The Lost World: treehouse news

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about

The following "Treehouse News" posts appeared weekly on the official The Lost World Discussion Board.

Started during the production of the third series by Nick Jacobs, Assistant Story Editor on The Lost World, the messages provided information about upcoming episodes, production news, and behind the scenes tidbits, giving fans a rare chance to hear from the people involved in the creation of the series.

With the demise of the official site and message board, I've reposted the messages here.

April 18, 2002 - July 04, 2002

TREEHOUSE NEWS 04 18 02

SLOW NEWS DAY
In Australia, the post-production office closes in two weeks, marking the official end of Season Three production, along with a significant slow down in weekly news updates. (Treehouse News will continue weekly postings throughout the North American summer, though, providing broadcast schedules, background information on upcoming episodes, and trying to answer the many questions asked on the Official Board. Please note, however, that Treehouse News will not answer any questions concerning the Ouroboros, what was in the second box, or His Majesty's Naval Office of Special Research. All will be revealed soon enough… )

Over the next few months, the biggest news to watch for is the official announcement of Season Four's production start date. That could be followed by updates on merchandise plans, international broadcasters (especially Canada), and, of course, sneak peeks at Season Four developments. Stay tuned…

SEASON THREE BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Each week, Treehouse News lists the next four episodes to air in the U.S.

04/15/02–04/21/02 Episode 318 "The Elixir"
04/22/02–04/28/02 Episode 319 "Tapestry" (Veronica returns.)
04/29/02–05/05/02 Episode 320 "Legacy"
05/06/02–05/12/02 Episode 321 "Trapped"

One more new episode will follow before summer repeats begin.

SUMMER RERUN SCHEDULE
Here's the full schedule of summer reruns in the U.S., as of April 18. This list is subject to change, but feel free to copy it so it can be shared over the months ahead.

"Heart of the Storm," the last first-run episode of Season Three, will air the week of May 13. Then the following reruns will begin–all dates indicate the beginning of the broadcast week.

05/20–"Finn"
05/27–"Suspicion"
06/03–"Fire in the Sky"
06/10–"Dead Man's Hill"
06/17–"Hollow Victory"
06/24–"A Witch's Calling"
07/01–"Brothers in Arms
07/08–"Ice Age"
07/15–"The End Game"
07/22–"Phantoms"
07/29–"The Secret"
08/05–"Finn"
08/12–"Suspicion"
08/19–"The Imposters"
08/26–"The Elixir"
09/02–"Tapestry"
09/09–"Legacy"
09/16–"Trapped"
09/23–"Heart of the Storm"

Completely unofficial and subject to change—Season Four is currently expected to begin the week of September 30.

SHOP TALK: THE PRODUCTION MEETING
The first day of photography for any given episode is also the day that the production meeting for the next episode is held. In terms of people and organization, a production meeting is much like the concept meeting described in last week's Shop Talk. But where the purpose of the concept meeting is all about identifying the particular challenges in filming a script, the production meeting is all about coming up with achievable time-and-money solutions for those challenges.

Thus, it's not uncommon for a production meeting to begin with various props, sketches, actors' head shots, and storyboards spread out on the big table. The locations manager might show a video of possible places to shoot exterior scenes. Before or after a production meeting, people involved in casting decisions might watch audition tapes, a guest actor might drop by in make-up and costume for approval, and most fun of all, the stunt coordinator might go through some slow-motion fight moves with the director to show how Veronica could defend herself against an opponent who has the mystical ability to—oops, almost let that one slip out. Almost…

By the production-meeting stage, of course, many key decisions (discussed first in the episode's concept meeting) have already been made and been put into action. Sets have been designed and are likely under construction. Fabric has been ordered for any special costumes. Often special props–such as the antiques and artwork used to "dress" Shanghai Xan's inner sanctum in "The Secret"–are already on order.

Inevitably, however, there will be other challenges and new decisions, and most of these will come from situations that arise after the concept meeting. For example, it might not be possible to obtain the props that were described in the script (e.g. the machineguns for the enemy soldiers in "Brothers in Arms"). Or there might be a conflict in scheduling the actors, requiring that some scenes need to be shortened or lengthened. Or the location of some of the scenes has to change (e.g. in "Tapestry," Roxton's and Marguerite's discussion of Avebury was originally scripted to take place in the Treehouse, but because of a reshoot that was required for "Finn," the location was changed to the base of the Treehouse). Or the CGI/special-effects budget is just too darn high and something just has to be cut (e.g. in just about every episode!).

When an episode's production meeting wraps up, the moment is the equivalent of the roller-coaster car topping the rise and starting its wild, highspeed plunge propelled inexorably by gravity–in other words, there's no turning back. In five to seven days (weekends not included), everyone at the big table knows that the actors are going to be in front of the camera for the first scene of the episode, and everything and everyone MUST be ready for that moment.

(The roller-coaster analogy had special meaning for all three seasons of TLW since our production office was under the Lethal Weapon hanging coaster at the Movie World theme park. There's a possibility that Season Four will have a new production office and, if so, we'll all miss those loud rumbles and terrified screams that floated in through our windows every two to three minutes.)

Even such a brief overview of the concept and production meetings should make it apparent that there is one group of people who are absolutely vital to the success of the series, yet who have no part in these meetings–the cast!

The cast receive all versions of all scripts, from the white draft through all the colors of the subsequent revised drafts, at the same time everyone else does. And just as the wardrobe department examines each draft of each script from the standpoint of costumes, and the make-up department reads specifically for make-up requirements, the cast read their scripts with their attention focused on their characters: What will my character be saying and to whom and why? (How am I going to make THIS work?) What will my character be doing, with whom, and why? (Will I really have to jump into THAT?)

Though there is no formal read-through of the script, or regularly scheduled meetings between the cast and the Story Department, each of the cast can–and does–calls the writers with questions and comments from time to time. Plus, a member of the Story Department tries to visit the set each day, which is often a good time to discuss face-to-face a particular scene, script, or future development. (Though, unlike many of the members of the Official Board, the cast prefer not to know too much about what the Story Department has planned for them. In fact, Rachel Blakely specifically asked not to be told the specifics of the connection–or lack of connection –between Marguerite's family and Roxton's. She'd like it to be a surprise. And—whenever the day of that revelation comes—the Story Department has promised it will be.)

A FIRST LOOK AT THIS WEEK'S EPISODE: "THE ELIXIR"
For everyone who said they wanted to see more of Roxton and Marguerite, this is the episode where you get your wish–literally…

NEXT WEEK: More Shop Talk, and A First Look at Veronica's return in "Tapestry."

J&G

TREEHOUSE NEWS 04 25 02

SEASON THREE PRODUCTION WINDS UP
Episode 322, "Heart of the Storm," will be delivered to broadcasters on April 25, marking both the official end of TLW's Season Three and—finally—the beginning of hiatus for the post-production staff.

SEASON FOUR PRODUCTION
As cited last week in a special bulletin posting…

Daily Variety for Thursday, April 18, reported that financing arrangements for The Lost World took another important step forward, and that production of Season Four is still expected to begin in July.

The July date is the one toward which everyone connected to the show has been working, and we're all optimistic about achieving it. There are still a few more business stages to go through before Season Four is officially greenlit, but everything's falling into place as anticipated.

UPCOMING EPISODES
Each week, Treehouse News lists the next four episodes to air in the U.S.

