Tuesday, July 30, 2013


SEASON 3 - EPISODE 10: Journey to Xilbalba

Written by:  Bradley ThompsonBradley Thompson

Directed by: Jonathan Frakes


OK HANDS DOWN THESE WERE MY FAVORITE COSTUMES AT COMICON - THERE WAS AN AWESOME ZOMBIE WOLVERINE, DEADPOOL AND SPIDERMAN TOO - BUT CHECK OUT THIS OLD SCHOOL X-MEN -- AWESOME!!!!!


So sorry - Life is moving 1000 miles an hour for me this week - I just couldn't get a proper blog up...  But here' som pictures!!!!





DREW ROY WAS INTERVIEWED BACKSTAGE AT COMICON

SO WAS DOUG JONES

THIS IS US WAITING TO GO ONSTAGE AND GREET YA'LL

THIS IS WHAT I SAW FROM THE STAGE...

AND THIS...

... AND THIS

US ON STAGE AT COMICON

SARAH CARTER AND I AT COMICON (SHE HAD LANDED YESTERDAY FROM A MOVIE SHE WAS SHOOTING IN JAKARTA AND WAS SHE WAS SEEING STARS! - BUT OF COURSE, SHE CAME TO GREET THE FANS)


JONATHAN FRAKES AND NOAH WYLE ARE OLD PALS

I TOOK THIS PICTURE OFF OF ONE OF THE PLAYBACK MONITORS, CUZ I THOUGHT IT WAS COOL

SEYCHELLE HUNKERS DOWN BETWEEN TAKES IN THE MISTY MIST AND THE DUSTY DUST

DIRECTOR FRAKES COMMANDS ON SET
DALE DYE ON SET

Monday, July 22, 2013

SEASON 3 - EPISODE 8 - "STRANGE BREW"

SEASON 3 - EPISODE 8:  "STRANGE BREW"

Written by: John Wirth
Directed by: David Solomon

WARNING:  THIS BLOG CONTAINS SPOILERS.  SPOILERS MAY MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR BRAIN IS BEING SUCKED OUT THROUGH YOUR NOSE BY ALIEN HARDWARE.  IF YOU EXPERIENCE THIS SENSATION, STOP READING AND GO TO ANOTHER WEBSIGHT.

 
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First an apology for getting the blog up late.  I was at ComicCon in San Diego on Friday and Saturday doing press and a panel with the cast.  Sunday had it's own craziness - and now here it is - Monday and I'm just posting.
ComicCon was a big success.  The room we spoke in was filled with over three thousand people.  They laughed and cheered and when we showed the clip in which Tom shoots Karen in the head, they gasped and then cheered long and hard.  I was most impressed when moderator Will Wheaton took questions from the fans.  The questions were really smart and thoughtful.  I thought, “Dang, our FALLING SKIES fans really pay attention!”  Anyway, if you were in the crowd that day (or even if you were not) thank you for your dedication to the show.  Believe me, everyone on this cast and crew is very aware of you and all that we do, ultimately, is for you!

I haven’t downloaded my ComicCon pictures yet – but I’ll post the blog without them, and then add some later – so come back and review the blog if you don’t see some ComicCon pix at first.

Okay, so I hope you all will agree (or at least most of you, cause “all” is too much too hope for) that this was an excellent episode.

In my many years in the business, I’ve come to learn that you only get a couple a year where the script is great from the get-go, the process goes smoothly, the editing is additive and it all turns out fantastically.

And that’s how I feel about “Strange Brew.”

John Wirth, who sadly for us, during the shooting of this one, announced that he was going to be leaving in Season 4 to run “HELL ON WHEELS”, wrote the episode.  Well, he left with a bang.

This storyline was pitched out to me way back in August before we had started shooting, by Remi Aubachon.  And he and I both quickly reached the same conclusion.  Because Noah Wyle was going to have to shave his beard, we would have to shoot this episode last, in December, after we’d completed the season finale.

