Okay, it’s starting to get real fun on this new Netflix series I’m shooting with Lily Tomlin (Don’t know when it will air–sometime after the thirteen episodes of the first season are finished –and you can start binge watching!). But I want to apologize to my blog readers because I haven’t been writing much. That’s because we shoot such long hours and there isn’t any time and what little leftover time there is, is spent (by me, at least) watching the dailies which takes hours but which is critical for me–that’s how I learn what works, what doesn’t, what I need to do more of or less of and that’s where I get a true sense of what the director is going for.
We shot some of the second episode way back in the Malibu mountains. Being there moved me a lot because, as I’ve said before, I grew up in these mountains–well, the Santa Monica Mountains, but they abut each other. The slopes and vistas of chemise, chaparral and mountain laurel take me back to my childhood when I would pretend to be an Indian scout and roam for hours at a time, discovering wooded glens (sycamore and live oak) and rocky outcroppings (sandstone). I dread the day when, due to population growth, these lovely mountains will be developed and the critters–coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, etc etc –will have no where left to go.
We are shooting so much fun and exciting stuff, and I have taken lots of photos, but for now I’ll share some photos of some of the folks you don’t normally see.
Here is the ‘video village’ where the behind-the-scenes VIPs gather to watch what’s being ‘filmed.’ This group usually consists of the director (which changes with each episode, something I’m having trouble getting used to), the show runners (co-creators, main writers and executive producers Marta Kauffman and Howard Morris); Marcy Ross who is in charge of television for Skydance, the company started by David Ellison to develop and finance projects–often very big feature film projects like “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” “World War Z,” “Ghost Protocol,” and “True Grit,” before they take them to studios for distribution; the writer/s of the episode we are currently shooting; other of our producers and various assistants. It’s funny to me that I’m just getting used to the whole idea of a video village whereas our younger actors have never known anything else–never known, for example, when more expensive film was used and only the takes considered best were printed to be watched on a screen the next day instead of every single bit of digital ‘film’ shot is sent to our computers to be watched whenever we grab a free moment. The young’uns will never known the feeling of a director standing right next to the camera determining with his (alas, almost always men) eyes what was good. Here’s the video village when we were in the mountains. Marta is on the right, chin on hand. Then Marcy, Jeff Freilich.
It feels nice to be back at Paramount. Many, many decades ago I made a number of films there including “Barefoot in the Park,” so you can imagine I have fond memories–especially since I had a crush on Redford—on each of the three films we did together.
With Director Scott Winant.
Lily took this one. Tulea sort of morphs into a ’50s purse, don’t you think?
Director Bryan Gordon, and Cleta Ellington.
Dave Hadder, who holds the boom mike–a really hard job as far as I can tell. It’s long and heavy and he has to hold it aloft sometimes for extended periods, making sure it never drops into the shot.
Bonita Dehaven, who does Lily’s make up.
Striking a pose is Allyson Fanger our costume designer.
Between Cleta and Jane is Jeff Freilich, one of the producers who is always on set. He’s been at it a long time so we have a lot to talk about. Ie: “remember when homes in Malibu rented for $300 a month?’ etc
Right to left: Jane Forbes, script supervisor, who makes sure what we do from take to take matches. Behind her is Cleta and then the very cool Fame Hughes, who takes care of the costumes.
(above) Justin Browne, Camera B operator who also carries the steadicam–also very hard work. A steadicam means the camera is carried it on his shoulder. It is used for shots that require moving through small, narrow or complicated spaces that would be too hard and time consuming to shoot with a regular camera rolling on a dolly track.
Chris (the Murph) Murphy, Camera A operator (we usually are shooting with 2 or even 3 cameras at a time)
Video village outside the Trancas Market.
Watching dailies on my iPad between takes with Tulea.
It may be awhile before I get to blog again about “Grace & Frankie.” Next weekend I fly to the Toronto Film Festival where “This Is Where I Leave You” will premiere and I’ll meet up with Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Corey Stoll, Adam Driver, Connie Britton, our director Shawn Levy and my BFF, producer Paula Weinstein, who bought the book years ago and worked diligently to bring it to fruition for Warner Brothers. It’s a good film, let me tell you. (And Paula is also an executive producer on “Grace & Frankie.”) I will for sure blog from Toronto so stay tuned. It will be a grueling 2 days of back-to-back interviews, press conferences and post premier parties, but I believe in the movie so that helps. I did nothing exciting over Labor Day weekend except rest and try to stay healthy in preparation for Toronto. Well, I did work out each of the 3 days and wrote this blog. I find doing a TV series is a little like doing a Broadway play. You think you’ll get so much done during your down time but, truth is, your energy is so thinned out all you can do is rest and take walks.