I chose to be the OB producer because I thought it would push me creatively and technically. In past projects I have produced and presented the news, presented, and also produced packages etc, and so for our final project I wanted to push myself to do something completely new.
Simon and myself are on the OB team but we have decided to place our OB during the speech show (State of Play). So we are working closely with the producer of that show who is Phoebe. We know that the OB has to bring something new and exciting to the shows that can’t be brought to the listener from the studio or in an interview.
We started brainstorming for ideas for the OB. There is to be a different theme for each weekly show, which means 5 different themed OB’s including the pilot.
Week 1/OB – Gaming Culture
Week 2 – Women in gaming
Week 3 – Gaming Addiction
Week 4 – VR
We thought about doing a OB live from a Virtual Reality (VR) experience. We found an escape room VR experience in London that we are going to contact about doing our last show OB from. The idea is to have Simon present while playing the escape game and come live from there throughout the show to see if he makes it out. I will produce and tech it.
The next idea we had was to come live from a Game Store and talk to the staff and customers when a new game has been released.I researched new game releases and they mostly seem to come out on Tuesdays so it could be good for us to come live from a store on a Monday and get the atmosphere of anticipation. I found that the Game Store on Wardour street has area called ‘Belong’ where gamers can get together to play games so this could be perfect for us to interview gamers during the OB. I have tried calling and contacting the store multiple times but no answer yet.
The next idea we had was to come live from a games arcade, and to possibly talk to some women gamers to tie in with our women in gaming week. I think the sounds of the arcade will make for an engaging OB.
The Insomnia convention starts the weekend after we finish our pop up station so that is a no go. Although I did call them and ask if they have a press week before but the press is only allowed in the same day as the punters so is too early for our shows.
Our next idea is the weakest and is probably for our pilot to test things out will be Simon playing a game somewhere…. This one needs work!
Simon and I are still coming up with more ideas. In the meantime I need to track down Tim to give me a lesson on how to use the new tie line.
While I was away Simon and Adam starting contacting possible OB venues but nothing had come of it yet. So this week I focused on calling and emailing as many OB ventures as possible. It has proven extremely difficult to find a venue that is open on a Monday and at midday as the gaming community seems to be more active on evenings and weekends. This is the log of what I have done so far:
It seems like we have the VR arcade Omescape for our final show OB. The manager is a bit flaky and so we are going to visit him on Monday to scope out the space and go over details with him. For the third week we have two options at the moment, the National Video Game Arcade Museum in Nottingham who I’m waiting to get back to me (they don’t normally open on Mondays so are waiting to hear what day they can specially open for us). Also the Gaming Addiction Therapist is getting back to me with availability. If the therapist can do the third week we shall go with them, and then move the museum to another day. I am waiting to hear from both. For the second week I am waiting to hear back from some girl gamers before I chase them. For the pilot and first week I have talked to EXP Leisure who seemed keen and am waiting to hear back from them by the end of play today (20/02/18) before I chase again. I also today spoke to VR Champions an am waiting to hear if they can specially open on a Monday for us. So all in all I have contacted a lot of places and am waiting to hear back before I chase again.
Adam set up initial contact with Mark from the Heart of Gaming and put him in contact with me. The Heart of gaming is a gaming arcade in Croydon. I called Mark at The Heart of Gaming and had a good chat and set up for us to do an outside broadcast with him for our first show. Simon will interview Mark on the topic of gaming culture and then have a go on one of the games. The topics I said we will cover with him are,
-The arcade and the ethos behind it
-The games available
-Why people come together to play games rather than at home
-The future of gaming
I will email him with these topics and catch up with him closer to the broadcast date. Simon has got an interview with a member of a Facebook group for LGBT gamers and we will use this for the pilot. He works around Regent street and so I suggested we use the Regent street campus just for the pilot to see how the tie line works with the studio etc. I will start to write the questions for this and it will be useful to see how it all works. In the meantime I am still trying to contact OB’s for week 2 (Women in gaming) and Week 3 (Gaming addiction). I have contacted a Facebook group especially for women gamers and am hoping to get a lot of interest from there. I will also chase the women gamers I have already contacted. Sam gave me the name of a coding school for children and I have contacted them about a possible OB for week 3. The rise of children and people learning to code could fit in with the gaming addiction topic. I will also chase the gaming addiction therapist organisation.
The role of the OB producer can be frustrating as it is a lot of contacting and chasing people and coming up with dead ends. A lot of people don’t get back to you and ignore you and fob you off and so you have to keep positive and have a thick skin. I also have to keep on top of when and how we have contacted people. It is also about how you go about talking to people from all walks of life. It is about thinking of different exciting people and places that would add to the overall sound of the broadcast and programme. I will keep contacting and chasing as we are shaping up to have a few exciting OB’s planned.
