Day Six -- April 30
We ended our first week on a relatively positive note. We had a pretty good run-through for the network, the relationships of the characters was being nicely cemented, and the script was in great shape. Why then, over the weekend, did the show suddenly undergo a complete overhaul? We received a new script with major changes the very next day. Many jokes that seemed to be working wonderfully were gone. Huge chunks of scenes were rewritten. Everything seemed a little out of place. It was honestly as if the writer had mistakenly printed out a draft from back in February and distributed it to us. It was a major disappointment to see that this was what the network run-through had resulted in.
Or was it? Last night, a packet of even newer pages arrived on the doorstep. Within that packet of goodness lay many of the old standbys that had been so unceremoniously removed in the previous version. Other scenes had been reconstructed, as if an apprentice writer had taken them apart, only to reassemble them intact so he could learn from the structure of the script. The newer pages were back on the track that I thought the pilot was on all week. The weekend scare was fixed before we even got back to work this morning.
At work today, we had the writer, Alan Ball, around during the rehearsals. That allowed us to voice any concerns over lost, missing, or desired lines. That was cool. A few lines were fought for and made triumphant returns to the script. For a few others, Alan pointed out why changes had been made and it made swallowing that pill a little easier.
By the end of rehearsal everything felt very good. The day ended on a positive note probably because we didn't then try to entertain 30 to 50 executives who are dead tired of the jokes and the characters and the story. We had entertained ourselves and even though that may be much easier, for now it was plenty satisfying.
Before we wrapped for the day, we shot publicity photos for ABC. In case the show does get picked up, they'll have a collection of shots of the regulars for promotional materials. We also shot sequences of black-and-white photos, which would go in the promo segments on TV, like all the other shows have. That's when everything started to feel a little "cart before the horse-ish." It's policy to get those shots now, but we all know those will only be seen, and maybe only be developed, if the show is actually on the air. That's odd.
Tomorrow is the beginning of the end. We camera block the scenes and even shoot three of them. By this time tomorrow night, three of the show's 12 or so scenes will be but a memory. It's so close...
Go on to Day 7
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