The run of the final all-new episodes of the season continues.
04/22/02–04/28/02 Episode 319 "Tapestry" (Veronica returns.)
04/29/02–05/05/02 Episode 320 "Legacy"
05/06/02–05/12/02 Episode 321 "Trapped"
05/13/02–05/19/02 Episode 322 "Heart of the Storm" (Season Finale)

Summer reruns will begin the following week with Episode 315, "Finn."

As always, completely unofficial and subject to change, Season Four is currently expected to begin airing the week of September 30.

FOR THE RECORD: Ratings
Every week, New Line distributes the TLW ratings for every U.S. market. It's a multi-page document with a wealth of tiny boxes and text in four-point type, but fortunately New Line also provides a cover sheet of the week's ratings highlights.

Here are some of the U. S. overnight highlights for the ratings week ending 04 21 02 ("The Elixir").

- NEW YORK (WPIX): LW was #2 in the time period on Sunday at 12:30P with a
2.9/8.
- LOS ANGELES (KTLA): LW was #2 in the time period with a 2.7/6, improving
on its Beastmaster lead-in.
- CHICAGO (WGN): LW did a 2.0/5, outdelivering its Soul Train lead-in and
Baseball lead-out.
- DALLAS (KDAF): In its first run on Sunday at 10A, LW did a 2.0/5,
outperforming its Beastmaster lead-in and Mutant X lead-out. In its second
run on Saturday at 4PM, LW was #2 in the time period with a 2.5/6.
- ATLANTA (WSB): LW was #2 in the time period with a 2.2/8, outperforming its
Profiler lead-out.
- HOUSTON (KHWB): LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.1/16, maintaining
its Earth F-C lead-in.
- SACRAMENTO (KTXL): LW was #2 in the time period with a 2.0/5,
outperforming its Mutant X lead-out.
- ST. LOUIS (KPLR): LW did a 2.8/7, improving on its Beastmaster lead-in.
- SAN DIEGO (KSWB): LW was #2 in the time period with a 2.1/6,
outperforming its Beastmaster lead-out.
- BIRMINGHAM (WVTM): LW was #2 in the time period with a 2.9/8,
outperforming its Extra Wknd lead-out. In its second run, LW was #1 in the
time period with a 2.4/8, outdelivering its Secrets of Jules Verne lead-out.
- GREENBORO (WGHP): LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.1/6,
outdelivering its Animal Rescue lead-in and Sheena lead-out.
- LAS VEGAS (KVVU): LW did a 2.1/4, improving on its VIP lead-in.
- RICHMOND (WRIC): LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.7/13,
outperforming its Inside Edition lead-out.
- DAYTON (WHIO): LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.7/22.

Solid numbers such as these are a key reason why TLW was renewed so early this year.

SHOP TALK: "ADR"
Just as the Raptors and T-Rexes are out to get Challenger and the Explorers, the bees and birds (and bovines!) of Queensland are out to make life difficult for TLW cast.

Whenever the show has to film on location, sound recording becomes problematic even with state-of-the-art equipment and an exceptionally experienced sound crew. That's because lush jungle settings come with lush jungle sounds which are almost impossible to filter out.

To record sound on location, the TLW sound crew uses two methods. First, a "boom operator" dangles a microphone from a long pole over the head of whichever actor is talking, while also keeping the microphone out of the shot! (Fortunately, both main and second units use cameras with video splitters. This means shots can be viewed on a video monitor as they're being set up and filmed, which also ensures there are very few "surprise" appearances by the microphone.) Second, the sound crew fits each actor with a body mike hooked up to a small radio transmitter. For some cast members, hiding the transmitter is easy–those holsters and ammunition pouches are just the right size. And there's also hair when there's as much of it as Veronica has: Jennifer O'Dell's transmitter is regularly concealed at the back of her neck. In contrast, Lara Cox's transmitter can't be disguised so simply given Finn's much shorter hairdo and often must be repositioned to accommodate particular actions and camera angles.

But even with these techniques, on a hot summer day in the rainforest, the sounds of the wild can be loud enough to drown out the actors through an entire scene. Humming bees and cackling Kookaburras, trilling Rainbow Lorikeets and shrieking Cockatoos, and did we mention the resonating soundwave of a million zillion cicadas at the most inopportune of times, such as when Roxton finally says —nevermind, you'll find out soon enough— and we haven't even gotten to the chatty cows!

What all this means to post-production is that significant portions of the soundtrack recorded on the day of location filming often have to be re-recorded. And this is where the cast does double duty—performance on the set and in the studio.

Frequently, two or three weeks after having filmed a scene, an actor must step into a sound studio for an ADR session, also known as looping. The term "looping" dates back to the days when actors would have to synch their dialogue with thirty-second-long loops of film that played endlessly through a projector in the studio, and hope they got it right. "ADR," which means Automated Dialogue Replacement, is a relatively more recent term (from the 1970s).

Today's ADR systems allow the actor and the sound technicians to re-record dialogue in the sound studio and then instantly play it back with the video to check the closeness of the visual/aural match. Even so, ADR sessions can be particularly taxing for the actors because they must recapture the emotion of a moment that occurred weeks ago, with other actors on location.

During the last stages of an episode's sound engineering, the actors' ADR dialogue is edited into another new soundtrack, this one complete with new sound effects for boots stepping through mud, rifles being loaded, lips being–sorry! And then, in a final ironic twist… all those jungle wildlife sounds are added back into the mix, so everything will sound as real as the day it was recorded … as real as anything can be on the shifting planes of reality…

A FIRST LOOK AT THIS WEEK'S EPISODE: "Tapestry"
Confrontations… connections… revelations… a hint of Summerlee… a touch of Malone… a new clue to the ultimate mystery…

NEXT WEEK: More Shop Talk, and A First Look at "Legacy."

J&G

TREEHOUSE NEWS 05 02 02

SEASON THREE PRODUCTION ENDS
The final episode of the season, #322, "Heart of the Storm," has been delivered to broadcasters! Now all we have to do is sit back and wait for—

SEASON FOUR PRODUCTION
As always, completely unofficial and subject to change, pre-production of the next season of TLW is expected to begin in July, with broadcast of the Season Four opener to follow the week of September 30.

UPCOMING EPISODES
Each week, Treehouse News lists the next four episodes to air in the U.S.

The run of the final all-new episodes of the season continues.

04/29/02–05/05/02 Episode 320 "Legacy"
05/06/02–05/12/02 Episode 321 "Trapped"
05/13/02–05/19/02 Episode 322 "Heart of the Storm" (Season Finale)

Summer reruns will begin the following week with:
05/20/02–05/26/02 Episode 315, "Finn"

FOR THE RECORD: Inside Scoop from the Treehouse
There's lots more to discover about the science, magic, and mysteries of TLW, each week in the Official Newsletter's special "Inside Scoop" feature, direct from the Treehouse News. This week's featured item is all about those mysterious "energy lines" Challenger keeps finding on the plateau. But he's never encountered any like the one in this week's episode, "Legacy."

Use the link below to subscribe today!

The Lost World
http://newline-shop.com/lostworld/home.html

SHOP TALK: Writing for TLW
There are two vital components to the writing of any television script—inspiration, and execution. Inspiration—the ideas that fuel a writer's imagination—can strike anyone at anytime (though professional writers must learn how to make it strike on schedule as deadlines loom). Execution, however, is an entirely different matter, relating to the craft of writing. And the craft of writing a television script is something most often learned over years. Indeed, the best writers are always learning, always honing their skills.

In practical terms, what this means is that there is no shortage of good ideas for television episodes, especially in a series like TLW, with its rich setting where literally anything can happen, and its fascinating characters, brought to life by an inspiring cast.

