Well, let's crunch a recap and a preview post together over the holiday weekend. We'll answer some questions, and offer an open thread after this week's ep answering anything you ask in the Comments here.
Speaking of thise week's episode, it is not The Wedding Job. It's The Bank Shot Job, and the preview is here.
This was the first episode actually shot, written by our infamous co-producer Amy Berg based off a pitch from Dean Devlin and directed (in six frikkin' days) by Dean. Yes, it is a lovely little cosy shop we have, and yes, it is better than the old way of doing things. Anyway, it's way, waaaay outside the usual format, but it's one of the TNT suits' favorites, so it got bumped up in order. The ratings have been pretty promising, so they seem to want to really push while nobody else is producing new material.
The first-season-order-shuffle is always a mixed bag. On one hand, I think the chumminess the characters evince in Two Horse and Miracle -- two episodes written to be mid-season -- kind of jump the gun on the emotional arcs seen in this broadcast order. On the other hand, the Nate/Sophie scene in Miracle really belongs that early in the season, and I'm glad we got Sterling introduced early in Two Horse. Again, luckily, we wrote these intended to be primarily stand-alones, and the order pretty much settles in as intended for the rest of the season. Oh, yeah, and we got an entire season of 13 guaranteed. Unlike every other rookie show on the air. So, you know, aces.
For what it's worth, the upcoming Chris Kane fight scene in The Bank Shot Job is my favorite. Well, this and the one in Wedding. Oh, and Mile High ... never mind. (Yes, I have a fight obsession, to the point of being mocked by my own staff.) It was the first one we shot and it sets the standard for the rest of the season. The fight in Miracle is more of a conceptual fight. The gun-waistband bit in Miracle is stolen from ... ahh, it's too painful. Let's just say the movie will never be made, and we use all the parts of the animal.
One thing about Miracle: I've seen a few comments about how Hardison's morality seems to be ... flexible. It is indeed. He rationalizes like a sumbitch, and the one thing cut from Miracle I miss badly is the flashback to a teen Hardison with braces, rocking the Kid n' Play look, while he adapted his Nana's moral code to hacking the Bank of Iceland. Once the suited humans have returned to their offices in January, I may try to pry that footage loose. Also -- DB Sweeney gets the ladies steamy. The shoot had a constant background hum of whispered "toe pick!", strangled giggling, and the scurry of footsteps off to dark corners.
Big congratulations to Christine Boylan, also a staff writer, also her first produced script. Another East Coast Catholic like myself, she took a ridiculous amount of care on the sermon. Yes, we atheist sodomite Hollywood-types spent hours laboring over our episode about faith. I assure you, we ran right out and had some gay socialized medicine afterward.
Right, questions from the last post, and we'll tackle any from this post in the open-thread post for Tuesday. Bloody hell, that confused even me.
Mike Cane: >>>There are 116 green screen set replacement shots. OK, you just managed to con ME. I just watched my time-shifted copy two hours ago (working on pimpage post) and didn't notice ANYTHING like that. I can usually spot them too! Is this seamlessness due to: 1) HD vid? 2) Dir of Photo? Both?
Having Mark Franco, our visual effects ... honcho? Guru? Resident genius? ... available to come and call angles for the best greenscreens is the key, and Dave Connell of course has a major hand in it. Shooting digital makes a big difference in the workflow for vfx -- which I have Mark buttonholed to explain here on this site sometime soon. We have guys basically inventing ways to do quick 'n dirty greenscreen shots at Electric.
For example, the church in Miracle? Never more than half full with extras.
Alon: Only semi-on topic, but just FYI, I cannot get the episodes that are up on the TNT website to play. Every time I try, it crashes my browser, regardless of which one I try to use. When I first went to the page in Firefox, it said I needed a plug-in, so I downloaded and installed ...
Anonymous: commenting late on this, but: you talk at length at various points in your history about 4th Generation Media and so forth, but still, when I try the options listed by you of how to watch this show (which I want to watch) and also send some money in the direction of the people that made it, I have no chance to do so because I happen to live outside the US. Utter stupidity again. So we return to the age-old saying: piracy, the better choice, or, as in so many cases, the only choice.
