Written by: Josh Pate
Directed by: Mikhail Solomon
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. IF YOU HATE SPOILERS, JUMP ON A MOTORCYCLE AND ESCAPE FROM THIS BLOG!!!!!!
Sorry for the late posting - WiFi was down in my apartment last night.
Here we go...
That's right: Karen's back! (If briefly) in one of the creepier scenes I've been involved with (And which, hopefully, I helped contribute to the creep)
And part one of our season concludes as our heroes escape the ghetto - And Anne finally finds Lexi at the end of the eipsde. Now we can begin to hope that the 2nd Mass. will soon could be (maybe) re-united.
I have a feeling, though, that a lot of obstacles still stand in the way.
Both Josh Pate, who wrote this episode, and Mikhail Solomon, who directed, have pretty impressive resumes. You should check out the links above to their imdb pages. Josh has created series and directed – I think this is his first time on a writing staff, which he was willing to do, I think because of his long-standing relationship with Mr. Eick. Similarly, Mikhail Solomon has a long impressive resume as a director of photography, including academy award nominations (for BACKDRAFT). For more than a decade he has been directing pilots and feature films. I don’t think he’s done much (if any) episodic directing. But, again, his long-standing relationship with Mr. Spielberg (he DP’ed ALWAYS among other project) brought him our way.
The biggest, and most obvious challenge, of this one was the long and complex escape sequence, which certainly was the most action and visual effects we’d ever done in a non-season-opening-or-closing episode. The good news is I knew Mr. Solomon would in now way be intimidated by the scope of the episode. His feature film HARD RAIN with Christian Slater was one of the technically most complex movies I’ve ever seen. I had no idea if we could do this one on budget or on schedule (hint: we couldn’t) but our director would be able to embrace the scope.
The motorcycle chase, where Tom misdirects an army of skitters to their doom took place over three or four locations, mixing stunt driving, Noah Wyle on a motorcycle with digital and live action skitters. In several shots, what we filmed was Noah (or his double) racing in front of several small radio-controlled cars, which were used to kick up dust and leaves. The cars were later replaced with digital skitters.
The sequence culminates with Tom re-entering the ghetto cell he’d been housed in episode 1 and 2, setting the room on fire with a flame thrower and then leaping to safety into the river as he explodes the entire hotel taking down hundreds of skitters as he goes.
This was, obviously, a big project, which had to be carefully planned and storyboarded. We knew from Mr. Eick that the hotel was going to have to be set on fire – so in it’s initial construction plans we had to build it on a stage with a very high ceiling and plan to vent the flames and flammable gases that would be used. The stage was built at an elevation of 7 feet . This was partially so that we could surround it with a blue screen (or a night black screen) as needed (for out the windows.) But also so that Noah, and his stunt double, could stand on the ledge and jump off.
Noah really wielded the mini-flamethrower that our special effects team had constructed. And he did the jump himself. Of course when he leaps from the building it is an all-digital environment.
More than on most of our episodes, on this one, once the sequence was cut together, we had to go back and spot shoot a few shots to tie it all together… It really was a big and complex puzzle. For instance, one pair of shots that was really important to me, which we picked up later – was a close up of Noah looking down, and then a VFX shot which was his POV of hundreds of skitters crawling the walls towards him. Without those two bits the only shots we had were wide shots of the building being engulfed by skitters. This was impressive, but somehow not enough… I’ll never be sure of why the phenomenon works, but when you see a close up of the hero and then their direct point of view of what they see – it just makes the danger and the visceral experience greater. The shot of Noah we literally grabbed with an extra camera and no sound equipment in a parking lot looking up into blue sky. I wasn’t sure it was going to work, but I feel it did. The shot of the skitters coming at him is a very quick cut – but it’s cool and menacing.
Next week we may learn what it was that Weaver was staring at at the end of the episode... Do you think it was a good thing? Or a bad thing?
|MAGGIE AND BEN - IS SOMETHING HAPPENING HERE?|
|THE BOYS BEFORE THE MISSION|
|DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY NATE GOODMAN AND DIRECTOR MIKHAIL SOLOMON ON SET|
|WEAVER - HE JUST GETS SH*T DONE!|
|MAXIM KNIGHT AS OUR BOY MATT MASON|
|TOM READS THE PLANS TO MATT|
|DIRECTOR MIKHAIL SOLOMON DISCUSSES THE ACTION WITH STUNT CO-ORDINATOR DEAN CHO|
|KAREN'S BACK - AND OUR PUPPET OVERLORD IS EVOLVING (SOON HE WILL BE READY MWAHAHAHAHA!)|
|PRODUCTION DESIGNER ROB GRAY STANDS IN HIS SET|
|DREW ROY - LOOKIN' MYSTERIOUS|
|COLLIN CUNNINGHAM PREPARES TO CLIMB|
|SEE I TOLD YA - HE'S CLIMBING|
|OUR TOP-NOTCH ASSISTANT DIRECTOR TEAM: BRYAN KNIGHT OUR 1ST A.D., AND TANJA KNIGHT OUR 2ND A.D.|