So how does an aspiring writer go from being one of the many with good ideas to being one of the few who can make a living from writing for TV?

Well, to be a writer in any medium, one must come to the table already full of so many ideas there will never be enough time to write them down–a few good ideas just aren't enough, because each writer burns through at least twenty in any story conference lasting over an hour. Then, to be a writer in the fast-paced life of television, one must be able to take that personal storehouse of ideas and script them in a way that responds (quickly, economically, and feasibly) to the many competing and conflicting demands of the production process itself. This last skill, more than any other, is what makes the difference between TV writers who make it and those who don't.

Fortunately, since writing is one of the arts, it's no surprise that television writing makes use of the apprentice system. Getting a job on a working show is one of the very best ways for an aspiring writer to acquire the necessary experience and knowledge. But since such jobs are few and far between, many beginners first write what are known as "spec" scripts—samples of what they can do, and submit those to script agents to secure professional representation. Those agents then can seek freelance or on-staff assignments for their clients. (For legal reasons, only a handful of shows will occasionally look at scripts from writers without agents. And no story department will ever entertain ideas from a writer, with or without an agent, without being absolutely certain the writer has the skill to execute those ideas in the form of a shootable script.)

Most shows like TLW are written by two kinds of writers -- those on staff and those who are not, aka "freelancers." The difference between the two categories is often crucial in terms of having one's work reach the screen as written. It's a general rule in television that an on-staff writer will always be the last hand on any script that's produced. Freelancer writers of commissioned scripts will, if lucky, have the opportunity to revise their first draft at least once before it is taken on by one or more of the show's in-house writing staff.

The reason for this is practical and humane (vis-à-vis the freelancer's fee and time): Because the needs of an ongoing series like TLW change from week to week and day to day (and during production, sometimes hour by hour!), only the in-house staff are in a position (and are being paid) to make the required revisions (sometimes up to ten or more drafts) to a freelancer's script. That's why you will often see staff writers share writing credits. "Story by…Teleplay by…." can mean the freelancer's story idea provided the starting point for the episode, but for whatever reason, the in-house writer/s developed and wrote the script. Sometimes the credit will read "Written by … and…." In this case, the freelance writer has likely had the chance to write one or more early draft scripts, but then, for whatever reason, that script has been significantly changed or replaced altogether by an on-staff writer.

So the incentive for freelancers to join a show's in-house staff is strong! It really is the most effective way to one day achieving that sole "Written by" credit. The priceless bonus is being close to the action, able to practice—and be paid for learning—the craft of writing every day.

[Shameless Plug: For a more detailed discussion about writing for a television show, check your favorite used book store for The Making of Star Trek Deep Space Nine by J&G Reeves-Stevens, then see Appendix III.]

A FIRST LOOK AT THIS WEEK'S EPISODE: "Legacy"
Amazons … the Ouroboros… the Layton Expedition… three little words… and "The line must be preserved."

NEXT WEEK: More Shop Talk, and A First Look at "Trapped."

J&G

P.S. We've just had the pleasure of screening the final three episodes of the season, now complete from post-production. Our reaction — Wow! The special-effects team and composers have gone above and beyond anything we've seen before in scene after scene. Our recommendation — buy those blank tapes now… they're going to get a workout!

TREEHOUSE NEWS 05 09 02

SEASON FOUR PRODUCTION

More progress to report on this week. Executive Producer Jeff Hayes has asked Guy Mullally and us to begin considering the first group of stories for Season Four, on a schedule that would have script writing begin mid-June, with production underway by the end of July. As always, completely unofficial and subject to change, broadcast of the Season Four opener is currently scheduled for the week of September 30.

UPCOMING EPISODES

Each week, Treehouse News lists the next four episodes to air in the U.S.

The run of the final all-new episodes of the season continues.

05/06/02 - 05/12/02 Episode 321 "Trapped"

05/13/02 - 05/19/02 Episode 322 "Heart of the Storm" (Season Finale)

Summer reruns will begin the following week with:

05/20/02 - 05/26/02 Episode 315, "Finn"

05/27/02 - 06/02/02 Episode 316, "Suspicion"

RATINGS HIGHLIGHTS: For the Week ending May 5, "Legacy"

- New York (WPIX) LW was #1 in the time period on Saturday at 11:30A with a

2.7/8.

- Los Angeles (KTLA) LW was #2 in the time period with a 2.1/5, improving on

its Beastmaster lead-in.

- Chicago (WGN) LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.7/8.

- Houston (KHWB) LW was #2 in the time period with a 2.4/9, outdelivering

its Cheers lead-in share, and its Soul Train lead-out.

- Denver (KWGN) LW was #2 in the time period with a 1.8/6, more than

doubling its lead-in program, and outdelivering its Beastmaster lead-out.

- Sacramento (KTXL) LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.4/7, outperforming

its lead-in program, and Beastmaster lead-out.

- Orlando (WESH) LW was #1 in the time period with a 3.3/13.

- St. Louis (KPLR) LW was #1 in the time period with a 3.5/10, outperforming

its Beastmaster lead-in.

- San Diego (KSWB) LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.6/8, outperforming

its Mummy lead-in and Beastmaster lead-out.

- Las Vegas (KVVU) LW did a 2.7/6, outdelivering its VIP lead-in and Buffy

lead-out.

FOR THE RECORD #1: Inside Scoop from the Treehouse

There's lots more to discover about the science, magic, and mysteries of TLW, each week in the Official Newsletter's special "Inside Scoop" feature, direct from the Treehouse News. This week's featured item looks at an extremely important element of "Trapped": Caves. How are they formed, and, even more important, is it reasonable to expect the Plateau to have so many?

Roxton and Marguerite certainly find out more than they ever expected to know about caves this week, and you can, too, by using the link below to subscribe to The Lost World Newsletter today!

http://newline-shop.com/lostworld/home.html

FOR THE RECORD #2: Interview Clip of Rachel Blakely and Jennifer O'Dell

A few weeks ago, we mentioned that a non-working video clip on the Lost World site would be replaced with a new clip from a joint interview with Rachel and Jennifer. That clip is scheduled to appear this coming Monday afternoon, so please be sure to check it out.

FOR THE RECORD #3: We need news from you.

How are plans progressing for the first Lost World gathering? Also, we'll be available for an online chat in June, and we have passed the invitation on to other members of the cast and crew. Please let us know how to go about setting a schedule. Thanks.

SHOP TALK: Location, Location, Location

For the most part, TLW is filmed at three specific sites in Queensland, Australia. The key site, of course, is the Warner Brothers Movie World Studio where the production offices and sound stage are located. The offices, positioned right under the infamous "Lethal Weapon" roller coaster, are a thirty-second walk across a small parking lot from the barn-like sound stage where the huge Treehouse interior set was built for Season Three.

Because the Treehouse is used in almost every episode, it's a permanent set, set up once at the beginning of a season, and taken down - or "struck" -- only at the end. For each of TLW's three seasons, the Treehouse has been slightly modified during rebuilding, although its general layout has remained the same.

In its latest incarnation, the Treehouse set was built with two and a half levels. Challenger's lab was on the stage floor, and was connected to the next level's main living area by a staircase. This part of the set was completely enclosed and finished. Though it didn't happen this season, it would have been possible for the camera to follow the cast from the lab up the stairs and into the main level.

