SWAMP HANDS is both my favorite episode and the most difficult episode for me. The biggest thing that is insane to me about this episode is the prep work that went into it. 

For almost all of our scenes, our actors have their scripts in the booth with them. We recorded season one in two days, and we didn’t record in order, so it was really on the actors to be able to snap around the story in an instant and hit those right emotional beats, even if they weren’t following them sequentially. They also all prepped the whole season before we jumped in, and they did an incredible job doing so. 

Swamp Hands was the only episode I asked any of our actors to be off-book for. Miya and Jordan worked on their scene a few times before they got in the booth, and both prepped on their own, but on the day of, I asked them to run through it without stopping and without their scripts. We did one take with their scripts to be safe, but the take that made it into the final cut of the episode was one hundred percent the single take they were off-book for. 

Their performances, for me, were jaw dropping and raw and beautiful, and being in the studio felt like being in the car with Anika and Cole. It was suffocating and awful and intense and I’m out of adjectives but it was both the best and worst experience. I love the two of them, and how much heart they brought to the episode. This is the moment that changes everything for Anika, and they sold it so beyond what I even hoped for. 

My favorite thing about collaborative storytelling is the moments of pure magic you get after you hand something over to the people you’re asking to bring it to life, and let them put a little of themselves into your script and make the characters their own.