Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ask A Professional: Damien Puckler

Recently, Murderboarding got a chance to sit down with Damien Puckler and talk about European countries, stunt work, the life of a TV actor, and the most interesting scene he's filmed on Grimm. It took us a bit to get it cleaned up for publication, but we hope you all find this illuminating about some of the things that go into stunt work as well as TV acting. In typical magazine format, we've declined to place attributions on the questions, because we are, after all, Voltron.

Many, many thanks to Damien and Björn for their willingness to sit down with us and play guinea pigs for what we hope will be a new recurring segment on the blog! As always, you can reach us in comments or on Twitter if you want to schedule an interview, though we have a few people we plan to reach out to in the near future.

We started out discussing Portland, our visit, and the beauty of the city: And, well, it helps that the sun comes out pretty much every day, it just also rains pretty much every day.

Yeah, exactly. It's very German, it's very European. But somehow, I don't know. Germany has a little bit of it, London is too gray. Portland doesn't have that, Portland is still beautiful even when it rains, so.

I remember London, London was very gray and very wet.

Yeah, very wet and very claustrophobic. Have you been to London, Anna?

No, I'm trying to think, the mountains are very noticeably different but I've been to Bern, in Switzerland, so it reminds me a little of that.

Oh yeah, yeah sure, it looks very German or Swiss, that's why they chose it for the show.

Yeah, I think someone on the cast tweeted that they did filming in Salem for the Alps?

Yeah. So you guys did that Unspooling Fiction thing!

We do!
We can be good. Mostly. Sort of.
Define good.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Trouble with Troubled Grimm S3E19 Nobody Knows The Trubel I've Seen

Previously, on Grimm! Royal conspiracies abound and that one feeb really has a hate-on for Renard. Viktor makes ultimatums for the demon baby baby Diana (interestingly, leaving out the one about Renard's mother from these edits), which are stymied by the collective wacky planning of the Scooby Gang plus Renard and the baby is absconded with by Mama Burkhardt! Yeah, nobody expects this to end well, even though this seems like something of an ending. It's the end of the baby's presence in the story to start with!

We're not taking on the epigraph of the episode because you all know it, you know why it's there, and if you don't, go look at all the show Twitter accounts for the episode. Except to mention briefly that, guys, we know you like the pun but it's really tacky to yoink an old African-American spiritual to use for a character that pasty white. Not exactly outright offensive, but really tacky. Quit that shit.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Murderboarding In Portland: A Report

So. That happened.

If you're on Twitter and you've been paying attention at all to our feeds, or perhaps even if you've just been reading our informational posts, we just took a working vacation. For a certain value of 'just.' We've been back a bit, we've had time to recover. I jotted down the notes for this entry while we were on the plane back and I was half-stoned from cold meds and sleep deprivation, plus altitude weirdness and the general mental miasma of being on a day-long plane adventure. I've had time since to think about these notes and bash them into something resembling coherent form. It took some bashing.

A working vacation. For Murderboarding, in this particular instance, it was a vacation relating to our work on Grimm, up to Portland where they film. It started off, actually, as a complete lark. Oh, hey, wouldn't it be funny and kind of amazing if we were able to go to Portland someday? Oh, yeah, that'd be cool. Then the idea gets shelved, and we think no more on it.

The problem with thinking no more on it is that then it sits there and seethes. And bubbles. And seizes on the next opportunity, oh, hey, we're getting a decent sized tax refund. Hey, plane fares are down. Oh, hey, this hotel looks affordable. Before we knew it we were allocating funds and booking tickets to Portland, making hotel reservations, making plans. But so far, it was still just a vacation. I mean, we had every intention of going around to locations, we looked up where they were, but we weren't going to do anything beyond that. Right? Of course right.

Let me tell you what we did.

We took a bunch of photos of outdoor and exterior locations, mostly for our edification. We walked the Pearl, and saw a bunch of the places where events mentioned in the show would have taken place. We had dinner at Raven and Rose, which turned out to be an executive dinner meeting at Raven and Rose where we worked out some expansion plans for Murderboarding, the problem of essays since our previous post went entirely unanswered, we did some networking, met some fans of the blog who live in Portland, asked for and received permission to visit the set and learned a great deal while we were there, did some info gathering, scheduled and attempted to schedule some meetings and interviews (filming interfered with some, others we managed to catch), and overall managed to make a lot of progress on the scheduling and direction of Murderboarding, not just in Grimm, but in the blog in general.

We also scheduled the vacation portion of the working vacation, because goddammit, there are two words in 'working vacation.' Only one of them involves labor, even if it is a labor of love. We had concert tickets and Cirque du Soleil tickets and set aside a day for wandering around parks, and another for wandering around Powell's. We didn't schedule me getting sick for a day and a half with the head cold from hell, but it happens. We scheduled a studio visit with a lovely couple of artists, and we did quite a bit of just wandering around, eating in restaurants, and visiting gardens.

