Today we bring you the second part of our conversation with the creative team behind ‘Millennium: Apocalypse’, the fan made series that told the continuing story of, a now adult, Jordan Black. Our thanks, once again, To Jason, Shoni and Jeremia for the kind donation of their time and for keeping the flame of ‘Millennium’ alive at a time when it was sorely missed. Please keep your eyes peeled in the next few days for more BTFB exclusives including another interview with a member of the cast I know you will all enjoy. And, if you haven’t sent those letters and Polaroids, what are you waiting for? Let’s bring Frank Back!
BTFB: How true did you try to stay to the original series. We spoke to Robert MacLachlan recently who commented that the cinematography on Millennium was instrumental in creating its character if you will. How much did you attempt to reproduce the look of the series or did you strive for a unique character of your own?
JASON: Well we wanted to keep the same feeling but we did try to make this more of Jordan’s world. We saw Franks world and the darkness, with Jordan I wanted hope and more of a curious environment than the forboding doom and darkness of the original show.
BTFB: Was changing the ouroboros logo part of creating that new identity for the show and Jordan’s story or born out of a desire not to infringe copyright?
JASON: It was kind of both. I knew I wanted a different design but going back to the original story the show did not fully explore both factions of the group so we decided to create kind of a full circle and add more lore to the story by creating two more factions, one being the Ravens, also the native American story line of the Anasazi logo.
SHONI: Well we had originally wanted Jordan to have an ouroboros tattoo but it did not work out without me actually getting one.
JASON: Yeah the tattoo thing was tough, first I discovered that another show I loved at the time, The Invisible Man, Vincent Vantrasca’s character Darian Fawks has an ourborous tattoo on his writst, which is where we placed it for Jordan, we also discovered that the fake tattoos we used were very shinny on camera and fell of very easily so it was a pain to work with, after shooting with them for a day we scrapped the idea.
BTFB: I did revisit the ‘Apocalypse’ forums today and a quick re-read highlighted a number of problems you experienced during filming with location, budget, disagreements regarding the finalised scripts and so on. Did you anticipate the experience would be challenging and at any point did you loose faith in what you were doing?
SHONI: Time, location issues, weather, making scenes match whilst they were shot days maybe weeks apart. It was fun.
JASON: Budget…there was none. Disagreements, many, and not far enough apart, but hey that’s what happens when you get creative people in the same room. The script writing was always tough, I found myself wanting to stick to a TV style schedule which was way too ambitious and way too complicated for what we where doing, this caused issues among us and I am completely to blame for that.
JEREMIA: The hardest thing about getting a bunch of people together that are so passionate about something is trying not to hurt feelings and staying commited when people don’t agree on things.
JASON: I pushed hard and changed things without speaking to the writers and that was not the right thing to do. In my defense, however, sometimes you see things that are impossible to do and you have these commitments and schedules to keep and things happen fast sometimes and you get caught up in the flow…it is very hard to think about the individuals involved and not the project as a whole but you live and learn.
JEREMIA: As for changing things without talking to the other writers, that was hard because without a budget there wasn’t much that could be done. Not being able to pay for locations, getting better set dressing and paying the cast so they still had to work their day jobs and then help out on the project made it hard to schedule things in a timely manner.
JASON: But we did not anticipate things to be difficult at all, I had never shot something long form before so this was a complete immersion in mistakes and learning, experiance is such a key to this biz that there are sometimes mistakes made that could have been prevented had you known what the hell you were REALLY doing and not just thinking you know.
JEREMIA: Learing some of those mistakes is a hard lesson because you could go to film school and still you wouldn’t have learned them. They only come with experience.
BTFB: Is there anything you would have done differently with the distance of hindsight?
JASON: A lot of things I would have done differently but that is not to say I am ashamed of the project. I think we were very ambitious and a lot of those ideas make their way to the audience and fall flat.
BTFB: Do you go for drives and pass places and think “man, that would have made a great location!”
JASON: Yeah, and critique can be hard sometimes, I think people do not realize the amount of work people do to entertain people and how you must have a thick skin but hey, with everything else you get better and learn your craft better.
BTFB: I was just reading a book by the Doctor Who head writer who was saying just that – how consumerist audiences are and don’t realise the difficulties, and with the net, often don’t care about trying to.
JASON: Exactly it’s true, but hey it’s the nature of the beast you go in knowing that then it will be easier to accept it.
BTFB: Can I return to what you said earlier about the amount of people involved in the writing? When you are working with a number of writers, each with a different style and emphasis is it easy to achieve a coherence to the series or is there the danger of being widely incongruous in the feel of one episode to another?
JASON: Well it’s tough but I think everyone that worked on the writing was very dedicated to the project. The overall cohesiveness was formed in the production aspect of it, the movie looks the same throughout so I think it makes the story inconsistencies a bit easier to swallow.
And again a lot of the original ideas Raven, Joe, Calixer and Michael came up with and wrote, sometimes we had to change them on the spot or we had to change them because we almost got arrested or we were waving a gun around and the actors were uncomfortable.
BTFB: Were you tempted to push the envelope as Morgan and Wong did in Season Two and do something quirky like ‘Somehow Satan Got Behind Me’ or something experimental like ‘The Curse of Frank Black’ or did you want a thematic similar to Season One?
JASON: I wanted to stay on neutral ground with everyone, try to appeal to the whole, it seems that MM fans are very split much like the two factions of the MM group. I suppose all in all we were really trying for the same thing Chris Carter was in Season Three, just make everyone happy.
BTFB: Could I ask why you think Millennium is ready for a return?
JASON: Well I think the adult audience is ready for something more sophisticated then teen horror films or Michael Bay actioners, as we approach the 2012 marker it really would be the perfect time for it. Alas, I think Chris Carter might give Frank a cameo in the 3rd X-Files film though, it is said to be related to the 2012 story line, but with your hard work and the support of all of the fans I have no doubt something bigger for Millennium will come.
BTFB: Well, we need to show that the fans are active and dynamic, and you guys are the epitome. Our thanks to all of you for taking the time to talk to us this evening.
JASON: It has been a pleasure and thank you for doing this for the fans of the show. I think what you are doing is really great and I am glad someone stepped up and took the lead.