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Typical Day

Bulbo Watt is the head lighting designer for a half-hour sitcom on SBC (Shmoop Broadcasting Company). He's been doing this for a few years—it's nice, steady work, but eventually this show is going to get canceled, or the stars are going to disband, or the Mayans will be right and the world will end in 2012. (If you're reading this post-2012, thank goodness they were wrong.) In the meantime, Bulbo is loving his life. He gets into the studio at 5:30 (it's okay, he's a morning person), and starts setting the lights for this afternoon's taping. The design portion of this was taken care of between this past Tuesday and Thursday—directly following last week's shoot. Since then he's been working with the set designers to get the appropriate lights in place in preparation for filming. 

There are a few sets that are used regularly, and these are always lit in a similar fashion. Even still, he has to check the shooting script to determine what time of day it's supposed to be when each scene takes place, and adjust the lights accordingly. In this episode, there is also a scene that takes place at an outdoor basketball court. There is (conveniently) a solid concrete wall on one side of the court, so that the producers can shoot this indoors in a controlled environment rather than having to deal with the unpredictable elements. Producers hate having to deal with things that are unpredictable. That's why they love actors so much.

There's a lot to get done, and Bulbo has already put in ten hours of work before filming even begins. At 3pm, the actors begin arriving on set, and at 4pm taping begins. Bulbo makes some last-minute adjustments once the actors are in place and he picks up on certain shadows or other lighting issues that he hadn't already addressed, or hadn't noticed when the stand-ins were on set. At one point a bulb blows out, and he has to replace it in a hurry so he's not delaying filming. From this point on, he has to relight the set for each scene (everything's already set up, he just needs to power down the lights that were set up for the previous scene and power up the ones he needs for the next, once again making whatever last-minute adjustments are necessary). 

By 7pm, shooting has wrapped and it's the end of a very long day. Bulbo will start tomorrow on the design for the following week's episode, which the writers have just put the finishing touches on. There's word of an extended dream sequence in this one, where the main character is floating through outer space. That should be an interesting challenge. Hopefully they haven't decided to set a scene on the surface of the sun, as that would be an absolute bear to light.

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