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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

And We're Live

"Let's do a live shot."

That sentence doesn't seem like a big undertaking, but it can be. Live shots take planning and hard work for all of those involved. Because you are literally live in a live shot, there's no second chance or redo. You must have everything come together at the right time (aka when you need it). 

Choosing a live shot can seem like a simple task. But, instead of just picking the first story on your list, it's better to see what story on your rundown actually deserves the title. For instance, will being live add anything to your particular story? What will the viewer see? What will the reporter be doing? These are just a few questions to consider. I think the best live shots are those where the reporter plays a more active role in the story he/she is telling. This can mean interacting with the protesters behind him or physically demonstrating key elements in the story. This works great for event based stories where the reporter can give viewers a live look at what is happening. 

Once the live shot has been selected and the reporter has been notified, it's time to communicate with the live shot crew and control room. There's nothing worse than planning a live shot and not communicating that to the team who's in charge of making it happen. As a producer, you have to make sure everyone involved knows their role and is prepared for you to go to them live. At ATVN, it is especially important to practice the live shots during run-throughs before the show begins to make sure everything is working properly. 

"Why wouldn't it just all work out?" From what I've seen, you really have to have your ducks in a row. While I have yet to produce a live shot of my own, I have co-produced on days when we have incorporated it into our show. From the planning stage to the countdown, everyone has to be on cue. No producer wants to see the screen go black or have her reporter be unaware he's live. So, it takes a lot of communication and a great sense of timing. But, if you have those things, you're good to go.

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