Podcast:Final Cut

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"Final Cut" Podcast
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Ronald D. Moore
Ronald D. Moore


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Word of the Week: treacly
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Teaser

Hello. I'm Ronald D. Moore, executive producer and developer of the new Battlestar Galactica and this is the podcast for episode eight of the second season, "Final Cut". This episode is the first of a few stand-alone episodes that we've- we're doing here in season two. This is all following, this is the first episode after episode seven, "Home, Part II", where we wrapped up many different plotlines and essentially began season two. So, instead of launching into a brand new giant arc of long-term storytelling we decided to tell some standalone episodes, some things that weren't so buried in the mythos. Do a different flavor of episodes now that we were into this part of the season.

Right here you can see we are starting to pick up on the Gideon incident, as it were, from "Resistance" and that is the jumping off point for the events of "Final Cut". But by and large, this is exactly the kind of episode that a new audience member should feel comfortable sitting down and watching for the first- watching the show for the first time, or even if they have missed several episodes.

This footage of the Gideon massacre seen through the documentary lens was not shot at the time that we did "Resistance", although we really wanted to. We were, I think I've expressed before, my- I was dissatisfied with a lot of the riot, per se in "Resistance" in how it was finally realized and we did have a handheld camera on the set during that shoot, shooting footage that we intended to use in this episode 'cause all this was being planned in advance. Unfortunately the handheld footage didn't really convey the emotion that we wanted it to. It was understandable because essentially the director of episode four was concentrating on episode four and subsequently, or as a result of that, the foota- the handheld footage that we had from "Resistance" didn't work so we ended up having to go back and reshoot that whole little opening segment. Which I think is works, which I think is ok. I'm on the fence about the little boy. I go back and forth about whether we should've go'd the little boy or not, is it treacly, is it a step to far? We kinda split it down the middle 'cause it went on a bit after that with him crying and so on and I felt that was too much and then we took it out and didn't feel like enough and in any case it was one of the least satisfying pieces that we did.

This is of course Lucy Lawless's first episode for us. Lucy was David Eick's idea, my producing partner on the show. David had worked with Lucy on Xena: Warrior Princess, which of course is what she's most famously known for. Back when he was working for Renaissance, which produced that show. And so he suggested her. And he knows Lucy and her husband and we had talked about having her on the show before this and it didn't work out for whatever reason and then, as this role came up, David mentioned her for it and it seemed like the right fit. And he checked with her, and she was into it and decided to do it. I think she had passed on an opportunity to do the show the first season because of some other commitments that she had and couldn't break and did this role for us and I wasn't quite sure what to expect to be completely honest. I wasn't a big, I didn't really watch Xena. I had seen the show and my impression of her is very, very different from that show than it is on our show and I think it's- then I met Lucy and talked with her for an evening, when Dave and I took her out to dinner, and found her a really interesting, really engaging woman and a really fascinating person and what's interesting is how much of a chameleon she is. There's really no trace of anything remotely Xena-esque in her performance in this episode. Everything from her look, to the accent, to the way she holds herself and handles herself feels very, very different from my impression of that character. The model for this character was we kept saying a Christiane Amanpour-type character. By that we meant a very no-nonsense kind of going after the story type of reporter, not a muck-raker, not a tabloid reporter, not somebody out for their own glory, but somebody who's goin- who has a story and is going to bite into it, is going to keep it going no matter what.

The genesis of this story began, I believe, when we were talking in the first couple of episodes, I think, I had this idea that I wanted to an episode from a reporters viewpoint on the Galactica. The idea was that the reporter would have been on the ship, you'll recall maybe the first couple episodes that there's references to a press corps that was being held on the Galactica in the first couple episodes after the initial coups against Laura and then Adama got shot and there was all- there was a lot of crises right in that time and there was a press corps trapped down somewhere in Galactica being held in a wardroom. And we started to talk about and somewhat developed a story about essentially doing an episode that- where we would cut down into that sort of room where all the press was gathered and trapped and follow one reporter as he or she figured out a way to get a story and what the impression and tell the whole episode from that person's point of view. To track what they would think of Galactica and what they would think of the people and their perceptions and misperceptions as an outsider and watching an episode from the inside out. Which I thought was a really interesting idea. We- but unfortunately I think the reason that we all opted not to do it, and I'll talk more about this at the top of one.