We had our fun very much scheduled because we did have a solid idea of how long it would take to get to the concerts, what we would do when there, and how long it would take. We had our working parts very much not, because we didn't know how long a set visit would take (estimated: 1 hour. actual duration: 4 hours, cut off there only because of extenuating circumstances), how long it would take us to hike around an area of town (not that long, as it turns out, but only in so much as we had a list of places and a native guide to point them out), whether or not we would get any of the interviews we were trying for, etc. We had never done this before. We didn't know, beyond what common sense told us, what would and would not be permitted. Common sense dictated that we take no pictures of the set, that we stand out of the way while filming and keep quiet, that we stand out of the way when not filming and talk quietly amongst ourselves unless spoken to, and there was a surprising amount of that. We remain incredibly grateful to Norberto Barba for his gracious welcome and willingness to answer questions. Common sense also dictated that we not go up to the cast while they're working and bug them. That we not go into private buildings and poke around and take pictures. You know, normal person stuff. But when we asked for interviews, or for the set visit, we really didn't have any idea if this was a thing that there was protocol for, or that people would be willing to do, or if we'd be consistently turned down for any of half a dozen reasons. As it turned out, even the people who had scheduling conflicts were happy to talk to us! Not for the interview, but they weren't upset that we had asked.

In a lot of ways, Portland and Grimm was an ideal choice for our first Murderboarding working vacation, if we were going to do this at all. A lovely city with plenty to do even without the blog-related agenda, and we found ourselves missing it as we left. Now that we've done this, hopefully some of the scary has rubbed off the prospect of asking people to talk to us about what they do for a living, what they like about it and what they find challenging. And we have a better idea of what we can and can't do.

Let me be clear on the can and can't do part, too. The cast of Grimm knows who we are. They know about the blog, some of the writers know about the blog, and we introduced ourselves to Berto as bloggers, with our business cards and a link to the blog so he could see that we were serious and professional about our work. (Yes, despite the fact that we say 'fuck' a lot.) That gave them the reassurance and expectation that we would behave as professionals, not be disruptive, obey the schedule we were set in accordance with their filming and production needs, and leave quietly when asked. Which, of course, we did. We do what we do because we're huge fans of the show, but we also do it in the manner that we do because we believe sincerity and dignity are the hallmarks of professional fans, for lack of a better term. Sincerity in our fandom, our fan-style appreciation, dignity of a professional.

Other things that helped: basically, scheduling ourselves for six hour "working" days. A lot of our travel time included a lot of planning, sitting on streetcars and buses going "okay, if we can do this, then this and this get easier," and so on and so forth. We made a budget and, by and large, we stuck to it, helped out a lot by a lot of the things we wanted to do amounting to going to a place and walking around till our feet told us to stop. We kept our evenings free for relaxing, decompressing, eating well, and going "OH MY GOD CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT HAPPENED," because let's face it, we do do this because we are fans, and it really helps maintain a professional demeanor if you know you can go back to your hotel room and, in private where it won't freak anyone out, screech about what happened to your co-blogger. No matter how professional you are, in whatever profession you're in, you will have those moments of "OH MY GOD I SHOOK HIS HAND SHE TALKED TO ME OH MY GOD." I read an article recently where an actor described himself as being so star-struck by Robert Redford that he walked into a refrigerator. We managed not to walk into anything, I'm pretty sure we managed not to be incoherent, and it was largely because we could decompress later. This is also the reason for six hour days, because being "on" like that is exhausting. Fun! But exhausting.

Keep your expectations low and broad. Our mantra for this trip was "nothing is going to happen," and indeed for a lot of it, nothing did happen. We did not have ice cream parties with the cast, we did not run into anyone on the street, and nothing happened. Except a lot of things happened. Some of them we can't yet talk about. Some of them we've touched on but won't speak of in any more detail than we have here. Some of them even we don't yet know the entire scope of. We're rolling with the punches. We're pushing forward, with encouragement, and we're trying to keep our enthusiasm fired up by Portland from outpacing our ability to follow through. Another good reason to keep your expectations low; if you don't expect much, you won't necessarily attempt to do much, and find yourself running ragged by your own actions. We're trying to escape that fate, with moderate success. We still have three shows to blog, two of which have considerable backlogs, and we're tossing around ideas for touring the areas where those are filmed as well. Haven might be a stretch by now, but Sleepy Hollow is in not quite my own backyard but a couple backyards over. It's possible. A lot of things are possible, now. Maybe that's the best thing to come out of this trip to Portland, reminding ourselves why we do what we do, and how much joy we take in doing it.

