Executive Producer/Writer Remi Aubuchon shares details below about this season of Falling Skies, premiering June 17 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT).
What was your inspiration for this season of Falling Skies?
If the first season was about dealing with the trauma of an invasion and coping with their world being turned upside down, the second season is about surviving and dealing with a world at war, and discovering how you fit into it. Like Tom Mason, we must figure out how to raise our children in a way that will help them to live good and fruitful lives, even in times of stress.
What do you hope fans will walk away thinking and feeling after the second season?
We have tried hard this season to ramp up the action and tension, making the experience more intense. We hope fans will be able to identify more with the characters and see themselves in their struggle to survive. But I also believe that much of the message we’re trying to convey is that we can only survive if we put down our differences and work together towards a common goal – in this case the fate of the entire human race. It would be really nice if we could do this without the intervention of an alien invasion.
What is your writing process for this show?
We have great writers on this show, and part of the process is to create an environment that allows free-flowing ideas to nurture and grow. The first task at hand is to create an overall shape and idea for the season, then figure out episodes or ideas that help to tell the big story. Of course we also want to have cool things happen, so everyone is encouraged to think as far outside the box as possible. We also try to figure out what each character’s journey will be and how they may be changed by the season’s events and circumstances that unfold. We usually do this as a group, but eventually it becomes the individual writer of a given episode who outlines and fleshes out how the episode will look. A script is then written from that outline.
How do the actors contribute to their character development?
We always meet with the actors once we’ve figured out the season’s journey and let them know our thinking and ideas and get their feedback. They know their characters even better than we do, so it’s a big help to hear from them. During the course of filming the episodes, we watch the dailies carefully to see what the actor is bringing to the role and try to integrate that into the writing. It’s a little like playing jazz. The writers throw out an idea, the actors riff on it, we riff back, and before we know it, we’ve got a pretty interesting character going.
Describe one of your typical days on set.
My day usually begins with going over the day’s work with the director and the actors, to make sure we are all on the same page. If there are any production changes that will affect the script, then I would make them before we start shooting. The job of the writer/producer on the set is to make sure the story is tracking and that everyone understands the intention of the scenes and how they fit into the big picture. It’s a very collaborative process.
What’s the collaboration process like between production and the special effects studios?
The task of the writer and producer during production is to make sure every element is in sync with the story that we are trying to tell. You can get most of it out in the script, which is like a blueprint, but often your job is to communicate how everything fits in – especially with visual effects and animation, and heavy action sequences. Sometimes, the director will use storyboards to clarify the sequences, which can have four or five elements attached. We’ll go over them with each other and then with the VFX company to make sure we all understand how it’s supposed to look in the end.