Grease: Live’s associate director calls shots in a mesmerizing video.

This Behind-the-Scenes Video of Grease: Live’s Associate Director Calling Shots Is Mesmerizing

This Behind-the-Scenes Video of Grease: Live’s Associate Director Calling Shots Is Mesmerizing

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Feb. 3 2016 10:12 AM

This Behind-the-Scenes Video of Grease: Live’s Associate Director Calling Shots Is Mesmerizing


A lot of people have asked what it means to be the Associate Director on a show like Grease Live. Here's a peek behind the curtain. Every shot in the show was designed and scripted by our director Alex Rudzinski. My job was to execute that plan. You hear me calling shot numbers and camera moves carefully coordinated with the music. My head stays in the script and Alex, to my right, keeps an eye on cameras to adjust framing and pacing. #GreaseLive

Posted by Carrie Havel on Monday, February 1, 2016

Grease: Live, Fox’s recent entry into the live TV musical genre, “was truly a feat of coordination, with actors careening from set to set between scenes and suspended cameramen filming from the sky,” according to Slate’s Eric Thurm. But those who watched the musical on Sunday night missed out on one of the most impressive parts of the show: its behind-the-scenes direction.

Associate director Carrie Havel has posted a video to Facebook of Fox’s master control room during production, proving that it takes almost as much rhythmic talent to direct a musical like Grease as it does to star in it. In the video, Havel calls out rapid-fire camera shot numbers along to the beat of “Greased Lightning” to keep the broadcast running according to plan. We don’t see her face, but Havel’s matter-of-fact tone suggests she’s not breaking a sweat, even though she barely has time to breathe during brisk lines like “three, two, three, four shot, two, two, three, four …” Like a recent Hamilton #Ham4Ham sidewalk performance highlighting the stage manager’s cues during a major number, Havel’s video is a reminder that live musical theater involves a ton of moving parts that are crucial to the success of the show, but invisible to the viewer.

L.V. Anderson is a former Slate associate editor.