Last night, we went to dinner with Amy, our production coordinator. It was one of the weirdest dinners I’ve ever been to, mostly because of the venue. O Noir is a restaurant where the servers are all blind and the meal is served in absolute pitch darkness. In addition to ordering the listed items from the menu, there was the option of saying “surprise me” and getting dishes that weren’t listed, and that you’d just have to figure out what they were as you went. Which I did.
If the idea was to sharpen my sense of taste and smell by denying us sight, it didn’t particularly work. The thing I came away with was the realization that it was probably the first meal I’ve had in months where I never once checked the time. Amy, our production coordinator, said she was surprised to find the darkness very relaxing. Naren says back when he was on CSI, they did an episode about someone being murdered in a place like this. So yeah, as adventures go, pretty fun.
One of the things we talked about over the meal was how little people know about the office. Like, for example, we have an office. The Expanse includes a huge crew of people on the soundstages. Lighting, wardrobe, props, makeup, construction, special effects, visual effects, and on and on. We have dedicated art and editorial departments. We have a transportation department that gets everyone to and from location.
We also have accountants and coordinators. The people who work with the critical business side of getting everyone paid, keeping the lights on, arranging travel and supplies, and dealing with human resources issues. All of the things that any small business would have to do, we have to do too. And these are the folks who do it.
And there are other facets of the office peculiar to our work. We have a script coordinator, for instance, whose job it is to track every change in every script, make sure updated pages get to everyone who needs them every time dialog or stage directions get tweaked, and maintain both an up-to-date place for all the most recent versions *and* a complete record of all the previous versions. With thirteen episodes, we have literally hundreds (quite possibly thousands) of pages of changes over course of the season. Without a good script coordinator — pardon the language here folks — we’d be fucked.
Amy, the production coordinator, handles — among other things — the travel. When Ty and I had our flight cancelled out from under us the day before we came out, Amy was the one who scrambled to get us a new booking. And when Ty got pulled aside by immigration, Amy was also the one calling the Canadian government with the rules and statutes in hand, ready to raise hell if we got turned away for want of a (it turns out unnecessary) work permit.
One of the things Naren always says about television is that for a show to succeed, a thousand things have to go write. For one to fail, three things have to go wrong. That goes back to the office too.