Sunday, September 30, 2012

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED (FINALLY!)


SEASON 3 BEGINS TOMORROW!

NEW BLOG POSTS BEGIN AS WELL!

BE HERE!


BEEMAN ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS:



Dagnabitt fans – Sorry for the delay in answering – and thanks so much for all of your questions…

Last year, when I did this same thing we hadn’t starting shooting yet – we started Season 2 in October. This year, in season 3 of FALLING SKIES, we began shooting in August.  This was done partly to get more of what good weather there is in Canada and also so that we could be done shooting by Christmas.  But it HAS negatively impacted this blog – because I am so dang busy making the show.  I hope you can tell by watching, that FALLING SKIES is a very difficult, complex show to produce.  Not quite 24-7, but certainly 16-18/7 with a few hours of sleep thrown in.

Anyway, on set a few days ago  Lucciana Caro, aka “Crazy Lee” said her twitter fans were asking her to ask me to get the questions answered” 

Also there is one question in here I haven't answered yet - about action-figures.  It's taking me awhile to get an answer about that one, and it was delaying the blog by too many days.  If you care about FALLING SKIES action figures, keep checking back in and I'll add that answer as soon as I have it!

Also - Remember – all my answers are my own opinions – whether presented as fact or opinion – they are mine and mine alone and do not necessarily reflect those of TNT, Turner Networks, Dreamworks, Steven Spielberg or any of the other writers, cast or crew on the show!

So, thanks to her prompting, here are my answers to your questions:

 Michael Horne said...


Hi. Absolutely love the show. Especially the walk-and-talks in-one scenes.

I was noticing in the last, say, 3-4 episodes of this season, that the pace was a bit... uneven. Obviously, we're not expecting epic action sequences every week, but were there some cuts/alterations for the later episodes to overcome previous episodes going over-budget? Just wondered if this was so, and if so, how do you decide what stays in and what is cut out?


Answer:  No.  In the planning of the season, TNT creates a specific per-episode, “pattern” budget.  We also allow for a few episodes to be “over-pattern” like our season openers and season closers.  Every once in awhile we get bit by a surprise “over-pattern” episode in the middle.  The writers and production team try to allow for this in the conception of the show and create a couple of “under-pattern” shows to compensate.

The way to be under-pattern, to be simplistic, is to have less action and visual effects.  Last season, the least expensive show of the year was episode 6, the one where Karen is discovered in the woods with the dead de-harnessed kids.  I think it’s one of our better episodes of the year.  Taught writing and character work always trumps explosions and CGI (IMHO). 

If you didn’t like the later episodes, it wasn’t because we cut them late in the game – they were designed that way.  Maybe we just didn’t design them well enough…


Tamara Tipton said...
So many questions......but most of them would probably qualify as "spoilers". I guess my questions would be:

1. Is it possible that we might learn more about the past of our favorite characters (for me Pope, Ann, & Maggie)?

Answer:  Sure.  The longer the shows on the air, the more we’ll have a chance to explore the nuances of every character… So, keep watching!

2. How closely do you watch and abide by the budget for the season?

Answer:  We try hard.  But it’s not a perfect science.  But our line-producer Grace Gilroy (She’s the  producer specifically in charge of the budget) is a whiz.  Some episodes go over, a few under.  The key, from TNTs point of view, is that we come out even in the end.  Last year, miraculously, and largely due to Grace’s cleverness – we did.



3. IS being over budget why the last few episodes of season 2 seemed (to some of us at least) not quite as smooth or well thought out as the 1st episodes? 


Answer:  I answered this above – although the fact that a few of you feel this way makes me have to pull out the “sad-face” icon 



I really do love Falling Skies. I just want MORE. More story, more detail, more back story, and to be honest, more Pope. :)

Answer:  OK.  I’ll tell Collin Cunningham – I’m sure he’ll agree!

            Oscar said...
            Hi, love the show!

This may already have been answered elsewhere but how long does it take f            rom start to finish to complete a season? With only 10 episodes I figure it could not take as long             say a 22 season show but it makes me wonder why we have to wait almost a year to see the next             one?




Answer:  The writers began in May 2011.  I came up to begin prep on September 1, 2012.  We stared shooting in mid October 2011 and we were done Febuary 1 2012.  The editing and post-production was full steam ahead until March 2012.
So… For the writers, shooting crew and editors it’s about 6 months (staggered because the writers are ending just as post is getting going full-steam ahead.)  For the actors about 4 ½ months.  For the producers who stay from beginning to end about 10 or 11 months.

            Peter said...
Hi, first of all thanks to you and the whole Falling Skies-Team for another really good season and for bloging about all the episodes.
Answer:  thanks!
1. I would like to know which directors we can expect for season 3, old and new. And because you are also producing the show, does that mean you are always on set and supervise the other directors? 


Answer:  What I schedule in the summer and what happens sometimes changes – as a few fallouts and additions sometimes happen in progress – But, as currently planned:   I will be back directing, Sergio Gezzan from season1 is scheduled, Adam Kane will be back.  Most of the others we wanted back, but because of scheduling conflicts they weren’t available.


2. This is a Smallville question: The show was released as a complete set on DVD but unfortunately not on Blu-Ray. Do you remember on what season the production team started to produce the effects shots in HD. I understand that some of the earlier seasons not having the FX shots in HD is the main reason the show could not be released on Blu-Ray.

Answer:  I’ve heard about this, but am not 100% certain.  HD didn’t really exist in 2001 when I started the show.  When I left after season 5 we still weren’t doing HD.  I think they began in season 7 or 8 but I’m not sure.



Steve said...
Thanks for making such a terrific show! My 15 and 13 year old sons and I can't wait for the new season to begin next year.


Answer:  Thank you!


I asked this on a previous blog post, but I'm hoping you can answer it here. My question is about how you decide that a major character is to leave the show. My 15 year old son gets really mad every time one dies. :) The cynical part of me says people die off to save money for production. Is there anything to that? Or does that happen to show anyone (except for maybe Tom) is fair game?

Answer:  We don’t make the decision for financial reasons.  We try to do it for the shock and impact.  But sometimes, it’s a scheduling conflict.  In the case of Jamil’s character, the actor (Brandon J. McLaren) had a previously booked pilot that was in first position.  We didn’t think he’d be available in season 3 and so the grim reaper (in the form of crawlies) came to visit.

            dawnmarie0301 said...
Warning: This can be construed as a blog, but questions lie within! Really! :-)


Answer:  OK

dawnmarie0301 – I’m going to cut and paste a bit…

I had a marathon where I watched all of Season 1 (spent as little time sleeping & working my daytime job as I could)(heh)

Answer:  I’ve heard of this happening…  Just remember to drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy snacks if this phenomenon occurs to you!

I cannot WAIT until Season 3.

Answer:  Good.

Now to end this piece of my ramble and ask my QUESTIONS: 
I admit to a morbid curiosity regarding harnessed/deharnessed kids. In Season 3, do you think there will be even more background on the relationship between Skitters and their harnessed kids, especially since there is now a relationship between rebel Skitters & 2nd Mass?

Answer:  It will probably take a new form, but yes, the topic will be explored.

It would be interesting if the 2nd Mass asked questions of the rebel Skitters regarding the mutation process. Im sure Tom in particular has burning questions on what is going on with Ben, and Anne may have questions on alternate ways to remove the harness (after all, the rebel Skitters came with other deharnessed kids…how did they get their harnesses off?).

Answer:  Yes, all valid points – which we’ve tried to think about…
Also, in Season 1, the harnessed kids were mostly zombies following the commands of their Skitter. When Ben’s Skitter died, all of the kids went into shock & they all would have died if the harnesses hadnt been removed. In Season 2, we meet Jenny, who is creepy crawlie crusty but is surviving without her Skitter aka Guardian. Is it because she is mutated enough to not need it?

Answer:  Yes, Jenny had, I believe, mutated enough and she and her brother were actively searching for a new skitter to re-attach to.  At least that’s what we thought.

And since she seems to classify herself as another❠instead of human does that mean we have the potential of kids acting independent of their Skitters as potential enemies?

Answer:  Yes, I think once the kids mutate enough – they evolve and become independent.  But they would probably still be in psychic/radio communication with the skitters and overlords through whatever network  is used by the invaders – but, as I say this, remember I and we just make this up as we go along…  We try to think it through, but sometimes old ideas don’t end up working out as stories evolve, and sometimes new, better ones come along….  So I reserve the right to have the collective “we” of the show’s creators take it in a different direction later.
Is there a possibility of more deharnessed kids becoming regulars as scouts etc. like Ben in Season 2?

Answer:    Sure…  But I can’t spoil.

Will we get more history on the Berserkers why is Crazy Lee called Crazy Lee, for example?

Answer:   That could happen... But even if it's not "history" per se - we will explore more about Pope and the Beserkers

How the heck will we know Rebel Skitters vs. Loyal Skitters with Red-Eye gone?


Answer:  We’ve got a plan for that.

