Wednesday, March 04, 2009
CRIMINAL MINDS TRIP DIARY: DINNER, EPISODE & CHAT
Criminal Minds Trip Diary: We arrived at the studio not sure what to expect. While I've had the pleasure and honor of being there before, this was a new experience for the rest of my group and the excitement was palpable.
The studio is a typical everyday industrial warehouse settled into the heart of LA. If you don't know what to look for, you'd never find it. There's absolutely nothing extraordinary about it from the outside.
Inside, however, is something else completely. Inside is where the magic is made.
Once on the lot, we entered a building with glass doors. Inside were two opportunities - a hallway highlighted by the words ART DEPARTMENT and a set of winding stairs. Jess, one of the writer's assistants - and someone I'll get back to in a far more detail a bit later- directed us up the stairs.
We made our way up, turned down the halls and were immediately greeted by Deb Fisher and Erica Messer - the Gruesome Twosome. They are, of course, anything but. They couldn't have been nicer or friendlier. They went out of their way to interact with the group, letting them know that they were glad that they were there. And for me it was an opportunity to hug two women I deeply respect and consider friends. Strong women with amazing talent and generous souls.
As we were standing there, the writer of "Pleasure Is My Business" Breen Frazier approached with the episode's amazing guest star - Brianna Brown. Breen's a live wire of energy, quick to answer and then fire back a question. Brianna was genuinely friendly and thrilled to be amongst a group of fans.
We were then directed into the writers room. It's both easy and impossible to describe this room. From a technical level, it's nothing special. It's a long room with a huge table in the middle of it. Comfortable leather chairs flank it. On either side of the room are two huge dry erase boards, each of them covered with everything CM.
On one board was an episode breakdown. Act by act. Scene by scene. On the other board was the season breakdown, a running summary of what has happened and what will happen. Not nearly as spoilerish as you'd think, but no less interesting. It really gives you a much larger perspective of the overall mapping of a season.
While we were all looking around this room, taking in the reality of what happens here and how much creativity comes to life in here, we were greeted by Andrew Wilder. Andrew is a tall man with a very dry sense of humor and a level of talent that has always fascinated me. He's also very generous( a running theme for this group) and while we were there, went out of his way to make sure that we were always enjoying ourselves. While all of our writers are dear to us, there is no denying that our original writers hold a special place in our hearts. Ed, Chris, Simon, Deb, Erica and Andrew have spent four seasons entertaining us. They're the soul of the show and the reason we've tuned in for all these years.
Holly Harold followed Andrew in. A small woman with a big laugh, she's the kind of person you feel immediately comfortable with.
Next up for us was the Big Boss himself, Ed Bernero. He entered the room with a big smile on his face. He then proceeded to walk around the room, personally introducing himself to each of the ladies, shaking their hands. When it was my turn to say hello to him, I hugged him and thanked him for this wonderful opportunity.
From there, with sensory overload already occurring amongst the group, the room began to flood with writers.
Dan Dworkin . Jay Beattie. Mark Brunner. Rick Dunkle.
They asked us where each of us were from, amazed that some of us had come from across the world to visit them. They were astonished by the fact that most of us had been friends from afar for a long time, but never up close.
Dinner was served and then the episode was rolled on a large screen TV. Breen sat across from us so that he could see our reactions as we watched the episode. Many times during the episode, he made eye contact with us, looking for our honest feedback, seeming relieved when we smiled or nodded our approval. I mulled around the room, sometimes slipping down the hall to ease my nervousness. I wanted the ladies to have the same wonderful experience that I had had during my first visit a few years back but I need not have worried because of course they were.
After the episode was over, everyone in the room clapped and congratulated each other. We felt like we were part of something special and extraordinary.
A few minutes later, it was our turn to surprise them when we started up the chat.