That was complicated enough, but it became doubly complex when we learned that Moon Bloodgood was pregnant and would have to leave the show in October to have her baby.  The implication of this was that we were going to have to shoot half of any scene involving Moon two months before we filmed anything else, and two months before we had a completed script for the episode.  (I say “half” because, remember Noah still had his beard in October. )

And, as crazy as it was we did exactly that.  If you remember, a couple of blogs ago I mentioned that I chose to direct episode 4 because that was Moon’s last episode of the year – but I also knew that we’d be directing scenes of her for this episode.  John had to write the scene in the coffee shop with Tom and Anne, before even starting the rest of the script.  He tells me that he had a pretty good outline and idea of what he wanted, but he was also busy writing his half of episode 6 at the same time.  Anyway – it was crazy.  We went out and scouted the coffee shop location, it was great but it was in downtown Vancouver and as we worked the schedule out for episode 4, there was no way we were going to move the company to downtown for half of one scene.  So after getting assurances from my location manager that we definitely, absolutely positively would be able to use that coffee shop in December, two months from now – our production designer Rob Gray built half of the set on stage.

It was literally that – half a set – three walls. 

My invaluable assistant Ashley spotted an extra she thought would be a good “shaved Tom” double and we brought him in.

Filming that half of the scene was bizarre.  We didn’t have the script, just the scene.   Noah and Moon worked the dialogue together, and Noah tried to work through all the details of his performance, like when he’d point, when he’d slap his palm on the table, when he’d stand, how many steps he’d back away from the table, etc.  After he worked it out he tried to teach the photo double how to do the physicality.  The man was lovely, and he did have Noah’s physique and jawline – but he had never done a job like this before.  I’m sure it was an odd experience for him to have Noah telling him, “When I say these words, jab your hand at her – like this…” And, “On his line grab your scarf with your right hand, and stand up…” Etc.   During the scene Moon had to look and act to the double, while Noah stood close by reading the lines.  Two months later, when it was Noah’s turn to do the scene, he had no such luxury.  Moon was off having a baby, so he had to act completely to Moon’s stand in, who learned the dialogue for the scene.

Also, creatively I wasn’t sure what techniques to employ to convey the weirdness of it all.  I knew I wanted to heighten the surrealism of the scene – but I hadn’t had time to really prep it, and I wasn’t even going to be directing the episode – that was going to be done by David Solomon who, in October,  was busy directing an episode of ONCE UPON A TIME.  I went to an old favorite of mine, the swing-and-tilt lens.  It’s a lens that swings the plane of focus to the diagonal, and was invented for architectural photography as a way to keep the whole building in focus when you were photographing it from the ground.  When you use it on a traditional subject it has the odd and unsettling appearance of making something – say the human face- only partially in focus.  Say, for instance, one eye and half of the lips are in focus and the rest of the face is out.  When you move the lens during a shot the plane of focus shifts and it’s very weird – but at the same time somewhat subtle.

I used this technique on Moon’s face during the scene for the parts where she starts to get angrier and more confrontational to Tom.

In editing, my brilliant film editor Don Aron added very subtle jump cuts and effected dissolves to further make the scene become bizarre.

Another idea that I think worked out great was beginning the episode in blackness with a sound montage from all of the previous seasons.  Remi got this idea from watching “Zero-Dark-Thirty” which opens in a similar way.  The script originally called for the episode to open on a Boston sports radio talk show, and we had that in the cut at first.  But once the sound montage was in, it became clear to me that something more jarring was needed.  I suggested to Don that we find the most annoying alarm clock buzzer we could, and that we bleed it through as if it were a sound effect from the battle at first and then it reveals itself to be an alarm clock.  All of these techniques were complimented by the excellent opening shot David Solomon made, which began on a close up of Tom’s eyes, too tight to see he was beardless, which then panned to the alarm clock radio as Tom reaches over to turn it off (at which point we’re realizing something is off here) and then pans back with Tom’s hand but now wider to see he is shaven and then continues as Rebecca rolls into frame.  An excellent first moment!

