Saturday, June 11, 2005

It's a "Global" Frequency now ...

First off, any WB lawyers: it wasn't me.
Second: sorry if I'm behind on e-mails, folks, got a vicious deadline just popped up on a script.
Third: Well, Global Frequency is out on Bittorrent.

To say emotions are mixed on this getting exposure, well ... I haven't written a lot on GF not getting picked up. Primarily because that one, of all of them, broke my goddam heart. A year and a half of writing and sweat and production disappeared down the TV pilot hole, not to mention some truly incredible work by Josh Hopkins, Aimee Garcia, the young woman who every geek guy I know said "Oh, hey, the new Gillian Anderson, congrats" -- Jenni Baird. And, of course, Michelle Forbes as Miranda FUCKING ZERO. You can't look at her in this role without saying "Holy shit, that's Miranda FUCKING ZERO!"

Everybody, from director Nelson McCormick to the producer humans (RACHEL!!!) to the FX guys slaved away on this, and what was wonderful was that for all of them, you could tell, it was a labor of love. I've done my share of pilots, boyo, and the vibe on this one was different. Warren, that black-hearted bastard, touched something deep here, and I was lucky to be the guy to try to get it out to the masses.

What happened? TV happened. Even Mark Burnett (who was pretty cool, AND can kill you with his thumbs) couldn't beat it this time. Despite having some great execs, and even testing pretty well, we got hit by a change of network presidents in the middle of the shoot. I know, every guy in the industry just instinctively winced when I said that. David Janolari was a gent about it, but between some differing creative visions and network/studio gunk, all the best intentions in the world weren't going to get us there.

Also, in completely honest retrospect, what the hell was I thinking? It's a show about how the institutions around us have failed us, and we live in a world of chaos and death, held back only by borderline sociopaths. The HAPPY ending is our hero shoots an innocent man in the face. Oh yeah, slot us right in after Gilmore Girls.

Is it perfect? Shit no. There are a bunch of cuts I've rethought, and if we'd been picked up I'd go back and reshoot that damn alley scene -- it was backlot for scheduling, and as great as Nelson and our DP were, as heroic as the design guys were, they couldn't beat the look of it. Aleph's Control was intentionally smallish and real-tech -- we were going to build it out into that open space as the show progressed, to show how the Frequency was expanding. Dead honest, if it weren't my show, I'd give it mayb a B+. Some of you, I'm quite sure, are going to hate the guts out of it.

But, you know what -- we had something there. I had a line of writers (at one point, essentially the entire ANGEL staff) ready to go -- each and every one chomping at the bit, some ready to start work for free if need be. We had a five year plan, with a goddam MORAL, not some flash pilot and wing it out as we go ... but most of all, we had that concept. Warren Ellis's beautiful, crystalline find. In a TV wasteland, we had the one show that wasn't just about stories, it was about SOMETHING -- faith in us. Not faith in the treacherous fat white men in suits, not power, not money -- faith in US. It's not four camera redneck jokes or horny housewives or sexy rich teens with troubles or venal everymen cutting each other's fucking throats to win some trumped up Skinner show, but it's something.

And seeing as I'm way too busy actually working to do any serious blogging for the next few days, I'm just going to post some shots I took during production. Nothing from my copy of the pilot, of course, that would be wrong. But these are personal rehearsal shots, so in short, anybody with a problem with this can really, really bugger off.

One quick story: There's a sequence in the show, when Aleph gets everyone on the Frequency, and they figure out what the problem is. All these citizen-experts, pitching in to save strangers' lives. To get a good feel for the timing, all the actors were kind enough to show up on that shoot night (Aimee shot separately) at 3 am and do their parts LIVE. So it played out, just like on the show -- the call went out, people responded, voices chiming in, all in one, long flawless take ... like it was actually happening.

It was incredible, one of those alchemical moments were it stopped being television, stopped being a performance, and actually took us to another world.

Nelson calls "cut". I step into the set, basically this glorified warehouse, and realize that there's a weird silence. Cast and crew are spooked. Some people are tearing up, I actually hear a little sniffling. I turn to one of the show staff and say "Hey, you okay? What's wrong?"

And she bursts into tears. "I was just ... what if it were real? Wouldn't it be beautiful if people could really ..." And she fades out, wipes her eyes. Whispers: "It would just be so amazing if it were real."

That's right. For two glorious minutes in a waterfront shed in Vancouver, the Global Frequency was real. And it destroyed people. For just the chance at that, I'm glad I tried.




ADDENDUM: Please see this post. And new summary of all posts on this subject here.