Act 1

The reason we opted not to do that was that we needed that epis- those early episodes to tell a great deal of other story. We had the story on Kobol, we had the story on Caprica, we had important plot story to deal with Laura, etc., on Galactica and it just became too cumbersome to try to use that device of sticking with a reporter for the whole episode, to make it work. But, in any case, the idea of the reporter being on the ship or doing an episode from the reporter's point of view was something that we never let go of, that we just kept playing with all season long, and eventually it was like, "Well, let's do that episode. Let's do the documentary episode. Where they- we really shoot a documentary on the ship, the show is shot documentary style, the show is always trying to emulate that aesthetic and so we decided, "Let's do a real documentary." So actually, for this episode, Robert Young, who directed this episode and also directed last year's "Six Degrees of Separation" is a noted documentarian. Has done many feature films and many actual documentaries in his day and will tell you fascinating stories about being with the Eskimos and learning their- living with them and being injured with them and doing all sorts of wild, crazy things and it felt like a natural fit to have Robert do this 'cause he understood what a documentarian was looking for and what- how the scene would be staged. What things you could possibly draw from it.

I felt that it was important for this kind of episode especially, to really give the writer of this episode and the director, the writer, by the way, Mark Verheiden our co-executive producer of this season, to give them as much latitude, and the actors, the writer, director, and the actors of this episode as much space to improvise and to really embroider on the characters and on the life of Galactica. My mandate to everyone involved was, I kept saying, "I want to know things about these characters I didn't know before. I want to learn things that I didn't- I didn't know about these people that I created. I wanted- I want you to surprise me with who they are, really, behind the scenes. Tell me some interesting things about them." And so there's lots of little moments. There's lots of little character gestures, moments, asides, looks, and things that were not scripted but were just improvised on the set or discussed with the act- with the director.

It's worth mentioning this little device that we're using. Every time we go to the documentary camera you'll note that we clip the corners off, which is a nod towards the aesthetic that we've established in this world, that they tend to clip corners off things. It's- for whatever reason that's an aesthetic choice they like. They like books with the corners cut off. They like picture frames with the corners cut off. Pieces of paper. Anything. They just- that happens to be an aesthetic style they like in this universe. The idea of clipping the corners on the documentary is actually one of the very last things we did. We were playing with this episode a lot in editing and trying to- I kept struggling to make the documentary footage stand out and feel different from the objective camera footage, which I always called the camera on the set, the handheld, the documentary camera, the subjective, and the other one the objective camera. In any case, I kept struggling for ways to make the two- a distinction between the two pieces of footage, 'cause the style of our objective camera is very handheld and very documentary-like and so the question was- the challenge was how do you distinguish the look between the two. And we kept playing with futzing the video in various ways, putting more RAS scan lines on it, we- I thought at one point even about possibly going black and white, but then I thought that was a little precious, a little bit too much. And it was literally one of the very last things. We were getting ready to lock the picture and I was looking at it in the editing bay and we were futzing around with just a couple little tweaks and it just occured to me. I just said to the editor, "What if we clip the corners off the documentary footage?" They said, "What?" And I described it, "Let's make a matte, and make a documentary mask and let's clip the corners and that'll be like their letterbox. This is essentially their aesthetic like they- we like letterbox, they like letterbox with the corners cut off." And it was really interesting. It was such a very small tweak, but it really works. It really sets those images apart instantly and visually in a really easy to understand way. You're not even thinking about it and you know that you're in the documentary camera. You're not even having to struggle for a minute. It's just one of those nice little touches and it's- God knows why you think of something like that and God knows why, in retrospect, you haven't thought about something like that on day one, but in any case that's how the creative process sometimes work. You just come up with these things at the last minute, and they turn out to be the thing that makes it all click together and make the whole piece work.

