The time it was about Ted Lasso

Posted January 21, 2021 by Stacee in TV | 0 Comments

I don’t think it’s a secret that we loved Ted Lasso.  It is one of the few shows that Hubs and I both love and I’ve lost count on how many times we’ve watched the entire series, but I think it’s close to 20.

Needless to say, when I got the invite to watch a “Conversations with the Artisans” series with some of the crew who worked on the show, I couldn’t sign up fast enough. On the day of the event, I received my confirmation link and a Postmates gift card for dinner (thank you, Apple!), so we ordered some Chinese food and settled in.

Before we get to the event, let’s get the details of the show and watch the trailer!

Title: Ted Lasso
Season: One
Format: Live Action
Episodes: 10
Platform: Apple TV+
Release Date: August 14, 2020

Synopsis: Small-time football coach Ted Lasso is hired to coach a professional soccer team in England, despite having no experience coaching soccer.

Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, Brendan Hunt, Jeremy Swift, Juno Temple, Brett Goldstein, Phil Dunster and Nick Mohammed

Created by: Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, and Brendan Hunt

Writers: Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, Brendan Hunt, Joe Kelly, and Brett Goldstein

Bill Lawrence came on first and had some brief things to say about the amazing cast and crew and then the interviews started.

First up was cinematographer David Rom:

Will you talk about pre-production?

It came to me quite late and a lot of the team were ready. It was about a month before we started shooting and was quite a shock to show up on set and everything set up already.

A lot of it was shot on location?

Most of it was planned to be shot on set. The pub we were going to shoot was a real location and we ended up rebuilding the entire pub. The schedule —compared to what I’ve done before — was quite brutal.

How was working around the weather?

It was a nightmare. The best you can do is hope for night. The change of the weather is the worst. The rain is fine, but it’s the sun cloud, sun cloud. The shots with Rebecca’s office were the worst because of the wall of windows.

That wasn’t the stadium you shot on?

It was a bit of composite. The main shots were at Crystal Palace.

When highlighting characters, especially Rebecca, will you talk about amplifying characters with the camera?

Hannah’s character grew as we got the scripts. She was always in control, she didn’t have the same fish out of water that Ted was. She was shot full frame, not over the shoulder like he was to show power.

What did you feel you brought to the table?

Early chats, they wanted something cinematic. Not like what he’d made before. It was something different for me and it was fantastic.

Do you have a shot or sequence that is your favorite?

The changing room was a favorite. The office gave a visual. The real pitch, we were told if we got within 3 feet of the grass, we’d be thrown out.

Next was costume designer Jacky Levy:

It seems like there would be more of a challenge doing contemp piece. Can you talk about the challenge?

As much as a challenge as period pieces are because everyone has a view and an opinion. It’s a challenge to please everyone. The first thing is definitely reading the script. It can be sourcing from all sorts of places like charity shops, higher fashion shops and putting them together.

If there’s a character who is financially challenged, you have to make the clothes look old and worn. It sounds easy, but you buy new and make them look old from all sorts of processing. You don’t just buy old clothes. It’s all very creative.

Will you talk about uniform for the team?

The footballers have three completely different kits. There’s a home kit and there’s an embroidered patch on the breast. Then there’s two fictional sponsors that need to be added. Then it’s names and numbers. It’s quite a process to get it made. Then there’s a training kit for practice and an away kit which is orange. It all has to be printed. And each character has doubles, so there’s a lot that need to be printed and embroidered.

They look great.  It looks like something the premiere league would wear. There’s a real authenticity to it. 

We tried to make it as authentic as possible. Football fans are very very particular and obviously very knowledgeable about their team’s kit.

Rebecca’s character: starts in dresses, goes to power suits

It was a conscious decision. We wanted her to look confident and chic. Hannah, who plays Rebecca, looks amazing in pastels.

Editors Melissa McCoy and A.J. Catoline were next:

Can you talk about how this show was different from your previous works in how you wanted to present the show?

AJ: In watching the trailer, it seems like it’s just going to be a comedy sports show.  I think on a first season show, you don’t really know what it’s going to be about until you see the dailies coming in. Very quickly, I realized it wasn’t going to just be a comedy and much more than a sports show. It’s a very intentional character in Ted Lasso. He comes off as a BBQ loving country bumpkin, but he’s much deeper than that. It was a pleasure to edit.

Melissa: It felt like independent movies I’ve worked on. We had some handheld camera performances and it felt cinematic. There’s some comedic moments, but dramatic as well. The actors were amazing. There were little looks and nuances that we could sprinkle throughout.

How did you make it seem so fluid between the comedic and dramatic moments?

AJ: We had the benefit of schedule on our side. No show was really finished until the very end. Jason and Bill are master storytellers. Jason was quite intentional in what he wanted each episode to get across and that was helpful in having each episode still open. There’s a great pacing they like to work on. They can push through the comedic moments, but pause at the drama and give the audience a chance to feel or to laugh.

Melissa: It was really important to get the tone and making it super true to the character. There were time where Jason would land a joke and then step back and say “This is too crass for Ted Lasso” and we’d end up cutting it. He’d get a laugh, but would have the courage to say that it wasn’t in Ted’s character. Bill would be great about it too.  We would try to fine tune the characters so when we got to the serious moments, you could lean into it.

How did the improv impact your editing?