Your blog has mentioned/had pictures of fans that had won the right to come onset to watch an episode or (joy of joys) been in an episode. Do you have any suggestions on where I can find these contests to throw my name in the magic hat?

Answer:  My sterling Assistant, Ashley tells me you should check out: www.fallingskies.com


Pete said...
Hi, thanks for answering questions again!
My question is a little bit technical, if you don't mind. I saw on IMDB that Falling Skies is one of a few shows left that is actually shooting on film and not digitally. You as a producer and director where probably involved in making that decision. Do you prefer to shoot on film and if so why? I really like the show and it's look but the release of the first seaon on Blu-Ray was a little bit uneven with crush, banding and macroblocking all being an issue, especially in the first half of the season. I remember that Heroes which apparently used the same cameras had similar "issues". Is it truly an issue or is it just a result of the more gritty look that the show seems to be going for? Thanks and keep up the great work!

Answer:    Steven Spielberg insisted on film in season 1.  Because SMALLVILLE (during my tenure) and HEROES shot on film, I had never shot in any digital format.
In season 2 we switched to the Arri Alexa, our DP Nate Goodman, who I worked with on HEROES convinced me it was the right tool, because of it’s amazing ability to film in low light situations.  We ran tests that satisfied Mr. Spielberg and we made the switch.

As for the blu-ray’s technical problems, that is outside my knowledge bandwidth…  But I consulted with Scott Schofield who runs post production for us… and he said the following:

1.  The problems this fan is talking about are not created by film, or
by the HD format on the master tapes.  I watched the Blu-Ray of the
pilot last night and noticed some compression issues with the Blu-Ray
that match his description.   I only watched the pilot, so don't know
where the other issues are, but my guess is the compression on some
shots could have been better on the Blu-Ray authoring by the studio,
particularly in the dark areas.  Compression doesn't handle detail in
dark areas well.

         Anonymous said...
Hey I have a simple question.

The Skitters we saw, are they accumulated from a bunch of planets conquered by the overlords who turned out to look the same because of the arness metamorphose, or they are all from the same planet?

Answer:    We’ve definitely discussed this.  The skitters, in our collective imagination, were from a planet of happy, peaceful  six-legged, two armed creatures – the harness mutated them to have strength and armor-like skin.
This means the human children will mutate in a humanoid form, as Jenny and her brother were, but with great strength, agility and armor skin.

            Lin Kerns said...
            As a biologist, I am hoping that there will be some sort of natural history for all the different aliens             on the show. Any chance of that happening?

Answer:    This could definitely happen in the right story-context… And we might  be introducing a character in season 3 who could be the right person to accomplish this.

            David F said...
Great fan of the show! What I think makes this series truly unique is that we finally have aliens that act like aliens. The audience has no more insite into their DNA, intent, actions than the cast does...I love this about the show. My wife and I find ourselves talking about this way after the credits roll. Can you expand on this? Is that intentional?

Answer:    This is intentional.  It is a key rule laid out to us by Mr. Spielberg, who is very attentive to the way the aliens function and behave within the series.

That the show is shown, exclusively, from our characters point of view, that it’s happening in the “immediate present,” and that we, the audience, only know as much as the characters is the way he and creator Bob Rodat designed the show.  The writers and I try to stay attentive to this.  We did break this rule in Season2 episode 1 when we had a “flashback” of Tom’s journey to get back to the 2nd mass..  But even in that context, which was just a better storytelling technique for that story… we had two concurrent timelines that held to the rules.

            Kristijan Z. said...
Hi, I really love Falling Skies :)
Answer:    Yay!
I honestly can't wait for Season 3!!!


Answer:    Great!
            So here's my question, and I do apologize if it has been asked or answered before:

 When is             Season 3 Coming out and can we expect new characters in it?

Answer:    Mid-June 2013 (I think) and yes…several new characters.  Here’s some links as to who they are:



Thank's for being Awesome enough to answer our questions :D

Answer:    I do it for love! (Of the fans!)

            Alyssa S said...
            Have the writers envisioned the story to be wrapped up with an "ultimate end" or has it purposely                         been left open ended so the story may lead where it may?

Answer:    Bob Rodat certainly conceived of an ultimate end and it was included in a super-sercret show “Bible” that only a very few people got to see.  Having said that, while I think we were working towards that in a general way – the addition of writers Graham Yost and Mark Verhieden in Season 1 and Remi Aubachaun in Season 2 and now 3 – caused us to drift away from the originally envisioned, ultimate end.  I suspect that Michael Wright, the president of TNT drama has a version of the ultimate end he’d like to see…  he’s mentioned ultimate end-ish scenarios once or twice….  So, I guess the answer is, there are no probably several probable ultimate ends possible from where we now stand.  We have them vaguely in mind – but they shift.

            anthony pego said...
Are you familiar with George Adamski, his stories, or any other "witness" to extraterrestrial contact, and from which sources do you favor pulling inspiration? Anything from your personal experience or childhood imagination you'd like to mention, as far as writing is concerned?

Answer:   I am not familiar with this author… but will look him up.  As for my personal experiences or childhood imagination… I benefit immensely from having been the “weird” kid in school who was always off playing by himself, living in my mind in a host of imaginary situations.  I think most of the creative types in the film and TV world were the nerdy oddballs in school.  That I get to imagine professionally now makes me quite blessed.

            Anonymous said...
Big fan of the show and thank you for answering questions.

1. Why do you have to wait so long between seasons even though the seasons do not have as many episodes as some other shows.


Answer:   Simply put this is TNT’s business model.  They want the show to run in the summer and 10 episodes is the number that makes sense to them.  It’s possible we could do a handful of more episodes in upcoming seasons, but not a lot more.
I don’t understand it all, frankly…  As I answered above, I come from the nerdy-imaginative clan and the doings of the business-decision clan are sometimes beyond me.

2. Is season 3 planned to be the final season or will is it planned to continue into season 4?

Answer:   We want to do more and plan to do more seassons…  And as long as there is a strong audience for FALLING SKIES we will.  So, keep watching

Blair said...
I'm a little too excited about this opportunity to ask questions, so it's quite likely I'll be back and forth on here. 

Falling Skies was a show I fell in love with instantly. The idea that something on such a huge scale with such solid production values was going to be a television series caught my attention indefinitely. Every week, my mind was blown by the scale of the series and the depth and development behind the aliens and their technology, as well as the plight of the second mass. 


Answer:   Yay!  You made my day.
The cliffhanger basically floored me entirely and I was just like "Oh GOD HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT" However. Let's do this.

Answer:   Yeah… that’s how we roll.  We want you to want to come back.



1. I loved Dai and to see him finally die (... I'm not giggling at the pun. I am not) was pretty heart-breaking, because he's survived so much and he's always been there and been on the right side of the fight and such. Loyal and a good soldier. With the nature of the show being based on a war, making death an inevitability, is it hard going into a show knowing that you won't be working with some of the characters or the actors for the entire duration? (I just really like Dai, okay.) Then, how do you actually deal with it on set, knowing that someone who's always been there is now going to move on and be (hopefully) working on other projects elsewhere?

Answer:   The writers are always looking for the shocking moments, and, as you say – this is war where any life can be taken and we want the show to feel real.  We want to avoid the STAR TREK “red shirt” phenomenon, where characters are introduced just to be killed off. 

On set, lurking in the background of the actors mind, is – I think – a knowledge that they could go at any time (like in real war.)  Sometimes they joke about it, mostly they don’t think about it and just do their job.  (Like in real war.)

But, of course, unlike in war, a script comes out a week or two in advance letting someone know that they’re not going to make it.  For some reason, over the years, it has fallen to me to be the one who pulls them aside and lets them know what’s what before the script comes out.  The first person I ever told he was going to die was Eric Johnson, who played Lana’s boyfriend Whitney in Season 1 of SMALLVILLE.  I was very distraught about this task and I took him out to dinner and broke it slowly.  Eric was sad, but a smart guy and he has seen it coming – because Clark and Lana’s story couldn’t really progress with his character in the way…  Since that time I’ve let at least a dozen or more actors know they aren’t gonna make it.  Over time I’ve become more clinical about it.  In general, actors take it well and know that imaginary-character-death is part of the imaginary life of being on TV. 

I believe I’m generally well liked amongst the cast but they must also see me as an “angel of death.”  I’ve heard some jokes about not going alone into Beeman’s office.

In the case of Peter Shinkoda, he was (and is) an extremely well liked member of the cast.  I pulled him aside on set and told him one night, just before the episodes 10 script went to the cast.  He took it well.  He asked a few questions about how he was going to die, and so on.  Then he went back and told the others.  There were hugs and handshakes.  The shooting was very smooth and Peter, as always, did his best job professionally all along.  When we were finished with Peter in the episode there was a huge cast and crew standing ovation – and I believe a number of after wrap farewell parties occurred.  Peter, I know, is still in touch with many other members of the cast and crew



2. I don't know if you can answer this, but Season 2 started after a 'break' in the Falling Skies!verse timeline. Like, time had passed from Tom hopping on board the ship to Pope and everyone in the city with the attack. Is season 3 going to start immediately from the point season 2
ended, or is it going to be after a break with some retrospective scenes like Tom remembering his torture. I now realize this question is probably spoilery, so feel free to pass on it if you can't answer.