In fact, Season Three's most-often-used entry to the second-level living area never showed up on camera—it was a large ramp leading up from the stage floor to a curved section of the Treehouse wall half-hidden behind some bookcases. Entering the Treehouse from this position put the balcony on the right, the main dining table dead ahead, and the two staircases to the left. That's right - two staircases. The fully-finished staircase led down to the lab. But the second staircase led up to… nowhere. That's where the half level comes in. (In the first Treehouse, in the pilot episode, there's a great tracking steadicam shot that follows the cast upstairs the whole way to reveal a full three levels. But that was when the Treehouse was actually built at an exterior location. Back then, when the camera looked out past the balcony, that was real jungle beyond. But that's a subject for another Shop Talk…)

For Season Three, when scenes were being shot in the Treehouse, the little, book-lined alcove up the few stairs to the top of the second staircase was a favorite place to set up the monitors that showed the directors what the cameras saw. The many boxes, vases, and other containers that decorated the Treehouse were also good hiding places for bottles of water, "sides," plastic plates and cutlery, and any other 21st century goods that don't belong on the Plateau. (In this case, "sides" are a stapled set of the day's script pages scheduled for filming, printed at about half-size to cut down on their bulk, and to conserve resources. Another definition of "sides" in television is the set of pages from a script that are used for actors' auditions.)

Lots of drinking water is a definite necessity in the Treehouse, no matter where it's built, because of the intense lighting the set requires. In addition to dozens of permanent lights hidden among the ceiling rafters, portable lights are set up on stands out of camera range to provide extra illumination for the specific area of the Treehouse being shot. Setting up those lights takes time, and it's not unusual for the cast to arrive for the first runthrough of the day in their street clothes. After the director has blocked the scene, and planned his/her shots, the actors head off to wardrobe and make-up while the Director of Photography has the lighting team set up the lights required for the shots the episode's director wants to make. Jennifer O'Dell claims she can tell what time it is by how hot the lights become over the course of a day of Treehouse shooting. After fourteen hours, the word "sauna" comes to mind.

For the Season Three Treehouse, the set filled about two-thirds of the sound stage's floorspace. A small section of the stage floor, just beyond Challenger's lab, held a separate "swing" set that could easily become any other room of the Treehouse, usually a character's bedroom. Because this small set wasn't physically connected to the rest of the set, the camera couldn't follow a character into or out of it. For example, in Episode 306, "Fire in the Sky," Marguerite's shower was built into a corner of this small set, so the shots of Marguerite using the shower were physically unconnected to the shots of Roxton adjusting the solar water heater on the balcony. However, for Episode 318, "The Elixir," the script called for Finn to walk in on Marguerite using the shower as Roxton waited his turn. In this instance, because more room was required to stage the scene, and because a good entrance was needed for Finn, the shower was rebuilt in a section of Challenger's lab, so that Finn could come down the stairs to find her muddy friends.

The rest of the sound stage around the Treehouse set was left open, the space resembling a large, unfinished basement with a bare concrete floor. Several large tables for tea, coffee, snacks, and video monitors, sat beside wardrobe racks, and chairs for those on break. This is also where the forklift truck that raised and lowered the elevator car drove back and forth (and, most importantly, where an Elvis impersonator delivered Jennifer O'Dell's singing birthday telegram. In case anyone's wondering, the King is alive and well in Australia).

The morning after Season Three's last Interior Treehouse scene was shot, the Treehouse set was silent and untouched. Then, around noon, the rushes from the previous day were delivered to the production offices and reviewed by the producers. Once they had confirmed that the film had been properly exposed and developed, and that usable prints of all required shots involving the Treehouse had been completed, the "deconstruction" crew went to work. First to be packed up were all the Treehouse set dressings and props - including Maple White's map, the stack of Malone's rescued journals, and poor Arthur the Beetle's traveling jar, and … Then came the final act: tearing apart the wooden structure for recycling—the wood beams used for the construction of the Treehouse all came from tree farms managed for the pulp and paper industry. (Conservation of the environment has always been a matter of great importance to the cast and crew of TLW.)

The end of filming in the Treehouse, though, wasn't the true end of production on the Plateau. More than a week of filming still remained at the other two regular location sites - and that's what we'll talk about next week.

A FIRST LOOK AT THIS WEEK'S EPISODE: "Trapped"

You might want to keep a fan and a cold drink close at hand for this one. We understand that caves on the Plateau can get mighty hot, being all closed in, with no chance of escape, no chance of… interruption. (P.S. For those who wondered if there might ever be an all-singing episode of TLW, this episode might suggest what the chances of that are…)

NEXT WEEK: More Shop Talk, and A First Look at "Heart of the Storm."

J&G

P.S. Next week's Treehouse News will include a special message from a familiar name, making his first appearance here. Log on early!

TREEHOUSE NEWS 05 16 02

SEASON FOUR PRODUCTION

As always, completely unofficial and subject to change, broadcast of the first episode of Season Four is currently scheduled for the week of September 30. But don't just take our word for it. Look who's dropped by this week…

AN OPEN LETTER

Dear Lost World Discussion Board Members,

At our Series Three wrap party, not so long ago, I had the pleasure of telling the assembled cast, crew, and production staff of The Lost World how grateful I was for their efforts in making what I feel is the best season yet of The Lost World.

Now, as the final episode of the season is about to air, I take equal pleasure in thanking the other indispensable team that has helped make The Lost World a success - the fans, especially everyone who's a member of this board.

Over the years, I've had a hand in the production of almost twenty television series, and I can honestly say I have never worked on one in which all the people on a production have meshed together with such enthusiasm, and such a sense of fun. Virtually everyone who works on The Lost World is also a fan of the show, cheering for our heroes, eager to find out what's going to happen next, and always ready to put in the extra effort that makes this series stand out as a true labor of love.

The feedback, the encouragement, and even the questions and complaints that arise on this board are especially valued because they tell all of us on the show that our passion for our work is shared—that's a good feeling to take home at the end of a long day. And please know that your efforts in writing letters and emails, getting publicity for the series, and even planning The Lost World's first convention are deeply appreciated at every level of the production.

I would like nothing better than to end this note with the announcement of the official start date for the production of Series Four, but there are still a few details to work out. Happily, they are routine details for a television series, and - completely unofficially - I am already looking forward to our first Series Four production meetings in July.

So, for now, all I can say to you is what I said to the cast, crew, and staff: Thank you for your support, your encouragement, and for your passion… and get ready for an even better season next year!

Sincerely,

Jeff Hayes

Executive Producer

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World

UPCOMING EPISODES

Each week, Treehouse News lists the next four episodes to air in the U.S.

This week marks the final new episode of the season.

05/13/02 - 05/19/02 Episode 322 "Heart of the Storm"

Summer reruns begin the following week with:

05/20/02 - 05/26/02 Episode 315 "Finn"

05/27/02 - 06/02/02 Episode 316 "Suspicion"

06/03/02 - 06/09/02 Episode 306 "Fire in the Sky"

RATINGS HIGHLIGHTS: For the week ending May 12, "Trapped."

- New York (WPIX) LW was #1 in the time period on Saturday at 11:00A with a 2.6/8. In its second run on Saturday at 4P, LW did a 2.5/7, outperforming its Beastmaster lead-out.

- Los Angeles (KTLA) LW did a 2.5/6, outperforming its Andromeda lead-out rating.

- Chicago (WGN) LW was #2 in the time period with a 3.8/8, outperforming its Earth-FC lead-out.

- Dallas (KDAF) LW was #2 in the time period with a 2.8/8, improving on its Beastmaster lead-in.

- Houston (KHWB) LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.5/17, outperforming its Earth F-C lead-in and Too Close for Comfort lead-out.

- Tampa (WTVT) LW was #2 in the time period with a 2.1/9, outperforming its lead-out program.

