Scandal Prep

I just finished Day 4 of prep on Scandal Episode 512. There’s not much I can tell you because it’s all, you know, hush hush. Basically, we’ve been scouting, talking to the writers about scenes, walking the sets, figuring out the best and least healthy snacks to eat in between meetings and scouts.

In addition to snacking and, oh, the amazing privilege it is to direct an episode on a big show, it’s really great to be able to shoot at Sunset Gower Studios, historically the home of Columbia Pictures. Columbia was one of the original studios from Hollywood’s “Golden Age” so all the stages have names of the movies and television that shot there in years and decades past. There’s even a building named after famed production manager and one of my AFI professors Abby Singer – so famous he has a film term named after him – “The Abby” a.k.a. the second-to-last shot of the day.

So if you’re a film nerd like me, working on the lot in Hollywood is as good as it gets. This is the view every day coming to work. Hard to beat.

View of the Hollywood Sign from Sunset Gower Studios as taken from the poor digital zoom on my phone.

View of the Hollywood Sign from Sunset Gower Studios as taken from the poor digital zoom on my phone.

Before the Storm

Monday is my first official day of prep on Scandal. I know – hard to believe.

As you know, five readers, I’ve been shadowing on the currently filming episode 510 as a way to watch how they do it in Scandaltown* and it’s been fun. The crew is incredible – professional, welcoming, good natured. Tom Verica is just a great director and boss (he’s the “producing director” which is the in-house director and an executive producer – much of how the show runs from a production aspect is his domain) and he makes it look easy.

Which is one of the drawbacks of being on set too long with him – watching the master on his home court was perhaps lulling me into a sense of ease, or a false sense of security. His work with that crew and cast will be different than mine with the same crew and cast. It’s important for me to hang on to at least an iota of panic. Daryn Okada, the cinematographer for my episode and who I watched work with Tom on episode 510, said it’s better to say “concern” than “panic.” He’s probably right. But the point is to maintain that little edge that keeps me thinking and planning, as opposed to sitting back in the chair with the sense that everything will be fine.

That complacency is a surefire way to fail. So I’m going exercise… concern. And have fun.

Slate, with my name on it. I should take more of these type of photos in general.

Slate, with my name on it. I should take more of these type of photos in general.

Here’s a random photo from Finding Carter, my episode of which I believe is still in post production, though I’ve now gone to Scandaltown and don’t know for sure.

More updates to come, starting next week from Scandaltown.

*No one says “Scandaltown” and that’s not a thing.

Overlap

For the last few days I’ve been working on the director’s cut of the Finding Carter episode I directed. It’s been coming together nicely, thanks to the hard work of editor Robin Katz.

Monday is my final day to edit. It’s also the first day I start on Scandal – shadowing, that is. Not directing for three more weeks or so, but I’ll be observing Executive Producer-Director Tom Verica at work to see how they do it in Scandaltown. This season has been really a great one to watch with major changes – I still can’t believe I get to have a hand in moving the train forward.

I’ll probably update a little bit more when I’m actually in prep as opposed to shadowing, so more to come then, six readers!