October 21, 2008 Jill

The story department over at The Latest Buzz survived their live show.  Here’s their report on how it went:

What did you guys think of the live episode experience?

Story Dept 1Brent: It was one of the greatest nights of my career. It was the best possible outcome.
I started off really nervous because we screened an episode on the monitors beforehand, and kids were just watching quietly.  But as soon as the actors came out for the live episode, the kids went nuts — big laughs, oohs and ahhs.  It validated everything I thought — that this is how the show would sound if we played it in front of a studio audience.

Barb: The kids were quite shy at first, thinking they were supposed to be polite and quiet.  But then the actors came out, and they went crazy.  It’s possible our whoops and cheers also gave everyone permission to loosen up!

Brent:  Maybe they didn’t know what was supposed to happen.  They’ve never been to a taping before, so maybe they were thinking “Really? You brought 150 of us here to watch an episode on a big monitor?  When you said live taping, I didn’t know we were the live part.”

So it went well?

Matt: Amazingly well. And it was a testament to the cast. They knew their lines inside out and were great with the crowd. Everyone lined up for autographs and photos afterward.

Brent: It was a testament to the crew too — they never kept us waiting.  We’d do each scene two or three times. When a take was done, the writers would huddle and brainstorm a couple new jokes, and as soon as we finished, the crew was ready to shoot.

Barb:  And they were new to live taping too.

Brent: Brian Roberts, our director, trained them all in a matter of days.  Live is very different from regular studio taping. He compared his overall training back in season one, to preparing the crew for a live show like this: “I taught you how to fly a plane, now I’m going to teach you to fly a helicopter.”buzzliveshow-008.jpg

Barb: The most exciting thing was brainstorming new jokes.  Brent had two punch-up writers on hand (Tony Krolo and Nathan MacIntosh) so we’d think of new jokes, and I’d run on set, talk with Brian and the cast, and they’d just nod and nail it — every time!

Darrin:  That’s what I liked most – the challenge of finding a new joke while a couple hundred people waited for you.  And then you get to see if it hits.  That got closer to the instant gratification of stand-up. You don’t usually get that with a series — it’s more, you write a joke and say, “I hope a bunch of kids laugh at this in 15 months, in the privacy of their own homes.”

Barb:  Family Channel’s contest for the walk-on role also could not have gone better.  A girl from Nova Scotia won.  She traveled to Toronto with her family (after screaming for a week, her parents said), and told us she felt like a princess. It was the family’s first time out of Nova Scotia and first time on a plane.

Brent: I wish I could get inside her mind.  What was that experience like?  I bet it was a dream come true.  And she’s old enough that she’ll remember it forever.

Darrin: I imagine it felt like walking into your TV set.  Because she’s there, in the Buzz, talking to these people she’s only ever seen on TV.

Buzz story dept 2Brent:  I was also surprised to learn the live episode generated some actual buzz at MIP. It garnered interest in the show as a whole.  So perhaps that could result in new sales — it could become an investment, not just an experiment.  Other media reps who were there on the night (Globe and Mail, Macleans) said they were very impressed with how professional the cast was.  I believe Buzz has one of the best comedic ensembles in television, so it was nice to hear other people in the industry echo that opinion.

Barb:  The kids in the main cast are all around 16 years old and are still funnier than many actors twice their age.

Matt:  The whole night was amazing.  Afterward everyone (cast and crew alike) said, “why don’t we do this every week?”

Barb:  Plus, nobody fell off the bleachers.