There are a great many steps involved with the production of
an episode of Farscape that are completely invisible to the
television audience. Could you please describe the
development of an episode from concept to shooting? (For
example: The Way We Weren't)
shooting? That would fill a book! VERY VERY briefly: Writer
has bright idea. Writing staff meets with writer; group
bangs out a general storyline. Writer goes off and writes
script. Creature Shop, Art Dept., Makeup, Wardrobe, etc.,
work up designs (see second question below). Sets are built.
Guest parts are cast. Director, actors, network, etc.
contribute more ideas and suggestions. Script undergoes more
drafts. Episode is filmed. Editor works with director to
assemble a cut. Cut is refined and brought down to correct
running time (see question below). Composer and sound
effects editors work their audio magic while the CGI wizards
make video magic. Actors "loop" (rerecord) any
lines of dialog that need replacement because of noise on
set, whatever. Sound mixers put the audio together as
post-production magicians integrate CGI, color-corrected
picture, credits, etc. Off it goes to the various networks
and hence to You, the Home Viewer. Repeat 21 more times per
ever been something, a scene or a line, that was cut from an
episode that you wished had not been removed? If so, would
you give an example.
are delivered at an agreed-upon (with the network) length,
period, so something almost ALWAYS has to go. Ideally each
episode will, in the first edit, come in SLIGHTLY long, so
that the director and editor have the freedom to tighten the
pace and discard the weaker bits. (Coming in TOO long means
we've spent expensive production days on stuff that won't be
used; coming in short can mean we have to write and shoot a
new scene or two to bring the episode up to length.)
Generally the get-the-episode-down-to-time process isn't
painful, and results in a BETTER show than if we'd been
allowed to run three minutes longer. For instance, there was
a little D'Argo/Chiana scene in "Mind the Baby"
which director Andrew Prowse and I quite liked -- nothing
earthshaking, just a mild flirtation on her part and some
interest on his part (to begin setting up their relationship
in future episodes) -- and Anthony and Gigi did a terrific
job with the scene. But... the ep ran long, the scene wasn't
In the episode "Out of Their Minds", a
new set as well as a new alien species were introduced. When
an episode of Farscape is written and it calls for a new
type of alien species, a ship or a new set, who oversees
this process? How does it take form?
job of the Art Director (Ricky Eyres in season 1, Tim
Ferrier in season 2) and/or the Creature Shop (Dave Elsey
etc.). Even during the story outlining stage, the
writers/directors talk to the other departments --
"Tim, we need a Scarran interrogation room...
Crichton's there, a Scarran is using fancy electronic stuff
to mess with his mind..." -- "Dave, we need
another Scarran, and we want to blow his head off at the end
of the show..." Again, other departments are involved
as well...we all may decide that Alien X will be animatronic
and Aliens Y and Z will be makeup/prosthetic jobs... or that
we'll build Set X, but Set Y will just be a doorway with CGI
filling in what lies beyond.
|Q4: How do you "police" yourself to
maintain consistency for your characters and the show's
themes? For instance, who would say "Oh, John Crichton
would never say something like that"?
Ben's VERY good at making dialog his own; he's constantly
tweaking lines, adding things, and generally improving us.
On the bigger picture -- themes and consistency thereof --
that's the Script Department's job, and it's one reason WHY
we usually "break" each story with most of Us
Writers in the room, to make sure story elements stay true
to the characters and fit in with our Grand Plans for the