Sunday, July 22, 2012

SEASON 3 - EPISODE 7 - "MOLON LABE"


 written by: David Weddle and Bradley Thompson

 directed by:  Holly Dale

links:


TNT - FALLING SKIES


K-SITE TV


WARNING:  This blog has been infested with spoilers...  If you fear spoilers crawling into your mouth and bursting out of you, ripping you to shreds - then this blog is NOT FOR YOU!  TURN BACK NOW!!!!!!



"Molon Labe"?   What the heck does that mean?  I have no idea and never will...  But I will say it was one of the kookiest and hardest and challenge-filled episodes of TV I've ever produced - and one of the best final results.


Holly Dale, who directed the second-to-last episode of Season 1 as well as a HEROES episode with me, came back to direct this - and I'm very glad she did.  I love Holly, basically because she gets sh*t done.  She shows up, she's quiet, she has a plan...  She kinda shares her plan, kinda not --  but on set she's in command and she just moves like a machine getting exactly the pieces of film she needs and knowing exactly how they're going to go together.


And hokey-smokes this one needed that kind of focus.


Don't get me wrong, David and Bradley's script was a great first read. (They also wrote our second hour of this Season "Shall We Gather At The River.") The story was taught and exciting and pushed our characters and our ongoing mythology in fantastic directions...


But it was so  huuuuuuuuge!!!  There were SO MANY short little scenes with SO MUCH action!  Most of our episodes have about 40-45 scenes - this one had, if I remember right, about 65 scenes.   And there were either visual effects, explosions or gunfire in almost every scene!   Beyond that, here were non-stop mechs and overlords and explosions...  And crawlies!  A whole new creature! (more on that later)  It was all just non-stop!  


And, while  technically,  all the scenes took place in the woods and the hospital where the 2nd Mass. were camped out - they were in every conceivable part of the hospital, and many that didn't even exist.  For instance, there was no elevator shaft, no sub-basement, no x-ray room - etc., etc. etc....


It was crazy over-the-top, and it was obvious, immediately, that it was going to be WAY over budget.  And in our big season-long-plan with TNT we hadn't figured on episode 7 being a big over-budget epsiode.


The prep period on an episodic schedule is very short - specifically 7 days...  (And then there are 8 days to shoot it.)  On this one it took several days just to figure out where we were going to shoot every scene and then plan all of the many visual effects just so we could budget them.  It was obvious the visual effects budget was going to be way way over our pattern budget, but we needed to know by how much.  By the time we really had "a number" there was very little time left to react.



The other problem (really just for me) was that, during the prep period, I was busy directing episode 6.  As I mentioned in my last blog there was a director fallout in episode 6 and I had to jump in.  We take no breaks in TV.  The day after one episode finishes the next begins.  Which means that the extensive and complex prep on episode 7 was all happening while I was shooting.   I was getting updates and reading drafts during the week and I’d meet with Holly or the writers at lunch, at night, or on the weekend – but it was quite stressful.



Anyway – all’s well that ends well.  In retrospect, what I remember is that there was a phase when the Visual Effects budget came in where there was kind of a panic.   There was a period where many Visual Effects shots were dropped and an attempt was made where we would play as much as possible in an implied or “off-stage” way.  Eventually though, like the artist stepping back from the canvas, we had to step back and say “we can’t have a scene of Ben surrounded by mechs and a mech battle between Tom and the 2nd Mass – and never see a mech."



In another example, the scene where Anne blasts the crawlies with a flame thrower was put on the chopping block, briefly.   But Holly Dale came to me and implored how cool it was and how good for Anne’s character to have that scene in.  So we put it back.

I’m not sure if you readers are even interested in all of this stuff – believe me, the artistic/character driven aspects of the show are always uppermost in the minds of all of FALLING SKIES creators…  But the behind-the scenes budget battles can be fast and furious and quite intense.  The trick of course is to wage these battles without losing sight of the story and it’s development, both within the episode and season long.  Frankly, for instance, that’s why I was so glad Holly made the case for Anne and the flame thrower.  Yes, the story could be told without it, but it made Anne heroic and self-empowered, and that was worth it.

