There’s a group of workers at the telethon that you may not even know exists, because they are rarely, if ever, seen on camera. They are the people who run the equipment that gets the telethon onto your television screens.
The TeleMiracle Production Crew is made up of 14 production positions. These positions are filled by volunteers who possess the specialty skills required.
During the TeleMiracle show there are approximately 30 production volunteers who work 150 plus shifts. This is equivalent to over 500 production hours worked for each TeleMiracle.
Below is a list of each position with the description and the skills needed by the volunteer.
This volunteer will be directing the camera operators to cue up shots via headset, communicating with the switcher to take specific cameras, and following the script while listening to the Production Assistant for changes to the show. This volunteer will coordinate and communicate with all production departments so everyone knows what needs to be happening. This volunteer will decide what is put on television. This position is in the production truck.
Skills: The person right for the Director position must have years of experience in Directing shows. They need to be able to verbalize their thoughts on headset as well as listen to their Production Assistant for changes. Multi-taking is required to be a good Director.
The Switcher sits next to the Director in the production truck. The Switcher uses the switcher to select and put to air the various sources such as the cameras or pre-recorded video by using different transition effects that the Director communicates.
Skills: The person right for the Switching position must have experience working as a switcher in other shows. The Switcher must be a good listener and be able to follow directions.
The Production Assistant is the individual that is communicating information to the director in the production truck. This volunteer needs to know what is coming up next on the script, especially if there are any changes, and relay that to the director. The PA also has to answer calls and respond to emails from producers while the show is in progress. The PA is also another set of eyes to keep track of time.
Skills: The person right for the Production Assistant position must have good communication skills, both verbal and written. They must have excellent hearing as they have to listen on the headset, listen on the phone as well as speak with volume and confidence. The PA must be able to multi- task many activities at the same time without missing information or getting anxious.
The Playback Operator is the individual that has all the pre-recorded segments cued up ready to go on air. The volunteer needs to be able to back-time all segments as well as time-out to the end of the show. The volunteer is there to keep track of time and ensure the proper graphics are coming on and off television.
Skills: The person right for the Playback Operator position must be able to multi- task many activities at the same time without missing information or getting anxious.
The Floor Director directs the action on stage and is responsible for communication between the directors and the on-air cast. They act as the liaison between the cast and the director, producers, and other key technical positions.
The Floor Director is responsible for preparing the on-air cast, ensuring they understand the various hand signals that are used during production and that they have all the information that they need before they go live. They follow the script and track and communicate changes so everyone in the on-air production area knows what is happening.
They must be able to react to any situation that arises live on stage or behind the scenes.
Skills: The Floor Director must be able to multitask, be able to handle split-second changes, communicate both verbally and physically with confidence in a calm respectful way. They also must have a very good overall understanding of how TeleMiracle is produced.
There are multiple hard cameras for TeleMiracle. The operator must focus the camera on eyes of the talent. The Hard Camera Operator must pay close attention to what the director is saying on headset, as well as understand which camera number they are operating and its expected shot type.
Skills: The person right for the Hard Camera Operator must be able to listen, follow directions and understand the workings of a production video camera, and must know how to focus the camera.
The goal of a Handheld Camera Operator is to get close-up, creative shots of the performance. The Handheld Camera Operator has to be able listen to the director to hear their expectations.
Skills: The person right for a Handheld Camera Operator position must be able to listen, follow directions and understand the workings of a production video camera. This volunteer needs to think outside of the box with creativity, be aware of their surroundings and not be afraid to get in there for the best shot. This volunteer must be able carry approximately 25lbs on their shoulder in a crunched position for an extended time period, then be able to quickly move out of the way.
Camera shading is the task of making multiple cameras match in regards to colour, brightness and contrast values. This position will involve adjusting multiple cameras at a time, within a time constraint. There will be a reference monitor that is used to match the other cameras to. This position is located in the production truck.
Skills: The person right for the shading position must have an eye for detail, work quickly but can learn the task on the job from an experienced shader.
There are various Audio positions for the show. The positions consist of mixing different sources of audio, handling audio equipment, setting up mics, maintaining & testing equipment while working with live, prepped and remote audio. This volunteer will need to multi-task by listening and speaking clearly to the team. This volunteer will be listening to the director communicating countdowns into and out of Video Playbacks and changes to the show. This volunteer will also be following along on the script.
Skills: The person right for the Audio Assist position must be able to multi task, listen, communicate verbally with confidence and be able to adapt and change.
The Remote Coordinator is located near the virtual connection team and communicates with upcoming virtual interviewees & talent by phone to prepare them for their live on air time slot. Joining link is verified and time to join confirmed. Information is communicated with the virtual connection team and adjustments made as needed.
Skills: Some light problem solving may be required, as well as good communication skills, organization, time keeping & flexibility.
There are usually a few Data Entry positions each year. The Crawl is the names, towns and donation amounts that can be seen at the bottom of the television screen each year. The Data Entry volunteers type out all this information that is then converted for television. The Kin phone volunteers write down the donation information and the Data Entry volunteers type it out.
Skills: The person right for the Data Entry position must be able to read different writing and have good typing skills.
The Crew Desk is the central hub for all the Production Volunteers to sign in to TeleMiracle, check in and out of their positions, find out where they need to go, change their schedule and ask any questions they have. The Crew Desk volunteer will be working with all the volunteers face to face as well as working on the scheduling software to always ensure that all positions are filled so that the show runs smoothly. This volunteer will also need to make phone calls to volunteers. This volunteer needs to have a clear understanding of how the show operates.
Skills: The person right for the Crew Desk position is someone who is a people person. This volunteer needs to be good with learning new computer software and quick to problem solve.