I think the fun part of this episode was seeing, or imagining we see life before the invasion.  Steven Spielberg has always been adamant that he doesn’t want to see “before” or the day of the invasion.  But this was a way to have our cake and eat it too.

It was also a fun way to have all of our cast re-imagined in different roles within Tom’s mind.  Of course you noticed the return of Peter Shinkoda, who died as “Dai” last season.  Peter was greeted by much hugging and adulation by the cast that loves him so much when he showed up (literally on our last day of filming for the year.)  But did you catch Doug Jones (who plays “Cochise”) as a teacher in the lounge with Tom?  I think, though, that the actor who loved their new role the most was Will Patton.  When we told him, “And you’ll be playing a crazy homeless man.” I could see his eyes light up.  Will dug into his part with relish, and had a lot of fun.

The other thing I think is worth noting is actor Jennifer Ferrin who plays Rebecca Mason.  This was a big role to step into – because the Mason wife and mother has been much discussed and eulogized  and fought over by Tom and the boys over the three seasons.  John Wirth had worked with Jennifer and strongly recommended her.  To tell you the truth, none of the rest of us were that familiar with her, and we went after some bigger names at first – but no one was available.  Noah didn’t know her work, and was, perhaps a bit nervous.  But halfway through the first take of their first scene (which ironically was the last scene where Tom, still bearded, imagines his wife is there in his old bedroom, pushing him to not look back)  their chemistry came alive immediately.  There was a tenderness and familiarity and history.   
That’s what I love about the craft of acting.  When two actors really know what they’re doing, and even though they might have just met thirty minutes before in the makeup trailer – they can create a life together – a whole world in fact – with they’re bodies and their voice.

I love my job!

NOAH AND WILL, HAPPY TOGETHER!


ON THE CREEPY ESPHENI SET , CONNOR JESSUP WITH DIRECTOR DAVID SOLOMON IN THE B.G.

WILL AT WORK - I THINK HE REALLY LIKED THIS CHARACTER


ON SET AT THE MASON HOUSE

ME 'N THE SHRAMINATOR (IT SNOWED FOR TWO DAYS ALL WINTER IN VANCOUVER - BOTH WERE THE PERFECT DAYS FOR US TO CREATE XMAS IN BOSTON...  WE GET LUCKY LIKE THAT ON "FALLING SKIES")

WILL AT WORK - I THINK HE REALLY, REALLY LIKED THIS ROLE

CINEMATOGRAPHER NATE GOODMAN EXPERIENCES THE COLD SHIZNAZZ THAT IS CANADA

LACI MALLEY AS TOM'S ASSISTANT

THEY CALL HIM "MR. SHINKODA"


ME AND COLLIN AND SARAH
THIS WAS OUR VERY LAST DAY OF SHOOTING FOR THE YEAR

CONNOR ON SET
WILL AND OUR CAMERA OPERATOR MIKE WRINCH - DO YOU NOTICE ANYTHING UNUSUAL ABOUT THIS PHOTO?


Sunday, July 14, 2013

SEASON 3, EPISODE 7: "THE PICKETT LINE"


 SEASON 3, EPISODE 7: "THE PICKETT LINE"

DIRECTED BY:  
Sergio Mimica-Gezzan 

WRITTEN BY:

Heather V. Regnier 
Jordan Rosenberg 

WARNING:  THIS BLOG CONTAINS SPOILERS.  IF READING SPOILERS MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'VE BEEN WAYLAID BY HIGHWAYMEN AND LEFT FOR DEAD - THEN STOP READING NOW!!!