In the end we were faced with either cutting the heart out of this episode, or accepting that it was going to be over-budget and knowing we’d have to make it up before the end of the season.  And even though we did reduce the visual effects quite a bit from the original shot-count (believe it or not, because there are still over 100 visual effects shots in this episode) we figured out in a disciplined way how to get the job done.

In the end, all that I’ve just said is just describing how the sausage gets made – and maybe one should never know about it.   This is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting, action-packed and visually stimulating episodes of the season and I’m quite proud of it.

Reviews agree, Huffington Post says: 


Sunday's episode is an action-packed hour that doesn't just revel in its crisp pace; the actions and choices of the core characters reveal quite a bit about them. In fact, Sunday's taut episode is one of the most tense -- and enjoyable -- hours of "Falling Skies" yet. 


Beyond all that I'd like to talk about Brandon Mclaren and what a terrific guy he is.  We wanted a new character this season to replace Uncle Scott.  And we wanted a love interest for Lourdes.  Brandon's audition was spot on and he is obviously an amazingly handsome man.  He had real chemistry with Seychelle Gabriel right from the beginning.   But he also fit into our group quite well.  FALLING SKIES cast is not a bunch of slackers.  All of them, with Noah setting the tone - come to the set ready to work.  It's shocking how many actors on many, many other shows show up not knowing their dialogue, not really having thought about their character within the story - and sometimes, seemingly, without having really read the script.  Well, not here.  


I was quickly impressed with Brandon on one of my first days working with him.   In the second episode I was doing a long, long one'r.  It was the shot that traveled from character to character as the 2nd mass got ready to move out and cross the river.  In the middle of that scene he had a long speech - and in every take he nailed it.  I knew I liked him right then and there.


But as I've said before - people die on FALLING SKIES - and it could be anyone... If you know you are going to die on a TV show - it's important to die well.  I think Brandon's death is the creepiest we've done - and he did an amazing job doing it!


The creatures that crawl out of the wall and end up ripping out of Jamil's character (The crawlies, as the writers called them) was something that Steven Spielberg talked about, and was excited about in our very first creative meeting of the year.  Mr. Spielberg loves the concept that the aliens use creatures from the various planets they conquered and re-purpose them as weapons.  The harnesses, as we saw a couple of weeks ago, are living entities that attach themselves onto our kid's spines.  He had a vision of a creature about the size of a amazonian bird-eating spider.  He talked about how the  aliens would release these creatures and they could crawl through vents and walls and create a new level of distress for our heroes.  Believe me I am as much of a fan as any of you guys, and the idea that I get to do what I do, and hang out in a room from time to time with Steven Spielberg, and that he is my boss - blows me away!  It's amazing to see him work, because his mind is free - he let's ideas flow and he doesn't self-censor.  He is truly excited to do what he does and that, for me, is just great to know!


Aaron Simms is the artist who designed the crawlies.   He's worked for Mr. Spielberg and ZOIC Studios  (our VFX house) a number of times... And he's designed a lot of the aliens on our show.  Aaron presented us with about a dozen designs, all very different - and the one we chose is, I think, quite a nasty little bugger.


Some things you can control and some things you can't - Vancouver, although it is in Canada, is more of a rainy city than a snowy city.  Snow falls almost every year there, but it rarely stays on the ground long.  Well, last year we got a BIG snowfall that lasted and lasted.  I think it makes this episode beautiful and magical and was, for us, just a great stroke of luck.


Finally, I do want to say that our cast, IMHO, did a fantastic job tonight.  Jessy Schram killed again, as did Drew Roy and also Maxim Knight as Matt Mason - who is now being called on to step up into the action.


But I want to focus, here, on Noah and, our new budding star, Connor Jessup.  The pace behind the scenes was as fast as it is in the show.  I think Noah, and Connor did several amazing scenes together.  The one in the hallway where they shout, and get into conflict - was very much developed on set.  The script didn't call for them to get that intense, or overlap dialogue with each other as much as they did - but the two actors kept pushing each other.  Holly also shot that sequence in a long one-shot take - with Noah and Connor's part at the end - the nature of the shot added to the intensity.


