My Day on the PSYCH Set   

Note: I actually wrote this last night but didn’t finish before my 24-hour WiFi had expired and I decided it could wait until I got to the airport this morning. Alas, Customs was a NIGHTMARE so I had barely scarfed down a Tim Horton’s sandwich before we started boarding. That’s why I’m just now getting this up and, as I’ve only got a few minutes before my dinner arrives at the table, I’m feeling too lazy to change all the “today” references to “yesterday” references so forgive me… and enjoy!

Peach Bellinis? Yummy!

Today, my friends, was a pretty damn good day and, now that I’ve got some food (and drinks) in me, I’m ready to give you a quick rundown of what happened. And, holy cow, did A LOT happen!

Before I get started, I have to fill in the missing 20% blank from yesterday’s post, courtesy of M James Roday stars as Shawn on PSYCH. who was happy that she remembered something I didn’t. It was… 20% more bitchin’. So, there ya go, the goal this year was 20% more laughs, 20% more action, and 20% more bitchin’. And, lemme tell ya, everyone on set knows it since we heard the same thing many times throughout the day. Plus, they all agree that’s definitely evident in the first half of the season.

So, you wanna know how I started out my day? Talking to James Freaking Roday!! Beat that. James was getting ready to film a scene so we didn’t have him for long but it was just long enough to confirm that he’s adorable and funny. I think I may have accidentally deleted my tape of his interview and now I’m all sad that I can’t listen to it again. I suck. Anyway, it certainly got the day off on the right note for me. There’s a reason I adore Shawn and James is it.

Mel Damski is an Executive Producer on PSYCH.After James we got to chat with Executive Producer Mel Damski. Mel has worked on a lot of shows so it was interesting to hear his take on the show and how it differs from other shows he’s done. He compared working on Psych to the David E. Kelley shows he’s worked on and admitted that you don’t get nearly the same resources on this show that you’d get on a Kelley show but that he enjoys the challenges that presents. Mel was also admitted that they don’t really have a “stylesheet” for the show because of how different it is from week to week. Obviously they have some things that they have to stick to from week to week, such as the way Shawn-Visions are shot, but other than that they let the story determine how an episode is directed/filmed. Like I said, Mel has worked on a lot of shows so it was fascinating to hear about his experiences and the types of projects he tackles on the off-season.

Dule Hill plays Gus on PSYCH.Next up was Dulé Hill in a vibrant blue shirt. I’m sure that’s not the kind of details you were looking for but it’s true. I kinda loved his shirt. Just wait, you’ll see. Dulé is my new favorite person. He’s so freaking vivacious and hilarious. I want to be his new BFF. Ok, not really, but he is one of those people that I’ve described before, the ones you meet and can just tell you’d get along. Of course, I’m pretty sure Dulé gets along with everyone so it’s not really a stretch to imagine yourself being his friend. I know there’s a sad lack of details here but I’m totally blanking on what was said because it felt more like a conversation than an interview. Except I do remember that, a few years ago, SMG had a party at a rollerskating rink that reminded Dulé how much he used to like rollerskating. Unfortunately, he couldn’t really do his old tricks in the rented skates so he actually bought a new pair of skates and told his wife and friends that they were going to get back into rollerskating… only that never happened. But he had to get into skates for the episode they are filming this week and it reminded him (again) of how much he enjoys rollerskating so now he wants to pull those skates out and get back into it (again). Remember that. 4 years from now someone needs to ask Dulé if he ever got back into rollerskating!

Before I go any further, I should probably give you the background on a question that kept coming up throughout the day. Last night at dinner, Sydney and Tim told us about a party game that the cast (and some of the crew) play: Mafia. Basically you have one moderator who has everyone go to “sleep” and secretly picks two people to be the Mafia and they pick one innocent to kill. When everyone wakes back up, their goal is to figure out who is the Mafia among them. If the Mafia make it all the way to the end without being correctly identified, they win. If the innocents figure out who the Mafia are before they are all picked off, they win. The cast gathers to play this game at least once a week. They reserve a conference room to play it in and invite the guest stars to join them, etc. Sometimes even cast from other shows stop in and play with them as well. I think a Battlestar star was mentioned plus someone from Supernatural. So, we were told that we should be sure and ask everyone we talked to who is the best at Mafia.

James gave props to the others but ultimately concluded that he was the best player. Dulé did not agree. He conceded that he and James were indeed the best when they worked together but insisted that he was actually the best. In fact, he boasted that if he were playing with us, we’d all be dead by now. And then he left before we could make him prove it.

After Dulé left us to film some more scenes, we spoke with costume designer Simon Tuke. Simon told us all about having to come up with the designs for the derby girls from this episode and how that had been difficult but ultimately he loved the way the costumes turned out. He also talked a bit about some of the other costumes they’ve had to create for this season like daredevil outfits, generic Coast Guard-like uniforms, and jumpsuits for workers on an oil rig. Sounds like an exciting season so far. And, because Dulé’s blue shirt was on my mind… I had to ask Kell’s question about the use of green and blue in the guys’ wardrobes. Turns out they don’t pick those colors intentionally, it’s just that those colors happen to look great on camera and on the guys. Go figure. So, I’m guessing marketing just liked the colors that the guys were wearing and pulled the PR color scheme from there.

