First Post of 2021 Feels Similar to Posts in 2020

Well so far, 2021 looks a LOT like 2020. But kinda maybe worse? Still a 2020 hangover.

I’m writing an update now instead of actually shooting, which I should be doing but for the pestilence. I start prep on 9-1-1 in December and we were supposed to start shooting this past Monday. Over the holidays, the governor and State of California strongly encouraged productions to halt for a few weeks because the extremely troubling rate of infection right now Los Angeles County in particular.

So, I’m in a holding pattern. I believe I’m finally starting to shoot on Monday, but there’s a likely chance that that will change as well. Whatever happens, whenever it happens, I’m eager to direct this show for the first time. I directed its sister show 9-1-1-: Lone Star as you may know, my six readers, that aired about a year ago this time.

It seems much much much longer than that! Since starting to direct television in the fall of 2014, this is the longest stretch I will have gone between gigs – 10 months, give or take. It’s been strange!

Anyway, more non-update updates for 2021 I promise you! In the meantime – they’re already airing promos for this season of 9-1-1! Take a look!

Fear The Walking Dead Again Again

Hello six readers! Tonight! On AMC! The third episode of Fear the Walking Dead airs! Here’s the trailer! Exclamation points!

It was untitled when I directed it but they’ve since named it “Bury Her Next to Jasper’s Leg” which I think is a great title. (I had a pretty good one in mind but it contains spoilers so I shouldn’t share it now.)

This was the last episode of television I directed before everything shutdown because of the pandemic. It’s also one of the most technically challenging and was a massive amount of fun. Take a look, six readers!

New Dispatch from The Void

There is almost no reason it’s been four months since my last update, except that I guess there isn’t a whole lot to update. I did have this episode air yesterday (Sunday) and forgot to update the blog with the teaser promoting The Walking Dead: World Beyond:

I directed this more than a year ago (when the show was still without title) and had a blast working on it. It was the earliest in a show’s existence that I worked on – I arrived as they just wrapped the pilot and got to direct the third ever episode.

It’s already aired so if you’re up for finding it on AMC or AMC’s streaming app, take a look!

Other than that, I managed to finish a pilot script and a series concept, am booked to direct two shows starting in late December (huzzah!) and finally cleaned two of the three drawers in my office cabinet. I intend to spend the next four months or fewer cleaning the final one.

Oh, and make sure you’re registered to vote: because, you know, it’s SOON.

More hopefully sooner than four months. At least one more update this year is my plan.

Greetings from The Void

Updating this blog from The Void. Nothing much to report other than global pandemic, police riots, and the industry I work in shuttered indefinitely. (Well, I guess not quite indefinitely…)

My work has mostly been writing, trying to write, watching movies for a small movie club and virtual gathering I started, and attempting to update my portfolio website – which has happened to some extent. Still about four or five episodes short but not bad considering that my computer stopped working.

Also, my computer stopped working. (As did our fridge, toaster oven, and dishwasher – 2/3rds of them are back and working again!) So that halted any progress in doing things like making a reel (I should do that right), resume editing on a long overdue short film, and gave me an adequate excuse to stop writing until the computer was repaired.

Good news is the computer is repaired. As is the dishwasher. The bad news is, well, everything else. But I think I’ll be able to get back into a writing groove. I’m acting under the assumption that production on episodic TV in the US isn’t going to resume in full force for quite some time so I’ll get a chance to really really focus, concentrate, and come up with the best excuses not to be writing I can come up with.

Oh, speaking of writing. There is one major thing that happened to us. The release of this book!:

My wife and frequent film collaborator Valarie Kaur wrote this and it just came out yesterday (June 16). You can find it at your independent book seller if they’re open or sales or at Barnes & Noble or Amazon – or audio book (Audible, SoundCloud, etc) if you want to hear the author read it herself! A tiny amount of the book is devoted to our time making Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath and also running the Yale Visual Law Project, but you should buy it because it is a rich collection of stories from her life and how to enact social change.

We didn’t a chance to enjoy a book tour so we’ve been getting the word out ourselves. That means you, six readers – please get a copy if you haven’t already and enjoy reading it in The Void.

Don’t worry, we didn’t take all the available copies.