The scene in the middle of the episode where the overlord attacks Ben psychically is also terrific, and I think Connor's performance, where he is letting the alien speak through him, is remarkable.  As for Noah - remember, there was nothing for him to look at or act to when he's confronting the overlord.  Sometimes, literally, there was a VFX supervisor holding a broom handle with a tennis ball on the end of it to give Noah his 10-foot-high eyeline - but otherwise Noah was acting with "air" - which can be quite challenging.


The scene at the end when Ben is about to leave, perhaps for good - is also, for me, one of the most touching of the year.  These two have a great chemistry together with all the friction and love of a real father and teenage son.  This final scene, once again, had a big challenge to it.  After a HUGE day of work, this scene was shot last - as the sun was setting.  So Noah and Connor had to rush the scene to get it done before the sun set, and yet never lose sight of the rythyms and emotions that are important to that most-important final scene.


Ah...  All in a days work.


Let's look at some behind-the-scenes photos, shall we?





Noah and Peter Shinkoda on set
It's still cold as shiznazz in Vancouver - so the gang huddles around a fire pit


Brandon Jay Mcleron contemplates life in all of it's brevity and complexity

Jessy Schram -  Alien Agent Provocateur

Alien creator RĂ©mi Aubuchon and Noah Wyle on set 

Sarah Carter on set


Pope's Beserkers - Ryan Robbins (as "Tector") and Luciana Carro (as "Crazy Lee")

Episode director Holly Dale (left) and script supervisor Maggie Craig (right) (they are both short)

My old "Smallville" pal Glen Winter came to help out as Director of Photography on this episode (he is very, very tall)

                                    
           Angelina Kekich - our costume designer

                           
A scene from ep 6
                 
Will Patton - our commander!
                            
Brad Kelly as "Lyle" - Brad was hired to be a stuntman in our first episode and fall off a motorcycle - but we liked him so much that...  lo and behold by episode 7 he's an actor!
   
                             
Me n' Brad Kelly


A shot from the first episode - but I forgot to include it before and it's cool

A moment between shots - Noah and Moon talk and hang out
K-SITE TVTNT FALLING SKIES

Monday, July 16, 2012

FALLING SKIES – SEASON 2 - EPISODE 6 "HOMECOMING"


FALLING SKIES – SEASON 2 - EPISODE 6

HOMECOMING

Written by:  Brian Oh
DIrected by:  Greg Beeman

WARNING: SPOILERS ARE CONTAINED WITHIN, IF YOU ARE AFRAID THAT A  SEEMINGLY INNOCENT SPOILER WILL SNEAK INTO YOUR MIDST AND THEN BETRAY YOU AND ATTACK YOU – THEN DO NOT READ THIS BLOG

I wasn’t originally supposed to direct this episode. 

A director friend of mine, who I have used many times, was booked to do it.  But, just before production began, he received a job offer to become the producer-director on a CW show.  His agents and he called and politely asked to get out of this commitment.   It was a great job offer, and while it’s always frustrating to lose someone, it’s hard to stand in the way of a person’s career-advancement.  

So we set out to replace him – we called all the Hollywood agencies and asked for their list of available directors.  I will tell you, it is hard to find a good director in mid-season.  Typically the returning network shows get their pick-ups in April (or earlier for big successes) and they snap up the top directors right away.  New shows picked up in late May, and by early June there is a feeding frenzy to book the best “helmers” (As Daily variety calls them.)  FALLING SKIES got picked up in mid-July, which is late…  But because I knew the pick-up was all-but-inevitable, I had personally called the people on my best-director list and had gotten them to commit to rough dates.  Which all is to say that if you’re making a last-minute call to have someone drop in, in December, it’s probably not gonna happen.

So, after a week or two of fruitless searching, the folks at DREAMWORKS TELEVISION asked if I would do it.  I don’t usually like to direct more than 3 of our 10 episodes.  It’s really physically exhausting.  But this one was OK because it prepped before Christmas, then had a two week break and then came back to shoot after Christmas – I knew the XMAS break would give me the time I needed to recover – so I agreed to do it…

And I’m very glad I did.

I directed the first two hours of the season, which were big and spectacular.  I also directed the season finale, which is equally action and visual-effects-filled.  This episode was one of the smallest of the season, in terms of action and visual effects – but I think it may be my favorite episode of the year.  It taught me the lesson that I’ve learned and had reinforced over and over again – which is simply: Story and character trump action and spectacle.