- Sacramento (KTXL) LW was #2 in the time period with a 2.6/8, outperforming its Earth-FC lead-out.

- San Diego (KSWB) LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.4/7.

- Birmingham (WVTM) LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.8/8, outperforming its lead-in and lead-out programs.

- Las Vegas (KVVU) LW did a 2.0/4, outperforming its VIP lead-in and Buffy lead-out.

- Richmond (WRIC) LW was #1 in the time period with a 3.8/14, outperforming its Inside Edition lead-out.

FOR THE RECORD: TLW Newsletter

If you like finding out more about The Lost World, be sure you sign up for the online weekly newsletter from New Line. In addition to details and photos from the coming week's episode, it always includes an INSIDE SCOOP FROM TREEHOUSE NEWS detailing some of the fascinating background detail that goes into the series. This week, find out all about the real-life lost plateau in South America that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write the novel that started it all.

Follow the link below to subscribe today. No raptors will call.

http://www.lostworldtv.net/

A FIRST LOOK AT THIS WEEK'S EPISODE: "Heart of the Storm"

Another first for TLW - a two-ampersand (&) script! That's right, after a whole season of being locked up in our separate writers' dungeons, we finally co-wrote a script from the beginning with Executive Producer Guy Mullally. It was altogether too much fun being a true three-person writing team, the experience made even better by the incredible work the rest of the cast and crew contributed to the final product. For all those who've ever wondered what a shifting plane of reality looks like… here's your chance to see it first hand. (And speaking of hands, ever wonder about the gold ring a certain member of the expedition wears… ?)

NEXT WEEK: Behind the Scenes returns for the summer, plus the latest updates on plans for Season Four. (And the Shop Talk on Locations scheduled for this week will run at a later to-be-scheduled time.)

J&G

P.S. The Rachel Blakely/Jennifer O'Dell interview clip is now available on the main website.

TREEHOUSE NEWS 05 23 02

TREEHOUSE NEWS SCHEDULE
For the next three weeks, we'll be taking a semi-hiatus ourselves, so though we'll still be posting each Thursday, it will be a briefer version of what we usually do. Rest assured, though, should any official news come through in that time, it will be posted here at once.

SEASON FOUR PRODUCTION
Story development has begun with an eye for production to start in July. Still a few details to work out before the official announcement can be made, but as Jeff Hayes noted here last week, those details are routine. That said, the unofficial broadcast schedule has the first episode of Season Four airing in the U.S. the week of September 30.

SEASON THREE BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Each week, Treehouse News lists the next four episodes to air in the U.S.

Summer reruns begin this week with:
05/20/02 - 05/26/02 Episode 315 "Finn"
05/27/02 - 06/02/02 Episode 316 "Suspicion"
06/03/02 - 06/09/02 Episode 306 "Fire in the Sky"
06/10/02 - 06/16/02 Episode 307 "Dead Man's Hill"

ONLINE CHAT
We're looking forward to taking part in an online chat on Sunday, June 9, from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time. In following weeks, we hope that other members of the show will take part in additional chats. Watch the official discussion board under "Talk About Lost World" for details.

RATINGS HIGHLIGHTS: For the Week Ending 05/19/02 "Heart of the Storm"
Another great week in major markets.

- New York (WPIX) LW was #1 in the time period on Saturday at 11:00A with a 2.5/7.
- Chicago (WGN) LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.8/8, outperforming its Earth-FC lead-out.
- Dallas (KDAF) LW was #2 in the time period with a 3.1/8, improving on its Beastmaster lead-in. In its second run, LW did a 2.3/6, improving on its Sheena lead-in.
- Washington, DC (WBDC) LW was #1 in the time period with a 1.4/4, outperforming its Andromeda lead-out.
- Houston (KHWB) LW was #2 in the time period with a 2.5/9, outperforming its Soul Train lead-out.
- Orlando (WESH) LW was #1 in the time period with a 3.1/12, outperforming its Entertainment Tonight lead-out.
- St. Louis (KPLR) LW was #1 in the time period with a 3.7/11, outdelivering its Beastmaster lead-in.
- Baltimore (WBAL) LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.5/7, outperforming its lead-in and lead-out programs.
- San Diego (KSWB) LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.3/7.
- Charlotte (WSOC) LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.1/10, outperforming its news lead-out.
- Birmingham (WVTM) LW was #1 in the time period with a3.9/10, outperforming its Extra weekend lead-out.

FOR THE RECORD: TLW Newsletter
If you like finding out more about The Lost World, be sure you sign up for the online weekly newsletter from New Line. In addition to details and photos from the coming week's episode, it always includes an INSIDE SCOOP FROM TREEHOUSE NEWS detailing some of the fascinating background detail that goes into the series. This week, check out the science-fiction history of post-apocalyptic worlds like Finn's own New Amazonia.

Follow the link below to subscribe today.
http://www.lostworldtv.net/

SHOP TALK: Story Planning
Planning the stories for TLW -- which is what's going on now for Season Four -- involves working in two different, though closely related story-telling strands: Episode Stories, and the BIG Story.

Episode stories are stand-alone adventures that usually begin with a premise that can be stated in a single sentence. Third Season examples include: What would happen if Jack the Ripper came to the Plateau? The Explorers set off in the balloon and are swept down through a caldera into the Hollow Earth. Malone experiences post-traumatic stress syndrome relating to a harrowing, life-changing experience in World War I.

The BIG Story, by definition, isn't confined to just one episode, but stretches out over a season (or two or the entire series). Third Season examples include: Roxton's role in World War I; Marguerite's real reason for coming to the Plateau; and Veronica's conflicted feelings for Malone. All these developments and revelations, of course, are part of the overall story of the series, which is the Explorers' journey to discover a way off the Plateau.

These elements of the BIG Story generally point the direction to where the Story Department intends to take the characters over the season, leaving lots of room for ongoing inspiration along the way. In the beginning, though, the specifics of what happens when, and which revelations are made, aren't precisely mapped out.

However, as the Episode Stories are fleshed out, and a series of adventures begins to build, that's when it becomes apparent that it's time to take an element from the BIG Story and weave it into a particular episode. Sometimes, these BIG Story additions are obvious, such as when Veronica returned to the Treehouse with the Trion Pendant in Episode 319, "Tapestry." That was the beginning of a major story arc concerning Veronica's past, though it didn't really take center stage until Episode 320, "Legacy." Other times, BIG Story additions are minor, such as Roxton's reaction to Marguerite's mention of Avebury in Episode 304, "True Spirit." Though Avebury rated a few more mentions during Season Three, the whole story is still to be revealed, perhaps sometime in Season Four.

Episode Stories are worked out in groups of about six at a time. For Season Three, the first eight stories were blocked out in general terms in the first story meetings of the season. About halfway through the production of those first eight, the next six were planned, and the Story Department generally kept at least four stories ahead of production.

In the weeks ahead, we'll take a closer look at how one particular episode was developed from initial premise to final draft.

NEXT WEEK: More news, and more (brief) glimpses behind the scenesÉ

J&G

TREEHOUSE NEWS 05 30 02

We're on semi-hiatus this week and next, so this will be a briefer version of the regular posting. However, should any official news come through during this time, it will be posted here at once.

SEASON FOUR PRODUCTION
There are still a few details to work out before the start of Season Four can be officially announced, but as Executive Producer Jeff Hayes noted here two weeks ago, those details are routine. That said, the unofficial schedule has the first episode of Season Four airing the week of September 30.

