Gina Bellman, Leverage: "The Bank Shot Job"
One of the things you have to get used to, working on a TV show, is filming out of sync. Although this episode airs [several weeks into the season], it was actually the first one that we shot. One of the things you have to be acutely aware of when shooting episodes out of order is your character's relationship with the other characters. Luckily, in this episode it's not too relevant since we don't relate to each other much. The characters are almost exclusively focused on the "job."
The action in "The Bank Shot Job" takes place in one day, mostly in and around one location: the bank. The benefits of this are amazing for us actors. We only have one costume change each and one hair and make-up look.
When I get a new script, I write a record of how many costume and make-up changes I have. I cross-check them against the shooting schedule and then consult with the hair and make-up designers. I also talk to the assistant director who's responsible for the scheduling of scenes. Often, due to locations (e.g. exteriors and interiors), the schedule bounces around a lot. You may be in an evening dress in the morning with an "up" hair do, a T-shirt look before lunch with casual hair, back into the evening look after lunch, a character disguise, and then back into the evening look or casual look later. If this is the case, then usually I make a decision to choose a universal look for that episode that can change easily from scene to scene. There is nothing worse than sitting in the make-up trailer knowing that the whole crew are twiddling their thumbs waiting for you to change your hair from straight to curly or up to down. Sometimes it can't be avoided. One day on the San Pedro docks, Beth [Riesgraf] had 15 costume changes in one day, going from clean to dirty and back and forth - all day long.
It's a little frustrating not working together as a group in this first episode, especially knowing that much of the success of the show depends on our chemistry as a team. Most of my scenes are played with Tim [Hutton] and the week is spent laughing between takes, sitting on the dusty floor of the bank. Beth and Aldis [Hodge] are filming exteriors outside of the bank and Christian [Kane] is roaming around the desert with B-camera shooting a fight scene. I do get to share one lovely moment on screen with Aldis at the end of this episode; we don't have much one on one screen time, so we both really enjoyed this little joke together.
We have 150 people working on this production. That's a lot of names and faces to learn. It's a bit overwhelming knowing that we're going to be working together for five months and potentially year after year. Some of us will become friends for life. Of course, Tim, Aldis, Christian, Beth and I already know each other from Chicago. There's also the "Four Musketeers" - Dean Devlin, John Rogers, director of photography, David Connell and our amazing camera operator, Gary Kamp.
Amy Berg wrote this episode, and we all quietly fell in love with her. She has this sweet habit of drawing a heart with her finger and pointing to you after a good take. Thus starts a Leverage tradition, all of us competing for one of Amy's hearts.