At the script level this was just a taught story full if tension and emotion.

In fact, ironically, it was the only episode all year that we shot in 7 days.  (The big premiers and finales typically take 10 or 11 days, the rest take 8.)  It also came in a couple of hundred thousand dollars under the pattern budget.

It was nice to open with Tom and Anne’s romance.  We have implied and shown snippets of their evolving relationship – but this episode opens with a scene of calmness and caring, as Anne wakes up and smiles at Tom as he gets ready to go to work.  I did two key things to support this, which break the pattern of how we typically shoot FALLING SKIES.  I shot the scene on a dolly instead of hand-held, and I asked DP Nate Goodman to light the scene with warm, golden colors instead of the de-saturated blue-ish hues we traditionally use.  I also went to slightly tighter more traditional close-ups…  And I think Moon Bloodgood looks particularly beautiful in hers.  All this was to create a sense of calm that is in opposition to the storm that is coming.

Two scenes later is one of the creepiest scenes I’ve ever directed.  In the earliest drafts of the script Karen just came walking out of the woods and presented herself to Hal and Maggie.  This clearly wasn’t resonant enough.  Remi Aubuchon and I talked about the fact that we had to create a more visceral scene than this… We went out to dinner together one night and tried to one-up each other with ideas.  I was proposing that Hal and Maggie came across a small encampment of people that had been burned and shot up and that Karen was found amongst the smoking ruins.  Remi liked this, but it ran up against some budgetary and time issues.  Because one of the goals of this episode was to keep a tight reign on budget, we had to soot everything on the grounds of the property where the hospital is located.  Creating a destroyed camp would add unnecessary expense.  Finally, Remi hit upon it…  “What if they come upon a group of de-harnessed kids, who are all dead and laying in a ditch?” He asked. 

I thought about it for a beat.  “Wow,” I said.  “So the aliens purposefully killed a bunch of de-harnessed kids, just to set up the 2nd Mass and infiltrate Karen?”

“Exactly,” said Remi, with a smile.

“That is so sick…” I said.  “I love it.’

“Can we do it,” Remi asked.  “I mean, to do it right they have to be nude.  Can we pull that off”?

I thought a bit.  “Of course.  Sure.  We’ll just get kids who are eighteen and look younger and we'll put flesh colored bikinis and moleskin patches on them and we’ll cover the ditch with sticks and dirt and make it look like a shallow grave.  The dirt will hide all the ‘naughty bits.’”  

I love when ideas start rolling like this.

Of course, we did all that – but when we shot the scene it was January in Vancouver, Canada.  It was sooooo  dang cold.  We put blanket heaters under the dirt that the kids laid down on, and between takes we blasted the extras with heaters – but still – it was brutal. 

And, of course, Jessy Shram had to be in there too.
I must, at this point in the blog stop and deeply bow to Jessy, not just for laying in an ice-cold ditch but also for EVERYTHING she did on this episode.  The heart and center of the whole piece rests on her and her performance.  The script was very subtle in suggesting whether she was guilty or not, and we didn’t want to tip our hat at all to this until the last possible minute.  I think Jessy showed up and KICKED ASS.  She was asked to do much more in this (and next week’s) episode than she has at any other time on this series.  She and I talked a lot about how to approach the performance – but on the days of shooting she was, just, on fire.  She nailed everything with such subtlety and rawness that I was just floored.

The very first moment when she comes to and grabs Hal is so shocking.   It is a true horror-film moment that was very much designed and constructed shot-by-shot to build to that scare.   But - when it came time for the “big moment”  - Jessy’s expression and her scream and her piercing blue eyes just nail it.  (At least IMHO.)

I also really like the scene where Karen is coming-to in bed and Hal is trusting her, and Anne is nurturing her, and Tom is interrogating her and Ben is challenging her and Margret is quietly, distrustfully observing her.  I like this scene because every character has such a specific point of view.  I tried to be mindful when shooting this scene of something Steven Spielberg had told me early on in the process.  He said he wanted a lot of group shots and not too many close-ups in this series.  It’s more movie-like and less TV like, and it requires viewers to make their own choices of which character to pay attention to.  I shot one Close up of Noah from a little bit lower angle – which gives him more power in the scene.  And I shot two close-up of Jessy, one from a low angle and one from a higher angle.  In editing I tried to use the higher angle whenever she was vulnerable and “losing” within the scene, and the lower angle whenever she was ‘winning” her point.  Other than that I tried hard to stay with wider group shots, even though at different times different characters may step forwards and “take over” the frame. 

