As in much of the world, the team behind the new CBS television series All Rise found that the coronavirus pandemic disrupted daily operations practically overnight. One day they were shooting what was supposed to be a two-part finale of its first season. The next day they were home.
Working online to finish editing the 20th episode "didn't feel like the exact end of the season," executive producer Len Goldstein said in a virtual interview with the press on Tuesday. The session included series director Simone Missick (judge Lola Carmichael) and executive producers Greg Spottiswood, Michael Robin and Dee Harris-Lawrence.
"Because our show deals with the judicial system and all sorts of problems that our characters face with the judicial system," added Goldstein, "in a way, this offered itself: & # 39; Can we tell a story about a contemporary problem tell? & # 39; And what's more contemporary than this (pandemic)? "
So the Coronavirus-centered All Rise episode was born this Monday. From writing to filming, everything needed to put the episode together happened virtually, the producers said.
"Interestingly, it shot faster than a normal episode," said Robin. Sixty-four pages of script were shot in six 10-hour days, compared to the typical 60 pages that were shot in seven and a half 12-hour days.
Apple's Facetime and Zooms virtual meeting software helped film, the producers said. In a private Cisco Webex room, actors could dial in when it was time to film a particular scene. Carefully cleaned ethernet cables and Wi-Fi boosters were distributed to complement the personal equipment of the cast and crew. The actors effectively became their own crew.
Simone Missick as Lola Carmichael in CBS's "All Rise". The legal drama for newbies airs on Monday, May 4th, a virtually produced episode that covers the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on their characters and the judicial system. Monty Brinton – CBS via Getty Images
"Every day was:" Okay, let me put up these lights and move this furniture and set up the props, put myself in costumes and do my hair and make-up and where is handicraft (services)? Oh, it's my kitchen, "said Missick. The team took steps to make sure everyone could see, hear, and run through the scene before actually filming.
"All of the technology, all of" This is strange. I take pictures in my living room – all of that kind of faded away, ”she said. "You really connect to the actor or the actors on the screen like you would on the set."
Missick said the actors needed to set things up so that "it feels like a really expensive guerrilla indie film." However, the crew helped them decide where to film in their homes, whether the lighting needed to be adjusted, and other visual considerations.
Even the professionals who did hair and makeup – which some actors skipped – helped by letting the cast know if they had styled themselves properly. Some products were delivered by post or to your home. In some cases, individual make-up bags were taken from the make-up trailer and sent with them – after disinfection, Robin noted.
The cloakroom team also sent items to help the actors get character. "When it comes to wardrobe, Simone doesn't dress like Lola, so our costume designer had to quickly find some things to come to me," said Missick. "There was this moment (initial fear): 'How long was it in transit? Which fabrics are ok? Should I put it in the dryer? Do I have to spray it with Lysol? "
Also: "There was the very real concern we all have about getting boxes and unpacking things," added the actor. "That was something that had to be considered."
Even then, about 95% of what can be shown on the screen was found in each actor's house, Robin said.
Pictured (left to right, top): Simone Missick as Lola Carmichael, Edwin Hodge as Joey Beto, Jessica Camacho as Emily Lopez, Wilson Bethel as Mark Callan, Ruthie Ann Miles as Sherri Kansky and Lindsay Mendez as Sara Castillo in the virtual produced episode of "All Rise". Screen grab over CBS
The authors have made some adjustments to the plot and character sheets of the drama to reflect the new film environment. The crisis "deepens some relationships" and "emphasizes others," said Spottiswood. “We had to acknowledge that in writing. What is the truth of our characters in these circumstances? "
But the characters "stayed within the storylines of what we had already set," added Harris-Lawrence.
Could the pandemic flow into future storylines? If All Rise is picked up for a second season, it could be, Spottiswood said. "I have no doubt that the judicial system will continue to struggle with the effects of COVID-19 and adapt how they do what they do," he said, "and that will be part of our history."
It's also the real story for businesses across the country – including television, he added. All Rise is not alone affected or affected by the coronavirus pandemic. A special one-time series of Parks and Recreation, in which the cast was reunited, took a similar approach. One Day at a Time uses its blocked production to create an animated episode. And Netflix is working with Jenji Kohan, the inventor of Orange Is the New Black, on a quarantine anthology series.
"As a result, we have to find new ways of working, at least for a while," said Spottiswood. "I firmly believe that we will find the logs to ensure people's safety and that we will make stories out of these obstacles."
All Rise will air its special episode on Corona Virus on Monday, May 4th at 9:00 p.m. ET / PT on CBS.
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