Falling Skies Script to Screen – Understanding the character

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One of the most important jobs a writer, director and actor has is taking the written word and translating it to the screen where all of us can see the vision that was written take shape. Often times there is a disconnect with the writers and the actors that can cause for dialog to be awkward or scenes not make sense. That is not the case with falling skies. Season 2 show runner Remi Aubuchon, including Mark Verheiden, take the input of the actors and use it to help mold the character that each person is playing and make the person and the written character mesh together.

Sometimes episodes are shot in different order and not always start to finish. This means that each actor must pay close attention to the mood of their character and where they were coming from previously when entering the scene, as they may shoot scene 1, then 12 and back to scene 2. While the actors are mostly responsible for this, the director also reminds each actor where they were coming from and in some cases show them footage from the scene before to make sure they know how to react. In this new video from our set visit, the cast discusses the shooting of scenes in different orders and how the writers take the input of the actors into helping develop their characters on screen.

One doesn’t have to look far to see a very talented group of actors who are not given enough credit for the work they do. I remember meeting Peter Shinkoda at the bar in the hotel in Vancouver and it was a very surreal moment. When you finally get to meet them, you realize for the first time that, yes they are real and very much like you. I know it sounds strange, but the truth is, you dont really accept that this person is someone you can just hang with or talk to, until you do. When you start to talk with Peter, you understand his character Dai. Yes Dai was written to be a certain way, but each actors persona comes out in their performance and the result is a character that an actor or writer alone couldn’t produce. It takes a collaboration of the two to complete that character. Peter brings a seasoned work ethic with him that I think would rub off on those around him.

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The younger actors are far more mature then most kids their age and you would be shocked at what they can do. Connor Jessup came to the hotel and visited with us and Peter the night we flew in for the set visit in Vancouver and I remember shaking his hand and he was very quiet and polite. Once we started talking he opened up and I was shocked at what I heard. At 17, he spoke with knowledge and insight about acting and producing that you would only find in a seasoned, 40 something year old, director. Yet there were moments during our Q and A that the kid came out and we saw the joking and fun side of Connor that wasn’t all business. On screen both Connor and Maxim Knight, who plays Connors younger brother Matt, display a brotherly bond that can really only happen with real life brothers. I’ve been told off screen the two are very much like brothers and are close friends which translates on screen.

I really only got to spend time with Connor and Peter while visiting in Vancouver. I would have loved to have more time to hang out with Colin, Sarah, Mpho, Maxim, Drew and the others some more. The time we did spend was an absolute blast and once you get to know them, you better understand their characters. And the more you understand about how going from script to screen is not as cut and dry as it seems, you will give them the credit and applause they deserve for all their hard work.

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