All Rise executive producer/director Michael Robin and star Simone Missick reveal how the virtually produced, pandemic-themed episode was shot:
* “We created our own private network” via a video conferencing system called WebEx, Robin shared during a Zoom conference with reporters. “So basically, we gave phone numbers and call times to the actors and said, ‘OK, at this time, we’re doing this scene number, so dial in,’ and we gave everybody that was in that scene that dial-in for that scene number. We switched it every time. So literally, if an actor happened to be like, ‘Oh, I’m going to go in early,’ they didn’t just sort of like walk into your scene.”
* Supplies, such as Ethernet cables, WiFi boosters, lighting setups, and makeup and wardrobe items, were gathered, sanitized and delivered to the actors.
* Prior to filming, the crew did tech scouts with the actors to see what spaces and props were available in their houses. “I would say 95 percent of this is stuff that we found in each actor’s home,” Robin revealed. Added Missick: “They had location scouts, virtually, where they would walk around, we would have our computers, and we’re showing them different parts of our house, and it also managed to be a technical scout in a way, where they could test, ‘OK, is the signal working? Is it strong here? Nope, that’s not as good there. We’re gonna try it somewhere else.'”
* Even though the actors had “a lot of input” when it came to certain aspects, “we still had all of our crew in video village saying, ‘OK, you need to fix your light,'” Missick recalled. “Our DP David Harp was saying, ‘OK, put the camera here, put the light there so that you can get more of your face in the shot. Oh, it’s supposed to be nighttime. Do you have something to black out the windows?’ Or ‘the sound sounds too roomy. I need you to put a blanket underneath.'”
* Although most of the cast did their own hair and makeup — Missick joked that viewers would see quickly who opted for a “no makeup” look — the heads of both departments were made available for virtual consultations. In the mornings, Missick would text the two women who do her makeup to ask, “‘What do you guys think?’ And they’re like, ‘You did a really good job. Bump up the lipstick,'” the actress described. “Our hair department head, she certainly on day one was like, ‘That is not a Lola Carmichael hairstyle. We have to adjust some things.'”
* Virtual fittings were conducted, with the head of wardrobe combing through the cast’s closets. But dressing up as Lola was tricky, because Missick knew that she owned nothing close to her character’s style. “So our costume designer had to quickly find some things to get over to me,” the actress said. “There was that moment of, ‘How long was it in transit? Which fabrics are OK? Should I stick it in the dryer? Do I spray it with Lysol? How can you send this back?’ So there was the very real concern that I think we all have with getting boxes and unpackaging things.”
* In the end, the 64-page script took six 10-hour days to shoot, versus the show’s usual 60 pages in seven-and-a-half 12-hour days. “Interestingly enough, it shot faster than a normal episode does,” Robin noted. “But strangely enough, it was oddly more exhausting… There’s this odd tired after we’re all sort of living through these screens for a long, long time.”