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Eric Stoltz: Eric Stoltz, the director. And?
Tom Lieber: Tom Lieber, director and development for Universal. And? My mom.
Eick: Tom's mom.
Eick: And why not? This was- I'll say this because it might seem unseemly for Eric to say it I feel like this is probably one of the most stylistically interesting and compelling directed episodes of the season. It's really unique I think for those of you who are students of the form of the craft of directing. You're going to see a lot moves and a lot of telltale signs of the director who's really interested in visual storytelling. There's a lot of great directors in television of course but I find that all too often they can forget that movies and television is a visual medium. That you tell stories with pictures as much as or if not more than you do with words. And I think Eric has a unique talent for that and I'm really grateful that you directed this episode and I can't wait for you to direct more.
Stoltz: What you can't see is I'm slipping David Eick lots of twenties right now. *loud whisper* Talk me up!
Lieber: What's it like directing yourself?
Stoltz: Uh! Difficult! I never come out of my trailer. I wouldn't know my lines. I actually relied a great deal on my co-stars on Paula Malcomson and Esai. Anyone I was in a scene with. Originally you know I think you guys told me "Oh you'll be very light in the episode you're directing!" Of course I get the script and it's monologues! And so I relied a great deal on my fellow actors when I was in a set.
Eick: Now did you have playback on the set? Were you able to go back after takes and look at?
Stoltz: I did have playback but I don't enjoy playback unless it's a stunt or an effect or-
Eick: Why is that?
Stoltz: Because you get lost and you forget about the moment. Anyway. This is starting here. This was the birth of a Cylon and originally there was no voiceover on it. We added all sorts of animal sounds. My editor Tim Kinzy and I slowed down a whale and all kinds of bird sounds to give the Cylons an eerie otherworldly birth if you will. Pulling back onto John Pyper-Ferguson, a wonderful actor.
Eick: We should mention that the sequence of that Cylon being assembled was a little experiment that one of the assistants in visual effects did on his own time.
Stoltz: Are you kidding me?
Eick: And we saw it and it was so amazing that we paid to have it finished in a photo-reel way and use it in the episode. But it was purely on his own accord he did that.
Stoltz: Wow! That's-
Eick: That's the advantage of having innovative visual effects artists who work for the show and not a "house" that you go to.
Stoltz: That's also the advantage I have to say of how this show is run. This show is run in a very open way. I remember on the first or second episode we were singing the national anthem and Paula and I turned to each other and said "We should do some sort of salute." Should we put the hand over heart? Or the hand in the air like the Nazis. And we came up with the crossing. Jonas said "Let's use it!" And it became a part of the show. It's not a closed creative experience.
Eick: No. It's a- in fact it's one of the reasons why- that mentality is one of the reasons why you wound up heavier in the episode than you expected to be because there's enough fluidity and freedom in terms of our approach to everything including the writer's room.
Stoltz: Right right.
Eick: That even if we say ahead of time "Well-
Stoltz: "It's going to be like this."
Eick: Yeah. "It's going to be like this." If the good idea comes up and suddenly it's not like that you have to allow
Stoltz: You got to run with it.
Stoltz: Yeah. Oh! This actress was lovely. This little girl.
Eick: I thought so too.
Stoltz: She's the daughter of a director.
Eick: And I loved- She's the daughter of?
Stoltz: A director. A Canadian director.
Eick: Oh, a Canadian director. I loved how you dropped out the sound in that scene.
Stoltz: Oh thank you!
Eick: In fact, ran with it a little bit on the dub stage. I thought it was really interesting use of sound. Eric and I had a lot of discussion about seventies movies and I think there are one or two nods-
Stoltz: You've already seen a few of them.
Eick: Yeah yeah.
Stoltz: Ah! My trumpet player I think he is wearing my scarf. The pink backpack. And when you're directing you get to prop show and tell. They present you with various colors and shapes of things and you get to choose them and think about- And the red balloon. Think about how they will figure into the story and the storytelling.
Eick: Because it's important obviously that in this sequence where we find certain props or certain details popping out at us and feeling more memorable than if you were just-
Stoltz: Exactly. And plus you go back to this one sequence in- it's not a spoiler- future episodes.
Eick: Yeah. Multiple times.
Stoltz: Several times. That had to be sort of memorable. I love this woman.
Eick: So in the preparation of this episode as I recall because we knew this was the episode that was going to sort of kick off the second half of the season did you feel added pressure because you were in a sense doing in a way another pilot or did it just feel like- I mean did your approach change at all because you knew there was more pressure or expectation?
Stoltz: My approach was the same. I don't feel experience enough as a director to not storyboard everything with ridiculous stick figure drawings and visualize it entirely in my head. Look at that child! She is wonderful! And then usually you get to the set and you can't do any of them but at least you come to the set with a point of view and you know like those moments- I'm going to push in on the bomb under the chair and then get her looking up at the board- you know the moments you have to hit to tell the story. Something bad is going to happen. You can tell by all the dollying in and the glitter falling from the sky.
Eick: I thought the glitter falling from the sky was-
Lieber: There is an adorable child which in David Eick world means there's something-
Stoltz: Something bad has to happen!
Lieber: Someone has to die!
Stoltz: Children in peril!
Stoltz: And we blow up Atlas Arena and Atlas shrugs and falls down. I had a great transition into black which was lost there. Oh thank you! Sorry I was just handed-
Eick: Lost on purpose or lost?
Stoltz: Not in my cut!
Eick: Oh I see. Now that's code for "I ruined it guys!"
Stoltz: [laughs] I planned a wonderful transition and somebody snipped it out.
Eick: Somebody snipped it out.
Lieber: And now we're on Gemenon which um you know there was a lot of discussion as we went into the back half to get onto other worlds to get to Gemenon to see Tauron and Gemenon wanting to look in our desire to make Gemenon to look so different from Caprica the visual effects artists designed it to be a mixture of Egypt meets Israel meets Alaska. And um you can tell based on a lot of the landscapes you know this is virtual heaven right here but the vfx guys really delivered and then some.