I also want to mention how much I like Noah Wyle’s performance in that scene.  He is strong and commanding, but not too much so.  He really walks a line of being firm but not being over-committed to being suspicious of Karen.   In general, this episode is a good example of Noah’s craft.  I had the strong experience on this one that, whenever we were shooting any scene with Noah – was generally pleased and acknowledging that he was doing well within the scenes.  But it wasn’t until I saw the editor’s cut, and saw Noah’s whole performance as Tom Mason in this particular story, that I realized how much he had crafted and nuanced a whole performance.  It really begins in one place, journeys and evolves scene-by-scene and builds very, very well.    Directing scene-by-scene on the day, I couldn’t appreciate that homework and craft, but I sure did when I saw it all together.

Speaking of the editor’s cut – I know I’ve mentioned our editor Don Aron before – but this guy is really a genius and a major asset behind-the-scenes.  I will say that the very first cut he delivered to me changed almost-not-at-all from what is what you saw on your TV set tonight.  And this is very rare.  The only issue at all was that the cut was 3 or 4 minutes long and we had to trim it down.  Let me tell you that this is very rare to not have the editor’s cut be tinkered with and changed repeatedly.  I trimmed the scenes down and changed a handful of scenes and cutting patterns and then passed it on to Remi, who had almost no notes…  And then we passed it on the Dreamworks who had almost no notes…  And then we passed it on to TNT who had no picture notes and just one or two dialogue and sound notes…. And then we passed it on to Mr. Spielberg who had no notes!  And almost unheard of series of events!

The only significant loss, in my opinion, was that there was a very nice scene on the roof of the hospital between Hal and Maggie that was about two minutes long and had to be cut for time.  It was a nice scene because it evolved their relationship.  Hal had some nice dialogue about how much had always been expected of him by his father and how he had always delivered – in sports, school, etc.  And now he wanted to have his father trust him about Karen.  Maggie challenged this and asked “which” Karen Hal was defending – and why.   Hal protested that it wasn’t about his love for Karen, he was still only into Maggie – but he believes she had been through a massive trauma and deserved another chance.  It also showed Maggie’s evolving suspicion of Karen.  I really liked the scene – but it didn’t advance the story 100% and the episode worked without it.  If we’d kept that scene in we would have had to cut 2 minutes in lots of other little places and the whole show was working so well I hated to do that.  

So the Hobson’s choice was made.

The last thing I’d like to talk about is the scene where Karen and Ben “connect” through their spikes.  In the script they merely touched hands, which set off the spikes and their intense alien-induced moment.  But as we shot the master, I was feeling like the scene was missing some level of intensity and surprise.  I also felt that Connor – as much as I love him, and as much as he’s been fully committed and kicking-butt this year – was holding back a little.  I tried a number of ways to talk both actors through the scene, but it just wasn’t happening.  So, I did something I don’t usually do.  When there was a lighting break, I sidled up to Jessy and said “On the next take, I want you to kiss Connor.  I’m not telling him, because I want the surprise, are you cool with that?”   She nodded that she was “in.”

The next take was Connor’s close-up and I also had a second camera getting a 50-50 profile shot.  Jessy did kiss him.  And she did it better than I’d hoped for, slowly and hesitantly.  Connor was surprised, but he went with it – and I didn’t cal “cut” for a long time – I wanted the moment to evolve in it’s awkwardness – and I was very happy with the result.
Okay – I hope you liked tonight’s episode as much as I enjoyed making it for you – And now PICTURES!!!!!!...

DANG!  I TOLD YOU THAT LIGHT WAS PURTY!!!! (AND MOON'S NOT BAD EITHER)


MOON ENJOYING A MOMENT BETWEEN SHOTS



UP ON THE ROOF

BEFORE WE TORTURED JESSY AND THE EXTRAS WE LAID IT OUT WITH STAND-INS

THEN WE THREW THEM ALL IN A DITCH

ONE OF OUR PERFORMERS


SHOOTING THE SCENE

I ALWAYS REMIND JESSY - "REMEMBER IT'S A GLAMOUR BUSINESS!"



