Directing and staying sharp: NEP Norway’s Lotte Bråthen embraces being the star behind the camera
By Lotte Bråthen, NEP Norway TV director
I love the live rush and knowing that anything can happen. It’s a good feeling when the whole crew is sharpened and doing their best to translate the event for the viewers, like well-functioning machinery.
It’s also a nice feeling when we are off air because we are done, there’s nothing to do with what just happened. And, of course, it’s nice if we know we gave the viewers the best possible angles and experience of the story and maybe learned something new to improve for the next broadcast. I like the fact that we are storytellers and have a lot of power in how the story goes for the viewers.
My first meeting with live broadcasting was through an internship with one of the national broadcasters in Norway, TV 2. I had finished my studies to become a TV journalist. As a researcher and reporter for the mornings show, I discovered the gallery and the role of a TV director. I was sold. Why be in front of the camera when you can be the star behind it?
If you feel the passion for broadcast, for challenging yourself, getting out of your comfort zone and harvesting a rush of feelings at the end of a show, you should go for it. Be open and aimful. Use your contacts and say yes to every opportunity. Don’tthink too much about your gender, just be professional.
Sometimes it can be good to have another woman in the business to help and advise you. To be a role model. But trust in yourself. We need more women in the business.
Loving the challenge
I applied for Multicamera Director studies at Lillehammer University College. During my studies, I kept in touch with TV 2 and did a lot of jobs as a floor manager and directors assistant, which was a good way to get a bigger picture of the multi-camera machinery and observe the director.
Sports was a natural way to start directing because of the amount of live broadcasting and different production levels. Sports is a very good place to learn live events and the responsibility when it comes to planning, distribution, communication and multitasking; you have one chance, stay sharp, learn from it, and move forward.
“If you feel the passion for broadcast, for challenging yourself, getting out of your comfort zone and harvesting a rush of feelings at the end of a show, you should go for it”
My first job as a live broadcast director was producing matches during the world’s biggest international youth football tournament, the Norway Cup, and the national football league. I had made some contacts during my studies and made clear to everyone that directing is what I want to do. This paid off and got me jobs as a multicamera director. It was kind of overwhelming at first; I was really thrown into it. But I loved the challenge and the struggle to become better and learn more.
I have been a TV director at NEP Norway for five years. At first my job was to manage and direct the Discovery Football Studio productions. I soon got training for cycling production, and today I produce the biggest cycling events in Norway.
I have worked on productions within football, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, triathlon, and horse shows, as well as some studio and award shows. Today, I do a lot of both sports and entertainment and cultural productions. I do a wide variety and I love it. In many of the entertainment shows there are elements that are very like sports production. So, I can use my experience from that field, especially the ad-lib, non-scripted working method.
I feel that I have worked really hard, kept in touch with the right people in the business, stayed positive, kept a friendly and bright appearance and been thorough with my work. I think these are the key points on how I have succeeded in my job so far.
The hardest aspect of my job is the responsibility of the projects succeeding, and to have a central position in all the projects that I do. With such a variety of productions I have no time to be lazy and fall back on routines because every production is unique and has different needs of follow-up and communication. It keeps me on the edge and reminds me to never take anything for granted.
Woman in the business
For me, it has mostly been a beneficial thing to be a woman in the business and in my position as a TV director. There have, as with other positions in the TV industry, been a lack of female directors. I got chances and good luck when I started.
I may have a milder way of communicating (when compared to a man) but it’s a benefit when it comes to planning and multitasking. I believe my success might also be all about personality and not about being a woman. I like to think it is a good combination!
Mostly, I know that my way of communicating with the crew and collaborating with clients is appreciated. I have learned that I am going to be “a different kind of director”, which is a positive.
In my career, I have experienced a trend that each profession must become more competent, flexible and understand other professions. We need to be better multitaskers, and more is expected of us. In some cases, I’m not ‘only’ a multicamera director, but may also be a vision mixer, director assistant, floor manager, production coordinator, graphic operator and editor, at the same time. Some of this development can be challenging because I think it’s good to substantiate expertise.
Nerve and professionalism
My job has changed over the last couple of years. The variety of productions and clients have given me more options and offers when it comes to projects. I feel more and more on top of my game and know that 2023 will be filled with exciting productions.
NEP Norway is at the forefront of developing remote production for the National Football League as well as a big contract with a horse racing client. I have directed a lot of cycling as a remote production and love being a part of the future way of broadcasting.
It’s hard to choose one production to highlight when I think of what I am most proud of so far.
For me, it’s the productions where I feel the nerve and professionalism with my associates that gives me the most excitement; productions where we all give a little bit more of ourselves to make the best result; productions where we can be extra proud of what we have accomplished.