the material as a noob and ask approporite questions that our demographic would want to know. The first question or two will setup the segment, the next few questions will be the meat of the subject along will followup questions, and the last question or two will wrap up the segment, usually with something about where to find more information on the topic.

We'll do a "dry run" where basically both people bounce back and forth getting familiar with the segment. The producer will time the segment and hopefully it will lay between 5 and 7 minutes. If it runs over we'll take a look at less necessary questions or rework questions so that it will fit into time. If it's under 5 minutes the segment is either not air worthy, or we'll need to find a way to tie it into something else to beef it up. For example, if we were doing a segment on hacking the WRT54G and installing the OpenWRT firmware that alone may run short. Though it speaks to our audience it may not be enough to make it segment worthy. So we'll look at extensions, plugins, or other applications that will beef it up and give it the angle we need. For example, rather than covering "how to hack your wrt54g with openrt" we'll take it as "get a better bit torrent experience from your wrt54g using openwrt". The segment focus changes, we'll have more questions, and it should make time.

That's another important thing we always consider. One segment can be taken by many different angles. This is something we picked up doing real tv. Once I was doing the Windows XP VPN server segment on call for help and at the last minute in the green room the guest casting director asked me to put a different angle on the segment. It turns out Steve Gibson has just talked about something similar on a previous show. I was able to quickly adjust my notes so that rather than speaking simply about how to setup windows xp pro as a vpn server without any additional software, we spoke about why you would want to use a vpn when surfing, especially when on public wifi. then we quickly covered commercial vpn offerings, then got into the vpn on windows part and spun it as an inexpensive alternative to commercial vpn services to secure your surfing on public wifi. same segment, different angle.

once we're satisfied with the topic, angle, questions, pace, and time we'll write up a cheat sheet. it's basically a card that will have the 5-7 questions written in a large font with the hak5 logo on the back. you've probably seen them on episodes in the second season (most notably the RSI segment in 2x04 where both watson and guest needed one (erin's never been on tv before so she wanted one too)). we write the questions up in word with a large font on the top half of the page, then insert an unsidedown version of our logo at the bottom, print, and fold in half. if you'd like you can also write up que cards. just write the questions on posterboard in large letters and place them beside the camera. you've probably seen these used on sketch comedy shows like saturday night live. we've yet to try this but will likely experiment with it in the future.

depending on time and energy level we may do another dry run, or rehearsal. wess and i normally don't since we work very well with eachother and can often get everything in one take. its also good to keep in mind that the more dry runs you do, the less energy you'll have when you really do it. as a watson even if you know the answer you'll have to ask the questions that the viewers are thinking, and you'll have to be excited about it. it's a tough balancing act, but seriously it works way better when you have two people bouncing back and forth about something. however, i will say that Cooper is right as well. like i said, there is no right or wrong about this. some people prefer a single person's monologue. and some people are good at it. for example Jenn Cutter can cary a 20 minute episode of openalpha all by herself. and she's damn good at it. I on the otherhand can't. the only segment I've ever been in by myself was back in season one when i spoke about controlling your windows xp firewall via command line. and the only reason i did it myself was because wess was unavailable and we were running out of time. you'll likely never see me on camera alone again. unless i get some training, i seriously suck by myself.

anyway, once it's all said and done you'll want to edit it up. if you're using multiple cameras you'll have a lot of wiggle room. it's easy to remove something, just cut from one camera to another and get rid of the stuff you don't want inbetween. just pay attention to consistency. so keep drinks off the set. it looks weird when all of the sudden someone's drink goes from full to half full in a split second.

and my last bit of advice is to throw all of this out the window. this is just how we do it, and these are not rules. we didnt read this anywhere, it's just what we've come up with after doing it ad-hoc for the last 2 years. do a lot of takes, experiment with a lot of techniques, and see what works best for you. i know we're still experimenting with hak5 every episode (not the place for 2x05 flames).

Cheers,

Darren

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Sorry for the second post but I just thought about a few more things.

Unless you're a pro I'd advise against actually writing a script. If you read a script you'll sound scripted. Thats why we write questions, because it's up to the segment headliner to come up with natural answers.

The other thing we look at that I forgot to mention is in what order to place demos and questions. A lot of times you can spend forever setting up to something, only to do the demo and an awkward wrapup.

We've found that in some cases it's better to do a brief introduction, get right into the demo, then step back and break it down piece by piece. For example the Hacksaw segment where we showed what it could do, then broke it down to how it did it.

This will get the viewers attention, and hopefully keep it as you drill down into more detail.

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Right now things are tough for me.

I'm abit like Jen/openalpha and having to soloing everything from lighting, editing, cameraman, encoding, janitor. Basically, I'm a one man band and I don't really like being the only person involved in the project

Should a newbie be a "watson" on a show?

My brother threads "okay" and pretty basic when building a computers. Enough to bring it to me for family/friend tech support :lol:

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if hes the one asking the questions (the watson) then um.. yeah.. thats what a noob does, ask noobish questions.

Now if you want him to add comments it maybe wise to teach him a few things prior or find a topic he knows something about. but if all your topics are advanced topics and hes a noob. good luck. just have him ask some basic questions then script him in a few big ones :P maybe no one but the forum readers will know hes a noob.

but as they say, you can train a noob, but hes still a trained noob.

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On review. I can't seem to talk well on camera or the content is too long/boring

We're also kind of rushing to finish filming by 9pm. I also broke a hard drive power socket on the drive (the little SATA plastic bit)

319464024_f97ea5dd47.jpg

I put the drive the wrong way into the case. I placed the drive in the bay with connections on the east side of the case (back plate). When they are normally position on the west side (case lid).

I got to finish off editing tomorrow or atleast draft-edit of it

In the meantime. It's crappy teaser time with cheesy porn music

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DJm5FQYEgg

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  • 2 weeks later...

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