This is another one of those great little moments where James, you know, is James, and just gives you the Baltar of your dreams. The man who preten- walks by her three or four times (laughs) trying to- trying to be noticed but not- trying to look like he's trying to be noticed, of course. And then, "Oh. Yes. Who? Yes. What? Oh the reporter. I can't do it right now." It's just- it's just great, you know? Having James on the show for these little bit- these little moments is just gold. You can always count on him. It's always going to be great. When in doubt, cut to Baltar.

It's worth note- I wish I- I'm embarrased to say I don't remember the name of the actor who plays the cameraman in the episode, and that's just one of my flaws, is I forget people's names quite often. In any case, he is a real cameraman. We discussed early on whether the man that's shooting that footage within the show, whether we should use his footage or not, or whether we should have a separate pass that would be dedicated to doing just the documentary shots. And ultimately we decided that it was much smarter to use him. Let's make him a real camera. He'll know how to hold the camera, he'll act like a cameraman acts. We actually, Bob Young did tests- he got a bunch of ca- actors and cameramen and had them audition with the camera. And he put the whole thing on tape. So we sat and we watched audition tapes of cameramen walking around in a room, playing in a scene, and then we would watch the tape that they- the film that they actually shot, and went from there. And quickly, quickly realized that it was much, much better to have an actual cameraman working the camera within the scene (Chuckles) than to rely on an actor, who's essentially trying to act like a camerman, if you had any hope of using the footage.

Some of the complications that arose from doing that, however, of committing ourselves to using the documentary camera footage shot as shot by the actor in the scene was quite often we found ourselves in editing realizing we couldn't use a lot of that footage because the scene was blocked in such a way- it was blocked for the objective camera. In other words, here's the camera setup, we're pointing at Kat, and there's the Viper and Tyrol. Ok, when we cut inside his lens here, and you see Tyrol and Kat. What happened just a few seconds after that cut was you saw a member of the crew working with the objective camera. The boom man or the cameraman or an assistant or somebody else moving into frame. And so we were constantly having to juggle this documentary footage in such a way that we weren't picking up members of the actual film crew which- who were filming the scene. And that kept happening over and over again. Now there were times, on the set, where they did a separate pass for the documentary camera because we knew that there were specific moments we knew we had to have on the documentary camera and we definitely block- or they definitely blocked those scenes accordingly so that you could do it. But they didn't do it on every single setup and that was the problem. If you didn't block it that way, quite often you couldn't use the footage and, in retrospect, we all said it would have been best if we had been able to do a separate pass on each scene just for the documentary camera. Problem was, you only have so many hours in a day, television is a very tight, very fast moving operation, and we just simply didn't have enough time to do yet another separate pass on all the- on everybody else. And on just the documentary camera footage. And also if we had done that it would keep you from doing the trick that I like the most. My favorite thing is to be able to go from the objective camera's point of view on a scene into the documentary camera on the very same take so the performances, the emotion, and the whole rhythm of the scene is intact and it feels all connected and organic, as opposed to mixing the takes where the documentary camera's recording one angle on the action, objective, in one take, and objective camera's recording the action in a separate take. And you marry those pieces of footage up and, yeah, it works 'cause it's like traditional editing, is going from one camera to another and shifting take and doing that whole thing. But there's a subliminal part of the documentary which is to convince you it's truly picking it up. When you go jump inside that camera, you want to feel that it's live. You want to be able to feel Tigh's emotions, and his body movements, exactly matching when you cut to the objective side. That's the theory, my theory, anyway and damnit, I'm sticking with it.