Answer:   Yep.  That’s too spoilery.  It’s like Christmas – you think you want to know what’s in the present now – but, really, it’s better to wait.



3. This is less Falling Skies, a little more behind the scenes, but is there any chance you'll be releasing any of the footage of all the assistants and crew acting out the skitter battle, because it sounds absolutely fascinating, hilarious, and wonderful.

Answer:    I’ve let the TNT post people know about it’s existence – it would probably need some commentary to play as a behind-the-scenes element…  I agree it would be fun.  But whether it happens or not is out of my control.
           
I want to ask more but I have college work to do, so these will tide me over for now. Undoubtedly,             I'll be back.

Answer:    Go back to it!  See you soon!

            The Regenerate Degenerate said...
Hey, just one question. Why aren't the fighters riding horses yet? Tell me it wouldn't be a logical and totally badass method of fighting aliens. Also it would create imagery that would play to the revolutionary war motif that's woven through the story. It's just a thought I've had since I started watching season one.

Answer:    Okay.  Great idea!  I’ll mention it to Remi!  Maybe we'll see horses in Season 3 as gas and diesel get harder to find and/or make.

            The Regenerate Degenerate said...
Also, when are we going to see action figures?

FINALLY AN ANSWER (OF SORTS:)

Answer:   TNT has no current plans for toys, but they plan to discuss it at this year's marketing meeting.


     jenny stockton said...
my kids and i think that the show is great, one problem tho. we have to wait for months for the next season . are u insane to put us thru that. we waited 10 months for the second season and we have to do it again. i know you guys are trying to drag it out, but give us a break. this is rediculous. we are fans not patient fans. hurry it up people.

Answer:    Yeah, I know… Sorry…  I answered above about TNT’s business model and all.  I am insane, but not because I want to put you through torture.

            Becky Sanchez said...
I absolutely love Falling Skies! Its the best. Questions:

Are the harnessed kids turning mutant?

Answer:    Yes.  This was answered in more detail above.

Will Ben return to the skidders?

Answer:    To answer that would be to spoil – but Ben has an important role as the liason to the skitters – so… 



I cant really think of anything else right now, but very clever what happened to Hal; but still hoping he and Maggie settle down. Karen turned super creepy.
I cant wait for season three.

Answer:     Thank you.

            jenny stockton said...
dont misunderstand. we will still wait. Lol

Answer:      Okay, whew…  Thanks!

            Anonymous said...
Bring back the fallen soldiers... Dai, BOON

Answer:      If they come back it will have to be as re-animated zombies or holo-projections, or ghosts…  None of which is really the tone of our show – but…  I’ll see what I can do.

            Anonymous said...
Love Falling Skies, but severely disappointed in the boring, clicheed "surprise" pregnancy. The whole Tom/Anne thing is unrealistic and annoying for many reasons and this soap opera mess is far beneath the fine FS writers! I hope Season 3 will find her losing the baby.

Answer:      We’ll do our best to surprise you.



Really, how realistic is it that a man who found his wife murdered by alien invaders is simpering and giggling with another woman just a few months later?

Answer:      I don’t know.  Life is intense and life in wartime is very intense…  I don’t think it’s easy to just assume that anybody would or would not definitely do something…  In this case, we’ve tried to make it clear that both Tom and Anne really loved their spouses and that they entered into the relationship slowly and cautiously and respectful of each others past.  IMHO we’ve tried to avoid simpering and giggling – but I guess that’s in the eye of the beholder.



            Adrian Hickman (adimike55) said...
Since we've seen two seasons so far, each with it's own "feeling" (season one was a defensive position set primarily in one place, season two was nomadic and as it was called, almost a "death march") will Season Three have it's own feel or style to it?

Answer:      I can’t say too much, but – short answer – “yes”.  We will be  shifting the situation and storytelling a bit once again 



Also, through the first two season, the civilian population has been relatively passive, except for a couple of instances where one civilian questioned what was going on in the first season. Adding in the civilians living underground in Charleston, will there be seeds of unrest coming out of these so far passive people?


Answer:      Maybe.  The idea of building a society creating conflict being inevitable as the result of internal political and personal struggles is something we’ve definitely discussed.
One of my favorite things about the show is that you are not afraid to remove popular characters and elements for an episode or two to advance the story. It was very brave to not have Ben in two whole episodes, since he has become the defacto heartthrob star of the show. The same goes for whole episodes without aliens, which helps to make the scenes WITH aliens that much more powerful.

Answer:      Thanks.



I had mentioned last year how much I love the original music and the song cues (Dude, using Debussey CLAIR DE LUNE palyed on guitar was wonderful), any word on a commercial release of some of this?

Answer:      Thanks.  As I think I mentioned in a previous blog – this was originally editor Donn Aronn’s idea.  He is great with music.  Mr. Spielberg loved it!  We actually recorded our own version – but in the end we went with an existing piece.

It is commercially available – and Scott Schofield in post tells me that it’s the
"Clair de Lune" performed by Angel Romero on his album "A Touch of Class" version.



Finally, with all the losses to the 2nd Mass, can we expect a ZOMBIE 2ND MASS to rise from the dead anytime soon :) ?

Answer:      God, I hope not.

Anonymous said...
favorite show. need more. why & how they chose earth and humans?

Answer:      I can’t spoil, but the we will definitely begin to reveal this answer in season 3.

Ronnie, Texas said...
In the finale the new alien's armor reminded me a lot of the comic book superhero, Blue Beetle. Was that intentional, are anyone who works on the show comic book geeks or was that meerly a coincidence?


Answer:      That was not intentional.  The suit and alien were both designed by Aaron Simms  and final approval was made, as always, by Mr. Spielberg.

I will say that the design continued to evolve throughout post production, there was one version that even had a high-tech cape.  The shoulder pieces that loom up were, in fact, a  late addition to the design. 

Kamil M said...
Hi, Fan of the show bigtime,

Just wondering whether the introduction of the new alien race/species will ruin one of the themes of the show?

One of the reasons I enjoyed this show, was that it its unique way, was a survival sci-fi series, similar to that of The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead is all about a 'realistic' post-apocalypse, and that theme was also what Falling Skies started with.

My actual question would be, With the introduction of the new alien, does this draw away too much from the 'realistic' post-apocalyptic world of an alien invasion? Already there is the skitter aliens, along the with Fish Heads, is it too much to bring in a new alien? I believe it seems that the show is now focused on the aliens too much, rather than the 2nd mass and its 'realistic' survival.

Answer:      You bring up a good point.  Internally we have a lot of different, very creative people, who are always trying to both push the show in new directions and keep it on the course of what it is meant to be...  We try to succeed in that balance more than fail...

Kerstin said...
No hate here.. Only love! 

First I want to say thank you for making a show that parents can watch with their kids! We don't have to edit sex scenes, talk and all the rest. I love this show for this, and the who aliens vs humans because I'm a geek.
Answer:      Thanks


Unfortunately every question I'd love to ask is more a spoiler then anything. But the following are my askable questions:

1. Is it possible to get more then 10 episodes a season? I realize SyFy doesn't have the money of ABC but they really have a massive hit on their hands and a devout following. And I do appreciate that SyFy has renewed the show and not pulled an ABC and turfed a great show to the curb after 10 or 20 episodes because it's not a Grey's Anatomy.

Answer:      It’s possible – maybe 12 or 13 in future seasons…  But I don’t know and can’t say for sure.  I’ve already answered this question to the best of my ability above.

2. When you post fun extra videos and trailers we can't see them here in Canada and only Super Channel (a paid extra channel) carries the show, so can't we at least have access to the online content as they certainly aren't promoting the show. It would be better if Space carried it. 


Answer:      I think Space just did make a deal to carry the series.  Top-notch assistant Ashley looked into this for all you Canadians and here’s what she found out:

Falling Skies will be premiering on Space Channel in Canada, October 8th, 2012. Check out more information at this link http://www.spacecast.com/FallingSkies.aspx
As a fellow Canadian, I’m very excited J
-Ashley



3. Will we learn what the red eyed skitter said to Ben to make him stay with his family? And will he continue to change or is there hope he'll remain 'human'.


Answer:      No, I don’t think so…  You have to use your heart and guess as best you can.  IMHO it was about Tom carrying on the good fight and not forgetting the importance of his loved ones.


4. Is there more to Maggie's past? Pope made it out to be such a huge deal.. but in the end it was much more tame then I was expecting.

Answer:      There may be more.  And we may dig into it more.  We’ll see.

The rest you can't answer. Thanks for taking our questions!

Answer:      You bet!

KidCarnival said...
I was really positively surprised to see season 1 focus on relationships between family members, friends and soldiers. It was very refreshing and a change from all the soap-operesque "drama" shows lately. (I'm looking at you, TWD.)

Answer:      Great.
With that in mind, season 2 was a slight disappointment, as the romantic relationships were moved to a much higher priority - frankly, if I want to see that, I don't watch a show about an alien invasion; I watch a soap.