SEASON THREE BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Each week, Treehouse News lists the next four episodes to air in the U.S.
Summer reruns continue with::
05/27/02–06/02/02 Episode 316 "Suspicion"
06/03/02–06/09/02 Episode 306 "Fire in the Sky"
06/10/02–06/16/02 Episode 307 "Dead Man's Hill"
06/17/02–06/23/02 Episode 308 "Hollow Victory"

ONLINE CHAT
We're looking forward to taking part in an online chat on Sunday, June 9, from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time. Use this link to check what time that will be in your local time zone:

http://www.worldtimeserver.com/

We're also happy to report that David Orth will be taking part in a chat in the weeks ahead. Watch for update postings.

RATINGS HIGHLIGHTS: For the Week Ending 05/26/02 "Finn"

- New York (WPIX) LW was #1 in the time period on Sunday at 11:00A with a 2.9/8. In its second run on Saturday at 4A, LW was #1 in the time period with a 1.3/9, outdelivering its Earth F-C lead-in and Inside Edition lead-out.
- Chicago (WGN) LW was #2 in the time period with a 2.8/6, outperforming its movie lead-in.
- Philadelphia (WPHL) LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.0/6, improving on its Relic Hunter lead-in.
- Dallas (KDAF) LW was #2 in the time period with a 2.4/6, outdelivering its Beastmaster lead-in and movie lead-out. In its second run, LW did a 2.2/5, improving on its Sheena lead-in.
- Atlanta (WSB) LW was #1 in the time period with a 3.2/10, outdelivering its Tracker lead-in and Profiler lead-out.
- Orlando (WESH) LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.5/10.
- St. Louis (KPLR) LW was #1 in the time period with a 1.8/5.
- Baltimore (WBAL) LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.0/7, outperforming its Wild Moments lead-in and WNBA Basketball lead-out.
- Kansas City (KCWE) LW did a 2.2/4, outdelivering its Invisible Man lead-in and Beastmaster lead-out.
- Salt Lake City (KJZZ) LW did a 2.0/5, improving on its Secrets of Jules Verne lead-in and movie lead-out.
- Birmingham (WVTM) LW did a 2.7/6, outperforming its Extra Wknd lead-out.
- Richmond (WRIC) LW was #1 in the time period with a 3.7/16, outperforming its Inside Edition lead-out.
- Dayton (WHIO) LW was #1 in the time period with a 2.0/12, outdelivering its Showtime at the Apollo lead-in and news lead-out.

FOR THE RECORD: TLW Newsletter
If you like finding out more about The Lost World, be sure you sign up for the online weekly newsletter from New Line. In addition to details and photos from the coming week's episode, it always includes an INSIDE SCOOP FROM TREEHOUSE NEWS detailing some of the fascinating background detail that goes into the series. This week, find out more about what those archaeologisits found in "Suspicion," before they unearthed that demon–yet another link to Avebury?

Follow the link below to subscribe today.
http://www.lostworldtv.net/

NEXT WEEK: More news and updates. Shop Talk and Behind the Scenes will return in two weeks.

J&G

TREEHOUSE NEWS 06 06 02

TREEHOUSE NEWS SCHEDULE
We're on our last week of semi-hiatus, so this will be a briefer version of the regular posting, with full postings to resume next week. However, should any official news come through during this time, it will be posted here at once.

SEASON FOUR PRODUCTION
All remains the same. No official announcement yet, though story development has begun. Completely unofficially, Season Four production is expected tobegin in July, with the first Fourth-Season episode scheduled to air the week of September 30.

SEASON THREE BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Each week, Treehouse News lists the next four episodes to air in the U.S.
Summer reruns continue with:
06/03/02–06/09/02 Episode 306 "Fire in the Sky"
06/10/02–06/16/02 Episode 307 "Dead Man's Hill"
06/17/02–06/23/02 Episode 308 "Hollow Victory"
06/24/02–06/30/02 Episode 309 "A Witch's Calling"

ONLINE CHAT
We're looking forward to taking part in an online chat on Sunday, June 9, from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time (in the United States). Use this link to check what time that will be in your local time zone:
http://www.worldtimeserver.com/

For next week's news, we're hoping to post a confirmed time for David Orth's upcoming online chat.

FOR THE RECORD: TLW Newsletter
If you like finding out more about The Lost World, be sure you sign up for the online weekly newsletter from New Line. In addition to details and photos from the coming week's episode, it always includes an INSIDE SCOOP FROM TREEHOUSE NEWS detailing some of the fascinating background detail that goes into the series. This week, find out about the intriguing link between "Fire from the Sky," and what happened to a certain Mrs. Hewlett Hodges of Sylacauga, Alabama, on November 30, 1954.

Follow the link below to subscribe today.
http://www.lostworldtv.net/

NEXT WEEK: More news, updates, and the return of Shop Talk and Behind the Scenes.

J&G

TREEHOUSE NEWS 06 13 02

SEASON FOUR PRODUCTION: The Good News Continues

Plans for Season Four continue with no surprises, with production expected to begin sometime in July, and the first episode of the new season still scheduled to air the week of September 30th. The only thing missing is the "official" announcement which, in the odd but not uncommon way of television series production, might not actually be made until the first day of production!

Last year at this time, some of you might recall the frantic work going on behind the scenes to see if the show would survive at all. This year, there's still a lot of work going on, but it all has to do with details, and not survival. The Story Department has submitted the first batch of stories to Executive Producer Jeff Hayes, and sometime in the next week or two we expect to hear which of those will become the season's first five episodes so scripting can begin. More news — or non-news — as it happens!

OUR CHAT

Last Sunday we had the pleasure of taking part in an online chat at a great new TLW fansite, which can now be reached at:

www.tlwaddicts.com

The transcript of the chat has been posted on this board and you can reach it with this link:

http://www.lostworldtv.net/lwubb/Forum1/HTML/005384.html

Thanks to everyone who arranged the new site and organized the chat. Smoothly done and a lot of fun — we'll spread the word to others on the show… if we can ever find them!

DAVID ORTH'S CHAT

Watch this board for updates, but right now, this Sunday, June 16, isn't definite. While David told us he'd love to take part in an online chat, we haven't been able to confirm a time with him. Don't despair, though, David's looking forward to the chat and he will be joining you soon!

SEASON THREE BROADCAST SCHEDULE

Each week, Treehouse News lists the next four episodes to air in the U.S.

Summer reruns continue with:

06/10/02 — 06/16/02 Episode 307 "Dead Man's Hill"

06/17/02 — 06/23/02 Episode 308 "Hollow Victory"

06/24/02 — 06/30/02 Episode 309 "A Witch's Calling"

07/01/02 — 07/07/02 Episode 310 "Brothers in Arms"

FOR THE RECORD: TLW Newsletter

If you like finding out more about The Lost World, be sure you sign up for the online weekly newsletter from New Line. In addition to details and photos from the coming week's episode, it always includes an INSIDE SCOOP FROM THE TREEHOUSE NEWS detailing some of the fascinating background detail that goes into the series. This week, find out about something called "scirgerefa" — yet another mysterious connection between ancient Britain and the Plateau, where anything can happen. And when it does, it's usually for a reasonŐ

Follow the link below to subscribe today.

http://www.lostworldtv.net/

BEHIND THE SCENES FOR THIS WEEK'S EPISODE: Dead Man's Hill

Once or twice a season, it's fun for all concerned to step outside the usual boundaries of TLW, and make an episode in which the cast takes on different roles. And back in Season Two, when that wonderful malevolent gleam appeared in David Orth's eye as he became the Assassin in "Stone Cold," everyone on the show knew David had to play another villain! "Dead Man's Hill" provided the perfect opportunity, and David once again made the most of it.

