I Wrote Tonight's Episode of Graceland. Here Are Some Fun Stories About My Time on Set.
It airs at 10pm on USA. Please watch!
- •Chicken RunTo film a scene where cartel boss Carlito pulls one over on the DEA by filling his soon-to-be confiscated drug shipment with living chickens instead of cocaine, we had to outfit all of our poor, lovely, very-game PAs with long-pole nets (the kind you'd use to clean leaves out of a swimming pool) in case the very expensive live chickens disappeared into the Florida swamplands.
- •Chicken What's-The-Opposite-Of-Run?All the fencing and nets and sad PAs were for naught: When our actors Serinda and Aaron yanked open the container, the chickens didn't pour forth and cluck about as scripted. They just... stood there. Most didn't even cluck. (We fixed it in post.)
- •Errant PropsOne of our lead actors, who shall remain nameless, couldn't perform without a prop in hand. There are many, many scenes where the prop in his/her hand was not just unscripted but totally pointless -- it does literally nothing in the scene but occupy space in a fist. But it's there nonetheless! See if you can spot them all.
- •Chinese FoodToward the end of a very grueling 16 hour day in the Everglades, a misguided PA tried to keep the location owner from eating from craft services by proclaiming that the cold Chinese food and stale cookies were for "crew only." Poor people management, sure, but the owner flipped out and screamed at the nearest crew member that the PA "must be fired." The nearest crew member was from wardrobe. She "fired" the PA to quell the madness and then hid him in her trailer for the rest of the night.
- •Casting CouchThe most powerful I ever felt was when, knowing I'd be lonely for three weeks on set in Florida, I suggested we cast my best childhood friend (and legitimately wonderful, actively-working actor) Griffin Newman as a mentally challenged Everglades drug dealer. And we did! He was so good the writers room then broke a multi-episode arc for him, but Griffin was too busy on the new HBO Rock N' Roll show, so unfortunately we had to mostly cut him from my episode to minimize his impact on the audience.
- •Financial StruggzI was accidentally overpaid several thousand dollars, but no one told me it was an accident. So I did what any logical person would do and used the windfall to pay back my father all the money he lent me when I moved cross country to take this job on 5 days' notice. Then Fox realized they overpaid me and asked for their money back -- while I was on the tech scout, 3,000 miles from home. I have the best agents in Hollywood, I really do love them, but that was a trying day for our relationship.
- •Little BabyIn our first props meeting, the department head refused to look me in the eye -- instead he'd talk to me through the director while remarking that "they must just be giving away writing jobs to kids they pull from the playground." I get it, I'm 25, but it felt a biiiiiit aggressive? So I posted "missing grandpa" silver alert signs around set with his photo on them. We get along very well now -- he bought me a SpongeBob lunch box on my last day covering set as a going away present.
- •Finally, we have the best crew!Okay, this isn't a fun story about my time on set. But my time on set was great only because the crew was profesh to death. (They also hated me for saying things like "profesh to death," and you can, too). If for no other reason, check out tonight's episode for them. They work long, hard, thankless hours in the Florida heat -- and they do it to bring you a show we all hope you'll enjoy!