MOON AND NOAH ON SET

MAKEUP IS APPLIED BETWEEN TAKES

ME - HARD AT WORK

MY TWO YOUNG'UNS

NOAH AND D.P. NATE GOODMAN DISCUSS THINGS BETWEEN SCENES

OUR FEARLESS LEADERS

SARAH CARTER - LOVELY AS ALWAYS

MORE PHOTOS OF THE YOUNG'UNS

ME - KINDA FRAZZLED IT SEEMS

A HANDSOME LAD

DREW AND CONNOR RELAX BEHIND THE SCENES




Monday, July 09, 2012

SEASON 2 EPISODE 5: “Love And Other Acts Of Courage”




Tonight's episode was written by:  Joe Weiseberg
And directed by:  John Dahl

I love this episode (and I hope you do to) for all the ways in which it deepens and elaborates our big-picture storyline.  We’ve been worried about Ben and how connected he (and all the harnessed kids) are to the skitters…  And then, beginning with episode 3, of this year, we saw the connection, and perhaps control the Red-Eyed skitter, has over Ben – but now the story gets even more complex, with the idea that some skitters may have rebelled from their masters and want to join the humans in fighting.  The way Remi Aubuchon and his team have taken our first year story and added to it is just great and this was an exciting episode to produce.
Usually a few weeks before we get a script for an episode, the writers will send us an outline.  This is generally an 8 to 10 page document that lists the scenes and overall beats to expect in the upcoming teleplay.  It’s a great way to begin planning, but usually they’re pretty dry.  Well, when we got the outline for  episode 5 – I was floored.
The opening scene – which depicted the various skitters on the rooftops of a demolished city, engaged in some kind of ritual chant, or war cry; and then Ben appearing and joining into their voices – sent chills down my spine.  The scene struck me as having a spiritual component to it - and while this is not completely illuminated - it seemed (to me at least) to imply an answer Karen had asked last year:  "Do the skitters have a God?"
It ended up being a very elaborate and complex scene to conceive of and shoot.  First, as always we had to have a lot of meetings to talk about “What is it” and “How will it look”?  Director John Dhal storyboarded the sequence which gave us a great jumping off point.  It was decided by all that we would do a series of sweeping crane shots over and past the skitters and that we would depict them on different roofs.  The problem is, we only had one skitter body and two heads.  The “Red-Eye Head” and the “non-Red Eye head.”     We also decided that we’d have to shoot these shots on a green screen stage, with a partial set that the art department would construct.  Then Zoic Studios, the visual effects house we use, would build the backgrounds with CGI.  Still it had to be efficient and budgetable.  Production  Designer, Rob Gray, a generally brilliant guy,  had many specific ideas about how he would build one set with various setpieces that we could quickly change around. 
But the part of the scene with Ben was more complex than that.  Mostly because he was moving and running – he couldn’t be on green screen.  We would have to find an appropriate roof!   Our location scouts searched and found something very cool.  There is an old sugar factory in Vancouver made of very ancient brick that has a great rooftop.  Of course you have to go up a rickety old elevator and then climb three or four flights of rickety stairs to get to it.  At first it felt impractical  to go up there.  The ascent was too difficult for the full crew…  But a stripped down second unit crew with, literally just a camera crew, a couple of makeup artists, the director and Connor – no sound crew- no lights - could it.
Well, we fell in love with the sugar factory and decided to make it our home base for the scene where the 2nd Mass finds the skitter-mech battlefield – and when that decisions was made the next decision was easy.  While John Dhal directed the main scenes at ground level, I would take a guerilla second unit, with Connor, up on the roof and direct the opening.


