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.