Before We Kill the Author: Understanding the Television Directors World, Meaning Structure and the Sharing of the Authorial Role

From Iskomunidad


Creative genius. Team builder. Calls the shots. Head planner. Knows the littlest production tricks to the most complicated techniques and strategies. That is the television director, as defined in the pages of various television production books. But the director plays more roles than all these textbook definitions can ever encapsulate. Most production books limit its discussion to the technicalities of the profession thus failing to introduce the actual experience, the struggle, the politics and the economics of directing and the system around and over it.

This ethnographic study focuses on understanding the television directing profession with director Malu Sevilla (Mutya, Noah, Agimat, Todamax, My Binondo Girl) as the focal point of data gathering and analysis. Fusing ideas from ethnomethodology, political economy, encoding/decoding theory of Stuart Hall, and Organizational Culture theory, this research analyzed the work environment of Sevilla and how different factors shape the responsibilities and tasks of a television director. Through a mixture of participant and non-participant observation, this research aims to understand the work dynamics on the set, between the director and each of the people involved in the production process, putting emphasis on shared authorship. Also, a description of a director’s career path is provided in this research. Lastly, the three sides of directing (business, creative and technical), are assessed using existing literature and data gathered from interviews with Sevilla. This research seeks to extensively understand the different challenges that the director goes through the different stages of production, something that aspiring directors can never foresee inside the four walls of a classroom.

Marmol, M. R. C. (2011). Before We Kill the Author: Understanding the Television Director’s World, Meaning Structure and the Sharing of the Authorial Role, Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

Keywords: television director, production, ethnography, shared authorship

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