Directors play a big part in any kind of production. They’re the ones who make sure they get the best take out of the cast. It’s hard to imagine any kind of production, whether it be in film, in TV or in the theater, without a director. As capable as the cast is at performing their scenes, a director is the person who sees what could be improved during the takes that they shoot. They’re as involved as any other person in the production. Even if they are only directing an episode of a television series.
Depending on the kind of production for a television series, a director would sometimes direct a lot more episodes. This is definitely a thing when it comes to streaming services. I have seen a few series on Netflix where a single director directed an entire season. Often, they get a producer credit out of their involvement with the series. There’s definitely been times where a director helps shape the look and feel of a television series. It’s a lot more commonplace in films. But it’s hard to do it in episodic television.
I didn’t really know what Tom Cherones looked like but I was very familiar with his work. He directed a lot of episodes of the sitcom Seinfeld for most of its run on NBC. And that’s pretty much the only work of his that I am familiar with. Looking at some of his other credits on his IMDb page, Seinfeld is the only one that really stands out. I haven’t really heard of the other shows he produced because none of them are available to watch online.
Had it not been for streaming services, I probably wouldn’t have been able to watch Seinfeld in its entirety. Bear in mind, Seinfeld had 180 episodes. I don’t think I would have been able to watch every single episode if it weren’t for the show being available on Netflix. I would probably have seen an episode or two when it was aired in syndication. But I definitely wouldn’t have been able to watch the show in order. The episodes themselves are often a contained story, like most sitcoms are. But there are a lot of recurring characters and callbacks that I wouldn’t know the context for if I wasn’t able to watch the episodes they were in.
There were long periods during the early seasons where Tom directed almost every single episode. The director for a multicam sitcom are often in a control room watching every single angle of a certain scene. It’s the same setup as a live broadcast of a show like Saturday Night Live. There is often an actual audience for a multicam sitcom. The laughter you hear comes from actual people, with a little bit of sweetening to make you laugh as well.
Since it has a different setup compared to a single-cam comedy series, director of multi-cam comedies often stay longer than their single-cam counterparts. Since there are so many cameras filming a single scene, there’s a lot of coverage that they have. It takes a quick mind to immediately move to different camera to show more of the cast or keep focus on a certain person or pair. And a director like Tom is able to do that.
Aside from Seinfeld, one of the sitcoms that he has directed numerous of times was NewsRadio. He directed 57 of the 97 episodes that aired. The comedy was set in a fictional radio station that was focused on the news. I’m vague familiar with some of its cast. But I have never watched the series before. After leaving Seinfeld, Tom Cherones has only directed a few episodes of television since then. His last was for an episode of Reaper in 2009. At that point, Tom had earned a net worth of $2,500,000.
Any kind of directing involves a lot of decision making. Sometimes people only knows that a director says “cut” regardless of whether a take was good or bad. But seeing as he they watch the scene unfold through a monitor, they know exactly how it looks in the way that it is intended for. Based on what they see on-screen they know what could be improved about it. You do have to intimately know the script that you’re going to direct. You need to be able to see what that scene could be before it even gets filmed on camera.
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