Directed by Douglas Aarniokoski

Written by:  David Hoffman

Welcome TIMELESS fans!

This weeks episode was written by David Hoffman, a first-time solo writer on our show.  He co-wrote "Lost Generation" last year.  He, as I understand it, is our consultant and main historian in the writer's room.   Also, a super nice guy!!

Doug Aariniokoski was the director.  Doug and I had worked together once before, on a show I produced called "American Gothic" for CBS.  He frequently does the same producing-director job I do and, from my point of view, is extremely self-contained (which is a huge compliment.)  

My experience, both times with him, was that we got together briefly once or twice, early in his prep phase, I gave him the highlights of what we are trying to do with the series, my take on his episode, as far as what moments I think are key to hit as he goes.  I walk him through any pitfalls, as I see them... And that's it.  I never really have to supervise him or worry about him again.  He comes from an Assistant Director's background - so efficiency is built into his DNA.  He moves very quickly through his day, getting all the shots he needs.  But, unlike many efficient former-ADs I've worked with, he is also careful with the artistry and the performances and gets interesting angles and shots as he goes.  Thumbs up from me on Doug Aariniokoski  (even though I can't pronounce his last name for the life of me.)  

On Location - Our cast gathers
Abigale and Matt talk between takes

Director Doug Aarniokoski

Directing an episode of TIMELESS is challenging.  The scripts are as long as regular TV scripts, and we have as long as a normal TV show to shoot them (on a good day a little bit more) Shawn Ryan and Eric Kripke and Co. make sure the scripts come out early, so we we actually have time to plan and prepare....  BUT - there is still a limited amount of time and money and the director (and the rest of the team) cant have everything in the script that they want.  It never works that way!  I'm not sure why - just seems to be the way of things.

In this case - the first few drafts of the script called for a lot of seperate 1919 city locations.  A city block with a riot, an opera house, a police station exterior, a cab ride through New York City (with Rufus, Flynn and Emma) as well as a big factory in the warehouse district complete with shoot out...  It was a strong script from the get-go but more scope than we could bite off.

Episodic director is also an odd job because you drop in on an already-fast-moving train, and quickly need to take control of that train.  Doug came in strong and was ready to make choices.  He assessed the scope of the script.  His take: We would try to do all of the New York City street material on the Paramount Back lot (where we live.)  There were compromises here - but Doug felt like we could make the lot look like at least two big NYC streets.  And some bigger scenes would be written into nook and crannies around the Paramount lot - alleys and interior spaces that were off of the main street.  

Don Kurt our line-producer/executive producer pushed for the Biltmore Hotel in downtown LA as one of the big interiors and the Southwestern Bag Company as the interior police station.

Anyway - here's all the rubs.  #1 Downtown Los Angeles is extremely exensive to shoot.  Not just because of location costs - mostly because of parking...  That's right parking.  Like all major metropolitan cities I've been in lately, the downtown core is disappearing and an endless number of condominiums are be being built.  That means there's less and less parking and the people who own parking lots can charge whatever they want.  A TV crew travels in many trucks packed with our equipment, plus big makeup and hair trailers and cast trailers and a caterer and a mobile catering room - and we have to park a hundred or more crew memebers - i.e. a big footprint.  So we need a lot of parking lot.

(Who knew?  You get in this business for the art and you end up worrying about parking.)

The Paramount backlot was built into our production deal, so it cost no more money to shoot there, and Paramount's New York street is great!  One of the last remaining studio streets built to really shoot in!  Bu,t of course, it's bare.  To make it look like 1919 meant that our Production Designer John Zachary would have to dress every inch of Paramount - also not cheap.

And to have a mob of protesting suffragettes and police beating on them?  Well AD Anne Berger and Doug wanted 200 for two days...  but the budget wouldn't support it.  The problem with TIMELESS is that, unlike most shows - every time we hire an extra, it means that (1) Their period wardrobe needs to be ordered (often from Europe) or made (2) They need to be brought in early to be fitted  (3) They need special period hair and makeup meaning extra technicians hired on the day (4) They often need special props, meaning extra prop people as well.

After much haggling and negotiating and dropping of vehicles and animals and a lot of set dressing - Doug preserved 100 extras and 10 stunt people for two days.  He decided that we would add a big green screen at the end of the street and that in a handful of shots NYC would be extended making it look even bigger.

On set I was impressed by how he and cinematographer Jimmy Lindsey, ASC framed the scenes.  During the riot - if I watched the monitors - every frame was filled with struggling suffragettes and angry cops.  But if I looked up - just beyond what was in the frame - was nothing - emptiness.  Every frame was being filled by every bit of extra and costume an set dec we had.

Southwestern Bag Company

Our #1 top makeup and hair team get Abigale ready
Gorin cracks a joke on set
I hang out on set, offering mostly-ignored suggestions

The Paramount backlot  (undressed)
The extras gather and our A.D. team divides them into groups

The extras are now put onto Main Street set
dressed as 1919 New York

And the protest begins - notice the green screen in the background where 
we added a period NYC to wide shots

Finally I must shout out to the hero of the episode - our costume designer Mari An Ceo ...  When I saw the director's cut (which usually comes out just to producers a week-and-a-half or so after we finish shooting) I was so impressed with her work.  I mean, it's always above and beyond - but for some reason this episode hit me.  The wardrobe team works tirelessly and with such intergrity... Looooooong hours and usually weekends and all to make sure that Abigale and the rest of the cast and even 110 extras and stunt people look - perfect!

I stalked the lot until I found Mari-An and told her that she was TIMELESS'S secret MVP.  She was beaten and bruised and in the middle of getting our 1980's episode ready - but I think she took it in!

Abigale and Mari-An Ceo 
(I got this image on-line it's not mine)

Perfect period wardrobe - our extras look amazing
Abigale on set with 2nd Second Assistant
Joe Moore  (I'll never know why we don't just
call the job "3rd Assistant" but we don't)

Assistant Director - Anne Berger
(she organized the chaos!)

Malcom and our top PA Esraa Darwish
ready to fight for Votes For Women

... And Annie (our best bad gal!)

Kudos and thanks to Exec-Producer Don Kurt by the way.  Many of these photos were taken by him!  Thanks Don!!!!


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