Answer:      Oh… darn.

Now, the worst case scenario came into play: a pregnancy, possibly the most ridicolous and overused "shocking twist" in the entire genre. I'm in touch with many fans and really everyone rolled their eyes about that.

Answer:      Oh.  Sorry to disappoint – we’ve got plans to make the best of it and surprise though.



So I guess my questions are...



1. Is there any chance the pregnancy will not be a major topic? ANY?


Answer:      Wait and see!


2. Will we learn more about the relationships between people not romantically involved? Such as Crazy Lee and Lyle and their reasons to side with Pope?

Answer:      Sure… 



3. Can we PLEASE have more Anthony? I really want to see how a sane cop deals with the end of the world.

Answer:      Mpho is a great actor, who is does excellent work for us wether his role in an episode is big or small...  We plan for Anthony to take on an important role in Season 3, as a matter of fact.

4. Will Lourdes sew a trenchcoat made of alien skin and pick up guns to become a Tank Girl? Because, y'know, that would be really really awesome.

Answer:      Uh…  I’ll bring it up – but I’d categorize that as “unlikely.”

OG said...
Hey how's it going.

Answer:      Great.

 Awesome show please dont end it.....


Answer:      I’ll do my part.

Only 1 thing the show wasn't clear on is the differences in strength between Karen Nadler, Ben Mason, and Rick(Daniyah).. They were all at one point harnessed. Karen seems to have SUPER DUPER strength while Rick has a bit less but can still climb on walls and such, and Ben has the least of the 3 or so it seems. Does Karen posses more strength because she is STILL harnessed? Or is it that Ben hasn't yet fully tapped into his potential?

Answer:      Rick and Ben and were harnessed by skitters and Rick was harnessed longer than Ben. By far most harnessed kids serve skitters.  Karen was harnessed directly by the overlords – and she served an overlord directly, which is rare.   Karen is also still harnessed and therefore her dual role as being still harnessed and serving the overlords directly gives her more powers and more potential than Ben and Rick.  But Ben and Rick are much more powerful, alert and connected to the skitters and overlords than anyone else, because some parts of the harness remain in their spine after their surgical “de-harnessing.”

Beverly Pentecost said...
Hi, first I would like to say i LOVE THE SHOW. My question is is there gonna be any blacklash from Tom's son over Anne having a baby.

Answer:      Maybe, but I hope not.  As I’ve said – I think we’ve got a plan that will not be the obvious, soapy choice.

Cloud said...
First fantastic show. Second can we get a directors cut set of DVDs?


Answer:      Again, not my department, but I’d guess “probably not”.  Director’s cuts in episodic TV are not common.  I bet there will be loads of other extras though!

Anonymous said...
Just wondering why so lacking on special affects, and why not a real series of more than ten episodes..

Answer:      The ten episode part I’ve answered above…  

And as far as “why so lacking in special effects…” I can only reply, “Really?”  I mean we ARE a TV show, working on a comparitive shoestring budget.  The opening episode of the season and the finale had A LOT of special effects shots!  I think the overlord’s spaceship competes well with many feature films… as does the concluding battle between red-eye and the overlord.  Sure we can’t do it at that level every episode, but when we can, I think we do well.
It’s all subjective, I guess, but if you’re not happy you’re not happy.

Anonymous said...
Big fan, but agree w/comments about the show going too far into soap operas. Pregnancy is done on every show and getting old. Making everyone have a boyfriend/girlfriend...when is there even time for that? They're trying to survive. Hope you're not planning to give Ben a girlfriend. His character is a loner and should be.

Answer:      To me, the thing that makes our show special is that we explore character and personal stories in the midst of the big picture.  How does one hold on to one humanity – i.e. family, love, group dynamics – in the midst of unforeseen chaos.  Maybe even Ben could find a kindred spirit in all of this.  But we’ll see.

Anonymous said...
Please please please no more dead dogs.


Answer:      OK.  Did we have a dead dog?  Why am I forgetting this?

Roisin Phelan said...
Hi I am a 14 years old Irish girl who is obsessed with Falling Skies (and Connor Jessup) Sadly none of my friends are fans of the show ( yet , im working on it)

Answer:      I visited Ireland about 6 years ago.  It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

I am very excited about season 3 but quite annoyed about it being 10 months away. 


Question: Why is this even when there are only episodes in the seasons.

Answer:      I’ve covered this above.




Question: In the first season the 2nd Mass were all about saving harnessed kids and unharnessing them but in season 2 the 2nd Mass' focus changed to fighting the ailens. In the third season will they begin to unharness kids once again. I had thought that in the second season they would have had more of a drive to unharness kids because anne figured out a safe way of unharnessing kids?

Answer:      Well, we, the creators of the show, feel we have to keep moving forward with new angles and new storylines…  We will address the de-harnessing of kids more deeply in season 3 though – but not exclusively.



Thank You if you spend the time to read this and hopefully to reply x

(also if you happen to see connor jessup can you tell him an Irish girl named Roisin Is his biggest fan hahahhaa)

Answer:      I told him today.  He said “Thank you”.  I also told him to go to Ireland.

Beth Pritchard said...
Wow. Nice to see people agree with me about how awful the totally expected pregnancy is. I was a huge fan but currently not planning to watch Season 3 because of how angry I felt at having that plot turd thrown at me. From talking to fans all over, it seems to be a large number of us who feel the same. I'll read reviews online next year and hope Anne miscarries or dies to see if it's safe to watch again.

Answer:      Ouch.  A bit harsh – but I see a recurring anti-pregnancy thread here…  Noted.



I loved the first season and most of the second, but grew bored very quickly with how the writers were catering to the lowest common denominators: the squealing fangirl and the dissatisfied middle-aged housewife. Romance is fine in small doses but very quickly threw Falling Skies offtrack.

Answer:      Well, those are the parts others love that best about the show.  Our trick, creatively, is to service all of our board fan base.  I think I personally feel that if I’m happy with what we’re doing, then we’re probably on track.  If I’m not (and for sure there are times when I’m not) then we probably aren’t…  But, for sure, there is a BIG pile of people who love and hate different things out there.
Tom started as a strong character whose main focus was his family. How did he lose track of that and does he even remember that he had a wife who was killed less than a year earlier? Please scrub the whole Anne/Tom fiasco and go back to what made us watch FS in the first place: action, survival, and the strong Mason family dynamic.

Answer:      I promise you we will not lose the action, survival and Mason family dynamic.  IMHO there was more of it in season 2 than in season 1…  But that’s just me.

Jen Ho said...
Once a genius, always a genius Mr. Greg Beeman. Congratulations on a fantastic second season, and cheers to an even better third season to come.

Answer:      Aww… (I don’t know how to do an emoticon for blushing)



Any thoughts on bringing back fallen soldiers by revealing a shocking twist? I don't think we got to know Boon well enough...

Answer:      Well, in the directors office we put up pictures of the main cast…  Right now there are 24 pictures…  That’s A LOT of stories to service…  True Boon was cool, and he had his moment in the sun…  But alas, alas…

David O'Connor said...
Few questions that won't need spoiler answers:

1) Some of the fighters are using submachineguns and other *very* small arms against big critters. With access to the arsenal in Charleston, will the 2nd Mass upgun a bit?

Answer:      Yes.



2) The 2 seasons have covered little more than a year from the invasion (at least according to Tom's speech in season 2 episode 9). Can we expect to see some decay added to the destruction (I'm thinking along the lines of Life Without People)?

Answer:      Yes.  Production designer Rob Gray and I definitely talk about that and want to do it…  It’s harder and more expsnsive than it sounds though on our tight budget and schedule.  Still, we’ll try our best!




3) Will we get some explanation as to why the badguys stopped using nukes and massive airstrikes in season 2?

Answer:      Yes.

Adrian Hickman (adimike55) said...
I'll go in a different direction. I've trusted the show runners and writers to reward my viewing with a storyline that surprises and isn't always what it seems. So far, they done that amazingly well. You may be able to guess how something will turn out but you won't be able to guess everything.

Answer:      Thank you.  Well put.



Their ability to work in a situation but not make it ordinary or cliched has been great.

So, as to the pregnancy, I don't understand the uproar? If you've been a fan of the show, you know that this is NOT basic storytelling, but very informed screenwriting, touching on sci-fi, histort, human emotions, war, and other topics that you don't always see so intelligently blended like Falling Skies has done.

Answer:      Thanks, that’s what I’ve  been trying to say.



So, while the pregnancy on the surface seems like an intrusion, I would venture this is NOT turning into a domestic comedy. Trust the writers to know what to do with the story lines and how to make them work in a way that you probably are not expecting.

Answer:      Right.   Thanks Adrian Hickman!

Galen said...
Hey Greg,

Heard you guys got some pretty ass kicking guest stars lined up for next season, I'm very excited! So has filming begun with Mr. Robert Sean Leonard and Ms. Gloria Reuben yet? I know they both worked with Noah before so absolutely can't wait for the epic reunion! :D

Answer:      Yes we have begun filming with Gloria and Robert.  They are delightful, and their roles within the series are opening up new angles for storytelling.