Here's a look at interesting little challenge, was how to play this scene. How to play this moment. It's a private moment between Tigh and Adama. The whole point of the scene is that she's evesdropping on private moments. The question was, in editing, at what point do you go in here, which tells you that this part of the show- of the conversation is not being picked up by D'anna and her cameraman, and therefore is not part of the documentary? And at what point do you go back into the documentary style and point out that, "Oh, yes. This part of the conversation very clearly is being picked up by the- by her camera." It's a little unclear. I liked it in theory, and we kept playing with it and there's a part of me doesn't feel like it's clear what the documentary camera picked up and what it does not pick up. So that one's on the fence. But I like the idea of what we were attempting there.

This whole bit of business with Tigh going to Cloud 9 and the explosion and the sabotage and all that, in a couple of drafts I believe he and Ellen were both going. Ellen was on the ship and we played more of the action inside the ship and then at some point we decided to keep Ellen aboard Galactica and not play her, and I don't really honestly remember the reason why we made that choice.

This sequence is ok. I think I'm- I've never quite been happy enough with what this whole plot is, to be completely honest. This whole section of the show, the whole- the guy who's stalking Tigh and then sabotaging Tigh and then ultimately confronts Tigh with the gun. It's part of the plot in that it's connected to the Gideon incident, which is what, really, the springboard into this entire episode. But it's not really part of the show in my estimation. This is- well I'll come back after the- after break.

Act 2

Like I said, I think this whole section of plot is- it's a part of the ep- it's a part of the plot. It's not really part of the show. And what I mean by that is, to me, this show is a complete character piece. It's all about the characters in Galactica, it's all about coming aboard and learning who they are. And that's why you like this episode, if you like this episode, 'cause you're interested in these characters. This is, to me, television. It's a bit of a television device that we're doing. It's the guy that's stalking that puts- writes on the mirror, scares your wife, and blows up your car, and then comes and there's the confrontation in the end, and you talk him down. And it works, I mean you can't argue with the mechanics of it and I even understand why it has to be in the episode, because it is television, and there's a requirement, a sort of unspoken and sometimes spoken requirement that there be a certain amount of jeopardy and a certain amount of sus- of tension that happens in these sort of shows, especially something like this which is predicated on an action/adventure aesthetic at least. It's at least that idea, on some level. And so you find yourself going into these places to provide the bare bones of some jeopardy situation to justify you doing everything in the episode that you want to do. And what you want to do in the episode is you want to play this. You want to play the emotion. You want to play Kat, or I'm sorry this is Racetrack, at the memorial wall. You want to get inside her head and you understand who she is. That's why you're watching the episode. So, we have this other Tigh plot going on at the same time.

One other word on the Tigh plot. That whole thing about he wasn't wearing a spacesuit when he was in the Raptor and that's why it would have killed him. That raises a very logical question, of course, "Well, why doesn't everybody in a Raptor wear a fuckin' flight suit?" There's no good answer to that. We were very inconsistent from the get-go, from the Miniseries on, about who wears flight suits inside those Raptors and who does not. The sort of internal rule that we have are the pilot and the ECO, the electronic countermeasures officer, always wear flight suits when they're flying on a mission. We then break that randomly for various reasons in various episodes. The shortest answer is that we don't have enough flight suits, generally. We are limited in the number of flight suits that we really have. So sometimes when we have a whole group in there to put- there were episodes last season where we had strike teams in the Raptors and we had ground crew in the Raptors and we simply didn't have the money to outfit all of them in a flight suit. Plus they all look kinda goofy when you put that many flight suits together in a cockpit. They start looking kinda silly and you- it makes coverage very difficult. It just complicates everything. So we tend to limit the flight suits to the necessary personnel, to the pilot, to the ECO, like I said. And then that allowed us to make this leap, and it's a leap, that Tigh would not be wearing a flight suit.

