Computer Graphics World

Edition 2 2020

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60 cgw e d i t i o n 2 , 2 0 2 0 I f necessity is the mother of invention, then adversity can be considered its father. Both are fitting descriptions of the tack producers of the NBC crime thriller The Blacklist took aer filming abruptly ceased when stay-at-home orders were instituted because of COVID-19. Unlike some television series that had already completed production and even post-production for the season, The Blacklist still had a number of episodes to go before its Season 7 finale. In fact, The Blacklist was in the midst of shooting Episode 19 of 22 when the coronavirus lockdown went into effect. What to do? The network already had renewed the series for an eighth season, and audiences expect an edgy show, especially one as dramatic as The Blacklist, to close out the season in a thrilling, suspenseful way. Realizing that completing the planned season-ending Episode 22 was out of the question, the producers believed Episode 19 would make the second-best ending. The problem was, that episode was only halfway through filming in New York. Nevertheless, by thinking outside the box and using CG animation to fill in the missing segments, the showrunners were able to accomplish their goal with a very unique and suspenseful episode that leaves audiences counting the days until the series returns. This is not the first time that CGI has saved the day for films and TV series that have encountered unforeseen obstacles during the middle of shooting, mostly involv- ing actors who have unexpectedly passed away before filming was completed (Paul Walker in Furious 7, Oliver Reed in Gladiator, Brandon Lee in The Crow, and Nancy March- and in The Sopranos, to name a few). But, what happens when the situation adversely affects not just one person, but the entire cast – and crew? The solution was CGI. Only this time, entire sequences were animated in a comic-book/graphic novel style – including actors as well as environments – and integrated into the live-action that had already been shot. Creative Problem-Solving The Blacklist stars James Spader as Ray- mond "Red" Reddington, a former US Navy officer-turned-high-profile criminal who agrees to work for the FBI to capture (or kill) the world's most dangerous operators and terrorists on the government's "Blacklist" (in exchange for immunity) – all the while following his own secret agenda. The twist: This antihero will only work with the young agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone), who may or may not be his daughter. Season 7 Episode 19, called "The Ka- zanjian Brothers," finds the FBI Task Force investigating an accountant with criminal clientele, and to find him, they try to locate a pair of brothers who are hired to protect him. Meanwhile, the cat-and-mouse game between Liz and Red is coming to a head, as is Liz's relationship with her mother, the Hybrid Drama THE BLACKLIST'S OUT-OF-THE-BOX PRODUCTION STRATEGY DURING THE PANDEMIC BY KAREN MOLTENBREY

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