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Typical Day

Bill Watt is the head lighting designer for a half-hour sitcom on SBC (Shmoop Broadcasting Company). The show has been on for a few years and it's nice, steady work. Yes, eventually it'll get canceled...but for now with the show cruising along just fine, Bill's loving his life.

On this lovely morning, he gets to the studio at 5:30AM (it's okay, he's a morning person) and starts setting the lights for this afternoon's taping. He took care of the "designing" portion of this week's lighting over the past few days, so now it's time to work with the set designers to get the appropriate lights in place and prepped for filming.

Make sure all those really powerful lights are shining really powerfully: check. (Source)

For this week's episode, there's a scene that takes place at an outdoor basketball court. Conveniently, there's a solid concrete wall on one side of the court, so the producers can shoot most of it in a controlled environment indoors rather than taking chances on unpredictable elements outside. No matter the set, there are always a ton of lights that need to be working properly, and this one's no exception. Bill and his crew get to work.

By the time the crew breaks for lunch at 1:00PM, the lighting has finally all been set up and tested, and the actors have started to show up. As the so-called "talent" gets costumed and made-up, Bill sneaks away to scarf down two roast beef sandwiches (this is almost seven hours into his workday, mind you) and a Coke.

Oh. Good. Bill's heading this way. (Source)

Call time for the first scene is at 2:00PM. Once the actors are all situated, Bill makes some last-minute adjustments, accounting for the specifics of the moment now that they're ready to shoot. As the scene starts, Bill moves from one camera operator to the next, hawkishly watching the scene over their shoulders like a parent concerned about their kids' study habits.

Most of the filming progresses as planned, although one of the bulbs blows out after about an hour and Bill needs to replace it in a hurry. 

No matter, though—happens all the time. As the afternoon goes on, he mostly just moves from scene to scene, powering down the lights from the scene that's ending and powering up the lights for the next one. When things are going smoothly like this, he gets to just kick back, relax, and watch the actors do their work.

The shooting wraps around 7:00PM, marking the end of a very long day for Bill. He'll start tomorrow on the design for the following week's episode, but for now he heads back to his one bedroom apartment where there's chicken parmesan and mashed potatoes (microwave-style) waiting for him.

Bill flips on the news and pulls out a writing pad to jot some notes about the lighting for next week's episode. There's going to be an extended dream sequence in this one, with the main character floating through outer space. That should be an interesting challenge. 

He starts to write down some ideas as the news anchor cuts to some crazy guy predicting the end of the world again. Bill rolls his eyes and sighs—hopefully the world lasts at least through production of next week's episode.