This is example of a scene that Mark came up with that I like a lot that tells me something about Gaeta I didn't know. Everything from him trying smoking to, he's also trying to drink, to the fact that he gets a tattoo, is all stuff I didn't know about this character. I'd never seen Gaeta with his shirt open, frankly. This is a very loosey-goosey Lt. Gaeta. You might have noticed this is the first time Gaeta got a first name. His first name is now Felix. (Chuckles.) Felix Gaeta? And I don't know why that makes me laugh but I did, I was looking up ancient names on the internet when it came time to do this episode, 'cause I had never named Gaeta or Dualla even in the show bible, and I was looking up ancient names and there it was. Felix. And it just, it just made me laugh as soon as I saw it and I said, "That's it! It's Felix Gaeta. It has to be." And he's going to live with Gaius Baltar and "Can two middle-aged former officers of the Galactica live together without driving each other crazy?" And also Dualla's first name, Anastasia. Which I thought was quite lovely. And Kandyse is a quite lovely lady who deserved a very pretty first name.

This little beat doesn't quite come through strongly enough. It's there. He's- she sets him up. She's basically getting him to drink, not telling him that the camera's running. He's sort of not aware of it, is the idea. And then she doesn't drink at all and she lets him keep drinking. It might even- I'm watching it going, "Well, maybe this comes through even stronger than I think it does so don't- Why are you telling everyone it doesn't work, you clown?" Yeah, it works brilliantly. I never had any doubt. This was always my favorite scene. (Chuckles.)

I like the fact that Tigh is haunted by what happened on the Gideon. I like the fact that the Fleet is haunted by what happened on the Gideon. I like that it's not just an incident that is forgotten. That that had real consequnces. That that really meant something in this world, because it was a tragic nasty thing and it should have consequences in this world. I think I really wanted him- there was a version where- I think I had always envisioned that he really threw her against that wall much harder, but I'm glad they pulled back on it on the stage. There's sometimes you write description and you write it more dramatically than it really needs to be and you see it on camera and go, "God, I wish I had pulled that back a little bit."

And Kara and the bag. It's great that the set- the set-dressers and the production design and everybody, the crew, really sweat all the details. What's really nice is that it's not a brand new bag. It's a bag that's been kicked around quite a bit with tape around the outside. That it feels like a gym. It's just like a little detail like that that gives the scene a certain truth. Whereas if it was just the bright red bag that she's pounding away on, there would be a certain falsity to it. A certain tv quality of unreal place. But the fact that it is just been beaten all to hell- there's just something nice about it. It convey- it continues the feeling of this world on Galactica. Of the old ship with people on it and not getting by with the best equipment in the frakking world.

This scene, I think, was virtually unchanged from early drafts. It was always that he was gonna come- she was gonna confront Adama and Adama was just gonna basically say- she was going to confront Adama, "Why hasn't Tigh been charged? Why hasn't anybody been charged?" And Adama's r- the reality here is if they start charging people that screw up on Galactica and putting them away they're going to run out of people. Because that's all there is folks. There's only these guys on Galactica. There aren't- there are precious few of them. They gotta husband the ones that they have, they gotta try to train more, but basically these guys is it. And a lot of things that would probably, this isn't addressed in the show but, a lot of things that would probably land a lot of military officers and personnel in deep, deep trouble and screw up their careers and send them to jail, a lot of that has to go away in this particular circumstance 'cause you're it folks. These guys on Galactica are it. They- you can't afford to do that to them. So Adama had- there's a reality check there that Adama can't really hang Tigh out to dry, even if he wanted to. And he doesn't want to.

We haven't seen this set, the LSO platform, since the miniseries. The landing signal officer. This is another of our touches to hearken back to the roots of the show, which is that the Galactica's an aircraft carrier. I've always wondered why- I wanted a logical reason why they came in like this. Why they came in moving at full tilt and having to make a carrier-like landing. When it's space, they could just plow in and hit the brakes and float down. Much like you saw Lee do in the miniseries, the first, but my rationale is these are combat landings. Like every landing on Galactica's a combat landing. That's the rule. They're all hands-on approaches. They're all combat landings which means they have to come flying into that deck and stop and land and not do nice soft slow pirouettes in space 'cause they're coming in and landing 'cause the Cylons are on their ass. And that's the way they have to land their craft.

