Friday, March 18, 2016

TRANSPARENT: Anatomy of An Episode
Janet J. Lawler
Los Angeles, CA
March 18th, 2016

The Amazon Original hit series TRANSPARENT examined its Season Two provocative episode "Man on the Land" last night at The Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
Transparent panel discussion
The packed event, sponsored by the TV Academy (celebrating it's 70th anniversary), was moderated by director/writer/producer J.J. Abrams.  The panel discussed details in making "Man on the Land" from photography to set decoration.  Panelists included showrunner/creator Jill Solloway, as well as the Emmy-winning star Jeffrey Tambor who plays Maura on the popular series about the transgender journey.

Ali Liebegott (episode writer), Jim Frohna (director of photography), Cat Smith (production designer), Sunny Hodge (episode editor) and Zackary Drucker (co-producer/consultant) also joined the talk.  The team discussed their creative process in putting together this episode from coming up with the idea in the writer's room to assembling key scenes in the edit bay. 
Transparent creator and showrunner Jill Solloway
Emmy-winner Jill Solloway discussed how she likes to keep a family feel on the show between cast and crew.  She said she isn't attached to specific lines in a script, but rather, she prefers the actors to know the key "beats" and "emotional points" to hit while shooting scenes. 
The Theatre at the Ace Hotel
The event was held at the restored Theatre at the Ace Hotel.  It's a grand movie palace dating back to 1929 with over 1,600 seats.  It was the former flagship movie palace for United Artists Theatre.  The marquee still bears its name outside.  Very old Hollywood venue... yet lively with today's top talent.
Moderator J.J. Abrams   Photo Credit: Associated Press
J.J. Abrams and panelists mingled in the lobby with TV Academy members and guests after.  However, Abrams attracted a fast crowd.  He didn't get to rub elbows with his admirers and peers for long as security hustled the Star Wars director out of the after-party.     

I met Tony Award-winner Cherry Jones in the lobby.  She's a great actress and also a guest star on this current season of Transparent.  Fun night.
Janet Lawler and actress Cherry Jones
Watch the full Transparent panel discussion here.  Enjoy!