Coming to Life

Typepad recovered my earlier, lost post about the first few days of pre-production on FAST TRACK, so that saves me having to tell you all about that again. So here’s the latest news…

I love the prep period. That’s when the project finally feels real to me…figuratively and literally. Unlike writing a book, TV  is a collaboration. For example, the production designers are showing me sketches and concepts for the places that only existed before in my imagination…. how they will make those places real. But more  than that, these artists are bringing so much that’s new and
fresh, that comes  from their own talent and experience. I enjoy seeing
how my work has inspired them… it  makes me feel great. 

On Monday, I went to visit our production office for the first time (all my meetings so far have been in cafes and hotel rooms). It’s a building in  an  industrial  area of Berlin. I saw the two floors of empty offices and the adjoining buildings that will serve as the construction shop, car-tuning shop, etc. It’s a big complex…and within days, it will start  to fill up with people working on the movie. By the end of next week, it will be a bee-hive  of activity, everyone working towards a common goal — making what I wrote alone in my home-office into a movie.  But for the moment, it’s just the line producer,  his assistant, and me. I picked out a spot for myself and my assistant and tried to imagine what it’s going to look like in two weeks when it’s full of furniture, white boards, computers, printers, and shooting schedules. I felt both excitement and anxiety. There’s  so much work to do…and so many decisions to make.

I spent the day with my director, talking in detail about the pilot script and the hoped-for series…and about how I see the world and the characters and how he sees them. Then we met with the last candidate for production designer, played some Playstation racing games, and made some final hiring decisions.  That night, I reviewed more DVDs of actors, costume designers, etc. and prepared for my meeting today in Munich with the network.

The meeting went very, very well…we are amazingly in-synch about what the show is and will be…and about the people we’d like to hire to make it happen. But they are more than just a network, they are our production partner in this project so it’s a much closer working relationship, at least on a creative level, than you usually have in a "supplier and buyer" situation. I’m so lucky to have a clever and articulate network executive on the project whose creative contributions consistently make the show better. We decided on the production designer and costume designers  we wanted — and the network agreed — so  tomorrow we will close their deals and get them on-board.

Tomorrow I meet with the second unit director and stunt coordinators to have our initial concept discussions about the racing sequences…and then I return to L.A. for casting.

I have been having trouble sleeping. It’ s not just the jet-lag — I have  so much on my mind that it’s hard to "shut down." I know what I am about to say is a cliche, but….there’s just not enough hours in the day.

Oh, yesterday I also looked at the suite my family and I will be staying in when I return on the 30th and for the duration of production. It’s beautiful and perfectly located. The U.S. actors will also be staying at the same place and I think they will be very happy there. The location in Berlin can’t be beat. It’s going to be fun for my family and I hope an exciting experience for my daughter.

I apologize for rambling….I’ll try to report back again once more before I fly home.

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