And really, I _wanted_ to view it legally. I have no moral qualms about downloading something when I'm basically told: you live elsewhere, so fuck you.
First, piracy is wrong. Wroooong. Look, everyone currently reading my blog with a law degree who also works for one of the large corporations with whom I do regular business, piracy is wrong!
Well, fair points all, but this is the nature of evolutionary change. It's already a bit mad that we have no studio. Distribution comes with a whole other set of issues. TNT (rightfully) gets the streaming window, and it's up to their fine web humans to rock that out. They pay a license fee, and nicely enough broadcast and promote the hell out of us. The foreign sales network people demand their windows for broadcast, or they won't buy the series, which means that we'll take way, way longer to be in profit. Which will curtail our ability to make more wonderful TV shows. Television is cash flow, something Dean could explain to you in exruciating detail while dabbing the fine sweat from his forehead.
Basically, we're pushing the envelope, but we're beating one problem at a time. We got "how to make a TV show based out of one old dog hospital in East Hollywood" out of the way. Next up is "being utterly independent of the distribution chains television has relied on for the last fifty years. " But we'll get there.
Emily Blake: am enjoying the show and particularly Christian Kane and , but I was wondering something. If I remember correctly, Hustle also did a racing horse switch episode. Do you guys watch Hustle? Do you think about ways to prevent your stuff from being too similar or do you just do what you do and not worry about it?
I watched the first two season, and then bailed. (I met Adrian Lester on an unrelated project. Great guy.) A fair chunk of my staff has seen every season. We have killed a couple ideas because they did something similar on that show. But at some point you just shrug your shoulders and say "Every caper show is going to have a card game/horse race gag/Big store/etc etc." It's a bit like working on Without a Trace and wondering if your "The wife you thought was dead is actually the killer" crosses over with any of the CSI's or Law & Orders. There are genre conventions, but the shows have a different tone, gang make-up, a difference in the number of explosions (advantage: us), and moral center - they are, as far as I can tell, never helping anybody, while that's our raison d'etre.
Besides, we're way too busy stealing from It Takes a Thief and Rockford to steal from Hustle.
Toxic Frog: Love the show - I just introduced it to my family (we're all fans of heist/con shows) and everyone involved approves. I do have some questions and comments, though:
- How did you get Gina Bellman on board? You didn't talk much about the casting, and when Sophie was introduced both my parents went "Oh my god! Her!" and are now pestering me to find out.
There's a little behind the scenes on casting up at TNT now. Which, conveniently, discusses Gina...
cont'd: ... - My parents wish to inform you that the circular-track camerawork in the opening of the pilot made them nauseous, and that you should stop it :)
You hear that Dean? You're hurting innocent MOMMIES AND DADDIES!! (sorry, private joke)
Vicki: BTW, is anyone planning to sell those nifty "Leverage" latte mugs anywhere? I need to have one.
... hmmm. I wonder if I can finance my day players with tchockes ... we'll see.
Kid Sis: Wow. This is all getting very Star Trek convention. You going to start yelling at bloggers to get a life and move out of their mom's basement??
I'm going to let it run until I see the Comic-con booth for "The Black Kings" next to the Browncoats, where Nate/Sophie shippers start throwing punches at the Sophie/Parker slashers. Then and only then will we blow the ref whistle.
lummox: BTW Leverage is a pretty decent show. Once it's either out on DVD or there's some other way us non-Americans can buy it, I'll be happy to do so.
I hope I didn't give a false impression earlier -- it will be broadcast, and soon, in most countries. Within a few months, unless I'm high or mistaken. You shouldn't have to wait for the DVD's.
Rght then, that's the mailbag for now. Toss any Miracle-oriented , or hell any other questions, into the Comments, and we'll get to them next week. As always, thanks for watching, recapping, and forum-posting. In the modern television landscape, we can't do it without you.