Thursday, March 12, 2009

Director's Notes: "Switched"

What would it really feel like to walk around in someone else's shoes for a time?

What it would be like for a man to be...a woman? Or vice versa?

That concept is at the core of this week's House Between episode, "Switched."

Much like the ideas underlining "Addicted," the story behind 3.4 "Switched" goes all the way back to the second season of The House Between.

In particular, there was the possibility that, because of our shooting schedule in 2007, we would have time to shoot an eighth "bonus" episode. I had put out a call for stories, and gotten great and inventive responses from Jim Blanton ("Separated"), Bobby Schweizer ("Populated"), Joe Maddrey ("Caged") and also composer Mateo Latosa, who devised the story concept underlining "Switched."

Ultimately we shot my "Distressed" as the bonus season two episode (2.6), and Mateo's "Switched" got tabled until season three. Till now.

As you can probably guess from the title, this tale involves...a switch. Or many switches, as the case may be. Specifically, I'm referring to "Body Switches" the likes of which you would see in Star Trek's classic "Turnabout Intruder," wherein Captain Kirk and Janet Lester trade corporeal forms. Other sci-fi series have also played with this genre convention over the years, from The X-Files ("Dreamland") to Buffy the Vampire Slayer ("This Year's Girl"/"Who Are You?")

Still, I mostly had in mind Star Trek, and to that end I designed special visual effects to specifically resemble "Turnabout Intruder," arranged some Trek-style rock-the-boat moments, (when the camera tilts and everybody sways...) and had Mateo compose an incredible Trekkish musical cue for the teaser climax. I feel giddy every time I hear that's awesome.

But despite these deliberate tributes to a favorite and beloved sci-fi series, I also wanted to make certain that "Switched" carried some real heft and meaning behind the switches, much like we used the alternate universe tale ("Separated") to excavate unseen facets of our characters. So here, the body switch concept has lasting repercussions...ones that lead us right into the final two episodes of The House Between ("Exposed" and "Resolved.")

To the cast's everlasting credit, every single actor threw themselves into their performances, collaborated, worked hard, and did a fantastic job. If Bill, Theresa, Arlo, Brick, Travis and Astrid had to walk in one another's shoes for "Switched," than Tony, Alicia, Jim, Craig, Lee and Kim had to do the same. God, I love these guys!

Tonally, "Switched" is entirely different from anything we've ever done on The House Between. This has been a season of ambition...for better or worse. Every story has been quite different from the last, from setting up almost a new pilot with "Devoured" to going deep into character in "Addicted" to crafting a horror movie for "Scared" to the catharsis and transformational nature of "Switched."

Only you -- the viewer -- can tell me how we did, ultimately. But I do know this: I'm exceedingly proud of the cast for going in "Switched" where they've never gone before...and where they weren't always comfortable or safe going. They are truly a spectacular and talented bunch.

"Switched" premieres tomorrow!"

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:52 AM

    I cannot take credit where credit is not due. The Turnabout Intruder-like cue that John mentions is not "like"--it IS the TI cue, albeit in a simplified form and performed by me. I don't know who the actual composer is. The use of this music here was intended as an homage, as John stated.