We had a little break at this point to go down and explore the Santa Barbara PD set. Most of the furniture was covered with sheets to protect it from dust but we did get to see the chief’s office as well as Lassy and Juliet’s desks. We also played around in the interrogation room and may or may not have taken some mugshots. I was surprised by how large the PD set is, especially when I compared it to the Veronica Mars’ Sheriff’s Office set. I think it’s one of the few times when a set I’ve been on really seems to match the size it seems on the screen. And they have really built out the PD which makes sense since we see a lot of down the hall shots, etc., inside the police department.

Then it was back upstairs for a screening of the third season premiere, which airs July 18th at 10/9c on USA. I swore I wouldn’t say much about what we saw as it’s just a rough cut. Not all the edits are complete yet and they’re still working on sound stuff, etc. Insert all the standard screener disclaimers here. In fact, most of the people we talked to that day hadn’t even seen it yet themselves. That said, I think it’s safe for me to admit I loved it and that I even teared up a bit while watching. A first for me and Psych. I love the show to death but until today it had yet to bring me to tears. Not that that’s all that difficult to do but, still, I think the tears in my eyes were well deserved in this instance. If this is a sample of what we can expect this season, I fully expect fans to enjoy it.

After our screening, we thought we were going to have about an hour of free time to kill. In fact, I even went outside to get some air when the 2nd AD walked over with Maggie Lawson and let me know that she was free to talk to us now. It was a weird moment because in my head I was all, “Ok, you realize I’m just a nobody right? Tell the people who matter!” Only it meant I got to introduce myself to Maggie and shake her hand in a private moment so I was totally cool with being the one to take them upstairs.

What to say about Maggie? She’s awesome. I’m feel like I’m saying that alot but that doesn’t make it any less true. All of the people we met today were amazing and so nice and open. Really, I’m still in awe of the whole thing. But back to Maggie who, by the way, is TINY in person. And I’m not referring to her height there. She’s also the sweetest person. Juliet got to go undercover in this episode and she loved every part of it from the outfit she got to wear to how tough she got to be to the rollerskating itself. She told us how she’d put on the skates and then want to keep them on all day because she was really into the whole thing. When this led to discussion of what other things she’d like to see Juliet do undercover, she admitted that she thought it’d be cool to have a WWE themed show in which Juliet has to go undercover as a wrestler but admitted that James would insist on getting to do that one so maybe they could be a co-ed duo.

Maggie is also very adamant that she was actually the best Mafia player in the group. She was willing to admit that Dulé and James do make a good team but she also felt like at this point they’re so good together that it actually makes it easier to spot. She, however, can trick them into believing that she’s so sweet and innocent and that’s when she strikes. Now, Dulé made it clear that they are all pretty competitive about this game but it was never more obvious when Maggie declared that Dulé and James are liars and that she’s the best player in the bunch.

Here’s what I know, I’d never survive a game of Mafia with this crew.

Maggie was wrapped for the day so she took off while Tim Omundson joined us. Now, Tim… I’m not even sure there are words to describe him. Simply put, he was great. He came in, he threw out a cuss word or two, he joked with each and every one of us. It was fantastic. He was so at ease and, even though he was dressed as Lassiter, he seemed nothing like his character. Maggie has revealed to us that Tim is the easiest person on set to crack during a scene. It has become almost a game for the cast to try and crack each other up and because Tim has to play Lassiter so straight he has the hardest job when James and Dulé are going at it. Tim completely agreed. In fact, he told us to watch carefully and you can usually see just the slightest uplift of his lip right before the camera cuts away from him because the producers have gotten so good at not wasting takes even when he loses it. We got a lot more from Tim but I don’t want to ruin it by doing a poor job recreating it here. I promise this will be one of the first interviews I post because it’s too funny not to…

After Tim left us, Kirsten Nelson joined us and she was freaking adorable. If she hadn’t been dressed like Chief Vick, I’d never have recognized her. She’s so much more relaxed than her character and comfortable in her body. Err, not that Chief Vick isn’t comfortable in her body but she’s a woman with a lot of responsibilities and worries. Kirsten does a great job of portraying that since that’s not at all what she’s like. When she pulled her feet up under on her chair and started narrating into our video recorders, I knew it was over for me. I love her. She talked a bit about how where her character is going this season and how we’ll be meeting her sister in the 7th episode. She gave us a bit of the background between the sisters and it looks to be an interesting episode for her. However, it was the daredevil episode that they did a few weeks ago that she likes best so far because the six of them all got to work together for a couple of days and she enjoyed that. She told us, as if we hadn’t figured this out, how great the whole cast is and how much they all really do like each other. She, along with Tim by the way, wasn’t ashamed to admit that she’s no good at Mafia. At this point of the day, just about all of them had agreed that James and Dulé are the Mafia Power Duo. All in all, Kirsten was just the perfect interview to do right before our lunch as she fun and bubbly. Not what I expected but now I can’t imagine her any other way.

