Makin’ a TV Show: Trouble in Paradise Recap, pt 1: Pre-Production

As you may or may not know, Trouble in Paradise, my zombie sitcom/webshow, died earlier this semester, and then joined (as a good zombie show should) the ranks of the undead, returning to us in an extended format (20-22 minutes) with a real budget (~$300), and more fun. It takes a lot of work to make any sort of production… And this is the story of our production.

We’ll begin on March 8th, AKA the day we went in front of the Student Body Association Senate to request additional funds to make our show. You guys know me – I came in fully prepared: script sample, budget breakdown, video samples, etc. Here’s the budget breakdown:

• Actor Makeup for five episodes (main characters, extras, guests)
• High Quality Zombie Makeup for 2+ episodes including components for fake blood and plasters necessary for wounds
• One-Time molding fees to create future effects
Estimate: $200

Visual/Special Effects
• Components for blood burst effects
• Green Screening Components (the screen, etc)
• Components for controlled effects
Estimate: $100

Costuming & Set Design
• Costumes for 4 main characters for several episodes, and possibly covering some guests (thrift)
• Costume modification if necessary
• Any sort of set additions/changes – wood, etc
• Props
Estimate: $100

Discretionary Funding
• Travel Costs
• Lightning/Sound Costs if necessary (probably one-time costs)
• Unexpected expenditures
Estimate: $150

TOTAL $550

As you can see, it was broken down into specifics, and I came in ready to answer questions. The general tone was positive… They motioned to watch “one minute” of part of an episode. I elected to show them the intro with theme to episode 2 (which is about 45 seconds long), and whatever else after that. I was told to stop before the intro was over (apparently time is different inside of the Senate). I shrugged it off, was told to leave when they voted on it, and waited to find out how much of the money I was going to get. I didn’t think I’d get the full $550 (though I wish we had), but I was hoping for as much as possible.

Word came to me that they had decided to table my budget request until the next Senate meeting so I could “get my ducks in a row.” I believe that time marks the only time in my life that I’ve been told I was unprepared for something. The reasons for the tabling are, for lack of a better term, BS. I won’t go into it, but I was (of course) less than happy. See, the next Senate meeting wasn’t until the 22nd of March, as Spring Break was upon us. That left me with two weeks to attempt to guesstimate how much money I’d get so that my script was within reason. Cheshil = Unhappy.

But, there was nothing I could do about that. So I played the waiting game. March 22nd rolled around, and again we went to the Senate. This time I found out we came out of it with $300 (about as much as I expected)… And a deadline. The show had to be completed and aired by April 23rd, AKA the last day of classes.

At this point, we had: a “complete” script that still went through several drafts, no cast, no crew, no location… And one month to make a TV show. Again, I was unhappy.

But we must forge ahead! Casting was the following Wednesday(?) and in the next few days we filled out all of the members of our cast… Except Kevin. No one responded to my callbacks, and we ended up (luckily) finding someone by the weekend. Our casting led to some relatively major changes to the other characters and to the script, but we made it work.

Now, the goal of this version of TiP was to film a pilot and work on it over the summer, airing the episode at the beginning of next semester. With the deadline, that was impossible. We found out everyone’s schedule, and, well, we realized there was only one good weekend: the weekend before the last week of classes… The weekend before the deadline.

Now, I’ve caught you up on the pre-production side of things. As for the actual filming part? Stay tuned.


About cheshil

College Student
This entry was posted in Life, Television, Trouble in Paradise. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Makin’ a TV Show: Trouble in Paradise Recap, pt 1: Pre-Production

  1. Peterson says:

    I feel like I should comment on this, even though I don’t really have anything to say.

  2. Andrew says:

    Looking forward to the rest of the recap.

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