My 4th Job In Television (And 1st One Transcribing)

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

Picking up from last time –

So, I got my first job as a transcriber. It was a show in which a group of girls lived in the same house together. Transcribers were assigned different shifts so that someone was always there taking notes and transcribing conversations.

This was probably the cushiest, easiest job I’ve ever had. And I’ll always be wildly grateful for it. The crew was really loving and sweet. We got all the free Denny’s we could handle! (And I loooove Denny’s.) I only had to work 8 hours/day. (I think… Or was it 9 or 10? I know it wasn’t 12. I remember thinking I had so much more time.)

We got to stay in a hotel the whole time. (I love hotels even more than I love Denny’s.) And a PA drove us to work everyday. (First class service, baby!) Not only that, but I made something like 2 1/2 times what I did as a PA!

Heads up: most transcriber jobs do not pay that much (not even close to that much). I guess we only got that much ’cause this was live transcribing.

Also, I had the night shift (my favorite shift!). It also turned out to often be the most interesting shift, and usually the ones with eliminations (which were the most interesting and fun parts to transcribe, in my opinion).

If you’re wondering how you transcribe live things with lots of conversations, for one thing, being a fast typist obviously helps. But barely anyone could truly keep up with everything on a normal keyboard. (We’re not court stenographers here.)

So, I made a bunch of shortcuts and unique two letter combinations. Then I’d do a find & replace on my way back to the hotel, before I sent in my transcriptions.

And if you don’t work in TV and are wondering how transcriptions are used – the story department uses them to help find bites and moments that will be good for television. Sometimes it’s easier to do that with a script than with footage (especially because of the find function, if you’re looking for certain words you remember).

Also, we helped the story team sometimes by highlighting interesting stuff that happened and giving them notes on things they may have missed at 2am.

I hoped this show was going to come back for a million seasons in different and interesting locations. Alas, that didn’t happen. But that’s TV for you. I appreciated it while it lasted.

When this job was over, I went back to the east coast, not knowing what I was going to do next. What do I do next? Find out next time.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?