self made episode.

Posted on December 3rd, 2008 by

We here at T:SCC pride ourselves on being Self Made Men and Women. So how did we help ourselves during the shaping of the most unique Terminator episode yet? Walk, if you will, in our shoes for a bit…

Self Made Man is another example of an episode we turned around quite fast. We only just completed production on this episode on October 15th! First-time Terminator director Holly Dale rocked out a script by our now go-to Camerontastic writer, Toni Graphia, who’s work you might remember from this season’s Allison from Palmdale or last season’s ballet episode, The Demon Hand, also Cameron-centric episodes.

All of the historical information was fact checked multiple times by Toni and our various department heads, researching the period online and in texts, as well as speaking to experts at History for Hire, the prop house that specializes in period pieces and has provided set dressing for hundreds of films and television series’ such as Chaplin and Mad Men.

For us, one of the highlights of the John/Riley story was John’s big fight with sleezoid Mike at the party. Though it wasn’t specified directly in dialogue, this scene was originally crafted with the knowledge that John is, in part, still reeling from PTSD and killing Sarkissian (as was revealed in The Tower is Tall…). It certainly mirrors Cameron and Eric’s conversation. “You don’t know what it’s like, to have something inside, you, something that’s damaged, something hidden there…” To which she responds, “It’s like a bomb. Waiting to go off.” Was this John Connor going off?

Through Myron Stark we meet 1920s silent film star, Rudolph Valentino. This character is actually the first real person represented in our series to date. Wikipedia informs us that Valentino “was an Italian actor, sex symbol, and early pop icon. Known as the “Latin Lover”, he was one of the most popular stars of the 1920s, and one of the most recognized stars from the silent movie era. Some of his best known roles include the silent films The Sheik and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. His untimely death at age 31 caused mass hysteria among his female fans, propelling him into icon status.” If you paid close attention, you know the premiere that Stark “met” Valentino at was, in fact, The Sheik, a film about a charming Arabian sheik’s infatuation with an adventurous, modern-thinking Englishwoman. Eventually, he abducts her and keeps her in his home in the Saharan desert.

It was like old times in Burbank during the filming of Self Made Man. All of our 1920s era scenes were shot on the Warner Bros backlot, the same studio grounds that opened during this period and went on to be used for filming some of the most famous films of the decade.

In Will Chandler’s eulogy we learn that he wanted to build The Pico Tower — the one Myron Stark would eventually construct in the same spot — at Pico and Third in Los Angeles. Only problem? Pico and Third run parallel in LA! Okay, so we used our geographical imaginations to pass clearances…

22 Responses to “self made episode.”

  1. Loved the episode, had a unique style to it! Thanks for keeping us updated here and I can’t wait for next episodes, I’ve had to go and buy the first season to keep myself occupied during the mid-season break because not getting a weekly filling of this show is painful!

  2. Ha ha! Too funny about using ‘geographical imaginations’ to pass clearances. Great job by Toni for the script and of course Summer, for making us feel empathy for a cyborg who is struggling to learn about human emotion, not just amass information. And poor John and his PTSD issues - like mother, like son, they tend to explode with all the stress they’re under.

    Hm, as a library employee, I now have to wonder if a Terminator wielding donuts is gonna show up at my door during the night shift… :) Of course, I’d prefer Lena’s Sarah Connor showing up as well, shotgun in hand, asking to join the resistance. :)

  3. Wow, and to think I was going to drive over to Pico & Third to see the tower in person without checking the map! (I live near Pasadena) Good thing I read this blog entry first.

    I’m kidding, but it actually did cross my mind. The way you guys check facts and shoot on some of the locations here, I figured there must be a Pico Tower over there.

    I really enjoyed that episode. Great job you guys. And thanks for continuing to provide us with production details on the episodes. They’re a lot of fun to read.

  4. Very good episode, and an interesting insight into what cameron gets up to at night! And fair do’s, Mr Dekker’s John connor gave a very good glimpse of his emerging dark side. love it!!

    I Enjoyed every minute, thanks for a great episode!!!

  5. Easter egg time! This being Wednesday and pizza and movie night at our house, we watched T1. Remember when Sarah (Linda Hamilton) was in the nightclub/bar waiting for the cops to rescue her from her stalkers (Kyle & Arnie)? The club’s location, as given to the cops by Sarah? Pico!

  6. Wow, a terminator with Temporal Prime Directive hardwired into its head…that is some wild stuff the writers have here.

  7. “For us, one of the highlights of the John/Riley story was John’s big fight with sleezoid Mike at the party. Though it wasn’t specified directly in dialogue, this scene was originally crafted with the knowledge that John is, in part, still reeling from PTSD and killing Sarkissian”

    This was by far my favorite scene in the episode. I’m so happy his trauma isn’t just being swept under the rug. I so wish he could actually go get some therapy, I think he so desperately needs it.