And one more question, how would their characters affect the dynamics within 2nd Mass? Will their stint have a significant influence on where the story goes in season 3 and beyond?

Answer:      Yes.  We are trying to use their characters in significant ways…  But beyond that, I can not reveal.

wendyw26 said...
I have a question. 

Will Patton, will you marry me?

Answer:      I’ll bring it up to him.  But I wouldn’t count on it.


Liam Hay said...
I have 1 single question, How the hell do you make the greatest program( in my opinion) ever!!!

Answer:      Thanks for the kind opinion.  The answer is one step at a time – slow hard work, carefully done and always with the fans in mind!

Adam said...
Two questions:

1) With Jessy Schram a series regular on ABC's "Last Resort", do you have an option on her for any episodes next season? I know on "Justified", Graham Yost came to an arrangement where they get Natalie Zea for at least three episodes every season. I hope "Falling Skies" has a similar arrangement with Schram.

Answer:      Yes.  We have worked out a deal with ABC to use Jessy a bit.  Beyond that I cannot reveal.



2) I noticed your directing credit on an episode of "Perception". How does being a producing director like you are on "Falling Skies" compare to stepping in as a guest director on someone else's show like you did with "Perception"?

Answer:      This is a good question, and I will take a bit to answer it…

For many years, when I first started directing television, I was always, only, a “visiting director.”   This is a great and fun career path.   What I liked about it was that, first of all, things happen quickly – My agent would call me up and say “Would you like to do a WONDER YEARS?”  I’d say… “Sure.”  And he’d say “Good.  Go in an meet the producers, and if you don’t !*&% up the meeting, you start Tuesday.”

Previously to that I had been languishing in the world of feature films, I had been full time on two projects in a row where I had spent 9 months of my life (18 months total) on projects where the plug got pulled at the last minute and they didn’t happen.

As soon as I started doing TV, I loved it.  Like I said it hapened.... unlike movies.  And the pace and energy of it suited my tempermamnt better than features had.  So, I travelled around as a visiting director for many years.  I loved it because it was an amazing opportunity to quickly cycle through lots of genres and filmmaking styles.  WONDER YEARS, JAG and BRISCO COUNTY JUNIOR were all really different and I had to adapt my style to fit them – which was really fun and learned fast.

After awhile though, I grew weary of it, because as the visiting director I had only so much control…  I wasn’t hiring the main cast, I wasn’t picking the key locations or designing the key sets the way I would have on features.

Back in the early 90’s THE X-FILES was one of the first TV series that began to use a director in a permamnant director-producer role.   So I set my sights on that.  The first gig which I was the producer-director on, was  the late 90’s CBS Don Johnson series NASH BRIDGES…  It was a 1000% crazy show and I learned more than ever before.  I met, what became lifelong friends Carlton Cuse and writer John Wirth (who had previously hired with me on the just-mentioned BRISCO COUNTY JR.)  John Wirth has now come aboard FALLING SKIES in season 3 and the re-uniting is fantastic.  People are also surprised when I say that I learned more from Don Johnson than any other person I’ve ever worked with.  He is an incredibly smart man, a strong film-maker and he really opened me up in terms of performance direction and also in realizing how “big” TV could be.  He had touched the highest level of TV greatness on MIAMI VICE, and knew what a huge influence one show could be to the entire culture.  I tried as hard as I could to learn from him every day.  He was also quite tough on me and the crew and on the scripts – and this toughness made me tougher.  I’ve said many times that – for the rest of my life – after NASH BRIDGES, nothing will ever be hard again.

Anyway – that was all a long-way-round introduction to say that the role of poducer-director suits me…  But would not be for everyone.  It has the best aspects of feature directing – I AM involved in casting, locations, set design, I create the “look” and the on set technique of how we achieve that look.  I am hands on involved in the shooting scheduling and am fortunate to be allowed by the writers to be involved in many big picture story decisions.   I am very involved in deciding how we distribute our limited budget to the various departments and usually have to decide what cuts to make and what to keep on budget-crunch day….  I also, of course, give hands-on supervision to all of the visiting directors to this show…  So it’s a great job.  But it’s also very INTENSE.  Especially on big shows like SMALLVILLE, HEROES and FALLING SKIES.  It’s like having hundreds of bowling balls, baseballs and golf balls shot at your head every day….  There are non-stop problems to solve from the time I wake up ‘til the time I pass out asleep in bed.  Some are crisis level problems.  Some are straight-up pain-in-the-butt problems I’d rather avoid but can’t.  What I love about the job is that I literally never know what I’ll be doing or where I’ll be doing it…  I love it, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

When I visit a show like , PERCEPTION – a very brilliantly conceived series by my old friend and SMALLVILLE alum Ken Biller – I have to remember to relax and focus only on what are the immediate needs – i.e. making that ONE episode.  The episode director is in the unique position of only thinking about THAT episode.  Everyone else on the series is consumed by sometimes a dozen other episodes at various stages.  In some ways,  it is very relaxing – all I have to focus on is that one episode.  But I also have to remember that I am now there to serve that show’s creator and network and I may need to subvert my style to the style of that series.

I’m very lucky to get to do so many different things in this one lifetime.

Tamara Tipton said...
I have been dropping by daily to read everyone's questions and I can't help but wonder, how does all this input from the fans effect the show? Between this blog, the official Falling Skies site, Facebook page, twitter, and lord knows what else, it seems like a lot to process. So, how important are our opinions to the direction of the show (if mine matters at all, I want more Pope, please)? At what point do you say "these people are just nuts (except that nice lady who wants more Pope) and get back to work? I want to believe that my thoughts might in some small way influence a show that i really love, but does it?

Answer:      Another good question…  I think some producers read blogs and review pages and fan sites more than others.  I think the real answer is that we producers do become aware of the fan’s opinions, but in more of a statistical way.  And remember, on this show, the episodes are finished months before they air – so there is nothing really to do about it, until we have a chance to react the next year.

Way back in 2001 on season one of SMALLVILLE - I got super into fan reaction…  It was new to me (as was the internet in general.)   But what I eventually realized was that for every opinion there was almost always an equal and opposite reaction.  For everyone who HATED Lana, someone else LOVED her.  There were times when the fans were united in loving or hating something and there were clear majority opinions that we had made a mistake (or that we were doing something right and should keep doing it)

In 2012, I am more experienced, and the answer for me personally breaks down like this:  I have learned that I must trust MY OWN opinions and gut feelings first and foremost – if I lose that I’m doomed.  Secondly I trust the opinions of my fellow collaborators wether they be the writers or the crew down to the craft service gal.  But I have to filter them through my gut check – I have also gotten into trouble strongly advocating a position that, upon reflection, I realize was really not my own.  I also have to listen to the desires of the people who pay for the show and have hired me – i.e. Steven Spielberg and TNT.  It is possible to argue with them if I really feel they are wrong – but, truthfully, and in all earnstness, they are both amazing employers who trust us. And their opinions are always very reasoned and well-though-out.  And finally, I DO listen to the fans – but as I said, more so when it is a clear, widely-held opinion.   I take in all the feedback I hear, but I definitely run it through my own gut check.  If not I and we would end up chasing our tails.

Having said that – I’ll make sure to add more Pope next year!!!

Anonymous said...
When is season 3? My family and I love the show!

Answer:       I think June 2013

Mr. BroBrahBlah said...
Hi Greg!
I already had several observations and questions that I posted in your previous episode blog entries as comments, and hope you can get to them as well, but no problem if you don't.

Here are some new questions. I may have to split up this post to accommodate the HTML character-limit restrictions. Thanks very much for taking the time to provide your viewers this forum!

1. How do you personally relate to this, or similar end of the world scenarios?
*In terms of constantly having to live on the edge of survival, what would you personally do differently than that which has been presented in the story so far?

Answer:      I think  one should probably work to build community with their neighbors, relatives, church-members, etc.  That all just makes common sense in case of natural disasters and so on.

As for me – I’m pretty undprepared…  But I’m not worried about an impending alien invasion or societal collapse, if that’s what you mean.
*In the past two seasons, what have you learned of practical and moral value about surviving an apocalyptic event that you would find critically useful to your and your loved ones survival, that you would implement or pass on should such an event take place?

Answer:      Yeah.  But I just finished describing how hard I work…  Even if I wanted to I’m not able to take the time to prepare at the level your describing.  Maybe this off-season

*Who, if anyone(s), do you credit most with helping you understand about how to personally deal with such a situation?

Answer:      Truthfully, I see it all as a fun storytelling devise.  I haven’t taken, personally, advantage of what FALLING SKIES teaches about survivalism.  Maybe I should.  But I feel pretty good about things… Except how much sleep I get.


*How has this story changed your perception of the possibility that humanity might be destroyed, subjugated, or irreversibly changed by an encounter with extraterrestrials?

Answer:      I don’t worry about it.
*Are there any similar experiences regarding other cast or crew that you could relate, or is it mostly just business as usual for everyone?