A lot of the dialogue here, a lot of the dialogue between the LSO and the pilot was contributed, I believe, by David and Bradley, who specialize in that sort of verisimilitude in our military jargon and probably with some consultation to our military consultant. You might have noticed that several of the little subtitles that show people's names and ranks and what have you in the show have a couple of acronyms after them. For those of you who obsess upon these sorts of things and you know who you are, stands, quite simply, for Colonial- CF is Colonial Fleet. CFR is Colonial Fleet Reserve. CMC is Colonial Marine Corps and then CMCR is Colonial Marine Corps Reserves. So you can write that down and add that to your book of tricks. I- it was interesting as I was going through those and just wanted- I just arbitrarily decided that I wanted to have that designation and make a distinction between the regular and the reserve people. 'Cause I wanted to remind- remind us of the importance of the reserves. People that were in the armed forces who weren't necessarily thinking of making it a career for the rest of their lives and who are caught up in this and it becomes their career for the rest of their lives. Interesting enough, there are people like Lee Adama, who has an "R" after his. That's based on the notion, quite often the Navy, the ROTC program, the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force have one, is a reserve program. The idea is you go into the service and serve active duty for like four years, six years, whatever you commit to, depending on the program you're in and then after that you're- you take a commission in the reserves unless you are offered a commission as a regular serving officer. And so I thought someone like Lee Adama essentially went in like that and was heading for the reserves at some point and who knows how long the wait is in Galactica's world or what the minimum service or any of that jazz is. But the point was that Lee was not somebody who was on the full career path. In early versions of the, or not even early versions, sorry, in the show bible I stroked out Lee's backstory saying he was a test pilot. He was going a different route from his father in that his father's a- wanted to command a battlestar, obviously, all his life and Lee didn't want to do that and Lee was going to pursue a different path. A more solitary path and become a test pilot. That kinda changed over the course of the last two seasons. We kinda- as we got deeper into the character and always like the idea that Lee was not- very much did not want to follow in his father's footsteps, but he'd gone- he'd gone far enough to be a pilot and sort of did that out of certain notions of obligation and duty and service and all that that he did, he does, share with his father, but at some point he did not really want to make this his life. And so we tossed around ideas like that Lee- Lee's dream or real life dream was that he was going to leave the service and go open a little bar someplace. And he had sort of done his military thing, and been a pilot, and found the life not as satisfying as he wanted it to be. Didn't find anything in it for him, per se, other than he was a good pilot and good at it. There was an emptiness and that he wanted to leave and just open a little bar someplace. And in a way, running away. In a way, hiding from his father, his life, and the life he thought he should have had.

Act 3

This sequence coming up here, where they're about to run out of the room when the attack begins. I thought it was very important to try, if we're going to maintain this notion of being with the documentary crew, and trying to understand Galactica through their eyes, part of the story was to stay inside the ship during an attack. To hear it out there someplace. To be with the people who have to stay behind and listen over the wireless to the battle being fought out there somewhere. Where friends of theirs may be killed. Where the Cylon Raider may get through and get all the way to Galactica this time. Maybe this will be the time when you die. Maybe some of your friends aren't gonna make it. And there are those moments of almost helplessness of being- just having to stand there and wait. Particularly you'll see the people down in the hangar deck. They've launched their birds, prepped the deck for incoming, and then they just have to- they wait. And they listen. And so we deliberately designed this episode to not have that kind of visual effects budget. It was a good way to save visual effects money. Gary Hutzel and company were very pleased to give ways to spend money in other places. And there was a point where we had a later discussion, "Well, maybe we should put some shots of the Vipers and the Cylons. And maybe we should have a stock shot or two." And I was just very against it. I just felt like you're either buying into this concept, or you're not. And if you're buying into the concept and you're with us at this point in the episode and you're invested in the documentary notion and idea, that you would then go with us into this aesthetic- or go with us into this world through their eyes and be there in the moment. The whole idea is to be there in the moment. To be with them when it happens. Not to be jumping out and showing things that they couldn't have seen and essentially taking the audience's point of view. The idea is you've walked into this room. You have walked into CIC in a moment of crisis and this is all you would see. You wouldn't be jump- you wouldn't see the pretty shots of the Vipers and you wouldn't see the exciting misses and explosions and whatever. This would be your world. This is what it would be like to be on Galactica during an attack.

