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Frank StantonFrank Stanton
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Session:         Page of 755

Stanton:

And it requires, in many cases, historical shooting in the sense that you have to follow a story for quite some time before you get enough material to use for the particular broadcast. Situation comedy you could plan in advance and set up your props and your actors and run through it very quickly. There's still plenty of trouble, don't misunderstand me -- anything you do in the way of a television broadcast requires a lot of advance planning and it's costly. The least expensive thing to do, I suppose, is a talk show where you put people in front of a camera and talk. This kind of programming is referred to in a pejorative sense as “talking heads.” Producers try to avoid them. I think they are overly sensitive to it. If you have something interesting to say, I have no trouble watching a person and listening to what he's saying. I don't have to have it illustrated. In fact, I can pretty well illustrate with experimental tests that showing something related to what the person's talking about can distract and interfere with the passage of information that's being reported by the spoken word.

Q:

That's very interesting. Do you have a specific thing you're thinking of, or a specific case you could tell me about?

Stanton:

Well, you have a lot of examples on the evening news. If they're talking about taking care of the Kurds, you'll see the suffering going on in the picture, and to the extent that those are dramatic pictures, they simply blur the movement of information that's being talked. And now there are some -- obviously -- some occasions when, if you're talking about a disaster and describing the extent of the disaster, it reinforces the story to have pictures doing that. But I think pictures are used to the extreme in evening news. I think that a thoughtful newsman or newswoman on camera can convey the story better than intercutting



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