Producing : Producing The Talk Show - A One Man Band by Brian Kelsey

Brian Kelsey

Producing The Talk Show - A One Man Band

One of the most important things I've learned throughout my career, is that whatever business you're in, you have to be able to do more than one thing. For example, when I started in New York City radio back in the 90's, many of my colleagues were just DJ's, that's it. Well, if anyone who's worked in radio knows, DJ's come and go so fast it'll make your head spin. So as an intern, I quickly learned that if I wanted to make myself invaluable, I had to learn how to do several things in that industry, including getting coffee. So, while I started as a rock DJ, I also learned audio production, and started using my voice as a tool. Soon, I was hired directly because of knowing more than just how to say...(in a radio voice) "itttttttt's 75 degrees in the big city this is Brian Kelsey and WOW, get ready because here comes some JETHRO TULL!" My career took off from there, and as television started working its way into my world, I had to do the same thing - immerse myself into the medium, and learn and do as much as I can. NOW, the big thing you DON'T want to do is to become a jack of all trades and master of none. This is very important. What I'm trying to convey is, pick about 3 different areas, and hone your skills on those three things. So when you get fired, or the the company downsizes (which they will), you have multiple opportunities for work. So I focused on:

1) on-camera hosting

2) cinematography

3) editing

Recently, when I had the idea for a late night style 'celebrity' talk show filmed in my garage, you can imagine hard hard it was finding a crew who would work for free for a nearly impossible task, with no one watching. So, I utilized what I knew, and the things I had learned through the years. I had a long career of interviewing guests on radio, check. I was an on-camera host, check. I knew how to film, and had the gear, check. And, I had built of years of editing skills, check.

However, there is a lot more to a talk show. How do I book guests - Why would anyone, let alone a celebrity, want to come to my disgusting garage? How do I run 6 cameras and audio by myself, while hosting the show? What about theme music? Who is going to build the set? How the hell do I light a talk show set? Why would anyone watch? What about COVID!

I came up with some solutions:

Celebrities: Every town or county has someone remotely well-know. You just need to find them, find their publicist or other connection via IMDB, LinkedIn or Stage32! Someone you know knows someone who knows XYZ. I pitched it as, hometown, local figures in our community type thing. Of course, my success rate was .05 percent, but it takes just ONE person to say yes, then slowly, it gets easier. Not by much though.

Production: I wanted as many camera angles as possible, so, between 4 cameras I already owned, and the 2 go-pro's I purchased, I had 6 angles. To monitor the shots during the interview, I ran the outputs of the 4 main cameras into a multi-screen display that sits behind the guest, so it was an easy glance to make sure everything was still rolling. For audio, well, pardon my french, but that was a bitch because of the very particular set-up I wanted. I created a video on how I did it if you're interested:

The Set: I still had my old carpenter skills, so here's how THAT went down:

-Part One:

-Part Two:

Theme Music: At this point, I had done everything myself already, it only made sense to write and record the theme music as well! Here is the step-by-step of that gem:

In the end, it's an evolving process and it keeps evolving. No matter what part of the Stage32 lifecycle you're in, just keep learning, keep being humble, keep connecting, keep getting coffee, keep dreaming, and keep DOING!

Doug Nelson

Very informative for the small time filmmaker. I hope that a lot of the young uns watch and learn from it.

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