I'm looking forward to the reaction to this weeks episode. We are all so very proud to be a part of SouthLAnd and to share it with all of you. Some great questions this week.
Question from James Selim
Chocolate or vanilla ice cream?
Vanilla with chocolate syrup.
Question from Robert J Culver
I actually have one question and a suggestion. The question is do you guys review old case files from LAPD to use for the show? And the suggestion is to get the actors who played Ofc. Pete Malloy and Jim Reed from the old Adam-12 show to do a cameo or a guest spot. That would be cool. Thanks!
Most of the stories on our show are taken from actual officer encounters. The specifics of the events are changed, sometimes beyond recognition but the jumping off point for the writers always comes from actual events. They are constantly looking for great stories from officers in and out of Los Angeles and from news outlets around the country. Personally, I would love to see anyone from Adam-12 make an appearance on Southland. I have in the past described our show as Adam-12 for 2009.
Question from Taylor Hayes
Do you think we will ever see John's soft side? On the last episode he was a little harsh to Chickie. By the way love the show, my grandma's a big fan, too!!
I have no idea what the hell you are talking about. ; ) Give your Grandma a big hug from me.
Question from Theresa Mahfood
What can we as fans do to help Southland get renewed? I've already told everyone I know to watch the show, but is there more I can do? Like writing TNT executives? Or can we make a petition or something? You guys are the best Michael! All of you! Everyone in the cast is great! I love all of you and thanks for such amazing TV!
Teresa, the fans have been amazing throughout this whole experience. All I can tell you is keep watching. I have said this before, if everyone who is watching now brings only one more new person to SouthlAnd, we will run for years.
Question from James Gold
I like the show, however, I notice a lot of the footage is with handheld cameras. I have a 58" TV and handheld cameras can look a little blurry with camera shake. Is that done intentionally to make it seem as though you are there in the action?
I bet the show looks amazing in 58" HD.
Yes, the shaky camera and blurry effect is intentional. The producers believe it gives the show a feeling of immediacy, almost a documentary look. One of the visual goals of SouthLAnd is to make the audience feel like they are a witness to something they should not be seeing. This voyeuristic feel is one of the elements that, in my opinion, sets SouthLAnd apart from any other cop show on air today.
Question from Matt Chaney
As a military and law enforcement veteran myself, I appreciate your realistic portrayal of characters! I am curious if you have ever served or thought of serving? Also, what type of training do you receive as far as tactics to make all the scenes as realistic as possible? Keep up the great work!
Thank you, Matt. I have been very fortunate in my career. I have never served in any service. I did, however, almost join the Navy with a couple buddies out of high school but, at the last minute, I changed my mind. As far as being a police officer, after everything I have learned over the past 19 months, I don't think I would make a very good one. I tend to take things hard emotionally and don't have an easy time separating myself from my work. I think that is probably why I became an actor instead.
The answer to the second part of you question is yes, we have received training for our roles on SouthLAnd. This is what I said about it last week:
We did attend a "Police Academy." We had about a week of classroom training and some time at the shooting range, coupled with "Ride Alongs" and one-on-one interviews with current and retired law enforcement. The classes were taught by our technical advisor, Chic Daniel, and his wife, Sheila. Both are retired LAPD and both are amazing resources. Obviously, there is much more to being a cop than can be taught in a couple of weeks, but it was a good foundation for the ongoing training that we experience everyday on the set. We always have an advisor on set at all times so we know what the "Proper" procedure is. Sometimes, we break from procedure because of a story point. Most of the time when we do something "wrong" it is for a reason and there are usually consequences.
Question from Tabby Dunn
How does John Cooper support his lifestyle? He has a nice house in a (I'm guessing) good area of LA and a great car. However, in the first season, he made a comment of how being a cop was the only job he could get for it was either $30 or $40 thousand a year without college. Considering his dad is a jailed rapist and how much he teases Sherman about coming from money, it isn't a trust fund paying for the house and car. Is it just an oversight, a future storyline, or am I way off on the cost of living in LA?
Tabby, you are correct. In an early episode Cooper says, "This was the only job I could get making $30K a year." That was 20 years ago. At this point in his career, with his rank, he would be making anywhere from $60K- $80K a year, not including overtime. I have not fact checked those numbers, but that is what I was told by officers currently serving so I assume the numbers are correct.
Question from Juan C. Navarro
Who comes up with the great camera angles and moves used in the show? There's this one scene where Ben takes off after a guy and jumps over a wall, the camera just went over with him! And another great one, is where (I think) Ben squeezes through a fence, which the camera then does as well. It's just great camera work!!
I know, isn't it awesome?! I talk about this in another question, but I think it bears repeating. One of the most innovative things about our show is how the stories are being told visually. As an audience member, you feel like you are in the scene. The directors and DP's design these amazing shots. By working with these small digital cameras, the crew is able to do things with the camera that were previously impossible. With this emerging technology, I truly believe the possibilities are endless. The look of television and film has changed.
Question from Ashley Lucero
Mr. Cudlitz, will you PLEASE marry me?!
Sure, you said please.
Question from Gina Moore Johnson
Will you marry me? I'm just saying lol.
Hmm, OK. But Ashley's proposal was more polite.
Question from Torrance Johnson Larsen
Thank you so much for taking the time to cater to your adoring fans! I have two questions, not necessarily focusing on what Ms. Biderman may have in store for the characters but for what you think the characters might want in the future. Would Cooper ever decide to stop being a training officer and stick with Ben as his partner full time? It seems they've already become quite dependent on each other, even if they don't realize it yet. Or would/could they both end up training new kids? My second question is how many men is Cooper juggling? Although he seems very much a loner, he also seems like somebody who would secretly treasure the thought of a loving relationship.
Well Torrance, As a SLO (senior lead officer), John Cooper has many responsibilities some of which do not include training. I have said this before, the natural progression is for Ben to move beyond Cooper. That being said, I think it will be a long time before we get separated. I think the chemistry is pretty fantastic.
In regards to John's love life, I think he is still working through it. Like everyone, he wants to be in love.
Question from Noah Ballard
Will the show ever have an episode that openly shows Cooper as a gay man or will it just be an underlying fact of the show?
Absolutely. It is an underlying fact, but it is a fact that we are not avoiding. You will see more about John as the show moves forward.
Question from Chris McMillin
Such a good actor from Band of Brothers to Southland. What is Michael's favorite Southland episode so far?
I would have to say Phase 3. I think the show really comes together and everyone shines.
Question from Ryan Skiba
Why is the show so awesome?
In answering your question, Ryan, I would like to quote my grandmother, "It has to be good, there's only good things in it."
Remember, you can also follow me on www.twitter.com/Cudlitz
as I talk about the show and give periodic updates. Plus, you can connect with other fans of SouthLAnd.