Nicole Butler: interning on lifestyle series Mother of the Bride (week 4)

Back in October our NSI Lifestyle Series Producer students blogged about each day of their bootcamp training. The next step in the course is an eight-week internship on a lifestyle series. We’ve asked our students to write a weekly post about their experiences.

Nicole Butler, RTR Media, interning on Mother of the Bride


Nicole has been working in television production for over 15 years. She is currently working as a line producer for RTR Media with credits including Mother of the Bride for Slice and Summer Home for HGTV Canada. She holds an undergraduate degree in film studies from Queen’s University and an MFA in screenwriting from York University. 

“Last week I wrote about the many hats a producer can wear and my current experience moving from line producer of Mother of the Bride into the more creative role of a story editor as part of my National Screen Institute internship. While working equally on the logistics of a production and the creative, I hope to get more practice at understanding the long list of things that makes up the series producer role and the multi-faceted set of skills that a producer requires.

In addition to participating in our ongoing discussions about post schedule and helping to problem-solve issues that arise as we move quickly towards delivery of our first episodes, I have been continuing to story edit on the series.

These past two weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to complete a full paper edit of an episode for one of our editors. I did find it to be a somewhat grueling process but satisfying at the same time. The series producer has developed a template for the series. And the structure certainly helped a lot. But, because it was my first time at this and I’m feeling a little ‘thrown into the fire’ with a deadline (actually my favorite way to learn!) I went through quite a few emotions as I prepared the paper edit. Feelings of not knowing what I was doing, worrying about the choices I was making, and also having fun with the creative process and the storytelling aspect of pulling together the raw footage of an episode as a first draft map for the editor.

It’s funny how, when you’re learning something new, things that might seem generally unremarkable in your life can suddenly take on a new meaning.

Since it was quite a bit of material to get through, I had to remind myself to think about telling the story and not just logging the footage. And, of course, suddenly I started to remark on another little storyteller in my life. I realized that my daughter, who just turned four, has taken to concocting rather grandiose lies (let’s call them her fairytales). Every evening she comes home from school and captures my husband’s attention with her stories. They always start with a statement: ‘This is a really sad story. You are going to be very sad.’ She then moves onto the details: ‘I have a friend. Her name is Ella. You don’t know her. She’s 44 and she doesn’t go to school.’ Finally she’ll include some unexpected twist: ‘I went on a school trip with Ella. We went to the bridge to see the trains chugging along. But the bridge broke. Luckily there was a diving board.’ Okay, a little bit of nonsense. But she’s only four. Yet it’s basic storytelling. It gives me hope to keep plugging away at my efforts.

It was great to have my check-in with Al Magee [course advisor]. He provided some sound advice on looking for patterns in our completed episodes and the footage. Essentially, elements that make for great storytelling in the final product. He also got me thinking about identifying what works as a great step towards the ultimate style guide for future production seasons.

This upcoming week I’ll continue to work on helping story edit and also have the opportunity to sit through the first of our final online and audio screenings for some Mother of the Bride episodes.”

About Mother of the Bride

Each week join Barbara Tibbetts, her daughter Terrie and the rest of the T.Carolyn crew as they deal with mothers of brides from all walks of life and with every possible problem.

NSI Lifestyle Series Producer is made possible by Program Partners Shaw MediaCorus Entertainmentand Bell Media; Supporting Sponsors Cineflix MediaPaperny EntertainmentFrantic FilmsRTR Media Inc.Big Coat ProductionsCellar Door ProductionsArchitect Films and Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA).

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