“The Pickett Line” is another episode where it rained, and rained and rained!  Oh my God, did it rain.  During the opening scene, where Tom and Ben walk along below a cliff face and encounter the dying rebel skitter, it was POURING rain, the wind was HOWLING and the temperature was just above freezing.    Assistant Directors rushed into flapping tents that night, huddled over barely working cell phones to hurridly discuss with the Producers whether we should pull the plug on the night.  But the decision was made to press on.  Noah Wyle and Connor Jessup, for their part, wanted to keep going.  At this point in the season, Noah had been through three particularly physically grueling episodes in a row ("Be Silent And Come Out," "Search And Recover" and now this one) He’d been either standing in the pelting rain, sloshing around in freezing cold rivers, been beaten up or thrown around in various ways for about a month.   There was something of a thousand yard stare in his eyes.  He was beyond complaining or even resisting – he just wanted to move forward, one foot in front of the other.  Luckily, Noah works well under duress, and on this night and on the rest of this episode, the elements fueled a certain passion in his performance.
The good news was that Noah really liked this script.  He was excited about, and had been advocating for, an adventure like this – in which it was all about Tom and his sons, on the move – a family - together.    He also knew the work of Christopher Heyerdahl who plays Duane Pickett, the patriarch of his clan.  You may recognize him as "The Swede" in HELL ON WHEELS ...  (A series writer John Wirth is taking over as head writer this year btw.)   We had had an excellent cast read-through on this episode and Noah was excited to work with Chris as a scene partner.
Remi Aubuchon, our head writer, saw this episode as an opportunity to explore “what if?”  What if, Tom and his sons had made a different choice than to engage the fight against the aliens and to join up with the resistance and eventually the 2nd Mass.?  What if, instead, they had gathered their supplies and disappeared into the woods – determined to survive as a family.  To Remi this was a question that he imagined Tom had been asking himself for quite some time – what if, selfish or not, they had just gone into survival mode – would things have been better?
Remi had attempted to explore this storyline at least once or twice before.  In early drafts of the Season 2 premiere episode, there was a lengthy subplot where Tom, having escaped the alien ship, found himself living with a woman and her two children who had been surviving in the woods – at first seemingly quite happily.  In that story Tom began to regret his decision to fight, and to imagine that he could find Ben and Hal and Matt and bring them to the halcyon woods.  (Of course all was not as it appeared and the perfect bliss of the woods eventually turned ugly – but that is another story - one of many stories that were explored, but remain untold.)  For various reasons that subplot was abandoned before we began production – but the theme stayed in Remi’s mind and he kept looking for a way to explore it.
The opportunity came now.  When Tom and his boys (Pariah’s in Charleston to some degree) left on horseback to find Anne and Lexi, the writers created an alternate-universe family who were living and surviving away from the fight.   In this story Tom sees, quite clearly, that there is no avoiding consequences in this post-invasion world.
Meanwhile – back in Charleston – Stephen Collins  returns as President Hathaway.  The opening image we see of him is Cochise is carrying him in.  This posed a problem, because Doug Jones  – who plays Cochise – is already weighed down by about 50 pounds of latex and rubber – and he could barely see out of his mask.  Carrying an adult male, even the slender (but tall!) Stephen Collins, was going to be impossible.  I had encountered this problem before on SMALLVILLE .  On that show Tom Welling, playing Clark, was always having to carry unconscious people around and it had to look effortless.  He was Okay for a few minutes with the petite Kristen Kruek – but anyone larger and we had to use an elaborate crane that held up the unconscious person, who wore a harness, and the crane had to move around wherever Tom walked – and afterwards we digitally removed all of the wires.  That concept was discussed in prep here – but FALLING SKIES moves faster and shoots much more page count per day than SMALLVILLE did.  Our Skitter-creator and prosthetics effects maven, Todd Masters, suggested an alternate idea.  He had a lifelike human dummy made of a kind of foam rubber that only weighed forty pounds or so.  He suggested that he and his and his team would roughly carve a Stephen Collins face onto it and that Doug Jones would be able to carry that much more easily.  And that’s what we did.  The dummy is excellent and to this day when I watch the scene I can’t tell the one from the other.