We were well prepared for our pilot broadcast. Simon had found an interviewee from a LGBT gaming group called The LDN Gaymers and written some good questions. On the day the tie line worked very well and Simon carried out the interview brilliantly. I wrote the cue, was able to communicate extra questions to Simon, communicate with the studio and to keep an eye on the timings. Although next time I will make sure the text is bigger when showing Simon notes during our broadcast! Matthew had some pointers for our next broadcast which I am taking on board: 1) To set up a proper cue so as to segue and properly signpost the OB. 2) There needs to be a proper reason why it’s an OB. 3) To think more of the audience and get the subject to explain more through properly written questions. 4) Make sure we make it clear how to get in contact and how to visit the subject etc. So I will work on these for our first show. This week I am keeping in contact with The Heart of Gaming so they are ready for our visit. I will also start writing the questions. I am also still contacting possible OB’s for week 3. I have been in contact today with The UK Addiction Treatment Centres, and have booked in for us to visit a rehabilitation centre and talk to a Therapist who specialises in gaming addiction. This fits in with the third show perfectly and so I am very excited to visit and also to start planning and preparing for it.
Simon has written some excellent questions for Mark at The Heart of Gaming. I have contacted Mark to let him know what sort of things we shall be asking him and he has confirmed our visit.
Our first show went very well. Our interviewee Mark at the Heart of Gaming really delivered. He was a good talker. We even managed to talk to a few of the regulars which added flavour and content to the OB. The choice to end the OB with Simon playing Pacman worked really well as the Pacman music with Simon speaking over it made it sound colourful (it almost sounded like we had added sound effects afterwards!).
I got talking with one of the female gamers, Ashley, who had some super interesting points and was a very knowledgeable gamer. She told me about how the inclusion of the community had given her confidence and that the dance game had helped her to lose 4 stone! She said some of the comments from male gamers where awful and that they would never say it to her face but the wall of the online gaming gave them the opportunity and confidence to be derogatory bully’s (one had told her she was not pretty enough to be that bad at gaming!). After chatting with her I booked her in for our second week OB. We talked it over and the plan is to go to her home where she has a gaming set up and talk to her and group of her girl gamer friends while they play. As OB producer I can see from my pre interview how the segment will go and sound. I think the many female voices will work well and can fit in with the main show, and what Tony and Fay are talking about. I also took some video of Simon and of Ashley for the social media team to use for teasers. I have emailed Ashley to confirm details for next week and am waiting for her response so we can start planning the questions. Phoebe has determined that the OB will come in 2 5 minute segments throughout the show as has been suggested to break it up and fit in with what Fay and Tony are talking about.
We then visited Omescape to scope out the venue for week 4 and to see how the equipment works etc. I’m glad that the game is played sitting down as I won’t have to chase a blind Simon and Sam around with microphones. After our visit I emailed Omescape to confirm our booking with time, date and equipment etc.
It has been suggested that we try and speak to a gaming addiction patient when we visit the rehab centre in week three. I have emailed to confirm our visit and to ask if it would be possible to arrange this with use of pseudonyms.
We now have the next three weeks of OB’s planned and I have emailed them them all to confirm. Myself and Simon will start planning the questions. As OB producer my role is about organisation and at the moment I feel on top of it all. I am extremely pleased that we have slotted in all the OB’s for the coming weeks and now my job is to keep in contact with them, make sure they are happy and that they have all the information they need. I will also keep on top of travel arrangements and question writing.
As OB producer it is my job to come up with the ideas for the OB and to guide the interview in the right direction and then Simon, as presenter, can take it from there and make it his own. I researched a lot of female gamers and read a few interviews with them to get ideas for the OB interview with Ashley. I then wrote my own questions and script and the cues, ins and outs etc. I shared this with Simon who tweaked it to sound more chatty and like him. I kept in contact with Ashley to make the arrangements for the day and to let her know when we would be arriving at her house and what to expect. My job on the day was to make Ashley feel comfortable. So I let her know exactly what was happening and when. Made sure she was happy with the microphone. Simon made sure she was happy with wearing the headphones and hearing herself back for her chat with the studio. We went through the questions. I kept talking to her to prep her and to make her feel comfortable and relaxed. In the end she was a brilliant advocate for female gamers, a great talker and very knowledgeable. Simon did a great job interviewing. I think we make a great OB team.
