“When it comes down to it, I can’t make you say that thing”

A Post-Production boss talks about how much influence the edit does and doesn't have in Reality TV.

“Frankengrab” – where various snatches of conversation are knitted together to form what sounds like a single sentence, and can drastically change what a person meant to convey.

One of the biggest complaints by Reality TV contestants is being ‘stitched’ in the edit -portrayed in a way unfaithful to their participation.

Speaking at Screen Forever last week Jaala Webster, Creative Head of Post, ITV Studios Australia, was asked how much of the genre is storylined in the edit suite?

“I definitely think it depends on the type of show. There’s two very different ways of making Reality television. One is a long form show, something like MAFS, which is shot over a long period of time,” she said.

“Then you’ve got something like I’m A Celebrity or Love Island… so we shoot that day, and it goes out that night or the next day. So depending on those shows we can maybe fix something in the edit.

“But when it comes down to it I can’t make you say that thing. We have a thing called “Frankengrab” which is basically like where you might take different parts of what someone has said, and you can make a cleaner sentence, which is generally what we use it for.

“I can’t Frankengrab you together having a fight with someone. I don’t have the capacity to do that. So if you look back in the edit, it’s probably because you did say or do something not so great. I can of course heighten that by the music choices I make for the scene, or how I juxtapose that with the scenes before and after.”

She added, “Most people aren’t super self-aware of their own behaviour. So playing it back to them is shocking.
I have very rarely been able to make someone more villainous, or questionable in their behaviour, than they were actually being. I don’t want to be that person. We’re just trying to make really good television, and unfortunately, if the show has been cast correctly in the first place, you’re going to be getting really interesting, sometimes villainous, content out of those people anyway.”

5 Responses

  1. First thing I thought that looks like the lady from Unreal, the show showing what they do on these shows to get such reactions, maybe just co-incidence or my memory associating that show with these type of discussions lol.

  2. As much as I love Australian Survivor, the last two seasons had some really /obvious / cutting of / sentences together / where several different tones and /sounds / could / be heard in one / sentence.

    1. I also love Australian Survivor, but one of the worst things about the show is their frankenbiting to fit the story the show is trying to sell us. Your comment is spot on (especially the forward slashes).

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