The surprising background of the “competition for ADs” in the TV industry | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The surprising background of the “competition for ADs” in the TV industry

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Human Commentary: Omo Umai Ten” is a variety show in which the ADs, who are supposed to be “behind the scenes,” also appear as performers. This is one of the variety shows in which ADs, who are supposed to be “behind the scenes,” also appear as performers.

What kind of image do you have when you hear the term “assistant director (AD)”? Many people have negative impressions such as “black work,” “can’t go home,” or “bullied by the director. …… Unfortunately, this impression is far from the reality.

In fact, in the TV industry today, the situation is such that “the program that gets the best AD will win the day. And there is a shortage of ADs, so there is a competition for the best ADs. It could be said that the world is truly in the age of the AD kings.

How did this happen? Behind this is the “change in TV program production methods and equipment.

Young ADs have “certain skills” that are superior to those of veterans.

What is the most important thing to survive the competition in the news and wide TV market? Many producers would agree that “the quality of the studio panel” is the most important factor in winning out over the competition. Panel commentary,” in which the announcer explains in detail the composition behind various news stories in the studio, has recently become very popular as a program production method.

The panel is “easy to understand” above all else, and it is also a “story” that the guests invited to the studio and the MC can talk about in the studio and get the audience excited. And in fact, young ADs are often much better at making these panels than veteran directors.

First of all, Gen Z and other ADs are far more skilled at searching the Internet for articles and photos that can be used as the basis for panels. Furthermore, the ability to put them together in an intuitive scheme “in a flash” and lay them out in an easy-to-read manner is also a win for the younger generation. This means that excellent ADs are the most powerful force in “panel making,” which is the key to program production.

What about filming? In the past, TV programs were mainly shot by “professional cameramen” using large, expensive cameras. However, nowadays, many small commercial video cameras, action cameras such as GoPro, and even high-resolution smartphones are used. And in most cases, these video data are now imported directly into a computer for editing.

Generation Z ADs are also far more proficient in the use of computers and smartphones than veterans. They are familiar with YouTube, etc., and have been accustomed to both filming and being filmed since they were children, so they have a good sense of filming. In these days when many programs do not have large production budgets, there are an increasing number of programs, regardless of genre, that are “almost entirely made up of footage shot by the ADs.

In addition, recently, a new trend in variety programs is to “use the ADs and young directors’ reports as they are” in their productions. Programs in which ADs play an important role as performers, such as Chukyo Television’s “Human Commentary Omo Umaiiten,” are very interesting today. Their characters are very honest and a little unreliable, which is accepted by the viewers with sympathy.
In this way, there is a “desperate need for excellent ADs” in the TV production field, but unfortunately, the number of ADs is decreasing rapidly.

Although excellent ADs are in high demand, many of them are actually “dispatched ADs. ……

First of all, ADs are often dispatched to programs by “temporary staffing agencies specializing in ADs.

No matter how much experience these “dispatched ADs” gain on a program, they have no chance to become directors. Unless they quit the company and go freelance or join another production company, they will always remain ADs. To put it worse, it is a “disposable” situation, so there is no hope for the future. Therefore, the number of people who can become ADs is decreasing rapidly.

In addition, more and more young people today want to work in Internet video production rather than TV production, so the number of people who want to become ADs is decreasing.

In this context, the number of people who want to become ADs is decreasing. Producers at the station also tell us, “Never allow ADs to work overtime, and never harass them with power harassment. In many cases, ADs are treated as if they are being touched by a tumor. And the only way to make up for this is for the middle-aged and older directors and producers of production companies to take over for them.

The “black jobs that don’t allow you to go home” are not ADs anymore, but middle-aged producers and directors. Times have changed, haven’t they?

For a behind-the-scenes look at the production of news and wide shows, as well as the reality of TV stations in general, including variety shows, dramas, announcers, etc., see “Who Made TV Rot? (Kobunsha, February 22). If you are interested, please take a look.

Who made rotten TV? Verification and Consideration by the “Middleman”” (Kobunsha) is here.

  • Text Hiromichi Chinmoku / TV producer and writer

    Joined TV Asahi in 1992. After covering the Great Hanshin Earthquake and the Aum Shinrikyo cult as a reporter in the Social Affairs Department, he worked as a director for Super J Channel, Super Morning, and News Station before becoming a producer. He has covered many overseas events, including coverage of China and the Korean Peninsula and the terrorist attacks in the U.S. He also launched the ABEMA service. He also participated in the launch of the ABEMA service. In August 2019, he became independent and is active not only in broadcasting programs but also in various media. He is a part-time lecturer at Edogawa University and an instructor at MX Television Visual Academy. As a member of the Society for Public Communication, he studies local media and has researched and written articles on face-framing panels as his life's work. Author of "Dramatically Increase Access and Registrations! Video Production: 52 Professional Tricks" (Nihon Jitsugyo Shuppansha, Ltd.). He is also the author of "Who Made Rotten Television? Verification and Consideration by the "Middle Man"" (Kobunsha) will be released on February 22.

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