One Pretty Great Year

At Sunset Gower Studios between shooting scenes of Scandal. Note the Hollywood Sign in the background. (Photo Credit: Mitch Haddad)
At Sunset Gower Studios between shooting scenes of Scandal. Note the Hollywood Sign in the background. (Photo Credit: Mitch Haddad)

Well look at that – I managed to sneak in one final 2015 post. Not bad considering I’m out of the country and yesterday I was traveling with a small child.

A better picture of my slate than the one I took with my cell phone camera. (Photo credit: Mitch Haddad)

As mentioned in the previous post, I had a tiny tiny tiny scene to shoot to finish my Scandal episode. Since the other episode was shooting its final scene on the same set on the final Friday before the holidays, they slated my scene at the end of that day.

So, by luck, I got to shoot the final scene of the calendar year for Scandal. It was really nice – had a chance to wish the cast and crew happy holidays and new year and thank crew members individually for their hard work and patience with me. Then, about six hours later, I got on a plane for the holidays.

Seven years before I directed Scandal on this stage, I was shadowing "October Road" here.
Seven years ago, I was shadowing on “October Road” on the same stage where I was just directing “Scandal.”

Personally speaking, there’s something fitting about me shooting the final scene of a show before all of Hollywood goes on break for the year. This year, 2015, has been a remarkable one for me that I still can’t quite believe.

A year ago at this time, I had recently directed an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – my first and only time directing episodic network television – and amazingly I had just been asked to direct a second one after the producers took a liking to my work.

Camera phone photo of my credit in Finding Carter
Camera phone photo of my credit in Finding Carter. Is there a better frame that could’ve represented both MTV and my work? I think not.

Fast forward to now, the final day of 2015 – I managed to successfully direct that second SVU, an episode of Finding Carter for MTV, and capped off the year with Scandal and an episode of Grimm is coming up in 2016 in a few weeks. Not to mention, a paid screenwriting job and I attached myself to a really great thriller script.

Also, the baby completed year one. (Seen below on set with the family and Executive Producer-Director Tom Verica and Camera Assistant/long-time friend Gayle Hilary.)

Family visits us on the set of Scandal.
Family visits us on the set of Scandal. (Photo Credit: Mitch Haddad)

Pretty amazing. Here’s hoping 2016 continues apace. Even if it doesn’t, 2015 was life changing and still a little unfathomable. I certainly will never forget it.

Happy New Year, five readers!


Scandal Shoot Days 8 and 9

Day 8 was entirely on location downtown. We had one big interior scene and a lot of little exterior ones scattered around, so it was a day with potential complications. Fortunately, it went mostly smoothly.

Day 9 was a long final day with a few intense scenes wrapping up with a short final scene on location. We had to push a tiny tiny scene onto another day, so I’m technically not totally wrapped – I’m going in on Friday to mop up that last bit. But I’m basically finished.

I’ll try to write a more substantial recap, but with the holidays I might not have time. I apologize in advance, five readers. Overall – I’m a little tired, but so grateful and still can’t believe I had a chance to direct Scandal. Now on to editing and making sure the story all makes sense when we’ve put it together.

Finding Carter airs today!

Today is the airdate for the episode of Finding Carter that I directed back in October. It’s been folded into a two-part, two-hour episode that serves as the season finale special. I’ll be on Day 8 directing Scandal so I won’t be able to watch alongside MTV’s amazing live-tweeting operation they’ve got going.

The great cast of Finding Carter.
The great cast of Finding Carter.

So, five readers – tune in and boost our numbers by five!

Scandal Shoot Day 7

Shoot Day 7 begins week 3 of shooting (technically speaking – I started on a Friday, shot all week last week, and start again tomorrow for week 3). Day was a moderate one on the studio all day – White House scenes, other of our standing sets for scenes familiar to loyal viewers of the show.

Also spent the weekend watching dailies, which was a lot of fun. All the footage looks great and is already color timed pretty well.

Day 8 will be a big day, on location with a lot of little moves, day interior, night interior, night exterior – so lots going on. But the light is at the end of the tunnel – just tomorrow and the day after left to shoot. More coming soon.

Scandal Shoot Day 6

Final day of the week on Scandal. It was great – shot in OPA, and on some of our other regular sets. My family came to visit and our little one-year-old made a big splash with the cast and crew. So it was fun, but long – wrapped just before midnight – but a great end to an arduous but fun week.

Now a weekend to prepare and back for the final three days.

Scandal Shoot Day 5

Day 5 was on location in Downtown LA. We were in one room for about 12 hours for various scenes. Location days are always tough, and this day concerned me the most but it ended up better than I thought it was. Got a chance to do some fun stuff. Final day of the week coming up!

Scandal Shoot Day 1

My five loyal readers are perhaps familiar with my haiku-like posts of shoot days. I usually don’t have time to go into detail about the shoot, nor am I really allowed to share too much about the storylines of a particular show. So I’ll just write a few cryptic descriptions after each day to recap what went down.

Spent all day in the White House. Good reasonable day to start. Half the regular crew was out wrapping up episode 511 elsewhere.  Got a chance to do some interesting stuff, including a long walk-and-talk and creative use of foreground elements. Sidenote: It’s so much fun being in this world that I’ve watched for years.

Now I get a weekend to finally prepare for the rest of the shoot – long week coming up, and by the end of it we’ll be 66% done with the episode (if all goes well). More updates on Monday night.