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On The Set

Ever wonder how a television series such as ALICE is produced? Most would think it's a nine to five job, Monday to Friday. The actual work week, however, varies from show to show, depending on scene content and the length of the series in question. A typical work week on the set of ALICE was usually four days. Other shows, particularly one hour dramas, take as many as six days. The work week on ALICE began not on Monday, but on Thursday. The following is a sample of what a typical ALICE schedule looked like.

Sample ticket to an Alice taping

THURSDAY: Actors report to work at 10 am, having received their scripts the previous evening by special delivery. They sit down and have a table reading and the script is timed. Then they walk through the first act and "block" it. Block means to plot the movement of the actors from point to point within the set, determining the correct camera angles and what cameras will carry which part of the action so the actor knows which camera he or she is playing to. After a one hour lunch break, they return and block as much of the show as they can on that day. Props and real food are used.

FRIDAY: Actors report to work at 10 am. Any remaining blocking continues. Actors are given blue pages, that is, new script revisions. The original script starts off with white pages, then goes to blue, yellow, green, pink, purple, each representing a change in the dialogue. After blocking has finished, it's shown to the brass (producers, writers, etc.) on Friday night.

SATURDAY & SUNDAY: Actors don't report to work. Any changes in the script are delivered to them.

MONDAY: Actors report to work at 10 am. Another complete script is given to them and the show goes on camera with blocking strictly for the cameras. The show uses four cameras. It is decided what dialogue goes to which camera, scene by scene. Monday night it's again shown to the brass as it would look on camera. On Friday they saw it as it would look on stage, now they are seeing it as it would look on television. Revisions are made again.

TUESDAY: Actors report to work at 12 o'clock and get into makeup. Each scene is taped twice to ensure perfection without an audience. Then they break for dinner. At 6:30 they have a run-through for about a half-hour. At 7 o'clock makeup is re-done. At 7:15, the show is done live. By 9 o'clock, the show is over and if there are any mistakes, they already have it perfect on the tapes from earlier that day, and they edit in these scenes to finish the show.

WEDNESDAY: A day of rest!

behind the scenes alice.jpg

Filming on the set of Alice

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