Q3 2018

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38 CINEMONTAGE / Q3 2018 by Debra Kaufman portraits by Martin Cohen L ogging and transcribing are key responsibilities in the making of reality TV, as well as documentaries and occasionally other televised fare, but few know the subtle differences between the two and what the purveyors of these crafts actually do. Four of these practitioners — Lisa Mackie, Paul Sivertsen, Ashkan Tabrizi and Telon Weathington — both log and transcribe. They all work on the currently running season of CBS' Big Brother (2000-present) and have also plied their skills on the first season of another reality competition show, The Four (2018) on Fox. Their collective credits include a wide range of reality series, from The Apprentice (2004-2017) to RuPaul's Drag Race (2009-present). First, the definitions: A logger writes a blow- by-blow account of the action in concise phrasing, including who's in the scene and what she or he are doing and saying. Transcribers, on the other hand, create, as closely as possible, a word-for-word record of what is said. Much transcription is done after the fact, with the transcriber working with a digital file, pausing and backing up to catch exact words and phrases. Live transcription really ups the ante. On shows such as Big Brother, for example, transcribers take down the responses in real time — a stressful but exhilarating job, according to those interviewed, some of whom even prefer it to other tasks. "You just have to jump in and do the best you can to transcribe everything to the best of your ability," says Mackie. "Sometimes it's fun to be on or around the set and see what's actually happening." It's not unusual for these loggers/transcribers to switch between the two jobs — even on a single show. This season, Mackie is an alternate on Big Brother, logging as well as transcribing. Tabrizi's main job now is logging for Big Brother, but he also worked part time on The Four when there was extra work. Weathington is a logger and transcriber for Big Brother, something she's done since Season 13 The Eyes and Ears of Reality TV Loggers and Transcribers Are the Genre's First Responders Opposite: Paul Sivertsen, left, Lisa Mackie, Telon Weathington, and Ashkan Tabrizi, on the Art Walk outside CBS Studio Center in Studio CIty, where BIg Brother is recorded. Big Brother. CBS

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