(a reminder -- GLOBAL FREQUENCY, all plots and characters and the logo thereof, are property of DC Comics, and the TV pilot script and broadcast production of GLOBAL FREQUENCY (etc. etc.) are property of Warner Bros. Television, as far as I know. Nothing on this site is to be considered a challenge to that copyright)

40 comments:

1031 said...

Thanks for posting this stuff, John. It's a damn shame the show didn't get picked up, though I hear there's still hope, maybe, fleeting as it may be?

Great pictures.

And I have to admit, while I was reading the issues of GF, every once in a while, when Warren touched on something, some threat, real and tangible and possible, and the call went out, and all those selfless people, from all corners of the globe, more differences than similarities, came together to save the world, imperfect as it is...well, I might've teared up a bit at the thought of it, too.

Ian said...

That was beautiful. Thank you.

Amandarama said...

I loved the book. I'm so sorry to hear it didn't get picked up.

That moment you described on the set sounded tremendous. Too cool.

Thanks for posting the pictures.

Frank S. Kim said...

I grabbed the pilot on bittorent and watched it last night. Usually I can't bear to watch anything longer than a trailer on my computer (I always get distracted by the thought that I could be doing something else with the computer rather than using it as just another television) but this time I was completely riveted to the screen for the entire 45 minutes. It's a shame we didn't get to see more of it.

Thanks for the wonderful post about your perspective. The first thing I'm going to do once I get home after work today is watching that scene again.

Guyot said...

I'm confused - Wasn't GF from last season ? I remember reading the pilot and my agents telling me it was one of the "hot" ones. Did it get rolled over or what?

It's heartbreaking (and frustrating) on so many levels when your pilot isn't picked up, but it's always worse when you had such a great experience shooting it (as it sounds like you did) and know that you could deliver something special in the way of a series.

Best of luck on the next one.

Rogers said...

We went midseason, shot last August, got killed in December. I started in on TRANSFORMERS after that and have been dead busy straight until now. So, not a lot of writing on it, or time to consider.

Again, I cannot emphasize how cool the WB execs, especially Janolari, were about this. When he called me, his first words were. "Hey, It's David. We suck." because he knew what the decision meant to me. Although I was pals with the previous president, I hope he tears the roof off the joint with his first year. He also immediately released the pilot to shop around, something he was under no obligation to do. As a matter of fact, most execs would've been dicks and sat on it. He's a good guy.

Screeners went out back in the day as we shopped it around, so I've got to assume the torrent's one of them.

Polter-Cow said...

I'd heard talk about this for a while, and it sounded very cool. I'm sorry it didn't get picked up. I just watched the pilot, and it was pretty sweet. Very exciting, very fun. I would have enjoyed seeing more, dammit.

Kevin Sole said...

What if it was real. How could you help but think that after every single issue you read? How could you not think that after watching the TV show?

This would've been huge.

Is it dead? Is there no other network willing to give it a try?

Chris said...

It would indeed be wonderful if it were true. I really hope this show finds a home....

Oerwinde said...

I hate when I find this stuff out late. Now I can't find an active torrent of the damn thing.

RKBentley said...

If nothing ever becomes of this awesome pilot then figure by SDCC it'll replace Roger Cormans's FF4 on the dealer's table.

I expect nothing less of DVDs and bootleg VHS Tapes littering dealer's tables of future conventions.

It's nice to see someone actually trying something new instead of all this rehashed crap.

Anonymous said...

I think I know why this concept hits so hard; at least, some of us alterkockers understand.

Those who recognize the name Earl Mac Rauch know of whom I speak.

21 years is hard waiting, for a Blue Blaze, waiting for the call from Dr. B. Banzai....

Anonymous said...

GF is the best pilot i've seen in a long, long time.

It should be made into a movie!

GRIM said...

I am happy, angry and upset all at once.

I'm a naughty monkey I know, but as an Ellisophile how could I resist seeing this?

It was perfect, it made the right compromises and brought the book to the screen in a way I thought it was impossible for TV or film to manage (until I saw Sin City) and I consider it on a par with that.

If it makes it to DVD I'm going to buy a copy for myself and copies for my friends.

You know, internet leverage could work like The Global Frequency itself and yet see this succeed. See how the Firefly fans are pushing? They got a movie and they may yet get there in direct-to-DVD.

Thank you for trying.

Keep the faith.

And yes, it should be real, could be real and could be the future.

Anonymous said...

Oh what a movie franchise this would have made

Anonymous said...