There are two scenes in this episode that weren’t filmed until weeks after the completion of principle photography.  The first is the scene where Cochise takes President Hathaway, Marina and Weaver down to see the big Volm gun.  When I first read the scene that concludes our first episode of this year – the one where Tom takes Weaver down to see the big gun – my strong instinct was that this was a location that was going to recur more than once in the season, but which would recur in a limited way.   I confirmed with Remi that this was likely to be the case – and then I proposed that we delay shooting the scene until we had a block of scenes from various episodes.  That sounded good on paper – but there were two problems, which I didn’t foresee.  First – we budgeted the visual effects properly for the scene, but we didn’t really put enough money aside for the set.  It wasn’t irresponsibility, it was just that we (a) didn’t know exactly what the set was going to be and (b) the natural instinct to push off to tomorrow what doesn’t have to be done today kicked in (like – why fix a leaky roof on such a sunny day?) 
The concept of “what was the location where the Volm built the gun” wasn’t really resolved right away.  Rob Gray and I talked about it a lot, but slowly and over time.  We eventually landed on the idea that, before the invasion, across the river from our main Charleston set – was a big skyscraper that was about to be built when the invasion hit.  When the Volm arrived they commandeered the underground space (the six or seven stories below-ground a skyscraper will always have.) And that the Volm gun had been built there in a space still surrounded by rebar and steel girder infrastructure.
When it came time to actually build the set (months after episode 1 and weeks after this episode, 7) Rob Gray and his team really had to scramble. They built they built the tunnel, seen in the first episode, and the platform our actors stood on (which was surrounded by only a few feet on every side by art-directed dirt.)  This was surrounded on all sides by blue screen.  As always the work, though quickly done, was excellent!
The second problem I hadn’t foreseen was the idea that President Hathaway or any other non-series-regular being part of the scene.  So, because we couldn’t finish the scene in the body of episode 7 we had to wait until Mr. Collins was available to return to Vancouver.  These two scenes were almost the very last things we shot at the end of our shooting year.
But when it’s all said and done, I’m very happy with the way the scenes look.  I love the big camera moves that swoop in and out past the big gun.  And I love the way our VFX team at Zoic made the gun look.
The other scene that wasn’t shot until much later was the one scene between Maggie and Pope.  This scene came about because, when the episode was first edited together, it came in several minutes short.  This necessitated us scrambling to add something.  In the original story, and in the first draft – there was a running storyline that followed Maggie, who, distressed about Hal and the Mason’s leaving…  Decided to follow them.  We saw her tracking them once or twice, and then she appeared and joined the fray as the action was heating up near the end.
In the end, the powers-that-be decided to drop this story.  For one thing, the storyline was adding shooting time we just couldn’t afford and for another – it felt better to keep the integrity of an all-Mason-boys episode.  
But when Maggie's story was cut out it left her (and Sarah Carter) as a woman without an episode.  All the other parts of the story, Pope’s antics with Weaver and the President Hathaway/Lourdes story were finished.  We discussed trying to retrofit Maggie into those stories, but it didn’t make sense.  
When the idea began to circulate, that we may have to shoot another scene for time, Sarah Carter came to me and suggested the essence of the scene that’s in the episode now.  She suggested that a scene between she and Pope would be valuable, because there was so much between those characters that was as-yet unexplored.  I passed the idea on to Remi – and Remi loved it.   He wrote the scene quickly and  we shot it a few days later.  The scene as it stands is a bit of a one-off, in that it’s not especially connected to the rest of the episode…  But I really like the energy both Sarah and Collin bring to the table.  I really like the scene and am glad it’s there.
Alright!  No more words...   Pictures!!!
 
