Podcast:The Face of the Enemy
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Jane Espenson: Espenson. Welcome to my podcast for the Season 4 webisodes The Face of the Enemy. These were co-written by me along with Kevin Fahey also known as Seamus Fahey. One of the other writers on Battlestar Galactica. I should point out these episodes were his idea. It was- we all enjoyed the original webisodes that were written by David Weddle and Bradley Thompson and Kevin had the idea that we would do another set and he took the idea to Ron Moore and he liked the idea and so the two of us wrote these together. I'm watching them with the sound- with the audio turned down so you're not going to hear my audio, but I will tell you that right now I'm watching the little sequence of images that are Gaeta's memories that also serve us of a preview for what you are going to see in, in the webisodes. It's beautifully cut together. A little chyron just came up three days earlier and we're seeing our beautiful fleet looking very very nice. This was an extremely difficult project for a number of reasons one of which was that we had very limited access to the Battlestar sets. This was being filmed at the same time that the movie was being filmed and so the the sets were being torn down as the movie "The Plan" finished with each set cause the series had been - completed its run. So they were literally coming in with bulldozers and sledgehammers and tearing these sets down. So the scene you just saw uh with Gaeta and Tigh was filmed on a set that was torn down as soon as they were done shooting that. This corridor was also one of the last things that were standing of of Galactica if I recall. There there were really literally by the time we finished the webisodes nothing was left but but the little Raptor on which we were filming this. This decision to make Gaeta and Hoshi a couple is one that I’m very pleased with. I think it plays very well. It was Wayne Rose who directed these who did this fantastic job and he was the one who in a production meeting as we were- we already had the script- we were all ready to begin shooting and he pointed out that he was having a very hard time scheduling these scenes because we were spending so much time on that one set: the Raptor, and and wouldn’t it be interesting if we could cut back to some other location and he suggested that what if someone were out looking for Gaeta and that made my wheels turn and the first thought was that we could cut to a Viper in which Narcho would be looking for him. Narcho’s one of our established pilots, and I thought that would be an interesting couple if: Gaeta and Narcho. That ended up- we couldn’t get Narcho, and we ended up uh going with Hoshi which means of course we were still cutting to from a Raptor to another Raptor, but at that point we had- we were committed to the idea and I loved the job that Hoshi did I have no regrets that we lost Narcho. I think either either combination would have worked well but in terms of story-telling for Season 4 this actually worked out better, and I think Hoshi does a fantastic job. I could not ask for better. Looking here at our two Eights, these in script these are Pilot Eight and Sweet Eight and in a production meeting I suggested that maybe the makeup team could do a slightly different effect uh with Sweet Eight’s makeup than they were doing with Pilot Eight’s to sort of emphasize the softness of one character and the hardness of the other and everyone sort of laughed and said: “With Grace Park, you do not need to do that. That you will be able to see from just the way she holds her face which character she’s playing.” And and it is true. It- everyone commented on it. It’s absolutely true. That you can just- she just makes her face sweeter or harder or whatever. She’s really really incredible. I’m very please. That was the end of Webisode 1. Where is the fleet?
Webisode 2. Here we go. By the way these were not written as a thirty page script in which I artificially went through later and put in the act breaks. These were written as ten little scripts as the ten little webisodes. So each of these act breaks was sort of agonized over from the earlier stages to give you a satisfying act break-type feel every three pages which is a challenge. You write a very different story depending on the number of act breaks- the number of times you have to turn your story. This is one of the reasons that I don't like the fact that many- most hour long dramas have gone to six acts instead of the traditional four. More act breaks means your story has to turn. More often you end up with a very different type story. Part of the thing that gives these webisodes a different feel than a similar thirty minute chunk of regular Battlestar is because the storytelling is different when you have so many act breaks. So you know write your congressman tell him you want four acts in your hour long drama but for webisodes this works very well with these little three minute chunks. They’re wearing- some of the characters here you’ll see Finn and Esrin wearing the helmets and I was against originally using the helmets in so many scenes and having Finn and Esrin in their helmets for so much of the story because I feared that it would- these are new characters we don’t know them very well to obscure so much of their face I thought would be confusing or at least you know hard to watch but in fact those helmets are so fantastic and so beautifully lit that once I saw how they looked I had no hesitation to. Well, put a helmet on all of them! They look fantastic. Here’s Hoshi again doing a fine job. This originally all these scenes back on Galactica were going to be with Admiral Adama instead of with Colonel Tigh with Michael Hogan here but we couldn’t get him because he was busy directing and acting in the movie which is I say was shooting at the same time. So it was a question of who we had available and thank goodness! We had Colonel Tigh, our other authority figure and he does- Michael does a fantastic job here. The characters of Finn and Esrin and Brooks who are three new characters- there’s Finn- on the ship. That was an interesting thing. We didn’t have time to do a separate casting session for all of these characters but we were very fortunate that we had just cast a number of roles in the movie "The Plan" which I also was producing at the same time so we had audition tapes left over from the role of the Coach and the role of two of the Pyramid players from that movie. So I was able to go back and look at the tapes and pick three actors who hadn’t been cast in the movie but who would be right for these roles and this is- that’s how we got Finn and Brooks and Esrin and they’re very good. It makes me feel confident that even if we had made different decisions casting the movie we would have ended up with very good actors.