I like that shot alot. We don't play the launch tubes nearly enough. I don't know why. It's just one of those things that we don't tend to play. There's parts of sets that you always- when you walk down on the set you go, "Oh my god! Why haven't we shown this very much?" And usually there's something about the staging or scenes don't play out naturally. The launch tube is a great looking set but there's just not a lot of logical times when you'd be just standing out- hangin' out in there talking and playing a scene so as a result you tend not to be in the launch tube very often.

This is the sequence I was talking about earlier. We went- we used as much of the documentary footage as we could possibly use in these sequences. But there was so much happening, so many people moving around. So much action, so many actors that we cover that there were just many times when I wanted to use Lucy's camera right there where you saw her run up. Unfortunately it wasn't usable. There was a member of the film crew standing in the shot in a t-shirt and jeans and there's just, it's tv. There's only so much you can do. And it's amazing what you can do, given the limitations of producing these kinds of shows. You can really, really do interesting work like this. Yeah, it's not as good as it could be and there's always- I'm always critical and "I wish we had done this differently. If I had another pass at it I would change this or that." But this is a great sequence and it's an interesting show. You just shouldn't be afraid to try new things. If you're going to be in this business, if you're going to write television or produce television, you're going to be involved in television, or film, or any of these, anything that where you're providing entertainment, I think you have to be willing to take risk. I think you have to be willing to commit to concepts that may not work. You have to be willing to try things that nobody else has tried. You have to be willing to fail. You have to be willing to accept coming up short. And the trick is to never be satisfied with playing it safe with- never being satisfied just doing what everybody else does.

Now we go back to the other plot. (Chuckles.) Which is, I don't know, it's a little unfortunate but you kinda have to do it. So I think we stole- oh no, we're not to that shot yet. Excuse me. I'm getting ahead of myself. There's another shot that we stole from another episode coming up.

I know. I should be "filling" here. This is like dead airtime on the radio. I'm just getting sucked into watching the show.

It's great shot of Lee. Great lighting.

This is the shot. We stole this shot. This is another version of, I think, a shot- the shots from "Scattered" or "Valley of Darkness" where you're walking down the hall. We needed another piece of him walking up the hall and once again we didn't have it and had to go make it up.

Act 4

And we're back. Oh, and you can see the CD he's got, or the DVD, whatever their optical disks are, it has the corners clipped off as well. (Chuckles.) God knows how they spin in the disc drives. But, yeah these people are obsessed with... they hate corners. They really hate- they hate the rectangle and the square.

This is just classic bit. Tv plotting. And there's nothing wro- I shouldn't say- that sounds so dripping with contempt. It's not that bad and it's ok and Mark did a great job doing it and I supported this all wholeheartedly. There's just a part of me that wishes that you could get away with not doing it.

This scene with Palladino and Tigh changed several times in editing and on the page. In the first, in the original draft, the Marines came in, the confrontation was over, and Palladino shot himself. And there was a feeling that that was too much in this particular episode. That it wasn't an earned... that it was gratuitous. I think you could make the argument either way. I think you can argue that him shooting himself was an act- a true act of contrition in his mind and that he paid a price that he felt somebody had to pay and that there was a certain poignancy to that and there was a certain truth to that. I think you can also make the argument, as was made, it was just gratuitous, that it was introducing a dark element in the show just for the sake of introducing a dark element into the show. Ultimately that's the argument that carried the day. So we went for this. This is a little bit more of a talk-down. I kinda like that shot, though. Kinda like the guy leaning into the gun.

Oh, yeah. Every time I used to watch this scene in editing when Tigh came into the room and looked down and there's that shot of Ellen lying bound and gagged on the floor looking up at him I kept wanting to just dub in the line where he just says, "Ellen, not tonight." (Laughs.)

