Sunday, June 28, 2009

All systems go...

Season Five is on the pad and ready to lift off. But just like any launch, ours has had weather problems up to the last second. Were we going to keep shooting on film or switch to digital? Were we going to find the right actors to play vital new roles? (Which doesn't only mean finding the actors, but also making numerous complex individual deals even for actors who won't get the part, circulating casting tapes all over town, and when necessary convening a dozen very powerful and busy adults into a room to scrutinize the skills, likability and facial features of a small child.) And last but not least, would the Universal Studios Tour trams outside our windows drive everyone MAD??? It all came down to the wire in a grueling week that I hope doesn't get repeated for at least, well, realistically, another few. Except for the way it ended. That I'd be happy to repeat, over and over, and soon. Thanks to the herculean efforts of Donna in casting and Love in preproduction and Kim and Ian everywhere else, it all came together at the last second, and the pieces are now in place for a very exciting new season. Cameras roll Tuesday, a little after dawn, in Los Angeles.

Down at our end of the hall, the writing pipeline is flowing faster and faster. Jeannine did a draft of 502, this one inspired by personal experience, when her daughter received a chain email claiming to carry a curse. Mark got his outline approved for 503, which digs painfully but comically deeply into the family secrets of one of our regulars. Meanwhile John Gray is hammering out the story for 504, which will peel back a gooey layer or two on the haunted history of a key new location. (You'll want to pay special attention to that story this season.) Melissa and Joy are in the room hatching a sleek techno thriller, and Stephanie is noodling a Halloween chill ride.

And Chief Platespinner Laurie continues to do an excellent job making sure that not only do none of the plates crash, but all of them sing.