AJ: I think the use of the roving camera rig really helped. I think it gives the show a documentary edge because the actors don’t always know where it’s going to be and when so they have to stay hot and it provides sort of an improv layer.  And with Jason being a master of improv from SNL and years of great comedy.  Him and Brenden Hunt — who plays Coach Beard — met in an improv troupe.  So, yes, it’s a scripted show, but it provides a lot of excitement when you cut it.  There’s a lot of energy.

Production designer Paul Cripps was up next:

It had the look and feel of a feature film. How did you get involved?

I was approached by the original producers and got me to interview with Jason. I initially got the pilot and I responded to it because the comedy was brilliant, but there’s a lot of heart.  I’m a football fan and I’ve been to matches, but I’ve never seen the behind the scenes. The script really sang to me.

I want to talk about the individual sets.  One of the first things we see is Rebecca’s office.

She’s inherited the club from a divorce settlement and we used it to show growth.  She’s in charge of a football club and is able to put her stamp on it. We chose a set right next to a low level football club and their pitch became our training pitch. They had built this stand, but since they’re a smaller club, they didn’t have the money to put anything in the stand. It had all these windows and all this empty space and it was just a great space to build and office above the pitch and link the offices to the football.

Getting the production design is very important.  I think there’s always going to be people who live in the space you’re showing and think that it isn’t quite right. I wasn’t trying to parody a football club. I wanted to let the script do that, but I wanted to make it feel real.

Can you talk about the locker room set? It becomes a key set.

I had an idea of what they were like. We went to see a lot of the London based clubs. We had a slight link with Crystal Palace and we thought it was where were going to film some of the scenes. Crystal Palace plays in red and blue and that’s why our kit was in those colors. These quite strong color are through a lot of the design. The more personal spots — like Ted’s apartment — are more muted and subtle. When I went to the premiere league clubs, it’s all very branded which surprised me because it seemed a lot more American, but they’ve taken that on board.

It’s also part of a composite set.  What I tried to envision was that the training center was built in the stands of the stadium and there are various rooms: the trophy room corridor, Ted’s office, the locker room, were all linked in a real set. I wanted to give the camera room to roam. I’m sure I scared some people when they saw they didn’t have windows for lighting.

In Ted’s apartment, it feels homier.  Did you do that intentionally?

The first episode of Ted’s apartment was filmed in the real apartment, then it’s produced on stage. We were going to do the same thing with the pub, funnily enough, but we never actually made it to the pub. We only ever shot the exterior of the pub, so the actual pub is my set.  A lot of people think it’s a real pub because of the recreation of the real pub in Richmond.

Can you say anything about the season 2 sets?

I’m currently in the build period, so I’m rebuilding all of the sets. There are a couple of new places for the club and the characters, but I can’t say too much. It’ll definitely move the story on.

Supervising sound editor Brent Findley was next:

You did the first episode under normal conditions and then everything went crazytown with the pandemic for the rest of the episodes.  Is that correct?

First two episodes were done pre-COVID with the good ol’ days of doing things. I think we brought the second episode home, but we had done the bulk of the heavy lifting. We worked with Jason and the other actors on the stage beforehand to get the language together between us. When we went remote, we already had a lexicon built between us that allowed us to use the settings.

So, you believed.  It’s very Ted Lasso of you.

It was kind of the discussion between the producers and myself. We got everyone involved: the rerecording mixers, the editors and said “is everyone on board with just trying this.” It came with the understanding that if it didn’t work, we would just sit on it until we could make it work. Everyone was onboard to try and everyone swung for the fence and I’m really proud of everyone’s adaptability and innovation that everyone had to have.

I heard you love a messy closet.

The messier the better sounding. Every actor was in their own messy walk in closet.

And you toured everyone’s house?

For investigative purposes only. We went to walk around and find the places that sounded the best and it was usually a walk in closet. We would stuff the shelves with blankets and they would send samples beforehand.  Where the patience comes in is not let’s get hooked up 15 minutes before the session, let’s connect a week earlier and hear this out so it’s ready when we’re ready to go. It was a matter of everyone being willing to do what it takes to make it happen.

I heard about an ADR session you did with Cristo Fernandez (who plays Dani Rojas) in his closet running on a treadmill.  Can you tell us about that?

This is an example of being willing to try things. We did that with him in a couple different sessions. This scene is when Roy is in the ice bath, brooding over his horrible performance in the game and Dani comes in with his positivity which just annoyed Roy to no end. We tried a few different things.  He’s singing in the background while running on the treadmill.  The song that he’s singing, on the day, they decided that they wanted to go in a different direction. We landed on having him sing the theme song to the show.

You pick up on it, but it wasn’t in any way distracting.

Yes, and Jason gave us a lot of direction on when to get out the way of the story. In the locker room, the team is loud and active, but as the story gets important and you start to get the feels, the locker room just falls away. And when to have an outburst of laughter and when not to.

There was one more person: the re-recording mixer Ryan Kennedy.  I did watch his segment, but it was very technical as the moderator was also into sound mixing, so while it was interesting, I’m not going to include it here.

Lastly, Bill Lawrence came back on and thanked everyone for watching the event. He also said it was great to see the people he worked with, even if it was virtually; how everyone needed a bit of the Ted Lasso positivity and that hopefully we’ll all get to see each other soon face to face.

Huge thanks to Apple TV+ for the invite to watch this. Season 1 of Ted Lasso is out now and Season 2 just started production.

Have you watched Ted Lasso? Do you plan to?

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