Here we go with Webisode 3. Webisodes 1, 2, and 3 and the three at the other end 7- before here- 7, 8, 9, 10 were the ones that changed the least in the rewrite process. It was those ones in the middle 4 5 6 that I found myself rewriting many many many times during leading right up to when production started. There was just for some reason I think that's a natural thing went in a script is that the beginning and the ending are sort of like you know they're tied to the hammock posts; the middle is where it gets saggy (laughs) and you have to go in and do more work there but we got it in shape. These webisodes before even we got to that stage of rewriting there was a huge amount of rewriting from the very beginning. First off we had to find our story and then we had to find out which cast members we had and at first, our first thought was that we would have both Trish and Grace. We would have both a number Six Cylon and a number Eight and the webisodes were broken and written with that in mind. Kevin made a first pass through and then I did rewriting of him and we worked together to find that original shape for our original script and it was- by the end of those webisodes- by webisode 7 or 8 of that original configuration the characters who were left alive on the ship were the two Cylons: the Six and the Eight and Gaeta and there was a whole webisode in which Gaeta was asleep and it was just Six and Eight talking about the murders they had committed on board and it was very interesting version of the script and it was very- it was less of- it had less of a horror movie feel than this current version does but it had- it was much more cerebral and a little slower maybe. It was very good and we were really excited about it and that was my favorite chapter was that webisode 8 where the two of them just talked. When we realized that we didn't have both actresses, at first we thought we just- we were going to have two Sixes. Later on, we realized we didn't have Trish; we did have Grace; we had two Eights.
-so in occasion a heck of a lot of rewriting and because it’s so time-consuming that it wasn’t so much the expense as it was the time-consuming nature of having an actress play opposite herself. We realized that the script was going to have to have- the story was going have to lay out very differently. We weren’t going to be able to spend a whole webisode with the character talking to another one of the same model. It would simply be too difficult. So we made it- when we ended up having two Eights in this final version. We also realized that we had to do another rewrite to make the other Eight- the Pilot Eight be the first character killed. Again for the same reason that we simply couldn’t afford to have- couldn’t afford the time to have two Eights on screen for so much of the production. So that’s why she’s killed first. In retrospect, thank goodness! Because it makes the mystery so much more interesting and so much more initially opaque to have the Cylon as the first one dead. It helps throw suspicion away from our Sweet Eight here which is crucial to the story. This notion of the electrocution was one of the first things that Kevin and I talked about when we started plotting out our series- our series of webisodes because we had to come up with plausible ways for people to die on a Raptor and that was one of the first ones we thought of was the idea of someone trying to fix it and jabbing some metal instrument down in there and getting electrocuted and of course we had to find out if that was actually possible. This list of names that he is writing- you’ll see it- some of those names: Stacy Fish, Wayne Rose- if you’re familiar with our production, you’ll recognize those as names of people on our crew. No names got officially cleared for use so when they actually had to start making this list there weren’t any names that they were allowed to use unless they used crew member names. I don’t know if crew member names are automatically cleared or if they’re simply the assumption that the people on the crew won’t sue their own production. If we were just going on that, I hope we were right. I wasn’t able to be here for a lot of the filming of this because I was off on the set of the movie shooting at the same time so I actually didn’t see any of the things that were in the tent on New Caprica and I didn’t get to see any of the material with Brad- with our Hoshi- and I’m very sorry for that because that’s some of my favorite material is the stuff in the tent and the stuff here with Hoshi and Racetrack in the other Raptor. I think that is some of the most effective stuff and Wayne was absolutely right- it was very valuable to have a location to cut to away from our hero Raptor.