Welcome To The Trip: A Letter from Graeme and John

Dear #CloneClub,

Welcome to season 2 of Orphan Black. We wouldn’t be here without your love and support of our weird little show, so to start the blog off right we want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. You make this real! Season 2 hits the ground running—this is where we started…

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Selfies: John Fawcett and Graeme Manson at the cabin (witness ancient stove) creating their “Evil Master Plan.”

Not long after the release of season 1 and right before the wild ride of Comic-Con, we began the process of writing season two with a “creator’s retreat” at a cozy cabin in the wilds of British Columbia. After several days we printed our Evil Master Plan off a generator. Here’s proof that a tractor can lift a MacBook Air, plus the diametrically opposed settings of cabin and Comic-Con caught in two selfies because, well, we’re dorks.

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Printing the “Evil Master Plan” by generator.

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Selfies: John Fawcett and Graeme Manson at San Diego Comic-Con 2013. Not nerding out.

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Later in the summer Graeme went back to the cabin to punch out the first draft of 201. Here he is scribing it up in B.C.

The Hive then gathered in our new and improved writer’s room in Toronto to hear the Evil Master Plan, and begin the long process of breaking season 2. At this stage in the co-creator partnership, Graeme runs the writer’s room and John steps in part time as the critical “outside eye,” usually giving the ubiquitous note we’ve come to respect: “Make it cooler.” Science Consultant Cosima Herter joined the room several times, providing big-picture context for our science and the ethical dilemmas of genetic engineering. Now we had the frameworks of plot, character arcs, and themes that Graeme could pitch to the network. By mid August, sets were going up in the studio next door.

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Season 2 writers room, clockwise from left: Tony Elliot’s fashion-forward red Nike with yellow sock; John Fawcett; Russ Cochrane; peace-loving Alex Levine; Karen Walton nerding out; Ass-kicking assistant Mackenzie Donaldson; and Graeme and his glasses. (Chris Roberts hiding out of frame.)

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Set Them Free: The writers explore Leekie’s new office. From left to right: Tony Elliot; Chris Roberts; Science Consultant Cosima Herter; Aubrey Nealon; Story Coordinator Alex Mircheff.

As we did in season 1, episodes one and two were scheduled and shot as a block, with John directing both. Graeme wrote episode one and co-wrote Episode Two with Karen Walton. We really tried to go big for the first two, both in storytelling and production value, and stole a couple extra shooting days from other episodes to make that happen. The opening diner sequence we’d had in mind since the end of season 1. Scenes like Sarah finding Felix at our fictional leather-boy bar, “Thumper’s,” Paul’s “meeting” on the bridge, and the rooftop Dyad party were graphic locations with lots of extras: big fat scenes for John and Director of Photography Aaron Morton to feast on. Clone scenes are always big — big, long, slow days. But we wanted a good clone scene or two in Episode One and putting Alison on Skype with  Sarah, Cosima, and Felix was a great way to reconnect our Clone Trinity. Then, of course, Sarah confronts Rachel, and by now you know how that went… Stay tuned for more big-time production value in Episode Two!

And thanks again for helping to create the greatest club around!

From,
John and Graeme

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John frames up a shot of Sarah in the booth. From left to right in the background: our sound women Zoe Mapp and Connie Hilton; Noble Line Cook (and soon-to-be-dead man) Conrad Bergschneider; B Camera First Assistant Ben Smith; our stand-up Stand In Ted Stokes.

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Clone scene with the techno dolly in Felix’s loft. Tatiana as Sarah; acting double extraordinaire Kathryn Alexandre as Cosima; Jordan in a terry cloth robe (??? So not Felix.) John’s in close with a lens figuring out how to cover the gun coming out of the flowers.

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Aaron Morton (with John right behind him) composes beautiful images with stand-ins Bailey Corneal and Ted Stokes at the rooftop Dyad party.

  • Bella Bellucci

    Thank you all so much for this show! <3

    P.S. Tatiana was totally robbed!

  • pjallie’smom

    I had discovered this show accidentally. I had to share my discovery with my mom. I would dvr it and save it to watch with her as she went through chemotherapy. It had brought us such joy as the hour ticked by and took our minds off what was happening as the drugs surged through her body. Soon the whole floor was wondering what we were watching as we hooted and hollered for these clones (Tatiana Maslany) and Fee (Jordan Gavaris) and the rest of the spectacular cast. You have no idea how this “little show” has helped make those days bearable, even for a small hour. So STOP calling it a little show, it is immensely magnificent in our minds. So go, create and shine on. Thanks so much to all. Linda C.

    • Gramson

      Linda that’s very moving and it is absolutely OUR HONOUR to distract, entertain and touch you. Love and Strength to you and your Mum, on behalf of everyone here at Orphan Black. Graeme and John

  • nanny

    my neighbor told me about the show . I was hooked within 5 mins of the first show. I watched season 1 in 2 nights ( i work from 7 am to 7pm so had to start late) now i am all caught up and saw season 2 AWESOME..

  • Fran Agostinelli

    Great blog with even greater infos guys… keep it coming…you created the best show EVER!!! :)

  • ♥ Phoebe ♥

    This show is probably the best show on TV right now. I sat down last July and binge watched it all in under 10 hours. I barely took a break because I couldn’t. I was so hooked. I’ve loved seeing everything behind the scenes, how the show works and everything because it makes it so much better.
    This show and the clone club have helped me become a happier and better person, I love everything about this show from the random extras to the person who joined the fandom 2 minutes ago because it’s a ground breaking, amazing, extraordinary show that I hope continues for a long time and will go down in history. A show that rivals Buffy already with cult status, long before it ends. :)

  • Flitzy

    We get the best cast, the best show, and the cutest creators. <3

  • SaucySnoop

    So interesting to find out about your process! I haven’t been that engaged by a show in all its glorious details since the X-files so I thank you for giving us so much to love, and analyze to bits!

    Can’t wait for episode 2!

  • Jubae

    Wow I’m a big fan as well and it so happens,that I’m here, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center with my Godson. Who’s also a big fan and I just finished watching episode one. It’s sooo good.

  • evak22

    I think your show is really important. Human cloning is either already possible or will be in a few years. They can already clone dogs. (It costs $155,000) They are talking (in all seriousness) of cloning Neanderthals and extinct species and people are talking about the scientific aspect of that: what will bringing the Neanderthals back do to the homo sapien society (as in what if their immune system, etc is better than ours) and will bringing back extinct species be good, bad or neutral for the ecosystem. But no-one is really talking about the ethics of it. Oh sure a few “fringe” groups–but they’re easily dismissed as being too religious or too this or too that. And whether you meant to or not, you took the topic head on. You are showing various people who are–I won’t say normal–but trying to live their lives as they understand it. But they are clones. And they’re being controlled. And what does that mean. Not for the ecosystem or for homo sapien society but for them. And I think that’s a really important conversation we better start having.

  • http://www.thetvden.com/ TheTVDen.com

    Such an amazing show! We cover it weekly at our little site http://www.TheTVDen.com

    The Clone Club is an incredible community as well!

  • Destinee Taylor

    Favorite show !!

  • Jeff B

    Has to be the best show on TV for a looooooong time. Certainly since Sppoks in the UK. Watched season 1 and there were only a couple of times I thought “I know what’s happening next” and certainly some of those times I was wrong. For a show to keep you guessing as much as this does is amazing. Keep up the good work