I TOOK THIS PHOTO FROM A MONITOR ON SET - THOUGHT IT LOOKED COOL!
THIS WAS ANOTHER ONE OF OUR RAINY DAYS
ON SET - ON HORSEBACK

THEY CALL ME MR. POPE

DREW AND MAXIM RELAX BETWEEN TAKES (THEY WERE UNDER A TARP AND SO AWAY FROM THE PELTING RAIN)

SARAH CARTER WAITS TO BE CALLED TO SET

WILL PATTON ADDRESSES THE CROWD

WAITING IN THE WINGS BEFORE "ACTION"
STEPHEN COLLINS AND DOUG JONES AS COCHISE (AN INTERESTING ASIDE:  STEPHEN HAD MANY SCENES WITH DOUG IN THE TWO EPISODES THEY DID TOGETHER, BUT BECAUSE DOUG SPENDS THREE HOURS GETTING INTO HIS MAKEUP BEFORE THE REST OF THE CAST ARRIVES - STEPHEN NEVER SAW WHAT DOUG LOOKED LIKE UNTIL THEY MET AT AN EVENT MONTHS LATER.)
SERGIO DIRECTS STEPHEN
ANOTHER DAY AT WORK
MY OLD PAL FROM "SMALLVILLE" - DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY BARRY DONLEVY

DEATH BE NOT PROUD


YOU TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHAT'S GOING ON HERE - WINNER GETS A DOUGHNUT
 

Sunday, July 07, 2013

SEASON 3 - EPISODE 6 - "BE SILENT AND COME OUT"

SEASON 3 - EPISODE 6: "BE SILENT AND COME OUT"

Written by:



Bradley Thompson& David Weddle
and

John Wirth

Directed by Adam Kane

WARNING:  THERE ARE SPOILERS CONTAINED IN THIS BLOG.  IF READING SPOILERS MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE AN ALIEN ORGANISM IS SPREADING THROUGH YOUR BLOODSTREAM, CAUSING UNBEARABLE PAIN - STOP NOW AND READ NO FURTHER!!!


This episode was hard.  Every episode of FALLING SKIES is hard, but this one was right up there.  

Remi Aubuchon and the writers had always designed this episode to be under-budget.  The idea was that the whole story would be very contained, to our standing sets and have a minimum of visual effects.  The original goal was also to shoot the episode in 7 days instead of the normal 8.  But as they say about “the best laid plans of mice and men”…  none of that exactly happened.   We did end up saving some money on this one – but not as much as we hoped.  The VFX (Visual effects) budget was low – even with the “removing-the-eye-worm-from-Hal” sequence, and the production company was able to stay all in one place for the whole shoot, which always actually saves a lot of money.  But, despite Herculean efforts to do so, there was no way we could’ve shot this in 7 days.  There were just too many moving parts – too much cast – too much action and too much necessary coverage (i.e. shots needed for editing.)  

All that aside, however, I am personally very  happy with "Be Silent and Come Out."  It greatly follows the rules of Aristotelian unity  which, to me, means that the story is told  within a confined and definite amount of time and it all happens in a confined and definite set of space.  
From Wikipedia:
In their neoclassical form, Aristotle's rules for drama are as follows:
  1. The unity of action: a play should have one main action that it follows, with no or few subplots.
  2. The unity of place: a play should cover a single physical space and should not attempt to compress geography, nor should the stage represent more than one place.
  3. The unity of time: the action in a play should take place over no more than 24 hours.
I think this story, for the most part, does all of this. (Even though it actually divides into almost two perfect halves - 1. in which Tom is captured by Hal and the group at Charleston organizes to save Tom and take down Hal - and 2. In which Hal is de-bugged.)  It’s a taut, exciting episode and I think that all of the players did a great job. 

First of all, I think that director Adam Kane did  fantastic work in keeping the story moving and the camera moving and that he kept track and modulated both the emotion of the piece and the internal pacing of the piece.  Trust me, on paper there was a danger of many of the scenes in the standoff section of the episode becoming repetitive and flat.  But Adam kept all of the balls in the air in a very excellent way.