We still had one interview of the day left but it was finally time for a little lunch break and a change of scenery. We had our lunch in the second Psych sound stage, home to Henry’s house and the Psych offices. After we ate, we got to explore those sets for a bit and I had fun walking through Henry’s house and sitting in his chair. Then I went over to the Psych offices and envied the large flat-screen TV they have mounted on the wall.

Before we knew it, Corbin Bernsen had arrived — he flew in a day early just to talk to us! — and we settled down in Henry’s living room to chat. At this point in the day, I was starting to fade so I kinda sat back and let the others go at it. It was very interesting to hear what Corbin had to say, though. It’s funny how perception differs, ya know? In my mind, Corbin is someone I can’t picture having issues getting roles and yet he talked about how he got frustrated with always being pigeon-holed as “that LA Law” guy and not being happy with being one of the same three or five guys who were always reading for certain parts. So, for a while there, he stepped back and started making his own movies so that he could make sure he got the roles he wanted. In fact, he almost didn’t get the role on Psych because it just wasn’t what he wanted to be doing at that time but he’s glad that he didn’t go home the day his agent called him to read for the part. Corbin’s family is very important to him so he’s the one person on he cast who commutes back and forth to LA to Vancouver every week. He’ll come in and do his scenes and then jump on the first flight back home. He doesn’t really feel like this distances him from the rest of the cast (and I’d agree to that after seeing how he was clearly loved by everyone when we were watching them film a scene and he came in to see how things were going) but it does mean that he doesn’t really hang out with them or get invited to things they do (because they never know if he’ll be in town or not and tend to assume he won’t). He also draws on his experiences with his family for the role. He admitted that his wife is the strict parent in the family and so he sees Henry as having the skills he, himself, lacks as a parent but he can relate to what Henry goes through with Shawn because of what he goes through with his own sons.

With just about forty minutes left to our day, we finally got to observe a little bit of filming. It’s a scene between Shawn and Gus and two guest stars specific to the episode in the back office a department store. That’s pretty much all I can tell ya. Not because I can’t to withhold info (though I would) but because we were watching without any context as well. We did get to see as the director found a way to make a joke work and checked with the writer to make sure he was ok with the change. And the scene itself was definitely humorous. I had to stop myself from chuckling out loud. Alas, they stopped to get different coverage not long after we showed up and then our van arrived so it was time to end our day.

Like I said, a pretty damn good day. I already loved the show but, if I hadn’t, today would have been enough to push me over the edge. Meeting the cast and seeing first hand how great they are plus knowing how much they all enjoy working together… it just makes me happy to enjoy the product they clearly care so much about. I look forward to the new season and watching everything we learned about unfold.

Speaking of things we learned about, I should have transcripts (Thanks to my girls at NMS for arranging that!) and pictures to share soon. Nothing quite as exciting as laying around in Michael Westen’s bed but I did do a stint in the Santa Barbara PD and had to drop by the Pscyh offices to see if I could get Shawn and Gus’ help to clear my name. Heh! Anyway, those are forthcoming so be sure to check back during the week for more news from the set of Psych.

And don’t forget that the second season of Psych will be out on DVD July 8th and the third season premieres on July 18th at 10/9c on USA.

8 Responses to “My Day on the PSYCH Set”

  1. 1
    tubetalkgirl says:

    Thanks so much Rae for all the details! I just watched the premiere and I agree with you about the choking up. Strange for Psych, but really engrossing! Loved it. Great job on the recap!

  2. 2

    [...] From Miami to Vancouver, this week Rae was on the set of Psych and she’s only to happy to share what happened. (RTVW) [...]

  3. 3

    [...] From Miami to Vancouver, this week Rae was on the set of Psych and she’s only to happy to share what happened. (RTVW) [...]

  4. 4

    [...] From Miami to Vancouver, this week Rae was on the set of Psych and she’s only to happy to share what happened. (RTVW) [...]

  5. 5

    [...] From Miami to Vancouver, this week Rae was on the set of Psych and she’s only to happy to share what happened. (RTVW) [...]

  6. 6

    [...] there to say about Dulé that I didn’t cover already? I like Gus but I love Dulé. And, even though you can see a bit of Gus in there, the two [...]

  7. 7
    Mom says:

    Well as any one can see you most definetly love this show. It is great fun reading all you are doing.

  8. 8
    Maddie says:

    I am thrilled to going Canada this summer. My family will take a train to Vancover. Will the cast be their? I love James Roday and for a 12 year old girl meeting him and all of the great cast would be the best day of my life!

    p.s.Oh my gosh I am so exicted!