Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Episode 1: Genesis

Friday, July 14, 2006

Hi, and welcome to Heroes. My name is Greg Beeman and I’m one of the producer-directors on the show.

For the last five years I’ve been working on the WB show Smallville, where I oversaw the creative production of the show and directed many episodes. I left Smallville to join Heroes this year. The pilot (or first) episode was one of the most exciting and inspiring shows I’ve seen, since, well… The pilot episode of Smallville.

Tim Kring created the show and it seems to have had a certain “special-ness” from the moment it left his computer. The pilot was filmed in March 2006 and directed by David Semel. It was put together and first screened for audiences in late April. It seemed to be a hit and in early May, NBC picked it up to air in September.

From that point on there is a lag time before the next episodes begin to be produced. Tim, and his partners Executive Producers Dennis Hammer and Allan Arkush (who have all been working together on the other NBC show Tim Kring created, Crossing Jordan, for the last 5 years) began to put a team together that could write and film Heroes on a week-to week basis.

If you go to http://www.9thwonders.com/ and check out this teams overall credentials, you’ll see there that Tim Kring has put together a pretty impressive team. A lot of these people have created and/or run shows of their own. I remember feeling, when I first started realizing who I was working with, that we had the TV equivalent of The New York Yankees. A lot of high-powered creative talent has been assembled to get this show on the road.

Allan Arkush and I are the directing-producers. We’ll be both directing episodes and overseeing the production and post-production of the show. Probably with Allan mostly in post production and me mostly prepping the episodes and overseeing shooting.

Anyway, I’ve been aboard since June – and during that time Tim and the writers have been conceiving how these amazing and complex stories will be told, and writing the first few episodes. There is a harmony in this “Writers Room” that I haven’t seen before. A lot of it stems from Tim who is very Zen-like and accepting. He sets a high bar, but he sets it respectfully. He seems to know how to quietly get the best out of everyone. The first few scripts are the best first scripts of any series I’ve ever read. Of course they’re also top secret and I can’t reveal any details.

As for how we’re going to shoot it week to week - we’ve been having lots of meetings and conversations about how the show should look, how to make it happen every week, We’ve been hiring the crew like production designer Ruth Ammon (who designs and builds sets and finds and dresses locations), Director of Photography Jon Aronson and many others.

We’ve also been scouting locations – basically we drive around in a van looking for places to film the scenes. When location scouting we eat a lot – here’s some photos of our scout lunches:

Typical workday = Scout lunch + phone calls

Nutrition for filmmakers...in this case: Thai food!

Heroes is an especially challenging show because we don’t have that sets on stage. Isaac’s loft, Mohnider Suresh’s apartment, Claire Bennett’s house – and that’s about it – and not that many scenes take place in them, relatively.

Mostly we’re “on location.” Out in the real world, trying to create New York, Las Vegas, Texas, Los Angeles, and Tokyo – all in Los Angeles. This is inherently slower and more expensive than filming on sets we control.

So, also, as with every show, there have also been budget issues. Heroes, because of it’s scope, is an expensive TV show. And many meetings and much blood sweat and tears has been spent trying to figure out how to make it producible at a budget NBC/Universal is comfortable with. This is all pretty normal, but, to make a long story short, getting a TV show of the ground is a big, difficult job, logistically, financially and creatively.

Thank God we finally begin shooting Monday.