Directing Tips from ISOA (Indian Soap Opera Association)
Posted March 27, 2007on:
Camera Placement – Always place the camera between someone’s legs, under a table or on a chandelier. No face level shots please.
Camera Movement – The Cameraman should preferably have Parkinsons. Rapid to-and-fro and side-to-side movement heightens emotions.
Music – Rapid transition between different themes. For example if four characters are communicating – a goodie two shoes, a villain, an angry person, an excited person – each time the camera focuses on a particular person, the corresponding music should play in the background. For example a possible sequence could be soothing goody music – villainous music – angry music – soothing music – excited music – angry music – villainous music – goody music etc. Quick transition is the key.
Expressions – Facial expressions are the best way to communicate the script to the audience. Goody characters should have noble expressions and villains should have leery expressions so that the audience can differentiate between the two. And if it’s a villain posing as a goody, intermittent leery expressions when the character is alone should be adhered to.
Extension of Scenes – Particular scenes need to be prolonged to heighten impact (this also helps in lengthening the lifespan of the soap which equates to more ad revenue). For example news is broken to two characters and each one reacts differently – one with joy and the other with shock. The camera should focus on each alternately to convey the intensity of the emotions. For example a possible sequence could be :- camera on happy person – camera on shocked person – happy person – shocked person – happy – shocked – happy – shocked – happy – shocked – happy – shocked – happy – shocked and so on( with appropriate music of course). This sequence should be continued till when the audience have pulled out their hair strand and has lifted the foot is poised to kick in the TV screen.
Integration – The above techniques may prove to be ineffectual in isolation and need to be brought together for the right effect. For example leery eyes – villainous music – rapid to and fro movement is a good combination.