One of the great perks of working on location is the chance to visit the set and see the cast in action, and the day we walked into Violet's saloon for the filming of the scenes between David Orth and Jennifer O'Dell in their Old American West personae was a true highlight. For the scene in which Johnny Ringo enters the saloon and stares down the hapless customers, David was at his evil best. In fact, when "Cut" was called the first take in which Johnny confronts the piano player, everyone on set — cast and crew and us included — breathed out a collective, "Whoa." Not too long after, the scene continued with Johnny Ringo walking up to the bar and taking an old man's drink. The actor playing the intimidated customer was contracted as a non-speaking extra — he was simply supposed to look frightened, then run out after Johnny took his drink. However, once again David played his part with such menace, that the poor man nervously blurted, "Whatever you say," and then ran out. The scene had to be reshot!

While Will Snow remained Roxton in this episode (though he made the most of his chance at cold villainy as Inspector Anderson in "The Knife"), the rest of the cast did equally well as David Orth in playing against their regular characters. Rachel Blakely set aside Marguerite's tough fašade to reveal Maylene's emotional fragility. Jennifer O'Dell left Veronica's innocence behind to play the hardbitten, sadder-but-wiser Violet. And Peter McCauley shone as the calculatingly criminal sheriff, adding that wonderful villain to his Season Three repertoire of the tautly restrained evil of Dr. Gull in the "The Knife," and the smug superiority of the demon-possessed Challenger in "Suspicion."

With such an inspiring cast to write for, the Story Department is already hard at work on new opportunities for everyone to reveal more of their dark sides — and perhaps their comedic sides, too — in Season Four. Stay tuned.

NEXT WEEK: More news, updates, and Behind the Scenes on "Hollow Victory."

J&G

TREEHOUSE NEWS 06 20 02

SEASON FOUR PRODUCTION

For an unofficial show, things are getting busy. Last week, the first Season Four production schedule was distributed, showing pre-production beginning the first week of July, with the first day of principal photography scheduled for July 22. As we mentioned in last week's news, the only thing missing is the "official" announcement which, in the odd but not uncommon way of television series production, might not actually be made until the first day of production!

Also unofficially, still no change to the broadcast schedule calling for the first episode of Season Four to air the week of September 30. Stay tuned…

WWW.TLWADDICTS.COM

Just as a reminder, be sure to bookmark this site:

www.tlwaddicts.com

That's where the David Orth chat will take place as soon as we can work out a precise time and announce it here. In the meantime, the transcript of our chat from two weeks ago has been posted on this board and you can reach it with this link:

http://www.lostworldtv.net/lwubb/Forum1/HTML/005384.html

We're also working on a few other participants - watch this space…

SEASON THREE BROADCAST SCHEDULE

Each week, Treehouse News lists the next four episodes to air in the U.S.

Summer reruns continue with:

06/17/02 - 06/23/02 Episode 308 "Hollow Victory"

06/24/02 - 06/30/02 Episode 309 "A Witch's Calling"

07/01/02 - 07/07/02 Episode 310 "Brothers in Arms"

07/08/02 - 07/14/02 Episode 311 "Ice Age"

FOR THE RECORD: TLW Newsletter

If you like finding out more about The Lost World, be sure you sign up for the online weekly newsletter from New Line. In addition to details and photos from the coming week's episode, it always includes an INSIDE SCOOP FROM TREEHOUSE NEWS detailing some of the fascinating background detail that goes into the series. This week, a quick glimpse at the intriguing history of tales of underground worlds deep within the Earth. Believe it or not, it all began with a famous scientist everyone's heard of…

Follow the link below to subscribe today.

http://www.lostworldtv.net/

FOR THE RECORD: Continuing storylines

Because "Hollow Victory" is the episode in which we get the first clue that there's more to the disappearance of Veronica's parents than she realizes, this is a good opportunity to finally talk about continuing storylines in TLW.

As a topic, continuing storylines are discussed in the Story Department at least as often as they're discussed on this board, though the term we use is "serialization" - a word that generally elicits cheers from fans and yet brings fear to show producers and broadcast executives. Here's why.

1. In syndicated television, consistent week-to-week viewership is remarkably sporadic. In other words, dedicated fans - like most of the people on this board - who make a point of watching each first-run episode when it airs are the exception to the rule. The vast majority of viewers tend to watch on a more casual basis, catching on average about two out of four episodes every month. That's one key reason why TLW tends to stay away from two-part episodes. No one wants to have viewers turn on an episode, see that it's "Part Two," and thus turn it off because they didn't see "Part One."

2. Syndicated television shows tend to make money for their producers when they are "stripped" - the term for selling a series in a secondary broadcast market, as previous seasons of TLW are being shown on TNT. It's almost a law of nature that when series are stripped, they will not be run in the order in which they were originally aired. Too much serialization can lead to utter confusion when episodes are shown out of order. And utter confusion does not entice viewers to tune in.

As you've all noticed, however, there was more serialization in Season Three than in One and Two. Oddly enough, most of that was due to the need to have Veronica and Malone come and go throughout the season. Rather than have them just disappear without explanation, the Story Department created storylines to account for their absences, which on one hand generated a much richer storytelling environment for the series, and on the other hand caused the official board to get regular "Where's Malone?/Where's Veronica?" postings from casual viewers (to say nothing of the ongoing "Where's Summerlee?" contingent!).

So what does all this mean for TLW? Pretty much that we can all probably expect things to stay the same for the foreseeable future. Though it's unlikely there will ever be two-part episodes other than end-of-season cliffhangers, definitely there will be serialized story elements, such as the ongoing trials and tribulations (and triumphs) of Marguerite and Roxton. Other elements that work for serialization without causing confusion are things like the Trion symbol and Ouroboros, which can be part of an episode one week, and then turn up in later episodes with a word or two of minor explanation for those who might have missed them the first time through. And, of course, there are guest characters that the Story Department would love to have back for a second (and third) visit.

So, as you call for continuing storylines on TLW, have some compassion for a Story Department that's trying to be all things to all people - from the first-time viewer to the dedicated fans on this board. And keep watching for the little details and odd bits of dialogue that turn up from time to time - Can someone say ňAvebury?' The Story Department just might come up with a surprise or two in Season Four!

BEHIND THE SCENES FOR THIS WEEK'S EPISODE: "Hollow Victory"

[For any who missed it, this is a repeat of an original piece first posted March 28, 2002.]

"Hollow Victory" was yet another episode that emerged from the first story conference of Season Three. Jeff Hayes, a big fan of classic science-fiction adventures, wondered if the Explorers could take part in a new Journey to the Center of the Earth story, without repeating Season Two's, "Under Pressure." The Story Department was already eager to use science-fiction settings popular at the time Doyle was writing the original Challenger stories, and one of the best of those settings was the Hollow Earth. Plus, by having the Explorers travel into the earth by balloon this time, the story setting and atmosphere would be distinct from the dark cave and tunnel look of "Under Pressure."

Fortunately, after sitting out the second season, the balloon basket was in great shape, having been wrapped up and stored on the lot. Though it looks to be a lightweight basket made of wicker and wood, the wicker is only a covering. Underneath is a welded steel frame - completely unsuitable for flight, but exactly what's needed to hold five extremely valuable actors as they dangle from a crane on location, or from a hoist on the stage.