Answer:      Answered above.  Basically business as usual



2. For several people commenting here and elsewhere, pregnancy seems to be a sensitive subject, as does the quantity and race of the various characters that have gotten killed off in the show so far. Besides the network (TNT) and censors, who in the production/creative staff ultimately has the last word on deciding how far to go when exploring relevant, yet sensitive issues that could be presented on the show?

Answer:      The network never dictates any death or story detail.  Sometimes they’ll veto an idea they really don’t like.  So, all those decisions are made by the writers and other creators…   Sometimes things like “who dies”  are driven by either contact or situation – i.e. someone’s contract's up and they have another show to go onto in which case we have to “kill them”  Otherwise it is ONLY story that drives this and the desire to keep the show off-balance.  We killed Jimmy for instance because of the way we wanted it to affect both Ben and Weaver’s story.  Boon was killed to show how malicious Karen had become – we picked him, probably, because he was the last-introduced of Pope’s Bererkers, so last in, first out…  It could have been another Berserker probably – but we also wanted it to affect Tector who we knew was a character with a big role coming up in the next episode.  When Rick died it was mostly because we felt he’d served all the story purpose he could and we wanted him for one last hurrah.  Also, Daniyah  lives in Toronto and, since we didn’t have a series contract with him it wasn’t possible to fly him cross-coast all the time.  Brandon J. McLaren, as I mentioned, had a pilot which he had a previous commitment to go to….  We were worried that if the pilot got picked up (which it did) he wouldn’t be available in Season 3.  Etc… 

So, mostly storytelling mixed with the mundane of contracts and cross-continental flights.


3. Would you please share with us any anecdotes among cast and crew, in which a cast member reacted to his or her part being so totally different to how they actually perceive themselves? That is, when compared to who they portray in Falling Skies, were there any memorable times when anyone's reactions were like, Geez, why did my character just say/do that?!

Answer:      Man, that’s a tricky question…  This  comes up a lot.  And on some shows the actors are more prone to knee-jerk “I’d never say that” reactions.  Our cast, lead by Noah Wyle’s good influence, always comes from a place of trying to make the words work.  But both Remi’s and my door and cellphone are always open for the cast to call with issues big and small. 

We also have a table read for every script, where with myself the writer and the director present, the cast reads the script out loud around a table.  That is usually a day or so before we shoot and it can become a forum for discussion.  With all this in place  by the time we go to shoot the cast is usually good with what we’re doing.


4. On a scale of 1 (no way) to 5 (definitely believe), to what degree do you believe in the existence of the following intelligent human-like life forms:

Vampires
Extraterrestrials
Zombies
Cannibals
Werewolves
Superman-type super ability beings
Witches and Warlocks that can cast magical spells


Answer:      I have no numerical answer.  I don’t think about or expect any of those entities to appear or to have any influence on my life any time soon.  But I’ve also seen enough to not rule out anything in this crazy mixed-up world.

*How do your views of the above relate to your acceptance of production projects?

Answer:      Not at all.  I come from the fantasy, imagination fanboy world, where – in my head and in the comic books I read and movies I watch ANYthing is possible…  But I never expect it to in my real life


*How do you feel about taking on a project about something you may not personally believe in, even if its presentation might well induce others to possibly believing in such things?

Answer:      I try never to work on things I find morally offensive.

Otherwise I assume the audience has an unspoken agreement with the filmmakers that it’s all just good clean fun and not something to take too seriously.

*In relation to your current project, Falling Skies, where do you draw the line about what sort of stuff, as above, is allowable?

Answer:      Ditto
*Is the presentation of harnessed children the closest this production will go towards portraying zombie-like characters?

Answer:      I don’t think they are zombie like characters – they are mind slaves.
*Were zombie-like characters an intentional idea to get a certain viewer segment to watch this series?

Answer:      Nope.  The pilot of this series was written and shot well in advance of other notable zombie shows currently on TV.  Plus, I don’t think any of us thought that zombie-like characters are a draw.  The reason they walk kind of zombie like is because when I was first beginning to direct them, there’s a limited number of was to portray mind slaves – we actually tested a few different "harnessed walks" on camera – and this is what we came up with.



5. Are the members of the crew paid on a different scale when asked to participate as background extras, say for example when they are included in a large group of about three hundred like those that were present at Jimmy's funeral? (Season 2, Episode 3, Compass)

Answer:      Yes.  There are deals in place with the Unions we work with both in  Canada (and similar ones in the USA) that a certain number of higher-paid union extras are mandatory.  After that, lesser paid non-union actors are allowed.  Extras get more if they do a featured activity and in Canada there is another category if they do things like fire guns or drive cars that is less than a stunt man but more than a union extra.

Having said that, I make personally sure that ALL of our extras are well treated and thanked and encouraged for all they add to our show.  And, I believe, we have a very happy group of extras on FALLING SKIES.  In fact, every one of them requested to come back and work again in Season 3.


6. In the telling of this story, is there an intention to metaphorically draw parallels between the cooperative-to-inimical spectrum of relations between the different fictional races/types of alien extraterrestrials on one hand, and the similar issues and challenges that actually exist between the different races/ethnicities here on our planet?

Answer:      No.  Not at all.

7. Is it possible that future movie adaptations, books, prequels/sequels or spin-offs will have any affect on changing the existing story and plot as currently envisioned by the producers and accepted by the network?

Answer:      No.  Partly because there are no plans as such.  If they came up – some interface might be necessary.



8. Remi Aubuchon had stated that the producers expect to stimulate all sorts of thought provoking questions from the viewers of this show. If that is to be the case, (and given that Falling Skies will continue to be told from the characters point-of-view), what do creative and production staff face when trying to strike a balance between concretely answering questions to satisfy viewers needs for closure, and the possibility of leaving major story-lines and the story itself, open-ended (in order to elicit viewers questions/speculation as Remy stated)?

Answer:      It’s  a tricky question, and not to short-change your answer, but that, to me is the essence of what writer’s do.


9. It was also stated (by you or Remy, I forget who) that the story being told in Falling Skies intends to thematically explore the possibility of humanity being faced with life-altering changes that may not allow the survivors to go back to the way they once were, and how they handle those issues as groups and individually. Given that, what other TV shows, motion pictures or books do you guys look to as inspiration for setting such high standards of both cinematic and thematic quality, that you and your fellow producers/writers strive to approach or emulate? Or is this virgin territory, do you guys feel that you have a groundbreaking phenomenon here?

Answer:      I didn’t say that.  But I agree.  Look, there has been so much literature and movies made in this particular story genre (including much of the work of our boss, Steven Spielberg)  that it’s impossible to be truly unique What we are trying to do is create a great “version” of this oft-told tale.

10. What other science fiction project would you really like to helm in the future? A book? An adaptation, sequel, etc?

Answer:      The Trilogy:   “The White-Mountains,” “The City of Gold and Lead” and “The Pool of Fire.”  Books I loved as a boy.  It’s been developed for years as a feature – maybe it could be a TV show.



11. When this show was originally pitched to the network, to what degree did the whole story have to be revealed to them? That is, is there an “ending” that already had to be approved by TNT so they would green-light this series?


Answer:      Just the pilot and a verbal pitch about the general direction of the series.  I wasn’t there but I understand both Robert Rodat and Steven pitched this idea to TNT.

12. Are there plans for TNT to provide a proper Falling Skies talk forum organized by topic and seasons/episodes, to replace the existing scrolling one?

Answer:      Huh?  Sorry, I’m not familiar with that.



Keep pushing the envelope! This little ground-swell called Falling Skies may just go tsunami on us.

 Answer:      Thanks!




Nastia Sidorovich said...
Dear Greg, thanks for the favorite show :)I'm from Russia,

Answer:      Cool.  Never been.  But there are several Russian immigrants to Canada who work on the show.

and many fans are interested in the question - "Why did you decide to finish the season on intriguing moment?" Because if it was closed series fans would be left with the "nose".

Answer:      Yes.  We wanted to open up a whole new “Can of worms” (An American expression) so that you would come back next year.


And another question: How much would you like to make the season?I

Answer:      I loved making season 2 – one of the best experiences of my life.  I’m loving, also, making Season 3 – but I think I always forget how intense and overwhelming the show is to make until I’m actually making it.


 like a couple of Hal and Maggie how about a happy ending for these two!?thanks!!!))))

Answer:      Good.  I like them together too – although happiness on FALLING SKIES never lasts for long.


Dave said...
Hi Greg, Im british and I love falling skies!

Answer:      I love England and have been there many times (mostly London)!!


As a little side bar how about having a british survivor from the alien invasion somehow reaching the 2nd Mass and having the opposite view to Tom mason about the Revolutionary War? This could be worked into the struggle against the aliens and the Brit could allude to the struggle against the nazis by Britain in 1939-1940 before the US became involved.
You could have some great dialogue from this construction!


Answer:      Okay, any actor in mind???

Erin Em. said...
Why hello there! First off, props to you and the entire Falling Skies team. Two fantastic seasons down, and hopefully many more to come!


Answer:      Thanks!