Our whole cast always does a great job – and I’ve certainly praised Noah Wyle and Will Patton and some of the other vets enough in this blog…  But today I really need to recognize how hard and how well Drew Roy did.  First off all, what Drew was playing, veering back and forth between two totally different personality aspects that are struggling to dominate his body – is hard.  And this also needs modulation, planning and organization on a purely technical level as an actor.   Also, Drew went for it...  He did not hold back in his performance at any time.  I value this very highly.  When he's screaming and writhing in pain - he goes all the way.  When he's begging for Maggie to untie him - it's intense and urgent.  And at the same time, I don't believe that Drew, at any time, went "over the top" and overacted.  All in all - well done!
One of the most important things to me – as a producer of this series is:  Is what’s happening clear?  I’m a pain-in-the-ass about this with all levels of the crew and cast and especially in the editing room.  On a very basic level – the audience has to be able to follow and understand what is  happening.  Again, and even though I thought this was an excellent script, there was a great deal of potential danger of “what is happening?” to not be clear.  What was happeing to and within Hal, at any given moment, was the main place where lack of clarity was potential.

This was especially relevant when we got into the editing room.  The first cut was good and exciting - but, more so than usual, I found myself sitting with the editor and really talking about where and on which characters we should be at any given moment.  There were so many choices...  at any moment in the story we could (for instance) be on Hal yelling from the window, Tom worried for his son and strategizing an escape, Weaver conflicted about what to do, Pope angry and resentful at what he sees as injustice, Maggie worried about the man she loves as well as her culpability for not telling someone sooner what she knew... etc. etc.  We went through the cut in painstaking detail trying every choice.  And, of course, every choice yielded different results.
This writing and prep of the script was interesting and unusual too.  Even though the story had been planned from the beginning - what happened in the course of the season is that we got behind due to re-writes on previous episodes...  While never desired, this is all very normal in the course of a TV season - but it put the writer's behind at this moment in the season's schedule.  
I'm not sure what the original plan was for the writing of this script - but I know that late in the game - Remi assigned the team of Bradley & David and John Wirth on it - and that they wrote it relatively quickly.  This group had never written a script together before, and, while it was done quickly it went very smoothly.   I believe the strengths of the team were well realized.  In my mind Bradley & David are specilalists at complex action and rising drama.  John is very strong at character development and writing both internal and external character conflict.   Now, I don't mean to short change any of these guys by simplifying their work down like this - all of them can write many, varied aspects of a story.  But, from where I sit, these are their strengths...  And this story brought all of that out.
While under the gun, and maybe because we were under the gun - we had excellent communication between the writer's team and the production team on this one.  I remember a couple of long teleconfrences - one one side were Adam, myself and cinematographer, Nate Goodman in a small trailer in the pouring rain... And on the other side were the writer's in LA.  (It was probably warm and sunny down in LA, grrr...)  On these calls we really hashed through this one.  And it helped a lot - both in terms of the physical organization and prioritizing and in terms of the drama.
One last thing worth mentioning for fun.  Nate Goodman and Adam Kane are old friends.  For many years Adam was a cinematographer and Nate was his camera operator.  Adam was the cinematographer and Nate was the camera operator on the pilot of HEROES.  
Later, on HEROES, when I was working on it, Adam got his chance to direct for the first time and Nate got his chance to move up to cinematographer.  Neither men have looked back since then.  Adam has consistently been a director and even a producer/director on series such as ALPHAS,  and Nate has been exclusively a cinematographer ever since.
But they've never had a chance to work together in their new capacities until now.  I think their ease and familiarity with each other, also helped this episode run smoothly.
Thanks, and until next week...

Our grizzled vet: Will Patton
We love to hate him: Collin Cunningham

On set with Noah and Will

Another from the front lines
Amidst the wreckage and ruin (also - keep in mind - we built, constructed or hauled in everything that you see in all of these pictures!)

Because we had to stay in one place and not move the trucks - this set was built into the small carpenters shop on our stages - the carpenters went without that week

On set - as everyone gathers around injured Hal

Things are tense as Hal begs Maggie for his freedom

Seychelle plays with the goats on set before going into surgery
Camera op Mike Wrinch, on a crane
Director of Photography Nate Goodman smokes a stogie between takes
Popetown:  That's where Pope hangs out
Confrontation in Pope town