When my friend Jenni told me that she had done the pilot of the frequency I was so stoked I lent her my trade paperbacks (so she could see some of Warrrens awesome work) and told her she was part of something really special. I was so dissapointed to hear that it didn't get picked up. Then I downloaded the pilot and watched a absoulately awesome show. Point me in the Direction of the movement to get them to pick this show up.
We deserve it.
Matthew- thekingsbuccaneer@hotmail.com.au

Anonymous said...

I just downloaded the pilot.

Why the hell wasn't this show picked up!?

I admit, I had a few problems with some of the writing, but it's forgivable twice over... once because the hamfistedness of the teaser catupults us right into the story, and twice because I have every confidence that the FRIGGIN WRITERS FROM ANGEL would have found their stride by middle of Season One.

This pilot looked like it could have spawned a 7 year series... what the hell went wrong!?

Foxglove said...

Umm. I watched the pilot yesterday. This happened to me, too. I didn't read this until today.

"Some people are tearing up, I actually hear a little sniffling. I turn to one of the show staff and say "Hey, you okay? What's wrong?"

And she bursts into tears. "I was just ... what if it were real? Wouldn't it be beautiful if people could really ..." And she fades out, wipes her eyes. Whispers: "It would just be so amazing if it were real."

That's right. For two glorious minutes in a waterfront shed in Vancouver, the Global Frequency was real. And it destroyed people. For just the chance at that, I'm glad I tried."


I fucking LOVED it. I SO want to see this get picked up by someone. ANYONE OUT THERE LISTENING,YOU DUMB WANKERS WITH MONEY? Want to do a REAL show?!?!?

Foxglove said...

Umm. I watched the pilot yesterday. This happened to me, too. I didn't read this until today.

"Some people are tearing up, I actually hear a little sniffling. I turn to one of the show staff and say "Hey, you okay? What's wrong?"

And she bursts into tears. "I was just ... what if it were real? Wouldn't it be beautiful if people could really ..." And she fades out, wipes her eyes. Whispers: "It would just be so amazing if it were real."

That's right. For two glorious minutes in a waterfront shed in Vancouver, the Global Frequency was real. And it destroyed people. For just the chance at that, I'm glad I tried."


I fucking LOVED it. I SO want to see this get picked up by someone. ANYONE OUT THERE LISTENING,YOU DUMB WANKERS WITH MONEY? Want to do a REAL show?!?!?

Ncohrnt said...

I thought it was pretty good, but what's really killing me is one of the final music cues...after the Russian gets shot, right after the clink of the shell casing striking the floor...there's some thoughtful, sad string music that I know I've heard before. I just can't place it. I wanna say Mark Snow, or maybe Brian Tyler's Children of Dune...but I don't feel like scrubbing thru a million mp3s to find it. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

adrn said...

Holy SHIT! I love this show! there's got to be SOMETHING SOMEONE can do to get this on the air! C'MON! fuck

Anonymous said...

The Global Frequency will become real, the idea is infectious, the technology pervasive, relish in knowing how important of a role you served in founding the idea so beautifully.

Anonymous said...

If I would have watched it, allegedly, I would have absolutely loved it. I know this as fact, but I cannot admit why. The studio forbids!

Anonymous said...

Hi.
You are on the Global Frequency

Awesome pilot!

Through my name in the pile as a wannabe fan.
Concept blows Star Gate out of the water if you ask me.

Best Wishes,
Jim Walker

Anonymous said...

Ncohrnt-the music you're talking about is from Black Hawk Down, by Hans Zimmer. There's some in the beginning of the movie that's just about identical.

Anonymous said...

hi, i just wanted to quickly say.. can you make a new show based on the graphic novel Global Frequency? but this time make it better than the pilot i just watched.. there's very big room for improvement. what i just watched tried to be way too trendy. in my opinion its not geeky enough for a sci fi, and too intellectual for a pop show. but it deserves being aired because the ideas behind it are great. maybe even can become revolutionary. now we won't know :(
thanks anyway. OK. bye.

Zeronight said...

i cant fucking beleve that this wasent picked up. i just saw it and im inraged. yes it started rough but ALL pilots do but the good ones end great. right now i want to find out what i can do or who i can pester a million times over till this gets picked up or at least for gods sake the pilot gets aired

jeffreyjchiu said...

So there's no chance in heck that Global could be shopped around to another network or something? Or even reintro-ed to WB? Seems that David Janollari is a lot cooler than Jordan Levin, aka Man who Killed Angel. DJ liked Angel and would be up for that much talked Spike movie. Cancel Related and One Tree Hill crap. Bring in Global. Right after Smallville. Or after Supernatural. Gilmore is almost done. People would watch. Dang it.

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