Fictional Apocalypse Only Slightly Worse than Current Actual Apocalypse

Looks like I haven’t really updated this site since our non-zombie version of the apocalypse started. As of this writing, still no signs of the undead so that’s a good sign but don’t get complacent everybody.

For those of you interested in how we create a fictional one, here is a short behind-the-scenes segment from the episode of The Walking Dead I directed that aired … when did it air? What is time any more? Was that this month? March? Boy, we’re stuck in a really strange and boring version of Groundhog Day. Anyway – this reveals how we accomplished some of the feats of cinematic daring and also shows me only a few times, mercifully.

Anyway – I’ll try to gather my thoughts about this time and what it means for our industry (as if I know) or at least what it means for my upcoming work. Gathering my thoughts would require more than just the few minutes per day that I have to my own thoughts and not tending to the thoughts of one or both of the tiny humans in our home.

But I’m cobbling those thoughts together and they’re going to be amazing!

Will update again soon. Be safe and disinfect everything.

Final Ever

Tomorrow, the final two episodes of Criminal Minds airs on CBS in a two-hour block. I directed the first of those two hours. Here’s the trailer:

It’s bittersweet for all involved. I truly enjoyed working on this show and was lucky to direct it four times – the most of any single show for me so far. But all things have to end. Looking forward to checking out how the last two episodes turned out. It was a fun ride while it lasted.

Final Post of 2019

Boy did I completely disappear into the ether. I haven’t posted anything since this summer! It’s the final days of the year!

Man. Okay, so let’s resume. This is what happened. After directing The Walking Dead (which hasn’t yet aired by the way), I went off and directed this:

Well not that whole thing. I directed one of the early episodes of the newest chapter in the TWD universe, The Walking Dead: World Beyond (great name which is a relief because for a while the series had none). Even so, it was a blast to direct and reunited me with a couple of filmmakers who I was so happy to work with again. That, too, has not aired yet but I believe sometime in early 2020.

And after that, I directed this:

Well not that whole thing. I directed one of the early episodes of first spinoff of Ryan Murphy‘s highly successful 9-1-1 on Fox, this is 9-1-1 Lone Star. It, too, was a blast to direct and reunited me with some great filmmakers I’ve worked with before and also one of my dear friends and colleagues from film school. This, too, hasn’t aired yet and the show is set to launch mid-season, early 2020.

SO. That’s what I was doing since I wrapped The Walking Dead in July.

2019. This was my “Year of The Walking Dead.” I directed Fear The Walking Dead in February, the original The Walking Dead (aka “the mothership) in June/July and World Beyond in August. I was told I’m the first director to do all three – a Walking Dead hat trick! I assure you it was just luck and timing (there have since been at least one maybe two who now have hat tricks I believe).

TWD is a wonderful world to direct within. The crews are really wonderful, the scripts are creatively unique, the production challenging, and the showrunners and producers allow directors to truly make the show their own and allow for the best type of collaboration. I’m fortunate to go back and do a couple more coming up, with my third episode of FTWD in a few weeks and possibly more in the TWD universe in 2020.

In between, I directed the penultimate episode of Criminal Minds (which, too, hasn’t yet aired) and the third (but airing fourth) episode of 9-1-1 Lone Star as mentioned. This year was the first time I’ve directed episodes of a new series so early in its inception – season one, within the first five episodes for both Lone Star and World Beyond. I really got a chance to help build the ship as it was being launched in each case.

It was a great year for directing, for sure.

With all of that, and with New Human #2 in her first year, 2019 is definitely an unforgettable year for this guy. My resolutions for 2020 are to post at least more than five times all year (yikes!), watch more movies, and to hopefully write more. And to lose weight. Because, you know, why not stick with a classic.

Bring on 2020!

The Walking Dead

So, when I last posted I wrote something, thinking that I was going to have a stretch of writing and general domestic life until the next gig.

Instead, that next gig was moved up by a few months due to a last second change in directors, so I’ve been here in Atlanta for about the last three weeks directing The Walking Dead. Known by us in the TWD universe as “The Mothership.” Having come from Fear The Walking Dead, I had a foot in this world but now I’m fully thrown into it.

I literally cannot write anything about what’s been happening these last few weeks because it would all be spoiler. But rest assured, five readers, that it’s been a lot of fun work on it. The episode is not scheduled to come out until March 2020! So, mum’s the word until then.

More months of not updating coming up!