We played several times with the exact moment when you should realize that- or when Lucy and the Marines come in and we opted to slide it down the line to where it is now so they come in just after the situation's been resolved. It used to be- we actually had a version where she came in early and got the whole thing on tape and that was part of the documentary and that just felt a little arch and it just felt a little phony that she was standing there with the Marines in the moment. Then the Marines didn't do anything, they just let her keep filming so...

Kat has turned out to be one of our best characters. I really enjoy Kat. I enjoy- I love the fact that we brought her aboard in "Act of Contrition" as one of the nuggets, one of the new pilots, and we've stuck with her and she stuck with us and you've seen the growth of that character where she's a experienced combat pilot and then she's having problems taking stims. Where it just gets away from her. Not out of any great, deep psychological hurt from her childhood but just the pressure got to her. And she started taking the stims and started taking them a little bit too often. And it caught up with her.

Used to be Adama who said, "I've seen enough." In earlier versions it was Adama who said, "I've seen enough." And same thing. They have the same basic conversation. At the end he's- he just says, "I don't need to see anything more," and left. There was something interesting about him just saying, "You know what? I've seen it. I get it. I trust you. I'm outta here." And he walked out. It just seemed to fly in the face of reality (chuckles) to Eddie. Eddie's "I wouldn't walk out. I'd stay and see how the movie ends." And of course he would. Which is one of those moments where you just go, "Yeah. Ok." You're pushing dramatic moment of, "Ah, I don't have to see it. I can just walk out." It pushes it past the point of reality.

And I like the fact that the documentary was going to sh- that Adama looked at the piece objectively. And looked at it and said, "You know what? This is who we are. And show people who we really are. Don't have to glorify, you don't have to really milk it. You just have to show them for who they are. That they're- they're flawed."

This whole last bit of narration was something I wrote in post as we were going through the footage and I just wanted to give the thesis of the show. These are deeply flawed people. And they're human. And maybe that's saying the same thing. And that there's a nobility to these people. There's a heroism to these people who are flawed and screwed up and dysfunctional and deeply human. And they get up every day and they go out and they do their jobs and they hold off the Cylons and they protect the Fleet and they keep doing it and they don't quit. And despite everything that you've seen in the series, despite all their flaws and all their infighting and all their deeply human, sometime deeply bad, choices in their lives that they are the protectors. They are the guardians of the Fleet. They take that job very seriously. And they do it every day. And they never try to shirk it. And that is ultimately the thing that sets them apart and makes them special. What would you do if you wore the uniform?

This is one of the few times, you'll note, that we have seen video monitors in the show. It was an important- oh, this is great (Chuckles) use of the Battlestar- "The Original Battlestar Galactica Theme." He starts whistling it then the music comes in and the crowd goes wild. Some will curse us for using it. How sacrilegious, but I kinda like it. Something very sweet about it.

Oh, and this. This may be- I think this is my favorite ending so far. This is such a great reveal. When I'm watching the show, and I'm sitting here watching it for the umpteenth time, I forget about the end. I forget that she's a Cylon. It's just- that's- it's so great. It's like you really are sucked into the show. You're really sucked into the story and watching the images and you just, no matter how many times I've seen this show, I always get up to this moment and forget that D'anna is a Cylon. It's such a great, unexpected twist. And there's just- it just lays in there so nicely and so well. And it's like you're just watching this great uplifting episode and you're just, like, "Wow," and then there's one surprise coming. Instead of the surprise, and then the surprise, and then the surprise like something out of a Cameron film where there's the ending, after ending, after ending. Which is fine, and I love those films. But there's something great about not even suggesting to the audience that there's gonna be a surprise. That there's just- that you've seen the show and you feel very safe and comfortable in everything you've just watched and then (snaps) to zing 'em in the last minute. I think that's great.

And that's "Final Cut". So thank you for listening and I'll be talking to you soon.