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 12 production positions. These positions are filled by a combination of volunteers and paid contractors who possess the specialty skills required.
In a normal year there are over 60 production volunteers who work 150 plus shifts. This equivalates to over 500 production hours worked (many by volunteers) for each TeleMiracle.
Below is a list of each position with the role description and the skills needed.
Due to COVID-19 TeleMiracle 46 will have some different positions and roles than are listed.
There will also be a reduction in the volunteer numbers required for the show.
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. This volunteer needs to have all the pre-recorded segments cued up ready to go on air, and needs to be able to back-time all segments as well as time-out to the end of the show. 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 and time the proper graphics coming on and off television.
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.
There are up to three stationary cameras for TeleMiracle. A Hard Camera is positioned in the auditorium on a platform or in the balcony. It is important to remember never to walk on the camera platform as an operator until the current operator has their camera locked off and comes off the platform. 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 it’s 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.
There are two handheld cameras on stage, stage right & stage left. 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 to communicate with the cable puller about upcoming segments or needs.
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.
The jib involves a setup where the camera is mounted on one end of a long arm and the controls and counterweight are on the other end. It works a bit like a see-saw, but with a jib, the balance point is found much closer to the counterweight and controls. The jib allows the camera to move in a long arc from the audience to the stage.
Skills: The person right for the jib position is someone highly skilled with a television camera and has practise working with a jib. The jib operator is required to watch the jib’s movement in order not to disturb performers, equipment, audience members or other camera operators while getting the shot.
A Cable Puller’s main responsibility is to keep the camera operator and those around them safe. A Cable Puller looks after the cables attached to one handheld camera. The Cable Puller carries the cable and prevents it from becoming tangled, caught on obstacles, or creating a hazard to anyone. A Cable Puller will quickly coil and uncoil the cables as the camera operator needs.
Skills: The person right for the Cable Puller position must be able to think ahead. They also need to be quick and light on their feet. This position requires the Cable Puller to wear dark clothing and bring their own gloves as they will be on stage and the cables get dirty.
The Stage Left Coordinator, also known as the “people wrangler,” needs to work with the behind-the-scenes stage left crew and the local talent. Upon arriving for a shift, this volunteer will be provided a script of the show with a list of who’s coming up next. This volunteer is responsible to communicate with the behind-the-scenes stage crew (look for the people dressed in black with headsets and handing out mics), and the local talent. Kin volunteers will bring each local talent artist/group to check in with the Stage Left Coordinator, who will then confirm their needs (such as a mic, chair, stool or track music). This volunteer will then let the behind-the-scenes coordinator know that the talent has arrived and their needs are confirmed. This volunteer will be responsible for up to 4 groups and will ensure their safety, as a lot happens back stage with telephone shifts coming and going, equipment risers being sent out, and cords that can easily be tripped on.
Skills: The person right for the Stage Left Coordinator position is someone who is organized, communicative, and can coordinate with multiple people at the same time. You need to be a calming presence to be able to answer questions of nervous performers, yet able to pump them up just before show time. You will need to be able to ask questions, and always be aware of what is going on around you back-stage.
Camera shading is the task of making multiple cameras match in regards to colour, brightness and contrast values. This position will involve adjusting up to three cameras at a time within a time constraint. There will be a reference monitor that is used to match the other cameras to. There are typically two shading positions happening consecutively. 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.
The Audio Assist position assists in communicating to the audio team information coming up in the show. This volunteer will need to multi-task by listening and speaking clearly to the team. This volunteer will be listening to two headsets. One is the director communicating countdowns into and out of Video Playbacks and changes to the show. The second headset will be backstage communicating what is coming up. This volunteer will also be following along on the script noting changes and communicating them to the audio team. There will also be Skype communication coming in that needs to be followed, and if the phone rings the Audio Assist volunteer must answer it. This position is usually located in the balcony above stage.
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.
There are usually a few Crawl 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 Crawl 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 Crawl Data Entry volunteers type it out.
Skills: The person right for the Crawl 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. This position is located in Kin Hall on the lower level.
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.
Most positions have a mentorship program where, if you are interested in learning about a position, you can sign up to be mentored. If you would like to teach others about a position, you can sign up as well.
How to apply to be a Production Volunteer
Before you apply for a Production Volunteer Position, here’s what you need to know:
- Please begin by creating an account by filling out the form below.
- Once your account has been approved, you will receive an email with a link to reset your password. (If you don’t receive it within 24 hours, check your junk mail. If there’s still nothing, proceed to step 3 and click on “Forgot Password” to reset it.)
- Once that has been reset, you can go to the website and click on the pink login button, in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Your username or email address can be used in the username spot and enter the password you created.
- This will bring you to your Production Volunteer Dashboard where your application form(s) will appear once completed.
- Click on the button that says Production Volunteer Application.
Only contact information for one contact person can be entered in the form itself.
Please ensure that phone numbers are only 10 digits, that there are no typos in the email address, and that the mailing address is the kind that Canada Post uses.
If at any point you have any questions or need to make changes please contact
Adrienne & Josh, the Production Volunteer Coordinators.