Well That Was Fun

*My apologies in advance – WordPress is not spacing things properly.

So, five readers, there were many visitors to this humble space after Wednesday’s screening of “Spousal Privilege” aka Episode 8 Season 16 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. But I suspect that traffic will subside now.

The evening was incredibly fun. I was fortunate to have my long-time cinematographer partner Matthew R Blute host a viewing party at his house. We conducted a live “Q&A” that would happen during commercial breaks, where I answered questions or told tales of the scenes that just were shot or stories from the production. The party was a mix of collaborators, filmmakers, and people who are friends but not in the film or TV industry. It was a blast.

What I didn’t prepare for was the outpouring of nice things people said on social media and the like. For example:

And, this article from the New York Observer which feels like I asked someone to write it for me. I’ll pull quote below:

First time SVU director Sharat Raju certainly proved that he knew just how to tell this highly charged, yet intimate, story. Also remarkable was his clear collaboration with editor Karen Stern on the Rollins/Amaro scene. The two exhibited strong creative choices that made the exchange between the two gripping, tense and utterly believable. Watch it again and you’ll see what I mean. This scene is a stellar combination of writing, acting, direction and editing.

That, and the oh five hundred comments on Facebook to me – well, it’s all been too much. It’s totally overwhelming.
Anyway, so the other bit of news is that I’ve been asked back. I’m directing another episode in late January/early February, which is incredibly exciting. I was hoping to get asked back next season at least, but to be asked back this season is totally unexpected and I can’t wait to rejoin the SVU family for another go around.
If you happen to be one of the only people I know who hasn’t seen the episode – here it is. But if you are one of them, dear friend, thank you so much for your support and for driving up our numbers. We had one of the highest rated SVU episodes of the season, only behind the season premiere and the crossover event – of course.
If I can figure out how to do it, I’ll see if I can do a story analysis of the episode with an explanation of my choices, but I don’t know if it will be possible. Anyway, overall an incredible evening and more great things to come.

Air Date = Today

This past week I’ve been shamelessly telling people about the episode, getting them to tune in. I don’t feel so bad about doing it in a blog that has the sole purpose of telling people what I’m up to.

So, to refresh your memory, five readers: Wednesday November 19 9pm Eastern/Pacific, 8pm Central on NBC my TV directing debut is “Spousal Privilege” – Episode 8, Season 16 of the legendary Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

The last few days have been kind of great, with lots of people saying nice things about me and about the episode. Turns out, the crossover event the week before mind was a ratings hit for both SVU and Chicago P.DHere’s hoping it will continue on into this week.

We did our part – hopefully that’ll drive numbers up by about a few dozen people. In the meantime, since this is Air Date Day, here’s a photo. Will report back after the show goes live on the West Coast, my five readers.

Mariska and me on set, possibly getting in the way of camera operator John Herron trying to do actual work in the courtroom.

SVU Shoot Day 8 and Post

I’m four days late on posting about Day 8 of the SVU shoot – but with the wrap, travel back to LA, and now a quick turnaround in post forced me into postponing the final day’s recap. Sorry, five readers!

Day 8 was great. And not just because that rhymes. We shot two scenes in the Rotunda, which is the hallway outside the courthouse, two scenes in the sqaudroom and also one final thing in the courthouse – all of our detectives’ reactions to all the courtroom scenes they were supposed to be in when we filmed the courtroom last week (they were all in Chicago shooting the Chicago PD scenes.) Ah, the magic of cinema (television).

The day was a lot of fun and I had two scenes that were done in a “one-er” – a scene that was shot in one continuous shot. One of the one-ers was pretty straightforward, just a walk-and-talk down a hallway. The other was a little more clever so I’m quite proud of that and glad we pulled it off.

Then, late in the day, the writer Samantha Corbin-Miller and I treated the crew to ice cream, so that was fun. We then wrapped up in the squadroom, and got to say nice things to people and some crew and cast had nice things to say to me, so that too was fun.

It’s bittersweet wrapping up the show. Of course, I was quite drained from the focus and alertness (and nerves) associated with directing, I was starting to feel sad about leaving the cast, crew, and producers. Halfway through the day, scripts for the next episode (which the crew continues on to the next day) were being handed out. I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be a part of it. But, of course, the show must go on.

Celebrity Sightings In Los Angeles - October 30, 2014
Meagan Good with some guy who doesn’t understand why there are cameras all around.

So I packed up that night and in the morning got on a plane back home (on a flight with our guest star Meagan Good, and when we landed there were paparazzi – this is one of the photos – it was weird).

It was an incredible month in New York, and when the episode comes out I’ll go into more detail about what went into the episode, especially if I can figure out a way to embed individual scenes.

And then Saturday night I watched the editor’s cut. It was really amazing to see scenes that were shot two or three days earlier that were already put together. Sunday I went in for my one (1) day of editing for the director’s cut. Usually, the director gets three or four days in TV post, but I was given an accelerated post schedule for a variety of reasons. So I gave editor Karen Stern my notes, watched her enact some of them, and then gave her others to work on later.

Now, I wait to see what happens with the producers’ cut (I get to be involved in that and still submit notes since my own edit period was so short) and by the end of the week the picture will be locked. The speed of network TV production is amazing.

More updates to come soon. But for now, I deal with fatigue and overwhelming gratitude.