You are Prepping a Story, not a Budget…

Dual stages prepped for Chicago Fire.

Empty stages await their sets on “Chicago Fire”.


The only way to capture the modern audience is to mount TV shows that have detail, texture and tone to engage them, keep them entertained and most importantly—make them want to come back to watch next week. Good scripts given a proper staging, letting actors look their best—these things make a difference in the way the audiences perceive the quality of the show and their desire to continue watching.

I’ve had the great good fortune to produce for Dick Wolf for many years on numerous projects. Luckily, I had worked in the industry for almost 20 years before I met Dick, so I had already made my rookie producer mistakes, like pushing the Director of Photography to make daylight on way too big a shot on my first TV movie. The poor DP did it, but it took 2 hours to light and the dailies were sad. Reshot it anyway. You learn… Continue reading “You are Prepping a Story, not a Budget…”

Casting the Crew…

As any Producer recognizes early in their career, you must choose who you hire very carefully. I learned how important it was to put together crews who could not only function together, but thrive and enjoy the work. As an old AD, I had suffered all I wanted on sets where people mostly just yelled at each other. I knew I would not let that happen when I could hire crew.

The wise, old Director taught me– “Casting is 90% of my job. I get that right, the rest is easy.”  He was right. As Producers, we are after the same thing. If we assemble the proper group of technicians and artists, give them a script and set the goal, the rest is just day to day management. Continue reading “Casting the Crew…”

The “Hollywood Life” of the Cast & Crew

Shooting Chicago Fire

As I speak about working in film and TV, I do try to impart to rookie and pro alike that for us, the filmworker– it’s not the show, but all shows…

Our lives on set are not measured by the projects we work on or the people who send us our checks. It is in the process we live. We love projects that are wonderful and perfect, but we work mostly on projects that need our help to create and bring them to life. An Actor can only effectively do one role at a time and only really concentrate on the immediate work if they want to know the scene intimately. The same is said for the Cinematographer, the focus puller and the dolly grip. Yes, they’ll talk at lunch about the big stunt coming up this weekend, but their day is locked in the day to day creative struggle to film each shot, each scene.

Getting ready to shoot

Continue reading “The “Hollywood Life” of the Cast & Crew”

So long Chicago, hello LA

House 51, Report! from Chicago Fire

In the explosion pic from the final scene of last season’s Chicago Fire finale, you can tell it’s Boden’s stunt double.  It captured the moment of the 4th floor blowing out just before the whole front blows out and envelopes Chief Kenny.  John Milinac and the Special Effects team had set up crossing mortars loaded with dust and debris.  In the heart of the cross, Chief Kenny is able to walk directly into the explosion under the strict supervision of the Stunt Coordinator Rick LeFevour. Pretty effective and scary.  Boden is left watching the horrible sight.

No longer Producing Chicago Fire, now I’m just a fan.  Very curious to see what the new season will bring – hearing great things from Chicago.  Pretty tall order for Wolf, Olmstead, Haas and Brandt. 44 hours of TV over the 2014/15 season for 2 shows, CF and Chicago PD. Continue reading “So long Chicago, hello LA”