Saturday, January 01, 2005

[TV] lovebites - episode 1 (4)

The biggest problem with episode one was we ended up writing it 12 episodes in to the series. “Now this,” we kept being told, “was a good thing.” When the pilot was filmed, all the actors would be totally into their characters - so the performances would be great. And, of course, the writers would know the show so all the jokes and story would be rock-solid.

That’s the theory. Now, back in the real world.

8 episodes already been finished, shot by a director who didn’t understand the feel we were going for. The stuff we were watching … well, maybe it felt like a three-way fight between the script, actors and director for supremacy. Using it as a benchmark didn’t appeal to us.

But completing those episodes had locked down certain events. For instance, Clare was new to the group. Phil was new back to the country (or at least his relationship with Ben, filled with little power plays and jostlings for status, seemed to imply it). So Episode 1, by default, now had to focus on 4 characters who all knew each other.

Our mission: reverse-engineer a pilot from known facts. With a set of relationships that you could debate were less than optimal. With a lack of confidence in what the experienced TV people called “the product” we were producing. And saddled with an inability to introduce new facts or shake things up too much because it’d contradict what would come later.


Step 1: moan about that for a couple of minutes.
Step 2: deal with it. The reality was - that after an unknown number of versions of the pilot that had been bounced by the network, our producers and us - we now had to produce the definitive Episode 1.

We had a week.

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