The Tone Meeting

By Gianna Sobol

I have been working in this business for several years now, and each and every time I walk onto a set, it never ceases to amaze me to see all the trucks and cranes and crewmembers.  A production is such a huge operation, it's incredible that everything comes together.  The details that go into a television shoot are endless: how much blood should be on Eric's face in this scene?  Which t-shirt should Jason be wearing when he walks into Merlotte's?  How many extras should there be at Hot Shot?  For which scenes will we need stunt people?  What will we shoot practically and for what will we need to utilize visual effects?  The delegation is so specific and the prep so intense that somehow, everyone knows where to go, when to be there, and what to bring.

This is the first in a series that I will call "The Production Machine," a detailed look at the process of how each episode comes together.

THE MEETING: The Tone Meeting

WHERE IT TAKES PLACE: Alan's office

WHO ATTENDS: Alan Ball, Executive Producer Gregg Fienberg, the writer of each episode, the first Assistant Director, and the cinematographer

WHAT IT'S ABOUT (according to writer/producer Alexander Woo): The tone meeting is the first opportunity for the director to sit with Alan, Gregg, and the writer and talk about the episode scene by scene.  For new directors to our show, it's an especially valuable time to clarify any issues about story, style, or tone.   If it's Michael Lehmann, it's his first chance during the episode to make puns before a captive audience.