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Friday, 11 September 2009

On the Lot (2)

I spent yesterday as writer-on-the-set for filming of my bylined episode of The Forgotten. A lot of time is spent in the writers' room swapping ideas and working up stories, but every now and again you have to shut the door and write one. And that's as much insider leakage as I'm prepared to offer... the omerta of the writers' room prevails.

It was a long day on the Warners lot, but a fast-moving and productive one. It took me a couple of hours to pick up the rhythm and to fully get my head around having a role in the process, after a career-so-far in which the writer onset has always been essentially a visitor. When I showed up there was even a chair with my name on it. Well, not my name, exactly. But it said 'Writer'.

The episode's director is fellow-Brit Bill Eagles and the producer is another fellow-Brit, Matthew Carlisle. My first contact with Matthew was back last year when he was producer on Eleventh Hour; our DP is also Eleventh Hour's David Stockton.

In fact, what I found yesterday is that a large number of The Forgotten's department heads and crew worked on that show. I know it because they made a point of seeking me out to tell me so. Not an easy show to make, they all agree, but everyone seems to regard it - and working with Rufus and Marley - with unusual affection.

And I see traces of it everywhere. The traffic cone that protects Danny Cannon's parking spot in Warner Village still has the show's name stencilled on it. The location scout for my Forgotten episode included a loft used in filming Olfactus. On the way back from the tech scout, Matthew and unit production manager John Scherer pointed out the freezer plant used in Containment.

But that was then, and this is now. I understand that Human Target now occupies our old offices on the Warners Ranch. And me - well, I'm in a place that I didn't even imagine two years ago, still learning new stuff and still buzzed by the wonder of seeing it made.

And free food, when you're shooting.

14 comments:

Good Dog said...

It looks like you're having a good time, and having Brits around you rather than being surrounded by Colonials must make it more comforting. And not just a chair but free food!

I can't remember if BBC's iPlayer shows it, or even if you can get iPlayer to run over there for that matter, but BBC4 start showing the second series of Spiral starting tomorrow. Hopefully you read this in time to call in some favours.

Stephen Gallagher said...

Very handy news, thanks!

(rushes to phone...)

Lu said...

Good luck on The Forgotten, Mr. Gallagher. I've seen the promo and I can't wait to watch the pilot.

It was nice to read something about EH, just a memory but still.

Stephen Gallagher said...

Mark did a great job on the pilot. The challenge for the rest of us is to match it. As far as 11thH is concerned, having those conversations was like peeking into an outbuilding and finding that the machinery for making the show is still there and almost intact.

Itty Bitty Crazy said...

When do you have time to come and see us? Please come before the rain sets in! We'd love to have you and show you around... and the freeways here are nowhere NEAR as scary as LA!

Stephen Gallagher said...

You know how when I went freelance I went, "Great, now I can organise my own schedule and make time off whenever I want?"

It didn't work out then and it hasn't worked out yet...

Got my sights on Seattle, though. It's gonna happen.

Lu said...

I watched the first act of TF at tv.com and I really enjoyed it, too bad it wasn't the whole episode because I got hooked. I liked the cast, I think Christian Slater's addition was good, it seems to me that they all have chemistry.
Can't wait for next Tuesday.

Stephen Gallagher said...

I'll pass that on -- the days before a new show airs are a tense time, and I can tell you that your reaction will be appreciated. We had a crew screening of Mark's premiere episode on Friday, and although I'd watched some of the shooting and seen some of the dailies it was the first time I'd seen it in full. For me it was fast-paced and moving, with an unusual premise and an engaging cast.

We're up against THE GOOD WIFE, whose publicist has been offering critics $20 Amazon vouchers to give the show a mention. How classy is that?

Lu said...

Well, that's very classy of them, however, all I can say is that based on the activity and the number of fans at tv.com, TF has way more fans than TGW. Even the forum has more activity, TGW's forums have no thread and that is something. So I read Dancing with the Stars will be TF's lead in, what do you think about it?

luvinx said...

I am also very excited for the start of TF. Can't wait to see each and every episode.

As for 'paying' folks to get their shows promoted, how sad for them. I don't have to worry about that show either way, though, as I am not watching anything on CBS....for some reason. :P

Stephen Gallagher said...

So I read Dancing with the Stars will be TF's lead in, what do you think about it?

A good lead-in can't hurt though I'm skeptical of judging a show by what percentage of the preceding program's audience it 'retains' - that gives way too much credit to inertia and misunderstands individual choice. When Eleventh Hour was consistently winning its slot, some people were carping that its figure showed a drop from CSI in the previous hour, essentially comparing a ten o'clock show with a nine o'clock show instead of rating like against like. Where, let's face it, we killed.

maryseoneill said...

T-8 minutes!!!

Lu said...

Mr. Gallagher, I've already watched the whole episode and I have to say that it was very good and I really enjoyed it. The cast, again, have chemistry and that is very important, at least for me, to decide whether or not to keep watching a show, even when the only well-known actor there is Christian Slater.
The victim's voiceover is very original, we're so used to hear the other side (family, investigators) that having the victim talk about his feelings and thoughts is different.
The twist surprised me and the end scene was very touching, especially when she mentions there are others.
I hope I didn't spoil anything for anyone, but I don't know where else to let you know what I think.
And about your response about the lead in, you're absolutely right, Eleventh Hour won its time slot most of the time but critics insisted it lost many viewers from CSI and I think EH had a fan base of its own. Well, it still has.

Melanie said...

I knew when I saw your name on the credits for The Forgotten I was going to like it. Great show, great cast. Still miss Eleventh Hour.