Each year, the battle for television ratings begins. Networks unveil their latest creations, jockeying for position in the ratings race, doing everything and anything within their means to gain and keep as many viewers as possible. Months, sometimes years of planning, preparation, marketing, shooting, and editing are laid bare on the “tube” for all to see. Some shows fail miserably and are cancelled after a few months. Others thrive, and become the next big thing. They all hope to become the next American Idol.

Television broadcasts continue to have a major impact on society — both in positive and negative ways. Whether you have a long-standing love affair with your television set, or you just use it to kill the monotony when you’re taking a break from the internet, I’m sure you’ll agree that, due to the overwhelming impact TV has had on modern society (and on television producers’ pocketbooks), techniques and principles unique to television broadcast production and marketing are worth examining.

Let’s see if there are lessons to be learned from the television broadcasting medium that can be applied to web development, design, and related fields.

Don't Touch That Dial

Don't Touch That Dial

Pre-Production

Before a television show is actually produced (that is, filmed and edited), a large amount of pre-production work is done to ensure that the entire process will run smoothly and achieve a desired result. Pre-production work for television might include storyboarding, script writing, budget planning, preparing special effects, casting guest stars, arranging for stunts, as well as creating sets, props, and costumes. Only after such preparation can a polished and interesting product be realized.

Dont Start Shooting Yet...

Don’t Start Shooting Before You Prepare the Script

How can you apply pre-production methods in web development and design? If you’re designing a site from scratch, you might be tempted to jump into Photoshop without giving any forethought to the design. Have you researched the competition? Have you sketched some ideas on paper? Have you identified the target audience? Have you thought beforehand about particular design principles that would work in the context of the product or service being offered? Preparing answers to such questions can significantly impact the direction the design will ultimately take and the success it achieves.

What if the project is a simple blog post or article? Have you thoroughly researched the topic? Have you ensured that the same topic has not been covered ad nauseam throughout the blogosphere? Have you chosen your main points? In most cases, to create a solid, polished piece, many of those tasks should be completed before opening up your word processor.

Whatever project you’re working on, following the example of television broadcasts by integrating pre-production into your work strategy will likely have a large impact on your project’s final result.

Advertisements