The production board for Episode 10 read like a schedule for a feature film. The only difference was that we had to accomplish the following in seven days, not seven weeks. In no particular order: kill two deputies, find a seaplane, film a seaplane landing on its mark (boring), blow up the Marina (awesome), throw Molotov cocktails at a parked car (kinda cool), shoot Cal, attempt to kill Jimmy, hang Maggie Krell from the roof of The Cannery (interesting), shoot sniper fire at our cast, give Sully his "Starsky & Hutch" moment (hilarious), yank the Sheriff through the third floor window of The Candlewick Inn and then hang him from a tree (holy moly) and introduce Mr. John Wakefield. Excellent. First things first, find a director. Introducing Mr. Steve Boyum. An experienced director whose directed over 7 million hours of network television. OK, maybe not 7 million but close enough. Steve directed Episode 3 of Harper's Island, so the cast and crew were already familiar with his pace and style. In a nutshell, he's fast and organized. If given the right amount of Red Bull and coffee, Steve could've directed Lord of the Rings in two weeks -- the whole trilogy.
While the leaders of our Art Department (Mark Freeborn), Construction Dept. (Mike Rennison), Special Effects (Dan Keeler), Stunts (Marny Eng), and Marine Team (Jason Crosby) were all trying to figure out how and where to blow up a Marina, I had assassination duties to perform. Beverley Elliott, who plays Maggie Krell, was a little apprehensive about being harnessed from the roof of The Cannery, and left dangling out there for all to see. I didn't blame her. It was cold outside. To prove to everyone that I wasn't a coldhearted assassin, I allowed the cast to take personal photos of themselves in their "death scene" wardrobe, with the only stipulation being they couldn't publish them until after their death episode aired. I'm sure these photos will start surfacing on Facebook pretty soon. Keep an eye out for the picture of David Lewis (Richard Allen) walking around with a harpoon through his stomach with a huge smile on his face. That's my favorite. Second favorite would be Beverley dangling from The Cannery. Oh, and Malcolm holding his head. That's a good one too.
Stunts are always tricky, especially when you have very minimal time to accurately pull them off. This was the predicament we found ourselves in trying to kill off Sheriff Mills. We had about an hour before I put the crew in serious overtime, which meant we had about one or two takes to get the shot of the Sheriff being pulled out of the window of the Candlewick Inn. We had four cameras rolling simultaneously, three placed inside the room and one placed outside to capture his free fall. If we didn't get what we needed on the first take, set up time for a second take (i.e.: replacing windows, harnessing stunt man, cleaning out glass, etc) would take approximately 30 minutes. We'd be cutting it close. Steve Boyum and I held hands and silently prayed before the first take, hoping we'd get what we need in this shot. "Action," he yelled. Stuntman goes flying. Crash. Glass everywhere. "Cut!!" he cries out. We check on the stuntman, he's good, and immediately run back to the video monitor to watch a replay. The three cameras inside the hotel room were perfect. The fourth camera, placed outside and shooting in slow-motion, didn't get what we needed. Ugh. I look at my watch. We've got 25 minutes. Ugh. Steve gives me a puppy dog look. He's right. We need another take. "One more," I whisper hesitantly. The crew goes into crazy work mode. What should have taken 30 minutes for a reset is accomplished in 15 minutes. We line everything up again and nail it. With five minutes to spare. Great success!!! Ironically, two days later is Thanksgiving. On the top of my list of things to be thankful for... this crew.
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