Corey Miller, a story editor on CSI: MIAMI, has an excellent post on his CBS blog this week about the pressures of series production.
Our shooting schedule lasts ten months out of the year. The writers
work eleven. The writers spend the month of June spitballing stories,
thinking about possible character arcs, and honing in on breaking the
first few episodes. We try to get as ahead as we can during this
period, because once shooting starts, there’s no turning back. We have
to have a new script completed every eight working days until the end
of the season. And we’re doing twenty-five.
As far as when the episodes air in relation to when they were shot, there is no pat
answer. It really depends on a number of things. This season, we began
filming our first episode on July 18. But it didn’t air until September
19. So there were two months in between. The episode that I’m doing
that shoots on December 7th is tentatively scheduled to air on January
30th. So you can see how that window has shrunk a bit, the deeper we
get into the season.
It’s all due to that pesky train, because once it is in motion, it’s a runaway.
He uses the runaway train metaphor and for good reason. When I’m producing a series, I inevitably have the nightmare that I’m on a train, shoveling scripts into the boiler to keep the engine going…and that I just can’t keep up.