From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
Subject: There are micromachines on the way,...
Date: 12/26/1994 3:12:00 PM
: List :
There are micromachines on the way, eventually, I'm told.
To the query in message 666 (hrmmmm)...the relationship between series
producer and director is fairly close. The producer looks for and hires a
director whose vision seems to match his own. This is what I do. The
director gets the script after it's in final-draft form. (To the question
"Who writes the shooting script?" it's basically the same script from
beginning to end, but with the scene numbers broken out. You usually assign
scene numbers as quickly as possible, to allow CGI and stuff to get going.)
As producer, once I'm satisfied with the script, and it goes to the director,
sometimes s/he'll have questions about it which may need to be clarified or
explained. As part of prep, the director and I have a "tone meeting," in
which we go through each scene page by page, and I explain what I have in mind
in each scene, and the director talks about what s/he sees in it, making sure
that we both understand what's going on, and agree on the vision and approach.
Usually this goes very smoothly. Very, very rarely will you get a situation
where there are two opposed viewpoints on how to direct a scene, in which case
either a) I win, or b) the director shoots it both ways, and we see which way
works better on film.
Television is more fundamentally a writer's medium than a director's
medium; film tends to be more the director's purview.
There is interaction with the editors at every stage of the process. We
make sure the editor is on hand for the production meeting, and discusses with
the director what is desired. If there's something that needs to be made
clear from my POV, then I call the editor and make this point. The director
then shoots the episode, and the editor begins assembling the episode in
consultation with the director. Upon the completion of principal photography,
the director gets several days to play with the editor's cut, creating the
director's cut of the episode.
When this is finished, then I and John Copeland go into the editor's wing
and work with the editor to create the producer's cut. This can be very close
to the director's cut...or it can be a total restructure, depending on
circumstance. There were a few occasions last season where John and I went in
and re-edited every single scene. Sometimes this process can take half a day,
or several days.
One of the main things we do is to tighten the hell out of the episode.
Invariably, when the director finishes, we're told "The episode is still ten
minutes long, we had to cut scenes." Because directors like long, lingering
pans and establishers. We go in and tighten the screws until the film
screams...and with *very* few exceptions, it ALL fits.
Some episodes last season, like "War Prayer," and "Grail," and
"Infection" were absolute pains in the ass to edit. Getting those episodes to
work practically required a trip to Lourdes, and there's still stuff I'm not
happy with in those episodes. On the other hand, episodes like "The Geometry
of Shadows" you barely have to touch, because it's all put together
To your question of who has creative control on the series...when you
come down to brass tacks, it's me. I have a *very* specific vision for the
series, which comes about because I have incredibly talented people working
for me. Ann Bruice comes to me with costume sketches that I have to approve
(an easy task, since she's terrific); ditto with set designs from John
Iacovelli, prosthetic designs from Optic Nerve, props, set dressing, casting,
As a result, most things that are on the show are either very close to
what I saw in my head, or in some cases even better, because of the input of
all these people. My job is basically to say yes, or no, or maybe, and to
point to a spot on the horizon where I want us all to go. It's then up to
the rest to find ways to actually make these crazy notions WORK...they do the
actual work, the thought, the effort, and I get to bask in the reflected glow
of their efforts as though somehow I was responsible, when my main
responsibility was to look at a sketch and say, "Uh.....yup."