And now, the fun part! We took maybe not as many pictures as people were expecting us to, but still a fair few! Now with snarky commentary. Some of them - most of them - you've probably seen on Twitter, but Twitter is notoriously ephemeral and now they're all in one place. As an extra bonus provided by one of our Portland friends, a time-lapse video of photographs of Portland, because we were so busy having fun we didn't take half as many general landscape and terrain photos as we should have.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

What Child Is This Grimm S3E18 The Law Of Sacrifice

Before we get started, we heard via another fan about the tragic death of Burk Biggler, one of the circus performers two eps ago. At this time there's no known memorial fund or place to send flowers, but remembrances can be left on his Facebook page, and more details can be found here. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

And now, previously, on Grimm! Mostly, the baby, and the various people who want it. Also the epic clusterfuck that is everyone catching up to speed with what's going on and trying to grasp all the implications.

Speaking of implications, today's quote is from Rumpelstiltskin, which considering the deals Adalind's reneged on to keep her baby seems rather appropriate! Still wondering if there's going to be some magical backlash from that, or if Stefania's going to come calling now that Viktor... well, I'm getting ahead of myself. We pick up where we left off, though there's marginally less of Sasha and more of Renard as he holds the fascinated baby, and now I kind of wish he was wearing a tie that the baby could play with. More, now he looks like Renard's had time to get used to the idea of a) holding a baby and b) holding his (alleged) baby, and is somewhat more relaxed. Meanwhile Adalind is raiding Renard's fridge, which, he has actual food in there? Considering the conspicuous lack of anything resembling used cookware in his kitchen I'm faintly shocked. Though what she pulls out is more along the lines of easily throw-together-able snack food rather than anything that would require cookware. Strawberries, cheese. I think there's a bowl of grapes on the counter. Renard apparently has to ask her about the delivery, birth, whatever, only it comes out in the same tone that he uses for asking his detectives about cases and I have no idea why (insufficient emotional attachment to the mother? insufficient comfort level with discussing such things? since usually the father of a child has some degree of lead-up to the birth to get used to the idea), but I may have laughed at that. Adalind is about as snarky as you would expect. Dude. Bowling ball. Between the legs. Not ever fun, especially not in the woods with nothing but hot water and an assassin for a delivery nurse. Renard seems to not so much wish he could have been there for Adalind's sake as because his baaaaaaaby. Noting the fact that he barely looks at Adalind as he murmurs about the whole thing, because baaaaaaaby. Assuming it even is his. No one has questioned that since it was decided on screen by people who have no actual factual reason to know, but we're going to keep doing so! Adalind is more pragmatic and less squishy, and would also like her baby back now plskthnx. Which is probably practical but also slightly mood foreshadowing, heh. And she would also like to know what Renard intends to do to protect her and the child. Not an unreasonable request, I feel. Especially since he's more up to speed on the factions coming after her and the baby than Nick and company are or tend to be at least. Renard, what the hell with the stay away from the windows, your entire fucking condo is 75% windows. I can only assume he's saying that because he's tired and startled, as a security reflex, rather than paying more specific attention to his words because someone clearly didn't think about the layout/construction of Renard's penthouse when they wrote that line. Stay away from the windows in Renard's condo means get the hell out of the condo. For that matter, neither Adalind nor Renard are entirely with it, the next few lines of dialogue are the sort of distantly-connected-ideas, half thrown together by exhaustion and attempting to think their way out of their problems with only half their resources. Having done that a few times myself over the last week to ten days, I can sympathize. Adalind actually looks more with it than Renard, calm and much more self-assured than she has in most of the previous few days, if still tired and frazzled. Renard has all of the tiny stress lines on his face twitching. Not even kidding, the facial tension here is a couple steps away from jaw-clenching and teeth grinding, though he does seem to slightly relax when he looks at the baby. So, how did Adalind get to the condo? Well, stolen truck. I would like to point out that having just been in Portland, it's not unreasonable for Adalind to have taken public transit rather than a stolen truck, though admittedly it seems to have been after midnight. Someday we'll get a shot of someone who isn't the victim of the week in Grimm using the MAX or the bus and die of shock. They also re-establish that Kelly would totally have murdered the shit out of Adalind if she'd known she was a Hexenbiest. Well. Yeah, probably, given her reaction to Renard. And then! The doorbell rang!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Kingdom For A Therapist Grimm S3E17 Synchronicity

Previously on Grimm! Rosalee gets to inform us of this, and the Royal baby plot gets most of the previouslies, which tells us what this ep is largely going to involve and does nothing to quell our jitters over Rosalee's various allegiances, mainly to the Wesen Council. Also Nick's entirely justified fears over being best man. Adalind choosing sides! Let us give you a hint: it involves not trusting anyone she doesn't have to. Meisner being her protector in the woods, and with THAT Jung quote coming up for this episode (let us bash our heads against that a little more, have we mentioned lately how much of our analytic training involves taking the useful parts of Jung and flinging it spaghetti-like at walls?) I'll just grumble quietly into my water bottle about strong guardians through dark places in the psyche and leave it at that.