Finding Carter Shoot Day 7

Final day on Finding Carter. Although it was Day 7, it was technically Day 6 – I had two half days. And I’m writing this two days later and back home in LA. Regardless – final day of the episode and it was a challenging one. But one I was looking forward to, in part because we had a small stunt to film. I can’t say more for fear of giving away plot points to fans. (Not that any would be reading me, but you never know what with the internet and all.)

We also filmed on a handful of built sets – very well built temporary sets by the show’s great production designer Jeff Pratt Gordon.  We were in a pinch with location and schedule changes, and he built some great sets that excellent cinematographer Brad Lipson lit beautifully and looked really wonderful.

And then it was over.

This was the first show I’ve been on where I knew no one on the show. Well, turns out not exactly no one. In 2008 when I was an ABC Directing Fellow, I shadowed director Gary Fleder on October Road. The assistant director on that show Jay Tobias and I got along  really well. Turns out, he’s the AD on Finding Carter and when I got to Atlanta we discovered we still had each others’ numbers in our phones! Amazing to come full circle.

But the point is that I had not shadowed on this show before, never worked with this studio and had not known any of the actors or anything like that – heck, I’ve barely been in Atlanta before. So it was a true “guest” directing experience. Hope to have more of those as time goes on, especially if they go well like this one did.

I believe I left creating more friends than enemies, too. Now we edit the thing together and see how it turns out.


Finding Carter Shoot Day 6

Day 6 featured several different sets on the production stages, including re-shooting a scene we shot on Friday. Generally, one doesn’t like re-shooting a scene, but we had two actors who were stuffed up when we shot it. Once we watched the cut scene, we realized that they were too stuffed up to use it, so it ended up on the schedule.

A pretty solid and long day of work for my second-to-last day on the show. Had a nice set visit from collaborators and friends Jonathan and Alan Smith, so got to show them around the stages and the operations going on in their backyard of Greater Atlanta. Now on to Day 7 and the home stretch!

Finding Carter Shoot Day 5

Okay, six readers – brief update on Day 5 of Finding Carter Episode 223.

Longest day so far. We knew it would be, according to the schedule. Every shoot has at least one day like it, so no surprises there.

To start the day we had a long scene (actually two scenes combined that overlapped an act break) with several members of the cast. That ended up taking longer than expected. The rest of the day went more or less according to plan, including a nice steadicam shot that moved through a couple rooms. But the day was the most challenging so it’s good to have it behind us.

Two more days to go!

Finding Carter Shoot Day 4

Started today in the cold outside shooting two exterior scenes. Atlanta gets cold? Apparently Atlanta gets cold. Especially if you’re out there just before the sun comes up.

We moved back to the stages to film what’s known as “poor man’s process” – a way to shoot driving scenes without actually driving. It uses rear projection – projecting a moving image behind the vehicle – and filming the driver and/or passengers in the car. The technique has been used for just about as long as cinema has existed, but the quality has so drastically improved with digital and high definition technology. The production scheduled a handful of scenes from other episodes to be done all at once, including one scene from the episode I’m directing.

Tomorrow is a big day – lots of scenes mostly on the Wilson house set. Hopefully we’ll emerge unscathed.

Finding Carter Shoot Day 3

A little more than a half day of work, but a light Friday due to some scheduling considerations. Filmed on “location” – an exterior near the production office – and some short scenes back on stage.  Some nice framing with long lenses and shallow depth of field in a couple scenes, so hopefully those scenes will come together nicely.

Monday is a light day, and then the final three days are packed. More to come after the weekend.

Finding Carter Shoot Day 1

Very quick recap of first day of on Finding Carter.

Was interesting to be on a set for the first time with people who only have known me for a week.  Everyone was very professional, excellent cast and crew. The day went well – lot of work on an apartment set (four scenes) and then a couple more scenes in another apartment set. Overall, a good day to start out with – didn’t have a scene with more than four people, and most had just two.

Lots of scheduling switcheroos and last minute location changes, so things are in flux – which is always the case when you’re in production anywhere in the world.

Back at it tomorrow, on stage.

Carter Eve

Brief update to you, six readers. Night before I start production on Finding Carter. Prep has been good, but short. Today we had a very compressed final day of meetings and table read type events that would’ve happened earlier but we held off until we had an updated script – which we got on the weekend. Now we’re dealing with some location shuffling so, you know, par for the course.

What has been hammered home to me, repeatedly, about this show in particular is that there isn’t a lot of time during the shoot for very complex setups. As mentioned here before, this show only has six days to shoot – compare that to the major network shows that have eight or nine days to shoot, and generally the same amount of material.

So that means I’ve been trying to simplify while at the same time still make sure I’m telling the story well and in an interesting way. It’s a new challenge – hopefully I’ll be able to pull it off with this more than capable crew and production team. Will try to do some things with high speed (slow motion) and some interesting dynamic angles. We’ll see what happens.

Daily haiku-like updates to come, starting tomorrow.

Once again, I’m incredibly grateful that someone’s giving me the reigns of their show and generally speaking, I can’t believe I get to do this for a living. To quote my favorite coach and favorite team/alma mater, Who’s got it better than us?


New Thing

Brief post here – tomorrow morning I head down to Atlanta for my first day of prep on Finding Carter. Just getting some last second packing and my own prep before I head down.

Directing this show will present a series of new things. A show I haven’t directed before (or have shadowed on), a new cast and crew that I haven’t worked with before, new network, new city – not to mention a shorter shooting schedule and the penultimate episode of the season. (Some of the plot and emotional elements have been leaked to me, which is helpful of course.)

So this is a pretty great new challenge for me. But it’s not about me, it’s about the show – the most important thing is the show, to bring it to life the way the producers hoped and the way I envision it with them. (The show must go on, you know!) That’s the most important thing to fall back on – that it’s not about yourself or what people think about you or how you’re doing moment to moment, but about the story, the characters, the series and the emotional reality of the character.

That, and going to parties. Tomorrow is the Finding Carter season premiere party which coincides with my first day on the show. Coincidence…? Yeah, coincidence.

Anyway, dispatches from Atlanta forthcoming – stay tuned!