Season Wrap

My apologies, three readers, for not updating sooner. I can’t say I have a good reason, other than the 12- to 14-hours or hanging around the Law and Order: Special Victims Unit world for a few weeks. And now I’m heading out of the country, so hopefully I’ll be able to write a few quick words about what I’ve been up to, as per the theme of this blog.

As you three know, I was shadowing Norberto Barba on SVU who was directing the season finale. The amazing thing is that he just wrapped directing the season finale on Grimm, the show where he’s the Executive Producer out in Portland. I believe this week both of his episodes air on NBC as season finales.

Norberto was really incredible to shadow. Not only is he super experienced, he really is the complete model of a director I hope to be, as well – good with the camera, good with the crew, beloved by the actors, kind with everyone, and respected as an artist. He prepares thoroughly and makes it seem effortless on set.

I don’t want to give too much away about the specifics of the finale – it airs tonight – but it was really a gift to watch him in action.

He was also incredibly generous with this time and his knowledge. We talked about what a career as a director is like, what to do in certain cases on set, how to plan, how to come up with shots to cover a scene artistically. It was a terrific education from a master.

Shadowing on a season finale is really the best. First, while we were in prep, I happened to be in the production office when the announcement came in: SVU picked up for Season 15. Everyone cheered, and we walked over to the stage where they were filming the episode before Norberto. Executive Producer and Showrunner Warren Leight made the formal announcement in the morgue set, to cheers. He and star Mariska Hargitay thanked everybody for a truly remarkable season, which included working through the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy without a disruption in production. It was great to see.

Then, when we were actually filming, there were days where each actor had their final scene of work for the season. It led to hugs and goodbyes and see-you-next-seasons. Again, a real honor to witness that.

And finally – the best part of being there for the last week was the food. NBC, Paramount, Wolf Films and others had crew “gifts” all week. That included two Stone Cold Creamery guys folding ice cream for the crew; chocolate fountain, Korean BBQ taco truck; cakes and cupcakes and probably other things I’ve forgotten.

Also, we were invited to the wrap party. That’s right – I got to shadow the wrap party. It was great, I got to introduce Valarie to much of the crew and some cast.

The next day I flew to LA where they edit the show. Norberto was pleased with the cut so had very minimal changes. And that was that.

That was just last week. Since then, Valarie made another trip to Studio 3A and MSNBC‘s “Melissa Harris-Parry Show” – her third this year. So I got to watch some live TV again.

Now, I focus on Jonathan Smith‘s Story of a Girl project. I’m heading to India now for a family wedding and trip, but I’ll be doing an informal scout in Mumbai of locations. Photos shall be taken, and perhaps posted.

More in two weeks!