Lizard Brain is a shared blog about Science Fiction and Fantasy from Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

Toronto Diary Day Eleven

08.31.16
by Daniel Abraham

The rewrites have slowed to a trickle… but they never entirely stop.  New sets of notes come in from the network or from the actors or the development company or we generate them ourselves as we talk through the scenes.  We’re well past the point of making structural changes to the script — no new characters or sets (or props or costumes) — but the dialog gets progressively closer and closer to what it should be.

This morning, I began by watching the director’s cuts of two episodes with the director and the editors.  It’s fascinating to see how much the initial cut of the show shifts and changes. The rewriting — at least in the sense of telling the story — doesn’t even change when the film’s all shot.  The cuts I saw today were lovely, but they’re also the start point of draft after draft after draft in this medium.  Music and color correction and sound and VFX will all still be layered in before it airs, and what I saw today will only have been the bones of it.

I also got to see some of the editorial adjustments on some of the earlier episodes in response to meetings earlier in the week.  I am smitten with film editing. It think the transformations of story that go on in the editing rooms are hands-down the most interesting things I’ve seen in this whole process.  In my next life, I would like to be a film editor.

After that was the tone meeting for the season finale, which involved going through the whole script scene-by-scene with the director and talking through not only what’s on the page, but what’s underneath it all — what the characters are feeling, how the scenes grow from (and set up) the story before and after, specific concerns about how a particular scene could be misinterpreted if all you have to do on is what’s on the page.

Which is to say, it’s exactly what you never get when you’re writing prose: the chance to say “Here’s my work, and here’s how you’re supposed to read and understand it.”  I enjoyed the hell out of it.

We’re rapidly running out of prep time.  The days of actually sitting on the set, watching what we imagined being acted out will start very soon.  If we’ve done a good job up to now, it’ll be smooth, quick, effective, and easy.  If we’ve overlooked something, we’ll be there to address the bumps.  If we screwed up, all our flaws will come to light.  So that’ll be interesting too.

I was trying to describe the office to my Darling Wife, and the best I could come up with is that I feel like I’m dancing on a landslide.  I’m being as graceful and precise as I can while this whole massive thing is moving with a momentum of its own, and there’s no stopping it.

The conversation about how to promote the show is also going on, which is a whole different process with a different cast of characters. About that, there’s not much I’m permitted to say yet.  But if it goes well, I hope we can bring the show onto the radar of a whole bunch of people who may have missed it the first time out.

2 Responses »

  1. It sounds as if you’re given the time to really craft something, and that’s a rare thing in the TV business. It really lets us know that these short “half-seasons” as I call them can really allow for great television to be written, directed, acted, and edited.

  2. Please tell me that they’re planning on making it available on Netflix internationally.

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