Looking towards next week. I have contacted the rehab centre about the possibility of also speaking to a patient at the facility. I’m not sure they will go for it because of patient confidentiality. If this is the case we may ask the therapist to speak to a live studio guest about their gaming addiction problems. This will tie the show and the OB together harmoniously. This week I will research and start to form the basis of our script, question, cues, ins and outs etc.
The rehabilitation centre, Primrose Lodge, replied saying that we won’t be able to speak to a patient as they have to be totally immersed in their treatment. But that they will talk to a former patient who has been through the treatment as he may be up for contributing (but anonymously), so fingers crossed. I researched and wrote the script, questions, ins and outs for the OB with Matthew Reece, the gaming addiction specialist. I have put it up on the drive so that Simon can makes any changes.
The tie line was not working which was a bit stressful on the morning of our third OB which was taking at place Primrose Lodge Rehabilitation centre in Guildford. Simon and Callum (who was driving the desk) worked out to use Skype on Callum’s laptop. Simon had a microphone in his Iphone. My job as OB producer was to communicate with the studio team through messenger about timings and cues etc. We could not hear the studio feed which was an added pressure. We were not sure that Skype was going to work until we were live on air. But luckily it did work. What I learnt from this experience was that my overall job was especially to keep calm so as to keep everyone around me calm (Simon and our guest therapist Matthew) as that led to a calm performance. Simon did a great job! Especially without being able to hear himself. Our guest Matthew Reece was a great and informative talker and so it was a shame his interview got slightly shortened due to the panel running over. I made sure that Simon kept to time by communicating with the producers in the studio.
The sound ending up not being as great using Skype rather than the tieline but this could not be helped. These are the sort of things that do happen and the point is we found a way around it and made it work.
Today I wrote up the OB information document. This consisted of the place and person to be interviewed for each week, the aim of the outside broadcast and some example questions. I am also doing research for the next weeks OB at Omescape. Simon is making a short trail for this so that all the information can be got across without him leaving the game to talk. I am currently writing the script for this. I will then write the cues and ins and outs so that it is uploaded to the drive in time for Friday.
The last day of pop up!
Our last OB was our most ambitious taking place at virtual reality escape room Omescape.
I had written the cues and ins and outs to correspond with the timings in the clock. We had decided to come to the OB 5 times throughout the hour, the first one being at 12.04 so straight in for us. We left lots of time to set up as it was quite a difficult set up. Simon bought his mic stands so that himself and Sam could be hands free. We managed to put the studio headphones under the VR headphones for Simon so that he could hear the studio output. Luckily Jacint the assistant manager was extremely helpful as we had met up with him to go over what we needed previously. I took a video of Simon to be used on the website as a teaser. The room sounded quite echoey but I think this added to the ominous tone of the game. As producer I had overall control of this whole segment, especially more today as Simon was totally immersed in the game wearing the head mask and headphones. I feel I really took control and came into my own for this last show as I wanted it to be amazing and for us to go out with a bang. The way we worked it out was that as Simon and Sam played I had one ear on them and one listening in to the studio. I also was in constant contact through messenger with the producers in the studio, and had one eye on the script and timings. A lot to juggle so I had to be super on top of everything. When it was time to come to an OB segment I would turn up Simon’s studio headphones, turn on the mic’s and then tap Simon on the shoulder (not the most technical but it worked!). Due to a technical fault with myriad the show started 5 minutes late and as they still had to hit the adds on time, this did throw out timings for the rest of the show. Even though this was stressful for me as I was calculating it all on my own (on my side, obviously the producers were trying as hard as they could to keep me in the loop), I managed to keep calm and collected so as to keep Simon and Sam calm. Even though the plan was ditched as they were throwing to us 5 times throughout the show it did not really matter when they did come to us. One time the studio threw to us when it had been decided they weren’t going to so I had to quickly up the mics, headphones and frantically hit Simon (quite hard!) on the shoulder, but we still appeared calm and ready, so it was a success. I fully took on my role as producer and suggested that after hearing the first slot that Simon be more descriptive and really let the listener know what was going on and be their radio eyes. Simon took this on and became more and more descriptive as the show went on. As producer it was my job to be in control and on top of things and I think I fulfilled this. Simon did an excellent job.
What I did in a nutshell:
I produced the OB from conception to completion. This included researching, finding and booking guests and venues. Liaising with them about logistics and so they were happy and comfortable with what was entailed. Talking with them afterwards to complete the process. Liaising with the producers about content and placement of the OB. Researching and writing scripts, questions, ins, outs and cues etc. Communicating with the studio during broadcast to make sure we were on time. Using the tie line and giving input to the output of the live OB. Writing the OB information sheet.