Next Season’s Slate

Hello, eight readers! (I am so bold to believe that I now have a total of eight.)

I’m trying to finish up a short rewrite on a feature script, so that’s been occupying my time. But it’s also hiring season for television directing now that the fall slates have been set by the networks. So it’s been busy for agents and producers and the like getting clients jobs for the fall.

It looks like I’m going to be directing seven (!) episodes next season of six shows. Of those six shows, two of them are new to me so those will be fun new challenges.

Here they are, in approximate order I’m directing them with interesting factoids below:

Criminal Mindscriminal-minds (1)Criminal Minds survived having to fire Thomas Gibson who had been with the show since the beginning. You may recall that I happened to be directing last year when that all was going down behind the scenes (the alleged incident occurred before I got there). I’m directing the fourth episode in Season 13 (13!) like I did last year for Season 12.

Once Upon a Time600348973_257d52a7-35ef-4673-baac-5f0dd7e77646-7555.jpgOnce Upon a Time is undergoing a creative reboot. Nearly the entire cast is gone after a cataclysmic ending to Season 6 last year. Thankfully, at least I’m returning. I’m excited to be a part of the new version –  it’ll be like being on a new show – and it’ll be fun to see what stories they choose to tell and how they tell them.

Scandal21voC67L5SGwytN2AqCaEmtaTrxThis is going to be the final season of Scandal, as decided by its creator and my four-time boss Shonda Rhimes (Two ScandalsHow to Get Away with Murder and The Catch). It’s going to be incredibly sad saying goodbye to that incredible cast and crew. I owe a lot to this team and to Shondaland to help send my TV directing into a higher orbit. This will be my third (and final of course) episode of the show, the most of any I’ve worked on.

Designated Survivor (for two episodes!)Designated-Survivor-Key-Art-designated-survivor-39619235-1898-1068.4c80cb2fee554478acf395f0947d9785I can’t believe they’re bringing me back for two episodes! One in the late fall and one early next year. Will be exciting to see what direction the second season takes.

MacGyvernew-mac-paperclipFirst time directing this show, a reboot of the old classic.

Quanticoquantico.jpgPriyanka Chopra is a mega Bollywood star, and the first such star to also be the lead actor in an American TV show. I believe I’m the first person of Indian descent who will be directing her in Quantico. That’s simply an interesting factoid.

Not bad to have a full slate and it’s not even June! So incredibly grateful.

The only show I worked on in 2016-17 that is not returning to air is The Catch. It’s really disappointing – it was a fun show and an absolute joy to work on. I was looking forward to returning to work with that great cast and a DP who was my age (first time that’s been true on a TV show). So it goes.

But I’m grateful to be invited back on so many shows and to have a couple new ones. My work will take me from LA to Vancouver to Toronto to Atlanta to New York between August and the end of March. More updates, cryptic and otherwise, when the season begins in August.

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A Pretty Great Season

So now that Designated Survivor has aired and my directing work for the TV season is over, I just wanted to take a minute to have a little recap (with pictures!) of what was an incredibly thrilling, tiring, and ultimately deeply satisfying last 10 months.

Over that time, I directed Criminal Minds, How to Get Away With Murder, The Catch, NCIS: New Orleans, Once Upon a Time, Scandal, and Designated Survivor. That’s seven episodes with a few of them happening back to back. Scandal was the only show I had directed before so the year was filled with meeting new great crews and casts and tackling new challenges and trying new approaches to telling the story.

Also a season of firsts:

  1. Directed a show for CBS for the first time (Criminal Minds and NCIS: NOLA);
  2. Directed the 15th ever episode of a show – the earliest I’ve ever done (The Catch);
  3. Directed a show in its first season for the first time (Designated Survivor);
  4. Two shows in Canada (Once Upon a Time and DS);
  5. Directing two different fictional Presidents and Washington DCs (Scandal and DS).
  6. Directed pigs, dogs, alligators, a snake, and of course children (the snake didn’t make the cut for NCIS: NOLA);
  7. Directed a show that I got hired to start the next day following unusual circumstances (Criminal Minds);
  8. Directed the 100th episode of Scandal;
  9. Directed a dual Emmy and Oscar winner (Viola Davis);
  10. First time using the “list” function on this blog.

Since I didn’t have a lot of time in between blog posts to add photos and to write in detail, I figured I’d do that now as a sort of photo tour of the past 10 months (all taken by me unless otherwise noted).

Criminal Minds (August 2016)

How to Get Away With Murder (September-October 2016)

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Murder Costumes.

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Reviewing lines with Aja Naomi King (“Michaela”) (Photo courtesy of ABC).

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DP Michael Price, who I met while shadowing 8 years earlier and finally got to work with on HTGAWM.

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Creepy alley backway we created at Sunset Gower Studios with a light on a condor, a shipping container, and a lot of smoke.

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Sunset Gower Studios, home of Shondaland Productions. Hollywood Sign straight ahead.

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A “homemade” “rickshaw” for the steadicam operator.

The Catch (October-November 2016)

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The incredible automobile showroom our production designer Jessica Kender made from an empty white showroom, which we filled with extras and luxury cars.

NCIS: New Orleans (December 2017-January 2018)

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Alligator wranglers are probably underpaid.

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Seriously underpaid.

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Lucas Black (“LaSalle”) and Shalita Grant (“Percy”) handcuffed so script supervisor Marta Goldstein gives Lucas a hand.

Once Upon A Time (January 2017)

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Minaty Bay, British Columbia, Canada. Also, Neverland.

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Storyboards, though I ended up not able to shoot this scene this way due to delays caused by snow (not to be confused with “Snow White” the character who didn’t cause delays).

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Seriously, Vancouver is beautiful. This is from the tech scout. It was totally snow covered by the time we shot in this location though, a week later.

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Our cool magic door portal, at night, dangerously close to not finishing the scene. But we did!

Scandal (February 2017)

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Scandal 100! (That is a CAKE everybody.)

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I’m a tiny head in this sea of tiny heads – the Scandal crew.

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Cast and producers during our midday party for Scandal 100.

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Shooting on the Truman Balcony set, the final scene of the episode.

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The church exterior for the wedding scene, St. Vincent’s in Los Angeles.

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The incredible floral design and set of the church interior for the wedding.

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One of the props made for the wedding scene. (No, I didn’t keep one.)

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Me working with Tony Goldwyn (“President Fitzgerald”) on our Santa Barbara hotel set that our incredible production design team built in the lobby of the old Hollywood Athletic Club. (Photo by Mitchell Haddad)

Designated Survivor (April 2017)

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Toronto. Or as we like to call it: “Washington DC.” This was our view from the freighter.

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This is how we got all the gear up onto the freighter.

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With some of the crew of knuckleheads of Designated Survivor, including in the back with me – Kal Penn (“Seth”) and Italia Ricci (“Emily”). (Photo by Joe Lazarov, middle)

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Kal posing with Kiefer Sutherland (“President Kirkman”) recreating a photo on Air Force One Kal took with actual President Barack Obama on the actual Air Force One.

Designated Survivor Promo!

Hello six readers – I haven’t had a chance to write an update after I wrapped Designated Survivor. I took the time to stay away from my computer and focus on basically nothing. I just now realize that it’s been about two weeks because – lo and behold – we’re almost upon the episode’s air date! Here’s the promo!