The sugar factory battlefield created it’s own problems.  The script described a vast sea of destruction with numerous  murdered skitters and mechs.  We had already  small truckload of skitter bits… for the opening, including a burnt up skitter and several bloody legs.  But we only had one shot up mech head from season one.  These little bits are actually quite expensive and time consuming to manufacture.  We committed to building a few – but only a few.  I knew we needed some big sweeping crane shots that showed the whole battlefield, and decided we would add CGI mechs into those shots.  But Mr. Dahl had to limit his other coverage to only see the chunks of skitters and mechs that we owned.  It’s always funny for me to see makeup effects crew running around the set throwing skitter chunks around and pouring blood on them.  What a way to make a living!  I frequently started singing a jingle (I must rememeber from some dog-food commercial from when I was a kid) “Skitters-and-bits-and bits-and bits…  Rachel from the makeup team, sweetly, made a “Skitters and Bits” candy wrapper (See the photos below)
This script also creates another new development – which is that it steps up the relationship between Hal and Maggie, shows more complexities in Maggie’s world view, and gave Sarah Carter and Drew Roy a chance to develop their personal and interpersonal stories.
Drew and Sarah have a great on-screen chemistry and I'm very glad the story is taking us to a place where we are going to get to explore that.  It's good that they get along too - because when they were shooting the scene in the back of the car, when they're hiding from mechs...  They had to stay crunched up, with Sarah on top of Drew in the back of a teeny (I think it was a...) Ford Fiesta and a camera team smashed into the front seat over them - for about three hours in sub-zero weather.
I don’t think I’ve done enough in this blog to talk about  Drew Roy and what an all-around tremendous actor and great young man he is.  I might overlook him a bit because all he every does is show up ready for action having done his homework.  He gets it right the first time all the time, and it’s really a pleasure to work with him.  He also is, probably, our best actor when it comes to doing stunts and driving the motorcycles.  In the elaborate sequence where he and his crew are getting shot at by mechs, and where he goes back to save Maggie – Drew did all his own driving past all the explosions we’d set up. 
He also is the only man I know who both appeared on HANNAH MONTANA and kissed Miranda Coscrove on iCARLY.  That is a record that will probably last for the ages.

This weeks episode also marks the return of Daniyah Ysrayl
as Rick.  I love Daniyah and got to know both he an his close-knit family in Toronto last year.  He is a funny, fun-loving kid with great respect for his parents, who sings and plays music with his brother...

He also got very close with Connor last year.  And he also loves to goof around and flirt with Moon.  Like any sane man, he has a huge crush on her, and she is very sweet back to him.  All-in-all Daniyah is very fun to have around..  We were all sad his character wasn’t immediately returning for season 2, but Remi felt there was no further way to develop Rick on an ongoing basis.  But then he came up with the amazing twist from this episode….
Oh yeah, one last thing I wanted to mention regarding last week’s episode, “Young Guns.”  Someone had commented on the use of the the guitar version of “Claire De Lune” which was used at the end of the episode.  It made me think of the sometimes small but impactful ways Steven Spielberg is involved in our storytelling.  The music piece was originally put in by our editor Don Aron.  He is brilliant, visually of course, but also in terms of guiding the episodes with sound effects and musically.  When Mr. Spielberg saw the cut – he loved the piece of music and suggested that we add the element of seeing the guitarist in the 2nd Mass.  So, much later, we added the shot of Laci Mailey (Weaver’s daughter) walking away from Weaver’s tent and past the guitarist.  This was challenging for her because it meant she had to get into the heightened emotional state she’s been in weeks before.  Still, it all turned out quite well…  I meant to include this tidbit last week but time and circumstance got away from me… 
And so, on to pictures:
.

THE RETURN OF DANIYAH
MOON AND DANIYAH




NOAH ON SET - AT THE READY


DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY NATE GOODMAN LINES UP A SHOT
CONNOR AND I ON THE ROOF
THIS 2ND UNIT GAVE ME THE CHANCE TO HIRE MY OLD SMALLVILL PAL - DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY GLEN WINTER
FAR BELOW US THE MAIN UNIT WAS SHOOTING
CONNOR ON THE ROOF
SARAH CARTER AND DREW ROY


GOOFIN' OFF
THE BESERKERS
PLUS ONE
DREW ON HIS BIKE PREPARES FOR BATTLE
NOAH LEADS THE MISSION
JOHN DAHL DIRECTS CONNOR

IT'S COLD AS SHIZZNAZZ IN CANADA
OUR PRODUCTION DESIGNER ROB GRAY (HE DESIGNS AND BUILDS EVERYTHING AND EVERYWHERE WE FILM)

SKITTERS AND BITS