  8. David A. Boothman

    Three dots-its coordinates in time and the spacing needs to be matched to the constellations for Sarah to figure out when the next terminator will be coming!

  9. If there’s every going to be a Jameron episode, Toni needs to write it.

    Please tell me she is doing another episode this season. She is a brilliant writer.

  10. Maybe I’m getting ahead of things, but the arc of this story seems to break from all terminator missions of the past, that being to kill Sarah or John Connor. Is this Governor (he was a Governor, right?) Related to John in some way? And it would seem that this Stark dude impacted the arc of history pretty significantly in terms of death and redistribution of wealth/real estate, so that has to have affected the future and likely some aspect of Skynet genesis, the Connor family tree, etc.

    Good episode, but hard to fit it into the Terminator canon, you know?

    I’ll watch patiently, though and hope to see this is all meets up with some sense of logic in the end.


  11. Hey, that could be an interesting story line;
    you have to hold a bunch in your head to get this…so hold on:

    A terminator accidentally negatively impacts the development of Skynet; in the future Skynet discovers this branch in the timeline and realizes that it would be better off to “undo” the original error; it then sends back another terminator to terminate the terminator before the history changing event. The second terminator then has to sub-in and follow through on the ORIGINAL mission for the 1st Terminator. So you can end up with a bad Terminator meets “good” terminator, except when good terminator wins he/she immediately flips to being bad. So Cameron might help the good terminator and “trust” it, only to then be betrayed in the end. Whoohoo that’s a rollercoaster, baby!

  12. btw, in case you’re wondering how Skynet could possibly know there was an alternate future, they discover it via archeological discovery and recovery of a terminator. Except Skynet has no record of the terminator having ever been built. They sweep it’s data bank and recognize that it is a terminator that was sent back in time by an alternate future. It captured enough information to identify what year/month triggered the split in the timeline, but they don’t know precisely what event, or when it will occur.

    Oooh, I like this! Writers, you can have it for free. Just make it GOOD!!

  13. That scene with Stark cutting loose with the Tommy gun outside the bank was absolutely, 100% pure win.

  14. As I have posted many times. I loved this episode, loved hot it was in the 20’s. Loved Cameron in this episode, and I could tell that John was going off. I could tell when he was playing Gears of War, how he saw the death and was going through PTSD. I was glad that he punched that guy out, but man Riley is decieving. Keep up with the great Cameron stories, I loved it.

  15. Great episode! I’d love to see Cameron sporting that Tommy gun in a future show. It was also good to see her get so much screen time.

    A WWII themed episode could be killer. Although, the budget might be kind of high. Maybe a wrecked Terminator was going to be the basis for one of Hitler’s super-weapons, then after the war, the parts are in some government warehouse. Okay, that might be a little too much Indiana Jones.

    With “Pushing Daisies” going petals up and BSG ending, this, and hopefully “Dollhouse,” are the only two shows I’m interested in. Come on Season 3!

  16. I love these Cameron centric shows. Not saying the rest are bad, I like them all in point of fact. I’m just saying Summers Cameron like Arnolds Terminator are really the reason lots of people watch the show and watched the movies. Let’s face it no matter how interesting John and Sarah etc are they are still just people and people frankly are boring and predictable because we know how they work. Machines on the other hand are interesting because they are not human, they have a unique perspective of us and seeing how they interact with people was / is half the fun of the Movies and the show.

    Come on Season 3. I need it!!!!

  17. the best of this episode was cameron by far

    john needs to be in more missions and less stupids things with that dumb girl

  18. :( To BSG ending, but I know all good things must end sometime. At least BSG is ending it the way they want, they finally found Earth. Going to be intersting to see what happens on that end. I thought how it was cool that “Stark” used everyone to build what he wanted to build. He wasn’t racist like a lot of people were in the 20’s. Machines realize that it doesn’t matter what someone’s color is it depends on how they work. So everyone is equal. Intersting, but who was that governor anyway? And I agree that Thompson would be awesome for Cameron to carry around.

  19. Hey guys, how about you let someone on the show carry a AK-74 or AK-104 or the brand new (and one of the best rifels in the world) AN-94
    I mean we never see any Russian weapons, just German and American weapons. Russian weapons are some of the best in the world. That and the P90! But maybe the P90 would look to much like SG-1 lol.

  20. A good episode in many respects, but when watching that last scene with Cameron I had a strong sense of deja vu. You’re repeating the same trick over and over again. Please stop teasing us like that. Now I feel a little disappointed.

    Love Summer’s performance. She keeps me attached to this show.

  21. Here is a little bit of trivia for you all. The Pico tower built by Stark in 1920 (A self made man) is actually the Fleet bank buidling in Providence, R.I.. Formerly known as the Industrial National Bank, built in 1925. It was also seen in the movie “Underdog”.

  22. My bad! This building formerly known as the Fleet bank building is now known as the Bank of America building and was originally built as the Industrial National bank building. It is also known as “The Superman building”.

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