JUNE 25, 2006

Hey, everybody! How's it going?

Chris Bruno here, writing to you guys from Åre, Sweden, right now. Checking in with you to talk about my directing gig on The Dead Zone this season.

Once I decided to direct, it was something that excited me as much as when I started the acting business, becoming even more of a challenge than acting and even more personally rewarding to me.

I'd been shadowing the other directors and I was fortunate to have done a movie with Anthony Hopkins in October beforehand. Roger Donaldson was the director and I got to spend a little bit of time watching him do his shot set-ups and running stuff by him and picking his brain. I prepared myself as much as I could for this endeavor.

We were producing Seasons 4 and 5 together and I was originally supposed to direct the eighth episode. But my mom was very ill and died just before that episode came up.

Instead, I flew home and was able to spend the last few days with her and then, two days after she died, came back to work, flying back home for her memorial and then returning.

Since I missed any kind of shadowing time that I would have had, they decided that it would be better if I had some time to be able to focus after all that had gone on in my personal life. It turned out to be a great move, because I got to direct the 14th episode right after coming back from our three-week hiatus.

This was both a good thing and a bad thing, at the same time. I wanted to have a hiatus because we worked 14-hour days. "Well, there goes my hiatus!" -- that's the bad news. The good news was I was going to have some time to prepare.

A lot of the prep was already done the week before hiatus. Prep's the best part; everyone always says that directing is in the prep. When every department head comes to you with questions and you have to provide answers, it makes your vision become clearer to you.

Someone from Wardrobe might come to you and ask: "How do you see the character of Brian? What does he wear?" And you go, "Well, I think he's probably maybe like a skateboard kid and he's got long and baggy pants, he's maybe a little on the hippie side." Then you have someone from Transportation come in and ask: "What kind of car are these guys driving?" And you go, "Well, I think it's like a VW bus kind of thing. That's the way I see it." And they go "OK" and go off.

But then you talk to the Camera Department and they say, "Well, that's going to be pretty tough to get a camera in there. We won't be able to shoot anything in there, if it's that small." And you go, "Okay, well, maybe it needs to be bigger, what are my options?" Then they show you a bunch of different possible choices and say, "This one will work." And you say, "Well, do you have something that's between the two?"

Directing is such an absolutely huge undertaking.

So, there's a lot of decision-making that makes the process become clearer to you, as a director, as these other people are asking you questions. That, to me, was great. I really felt like so much of this script was now beginning to come alive. You begin to see what the characters are going to look like, and then you start the casting process...

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