Spring 2019


Susan Faith Locke-Shapiro

A Daily Polish After the Set Is Cleared

By Brandon Kyle Goco

For a program that, under Jon Stewart and then Trevor Noah, has seen four U.S. presidents in office, The Daily Show stays as topical as possible. "There's so much material right now, the show can pretty much write itself," jokes associate director Susan Faith Locke-Shapiro. "I find myself sometimes giggling on headsets."

A veteran New York AD, Locke-Shapiro brings her live TV experience to each taping. "When my script is marked and we're about to start the show, I know that I got this from start to finish."

But the work of the AD doesn't end once cameras stop rolling.

I go right into our post-mortem meeting and we go over notes," says Locke-Shapiro. Cameras, lighting and stagehands are released, the director goes home and only a skeleton crew stays to polish the episode before it airs later that night.

"Sometimes the joke doesn't get laughs, so we kill it" or "we're going to replace this graphic," she explains. Locke-Shapiro then goes back into the control room. "The editor will say on headsets, 'Sue, I'm sending you Act One,' and we'll lay it down on the reel." The bottom line is that she knows her work as an AD is essential to make it "the funniest, strongest show possible."

"It's very satisfying just knowing the edits and fixes we do after is what makes air," says Locke-Shapiro. "It's tangible, it's timely and it's happening tonight."

(Photo: Marcie Revens)

At Work With

Short profiles of Guild members in all categories sharing their experiences at work.

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