I'm interested in a couple of things... 

first: What exactly is going on between (or went on between) Maggie and Pope. He seems to know quite a lot about her...when no one else really does. According to what she told the captured 2nd Mass team, she was only with him and his gang for three months...and it took Hal a heck of a lot longer to get close with her. So what is their deal? If you can't answer specifically, can you at least say whether or not we will learn more about them in future seasons?

Answer:      There is definitely something goin’ on there.  Graham Yost created both of these characters in Season 1…  He may know more than he’s told us…  Maybe I’ll call him.  (But I won’t be able to say what he said cuz it’d spoil.)



And second: this may be a bit morbid...but how come the 2nd Mass never comes across any dead bodies. If most of civilization was wiped out...where'd they all go? The houses and buildings are empty, the cars are empty...whenever the 2nd Mass is scouting anything, they never come across anyone who as died. This just seems a bit odd.

Answer:      We tried to create technical rules to explain this…  I’m not sure how well we did.  Short answer, it would add a major expesnse of dead extras laying around or prosthetic bodies.  Also, certain of the powers that be find this idea distasteful – since the essence of our show is the hope and strength of the human spirit.
And just an added side note...I hope we get to see more back story on our characters. The character development definitely stepped it up a notch in season 2, but I'd love to see more about who they were before. It just gives us that much more of a chance to see how far they've come!

Answer:      We’ll do our best.



Thanks again for all your fantastic work. Can't wait until season 3!



Robyn said...
WHY is the season sooo short??? That is my only question...because this is a FAVORITE show of mine and the season seems to be over as soon as it started.

Answer:      Yeah, I know.  I’m sorry.  But this answer has been covered above

Cindy Lewis said...
Thanks for listening to fan feedback!I'm addicted to the show, love the characters, even the Skitters, so please don't take this wrong, but i'm with the ones who don't like tom and anne or the baby idea. Babies on a show are never interesting, especially since there's no way to feed or keep them quiet. Please leave that and go on to the characters and action!

Answer:      Got it!  Dang as soon as I’m done typing I’m calling Remi and making sure we start kicking ass on that Anne pregnancy storyline!

The Regenerate Degenerate said...
will you give me a job as a still photographer on your show? I'm a pretty good photographer. Check it out.
http://johnsturdy.com

Answer:      Thanks!  But I don’t hire set photographers – they come from TNT.  I’m sure your work is great though.


Kat said...
Wow - Mr BroBrahBlah - love those questions - I second them!

Answer:      Yeah but they were pretty hard.



I want to get into TV - specifically SciFi, Mystery, Fantasy, Action. So I've LOVED reading your blog and the focus on production, directing details, even location scouting and how one handles killing off a character with the very human person who is the actor. Now for my questions

My questions:
1. What is your involvement in post production? In your first entry for this season I think you mention about the long post production phase which is unusual for a lot of tv shows that are still filming while airing - so I was hoping you could comment a bit about that. Or maybe someone in post production could be convinced to have a tag along blog that talks about that from a technical perspective.

Answer:      I am very involved in post on this show, which makes me very happy.  On SMALLVILLE I was much less involved because cutting happened in LA and I was in Vancouver and most of the shows aired by the time we finished shooting.  HEROES I was more involved because we were in LA, but there were also a lot of other producers and Tim Kring was very hands-on in post. 

Here, I’ve been given a lot of responsibility.  I am involved in the picture editing of every episode, along with Remi Aubuchon, and Dreamworks - and it is our cuts that are presented to the studio and network.  The Dreamworks team, Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank often come into the cutting room – but usually to spot solve problems that they have.  We have great editors on this show (both of whom I met and brought with me from HEROES) so generally the job is easy.  We get notes from TNT at lease twice during the cutting process of each episode and we must address these notes.   I get less involved in the music.  Sometimes I go to the music spotting sessions, sometimes not, Remi is more into that.  Visual effects is a big element of this show and there will usually be an initial spotting and follow up DVDs and frequently we have to go to ZOIC to watch shots being developed and weigh in with our opinion.  Dreamworks is all over this element of the show as are Remi and I.   I care a lot about certain sound effects (but not all the mundane ones) and will either dictate through our post production supervisor or directly with the sound effects editors about those.  I also care greatly, maybe mostly, about color timing – which is the final process where the colors in the show, the dark and light levels and the lighting are finalized.  I try to go to and oversee every color timing session (and I did this same job on HEROES, especially in season 1).  I also try to go to every sound mix (but sometimes can’t)  This is a place where all of the producers and the Dreamworks team and some TNT executives will show up.  It’s the last viewing before it goes on the air and the last time we can fix any problems or mistakes that might have slipped through.

It’s a lot!  But a lot of fun!



2. Was there any trepidation about adding the pregnancy storyline? I know fans are nervous about it as it has been badly done in many sci fi shows, so I imagine someone on the show would have also felt nervous about how the public would react to that storyline. I know Moon is pregnant - but I understand the storyline was written in before.

Answer:      I had no tredidation until I heard how much all of ya’ll hated it.  Now I’m trepadized as hell!  (Just kidding – it’s gonna be great!)



3. Was the earlier filming this year (Season 3) influenced by Moon's availability or to limit exposure to the cold!!

Answer:      Not really.  We’ve started in the warmer time of year for one thing.  But of course we will always take care of her.



4. Do you read the comments on your other posts?

Answer:      Sometimes, but not always.



5. Not a question - as it's about future plot lines and so you can't answer them - so a request instead. Please make Karen redeemable and not obsessed with Hal. There are so frequently evil attractive women in sci fi shows (BSG, V, um.. i'm sure there are others) who's only human element seems to be something romantic. I really like Karen's character - but it's becoming harder and harder to see her as anything but "evil character who's weakness is a romantic obsession". Which is fine of course, it makes an interesting story, I'm just disappointed because I had hoped for something different from her (not better just different). I don't know what's coming up in the future, but that would be my hope. Heck, she and Ben could take over all the mechs and run into the wilderness together. :) Her dynamic with Ben (distrusting on both sides - yet have something in common) where she no longer has leverage over him, can't fool him, could make for a very interesting storyline. Pull her out of her constant control - because she knows she can't turn the situation to her advantage so she will be more likely to be straight (he will never be an ally, and he doesn't have influence with the "humans"). Oooh...

Answer:      OK noted



Anyway –

I had so many questions during the season that I now forgot, but I think a lot of them were covered here. Oh, one more. How does one get to be a trainee on set of Falling Skies!

Answer:     Move to Vancovuer Canada, get a work permit or “landed immigrant” card so that you are allowed to work – and look us up.

Grace Lin said...
I think it doesn't make any sense for two educated people to produce an unwanted pregnancy. a 5 year old can tell you that unprotected sex leads to babies, but not a doctor? Sorry, but really disgusted with this and I'd like to echo many fans' hope that it goes away somehow.

Answer:      Yeah.  But it’s not unprecedented. This kind of thing happens to educated and uneducated people all the time - and that's in the "non"-post-apocolypse!

Still your take is noted along with the others.

Dee Blanton said...
First of all, I just want to say I love the show. Even got my sister watching it and she's picky about her sci-fi. Anyway, my questions are: 

1) How long does it take for one of the kids to turn into a Skidder? I noticed that the girl on the bus and the one in the woods from the first season had changes in their face. But Karen and Ben haven't done that. Were they just not harnessed long enough to make that full transition?

Answer:      We think it takes many months – maybe close to a year.



2) Was it a conscious decision to not have Pope on as much in season 2 as he was in the first season? He is by far my favorite character so maybe it was just me, but I felt like he was just filler in this season and someone to be Tom's punching bag.

Answer:      I though he was in a lot.  Well anyway well make a point of putting him in more.



Also, he seemed like he had more of a struggle with his good/bad side in season 1 and was more complex. For instance, if it wasn't for Pope's online blog I wouldn't have known his motivation for keeping Jimmy's compass. On the show it appeared that he stole it and just didn't want to give it back.

Answer:  Pope is a complex cat.  I knew he has an online blog, but I've never really checked it out.




Okay, just one more comment. I wasn't thrilled about Anne being preggers because I didn't feel the need for another Mason. I love the Masons. Just didn't see a reason to take up more airtime with another one. However, I like Ann and Tom and she's all ready lost Sammy, so I think it would be cruel to have her lose it at this point.

Answer:      Yep.  Take a number, I guess.

 Dang!

I lied. I have one more comment. I don't mind romance on the show. They gotta scrounge out some happiness somehow, but sometimes it just happens at the worst possible time. Especially, with Maggie and Hal. In a hospital basement with aliens attacking and hiding in a car from Mechs is not the best time to have a relationship discussion. And giggling while doing it? It just wasn't a good time for it. Okay done. Thank you for answering questions!

Answer:      I liked that scene.  I think people will act irrationally (including giggling) in the face of imminent danger.  But I don't think they really "giggled."

Anonymous said...
Why didn't we see any discussion between the characters regarding the parasite escaping from the jar as observed by Lourdes? Itshould have been addressed. Perhaps it was an out take in the end.it just didn't make sence not to address it.

