Monday, September 01, 2014

FALING SKIES: SEASON 4 EPISODE 11 & 12


THE END


episode 11 
written by: Raven Metzner
directed by: Olatunde Osuname


SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!... 'NUFF SAID



So we have come to the end.

Perhaps an author, when writing a novel, knows exactly when and where he will be wrapping up his book.  But probably it's vague and only somewhat understood.  Only as one gets close to the end does one finally see it.

Two episodes aired back-to-back tonight.  The first hour was written by Raven Metzner, and I must compliment him on the execution.  Raven was a great addition to the team this year.  He really took responsibility and solved problems very effectively as they came up.  

Raven's basic story always stayed the same from the time it came out of the writer’s room.  i.e: Tom and Lexi fly to the moon together and Lexi puts Tom into  a dream state within the cocoon.  But the nature of the dream state and what happened within it changed drastically.  In the original concept Tom was going to experience life in Boston in the normal pre-invasion world.  He was going to experience all of the key moments of life with Lexi that a father does with a daughter.  Birthdays, graduations, boyfriend breakups, and a wedding.  It was a beautiful outline – but realistically we couldn’t have pulled it off for the budget.  Since we never film in the modern world it would mean doing everything differently that we normally do it.  We would have had to find all new locations, bought all new wardrobe for every cast member – and weddings are expensive for any show. 

Once Raven grasped this, he regrouped and changed-up the concept without batting an eye.  I think the re-boot was deeper and stronger (as well as being more practical)… I loved how – in a dream that she and Tom are sharing – we get to see Lexi's vulnerability and her fears of rejection by her father.  Anyway – it was smart.  And Raven came up on set the whole time and oversaw the shoot.  His input was valuable and constructive.

Also Olatunde Osuname returned.  He was instantly well-liked by cast and crew alike after directing episode 7.  If you remember from the ep 7 blog, he is very new to TV and directing in general.  Other than some shorts and a cool feature film that he wrote, produced and directed called “THE FOURTH KIND,” he had never done any TV.  But he handled a complex episode 7 masterfully.

Originally another director was slated to do this episode, but he fell out for personal reasons.  As this became known, Noah and the rest of the cast began lobbying hard for Olatunde.  I agreed, but cold hard experinence has taught me to be cautious.  The director’s cut of episode 7 hadn’t been turned in yet – and, even though I expected it to be very good,  I delayed making the decision until I saw it.
It was good.  Olatunde was brought back for this episode and the rest is history.

I must say - I feel that episode 11 is a very well directed episode...  These kind of story-within-a-story shows are hard.  And depicting dreamworld reality and dream-time is very hard to do.  I think Olatunde did beyond a good job.  I think he did an exceptional job.

He did so many clever things within this episode that are 100% directorial.  He used two photo doubles for Scarlett Byrne to create the moments when Lexi was appearing and re-appearing around Tom.  His transitions within the dream were all very well planned, for instance the one when Weaver and Tom fall off the roof and Tom lands alone.  Those and many other moments were masterfully controlled.  I really like this episode 11 and think Olatunde did a great, great job.

In fact (and again this was a decision supported by cast, crew, Dreamworks, etc.)  It was decided that Olatunde would be the person to replace me in Season 5, when I decided not to return to the show.



TTTHE SEASON 4 CAST AND CREW PHOTO - GOODBYE - I WILL MISS YOU ALL!!!

Yes, with heavy heart, I must inform you that tonight's episode's will be the end of my involvement on FALLING SKIES.  


My time on this show has been a pleasure.  As I have tried to convey in these pages (screens?) - the cast and crew of this show were a close-knit bunch who I truly love.  The undertaking of making this show, in the way that we make it, was rigourously hard - as we battled long hours, frigidly cold nights, and a daunting scale of production.  I am very, very proud of it.  Not every episode.  Not every moment.  But in the main I feel proud of the series and I do feel that I can lay my head on my pillow at night knowing I worked my hardest and did my best to bring you quality entertainment.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Steven Spielberg and to Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey at Dreamworks (now Amblin Television) for hiring me in the first place and for trusting me a with huge amount of responsibility and autonomy.  

Similarly, but also "In Other News," the announcement was made this week that Michael Wright is leavingTNT. I have mentioned Mr. Wright only a few times in this blog, but not enough.  Michael Wright was the head of programming at TNT for the last 12 years.  He developed FALLING SKIES and shepherded it, quite well, for the whole time I was there.  He said repeatedly in notes meetings, that he wasn't just a network executive when it came to our show...  He was a fan.  In my experience this was absolutely true.  He was an absolute dream to work for.  On the one hand he cared passionately about the show, and was insistent on a handful of elements always being retained in the series.  Specifically: That humanity never give up hope; That the Mason family and family in general are the heart of the show; And that Tom was the leader and the center of the story - a man with intellectual knowledge forced by circumstances to become a hero and a leader.  Beyond those elements, and a few others, he gave us, as artists, enormous freedom.  Unlike many other studios where I have worked, he operated from a philosophy that seemed to be: "I have hired an excellent group of film-makers and now I am going to let them do their job."   This approach is unbelievably rare and it is very inspirational.  In my opinion it made me, as a key film-maker on the series, more responsible, not less responsible for the production of each episode.  Anyway - it was a pleasure working under him.  I hope our paths cross again.







- SCARLETT BYRNE ON THE SHIP -


- NOAH - HE WILL GET THIS MISSION DONE! -


- NIGHTY NIGHT - NOAH CLIMBS INTO HIS OUTER SPACE NAP CHAMBER -

- SPOOKY SPACESHIP -


- MY MOST BELOVED MOON, ON SET -


- WILL PATTON - I KEEP TELLING YA'LL -- IT WOULD BE BEST NOT TO MESS WITH HIM -


- TREVA WITH HIS NEW PET -

- SARAH CARTER PREPARES TO JUMP -


- SARAH REVIEWS TAKE ONE - SHE'S THINKING "I CAN DO BETTER!  GIVE ME ANOTHER!" -
- SCARLETT AND NOAH BOND IN SPACE -


 'TUNDE AND A.D. BRYAN KNIGHT BOND IN SPACE -


- TEXTING IS A POPULAR ACTIVITY IN SPACE -


- FOG - IS INCREDIBLY HARD TO CONTROL - DON'T USE IT UNLESS YOU REALLY HAVE TO! -


- MIRA ON A RAINY NIGHT -


S- CINEMATOGRAPHER NATE GOODMAN AND SCRIPT SUPERVISOR NANCY McDNALD - 


-  THE MASON BOYS CLEAN UP GOOD FOR THE WRAP PARTY 
- ME AND OUR FABULOUS GANG OF EXTRAS AT THE WRAP PARTY -



THAT'S IT FANS - GOODNIGHT AND GOODBYE - UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!!!!!!!