NCISLAFamilia Meet-Up 2013 Write-Up (4/6)

Special Effects / Tech Panel

The next Panel consisted of Don Frazee – Special Effects Supervisor, Troy Brown – Stunt Coordinator, Osama Shofani – Technical Advisor, and Kris Killian – Graphics Technician. Don Frazee, an explosives expert, revealed that his favorite special effect so far was when they blew up the warehouse in “Sans Voir,” the scene where Kensi, Deeks, and Sam came flying out of the exploding building (or their stunt doubles, to be more precise.) He said that this scene was particularly challenging because they had only one day to prepare and rehearse, and only one “shot” at getting it right. Troy Brown explained that the cast does about 90% of their own stunts. He said that the main thing he looks for in a stunt person is toughness, and their ability to get up and do it again. Kris Killian, whose job is to produce the real-time computer graphics, said that making something appear on the screen at the exact time the actor hits the button “is often a happy accident.” When asked about what it takes to coordinate the stunt people with a special effect, such as an explosion, Shofani jokingly stated, “You run fast.” Listening as these men described their work on the show, and observing their interaction with one another, it was obvious that they were not only experts in their fields, but they had fun carrying out their respective jobs. (Later on this morning, the audience will be given a bit more insight on just HOW much fun they have.)

Behind the Scenes Panel

Two of the show’s Co-Producers, Christopher Molnar and Chad Murray, and the Production Coordinator, Laura Napoli, took their seats at the table to make up the Behind the Scenes Panel. Chris Molnar described the challenge he faces in his job of ensuring that each episode is in compliance with Standards and Practices. As an example, a list of names appearing on a computer screen may take up to five days to approve. (The same Standards and Practices that protect “real people” by requiring phone numbers in movies and TV to all begin with “555.”) One of Laura Napoli’s jobs, as Production Coordinator, is to oversee the table reads. She said that this can prove to be very stressful, especially since the table once fell, dumping food into the lap of one of the actors.
Chad Murray summed up his job by saying, “I fabricate evidence.” He is in charge of generating the photos and documents seen on the show. He said that he’s done as many as sixty-five photos to get one drivers’ license to appear right on the screen. (And apparently, LLCool J feels compelled to tell Murray when the person in a crime scene photo does not “look dead.”) Murray said that his favorite episode this season is the 100th, as it delves into Callen’s past. He described how Chris O’Donnell brought in his family photos that were then photo-shopped to become “young Callen.” This was a perfect lead-in to the surprise showing of a scene from the upcoming 100th episode! After viewing this short clip, Napoli concluded by stating that the interest and enthusiasm of the NCIS LA fans is unlike anything she has seen in all her years of TV.