Answer:      Your right that was a failure.  There were some outlines early on that included a scene to deal with that issue and they fell away in the rush of other stuff.  I agree that is a hanging chad.


Apple-El said...
Hi Greg!! I guess I'm still holding on to Smallville because my question, although about Falling Skies, is related to Smallville!

Answer:      “Always hold on to Smallville” at least that’s what Pa Kent said in the cave in the series finale I directed… And I agree!

I see you had Mark Verheiden and Glen Winter from Smallville on the crew, will you have any more Smallville alumni coming over to Falling Skies as crew or *fingers crossed* cast?
BTW we are lucky in Australia, Falling skies is shown pretty soon on pay tv after the US!


Answer:      Yes there will be.  By the way, I also did a TV movie in Australia once and LOVED IT there!  I was in Brisbane and Gold Coast and a little in Cairnes and Sydney…  I want to retire there!!!


Anonymous said...
Hey Greg, I'm BG 2nd Mass Continuity. Love it when your on set. Your hilarious and its great how you talk to everyone and joke around. Just thought you make it fun on set.

Answer:      Thanks.  We love you guys too.  Come say “hi” so I know who posted this.

Amy J said...
Thanks for sharing the behind the scenes information for my favorite summer show. I find it fascinating.

Answer:      My pleasure



1.) For me, the heart and soul of this show is the Mason family. I think that the strength of their bond really shines in the acting, writing, and directing. How conscious are the writers/directors/crew on keeping the focus on the Masons and does it affect your decisions for how to shoot a scene?

Answer:      We agree with you, as does TNT, very strongly – we are very conscious of this when writing and directing the show.



2.) is there a character on the show that you relate to the most? Who would you be in this post-apocalyptic world?

Answer:      No.  There are no big, funny, dorky, fast-talking blowhards – but we should add one.



I'm a big fan of the show. I look forward to season three.

Answer:      Yay!

‪Anonymous‬ said...

Dear Mr. Beeman,
I really appreciated your blog and that you took the time last year for a Q&A from the fans last season. And I was happy to see you doing it again this season. Some of my questions may be spoilers or may be answered in the next season. But I still have to ask because I am curious! Obviously I am a rabid fan of this show.



o Charleston 
 How many people are in Charleston?



Answer:      We say 5000 – with more arriving all the time


o How long ago did they get the lights on?


Answer:      I’m not sure – a few months ago

o Are they mainly from around the southeast or from all over the east US?


Answer:    That seems practical and most likely

o Do the humans remain underground all the time, or are they allowed outside at certain intervals?


Answer:      I’m not sure – above ground is dangerous – but they have to forage for food – so I think they do so in a controlled manner.
(By the way I’m making this all up as I go along – we haven’t really talked about any of this in depth.)

• The skitters obviously have mind control over the harnessed kids. Do the Overlords have mind control over the skitters?

Answer:      Yes.

If so, how to the Rebel Skitters keep their thoughts from the Overlords?


Answer:      They have learned how through careful control.  Also, it’s not an “open channel.”  The overlords have to open the channel to communicate to them, and this gives the rebel skitters a chance to “shut down.”  The harnessed kids could do the same with the skitters if they learned how.

Karen is “harnessed” to an Overlord rather than a skitter. Is that why she does not seem to be all scaly? Will she “evolve” into a creature that is more similar to an Overlord than a Skitter?


Answer:      This will be revealed in Season 3

Karen did not seem upset when her Overlord was killed. Why?


Answer:      I thought she was quite upset.  That was our intention anyway.  Although I don't believe that species shows emotion the way humans do.

 I really like 2nd Watch. The first episode was about 40 minutes. However most of the rest of the episodes in the season were between 10-15 minutes. I would really like to request that 2nd Watch be extended to 30 minutes per episode.


Answer:      That’s out of my control – but I will mention it to the powers that be at TNT


What do the aliens want from the planet earth? That is, is there a natural resource that they want to mine? Or are they just conquering earth for the sake of gaining new territory?


Answer:      That will begin to be revealed more in season 3 and beyond.

How old are the skitters? One episode made reference that the Overlords invaded the skitter planet about 100 years ago. So are the skitters now that old? Or are they the children or grandchildren of the originally captured skitters?

Answer:      I think they are the original harnessed skitters and they have a long lifespan.  Although that's just my opinion/impression - I've never had an in-depth conversation with Bob Rodat or Remi about it.

 Does being harnessed increase your lifespan just like it increases your strength?



Answer:     Can't go into detail - but we will explore that concept

Again, thank you for appreciating the fans so much!

*****

Whew!  That’s it!  (pant pant pant)  Okay back to directing the show!

I love you guys!  And, love it or hate it, thanks for watching FALLING SKIES!

Beeman


18 comments:

Ciera said...

Reading this, makes me want FS season 3 even more !! Its basically my addiction ;)

Clememp said...

I have to commend you for the comprehensive Q&A with the fans. That looks a like a lot of work and well thought out answers.

Lisa Johnsen said...

Hello.
I'm Lisa (13), and I'm a really big fan of Falling Skies!
I love the series and all the characters and i can't wait for season 3!

Connor's character Ben is my favorite and I hope I get to see a lot more of him! And, I'm really looking forward to see Blackbird !<3

Also miss Jimmy. Was devastated when he died!:/

Soo.. Good luck on the upcoming seasons!

Love from,
Lisa Johnsen (13, norway)

adrianhickman said...

Thanks for the exhaustive (and exhausting for you) replies. The openness of the cast and crew towards the fanbase is what attracts people to the show. We are not just given something to watch, we are watching something to experience it.

Excited for Season Three. Keep us guessing.

Michael Horne said...

Totally blown away by the amount of work you must've put into that! Thank you! I just want to make it clear: I didn't hate the last few episodes, I think I just wasn't expecting the tempo changes. All of you have created such a brilliant, well thought-out and passionately delivered show. We don't get that enough nowadays.

I wish you and the cast all the luck in the world for season 3.

God bless.

Steve said...

Greg, your love for the fans shows through by all the work you do to answer our questions! Thanks!

I hope everyone else here doesn't consider me a troll, but I was fine with the pregnancy. After reading what you wrote, though, I'm interested to see where it leads.

Good luck with season 3! I can't wait!

The Regenerate Degenerate said...

Hey Mr. B, thanks so much for taking the time out of your schedule to answer all of these numerous questions. Your appreciation of your fan base is really evident in your effort. I'll check back to see if we ever get an update about FS toys and to keep up with the filming. Looking forward to another great season. Thanks for all of your hard work.

The Regenerate Degenerate said...

Greg, thanks for following up about the action figures. Sounds like a pretty corporate answer but I still the the show deserves a toy line. Maybe I'm just a nerd.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe all of the negative comments about the pregnancy not being realistic. Are you kidding me what single, red blooded, hetero american male in his right mind would not sleep with a women that beautiful! Plot line my butt that is real life, something those geeks who don't like it ought to get. Heck, even those geeks on Big Bang knew that!!

Sophia said...

Hi there!

So sorry to be commenting on this post, but I couldn't find another venue. The new show you're working on, Perception, is absolutely fabulous, as is all of your work. I couldn't help noticing that you have quite a few scenes of Northwestern. I go there and it's funny to see the building where I take my science classes in your show. Coincidentally, my specialization is Neuroscience (so basically Perception is heaven for me). If there is ANY way that I and my friends that love the show, could be extras at some point, please let me know! I figure maybe having some NU students wouldn't hurt, right? :) You could email me at sophialipov2014@u.northwestern.edu if you'd like. All the best!

P.S-I think it would be AMAZING for you to take on the Tripod Trilogy. Such good messages in those books. Along the lines of Orwell, but for a younger audience!

Spencer Hill said...

I'm sure I speak for many other fans that we hope Moon knows we're ecstatic for her pregnancy and that these comments aren't personal to her in anyway!

I'm one fan who was surprised by that plot line but persuaded it was a powerful comfort for the characters and audience in a show that is overshadowed by potentially looming despair! Lost, Battlestar Galactica and even Heroes have deeply emotional dark times in them and its taxing to watch them. What I've appreciated most about Falling Skies is that it's cherishing the human survival mechanisms of humor, simple conversation for the sake of conversation, and a plot that progresses without an absolute pattern.

Spencer Hill said...

Also, thank you for your time an the insight into the industry and show! Especially the note about moving to V, BC. I'm in Portlandia and my wife and I were seriously discussing moving with our two kids to where you guys are filming so I can enjoy the privelage of working on this project!

That being said, you added that once one moves there they should reach out to you guys... But how? Do I Google TNT offices in V, BC? Is there a website? Phone number?

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME!

steven e said...

hey, im steve love your falling skies tv show, introduced to all my friends, and im wonderin are u ever going too bring aqua man back in existance, it was a really good premise, i wasnt really too much a fan of the comic but i did read it and alot of other super hereos done in a tv series or comic books style

Shannyn Heatley said...

I REALY love the show!!!!! I was wondering if you where looking for a new place to shoot, if I can suggest S T L ?

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