For "Hollow Victory," many of the safety issues concerned the balloon basket and the precautions required to film the cast in it. When it was shot on location, the basket was actually suspended from a large crane which could simultaneously lift and swing it. But the real drama for the safety crew came during the launch and landing sequences, when the actors had to jump on and off while the basket was in motion. In these shots no one could wear the hidden safety harnesses that are usually used whenever an actor is put into a position from which he or she might fall.

Because safety is always an overriding concern on TLW (that is, for everyone on the production except for the actors themselves - they're fearless), the initial concept meeting for each episode always includes the safety supervisor, and careful planning goes into every action that might present the slightest degree of risk. When an episode's shooting breakdown is issued, the breakdown also includes a detailed report of all the safety measures to be taken in each scene. Basic safety measures include being sure there are enough mats and pads to protect all the actors and "stunties" (as they're called Downunder), for any action that requires anyone to hit the ground, during fights, chases, and dinosaur attacks.

Weapons, in particular, are treated with exceptional care. Most weapons in the series have soft rubber duplicates—used whenever there's a chance an actor might come into close contact with the weapon, especially by accident. (In one of the new episodes to come, there is a spectacular fight involving bladed weapons. Though the fight's prop weapons are not really metal, they are rigid so they'll look believable when they make contact—which means that the slightest miscalculation on the part of the actors engaged in battle could definitely have serious consequences.)

Safety notices also appear regularly on the call sheets for each day's planned shooting, often warning the crew of dangerous flora and fauna in the location area, even, at times, reminding the crew when to tuck their pants into their boots. And while on location, safety officers call attention to any particular plants and insect infestations to avoid. (During the production of Episode 320, just as action was about to be called for an on-location scene, one of the lighting team politely asked for a brief delay because a snake was attacking his boot! All held their positions, the snake eventually gave up, and the show went on.)

NEXT WEEK: More news, updates, chat schedules, convention details, perhaps a word about merchandising(!), and Behind the Scenes for "A Witch's Calling."

J&G

TREEHOUSE NEWS 06 27 02

SEASON FOUR PRODUCTION

Given the topic of the Season Three cliffhanger (and the story for the first episode of Season Four!), it seems very fitting that we are now in the lull between the storm of last season and those still to come in the next. On the one hand, it's been a slow week without major developments to report. On the other hand, everyone's gearing up for action, based on the first production schedule that has principal photography slated to begin July 22. As we've said many times, the only thing missing is the "official" announcement which, in the odd but not uncommon way of television series production, might not actually be made until that first day of production. But with July fast approaching, we expect to have much more to report under this heading in the month ahead.

And, unofficially as always, still no change to the broadcast schedule calling for the first episode of Season Four to air the week of September 30. Stay tuned…

DAVID ORTH CHAT AT WWW.TLWADDICTS.COM

Just as a reminder, be sure to bookmark this site:

www.tlwaddicts.com

That's where the David Orth chat will take place as soon as we work out a precise time. David's eager to take part, so we'll post an update in the next day or two.

In the meantime, watch this space for announcements of other chats in the weeks ahead…

SEASON THREE BROADCAST SCHEDULE

Each week, Treehouse News lists the next four episodes to air in the U.S.

Summer reruns continue with:

06/24/02 - 06/30/02 Episode 309 "A Witch's Calling"

07/01/02 - 07/07/02 Episode 310 "Brothers in Arms"

07/08/02 - 07/14/02 Episode 311 "Ice Age"

07/15/02 - 07/21/02 Episode 312 "The End Game"

FOR THE RECORD: TLW Newsletter

If you like finding out more about The Lost World, be sure you sign up for the online weekly newsletter from New Line. In addition to details and photos from the coming week's episode, it always includes an INSIDE SCOOP FROM TREEHOUSE NEWS detailing some of the fascinating background detail that goes into the series. This week, find out how reasonable it might be to expect Professor Challenger to build a primitive, windmill-powered radar installation in 1922. The answer might surprise you as much as it surprised Dame Alice…

Follow the link below to subscribe today.

http://www.lostworldtv.net/

FOR THE RECORD: Bits & Pieces

Merchandising: Talks are underway regarding the licensing of home video rights to TLW. We hope to have more news soon…

Chicago Convention: Next week, we'll describe some of the goodies that Coote/Hayes (and Jennifer O'Dell!) will be contributing to the first TLW convention, along with some other special updates…

BEHIND THE SCENES FOR THIS WEEK'S EPISODE: "A Witch's Calling"

[For any who missed it, this is a repeat of an original piece first posted on April 4, 2002.]

In the world of television production, schedule is everything, and TLW is no exception.

A typical TLW script runs between 56 to 58 pages. A typical shooting schedule is six days of Main Unit shooting with two overlapping days for Second Unit. Main Unit has the biggest lighting and sound crews, is usually run by the episode's director, and covers the main cast. Second Unit is a leaner operation with its own director, and usually concentrates on inserts, blue/green elements, and pick-ups and reshoots. Inserts include quick close-ups of books and journals. Blue/green-screen elements include filming props or characters in front of a large green or blue backdrop so digital effects can be added. Pick-ups and reshoots include shots left over from the previous episode and shots that have to be redone for technical reasons.

When you combine the days for Main and Second Unit, that means 58 pages of script must be shot in about 8 daysőabout 7 1/4 pages a day. And since no two episodes of TLW are alike, no two schedules are alike. Some episodes have taken longer than 8 shooting days. Some have been shot in as few as five.

Seven-and-a-quarter pages works out, on average, to about five minutes of completed screen time. While that might not sound too demanding for the typical twelve-hour television workday, on a movie shoot, as little as a half a page a day can be an acceptable schedule. That means a television crew has to work almost 14 times faster than a movie crew! This is where scheduling of a weekly series becomes extremely critical, and the producers in charge of organizing all of TLW's departments and keeping them on schedule (and under budget!) are some of the hardest and most unflappable workers on the team.

And that brings us to this week's episode, "A Witch's Calling," whose scheduling required all our team's talents and more.

One of the key sets for this episode is Dame Alice's castle, and usually a castle isn't a difficult order for TLW's art department. For castle exteriors, Photon, the company that produces the show's digital effects, can create a CGI matte painting placing any type of castle anywhere on the Plateau. For castle interiors, TLW has a good collection of previously built sets that the art department and the construction team can transform into any new set needed. But this is where schedule -- and schedule-juggling -- comes in.

As originally planned, Dame Alice's castle courtyard was going to be a reuse of part of the London street built for Episode 305, "The Knife." False stone walls would be set up to enclose the cobblestones, and the footbridge would become a battlement. However, to accommodate the schedules of two of our directors, the two episodes following Episode 309, "A Witch's Calling," were set to shoot out of order. That is, Episode 310, "Brothers in Arms," was set to shoot before Episode 311, "Ice Age." Thus, when the schedules of these three episodes were being planned, a conflict arose -- not for the actual filming of the episodes, but for the construction of the sets.

There was enough time to build everything required for the three episodes, but not in the locations first planned. That's because the London street set is right beside the main cave set, and if the construction crew is working in one of the two locations, the noise makes it difficult to film at the other. And the construction crew faced not only turning Episode 305's London street into Episode 309's castle courtyard, they would also have to first take down the existing modifications that had turned the footbridge into Episode 306's dungeon. At the same time, the main cave had to be stripped of all the elements that had transformed it into Arjax's mine for Episode 308,"Hollow Victory," so it could be turned into the interior of the ice hive for Episode 309,"Ice Age." You get the idea.

In the end, the solution was a mixture of the three basic building blocks of television production -- hard work, creativity, and money. To take the pressure off the London/main cave location, the show built a brand-new cave set some distance away. This cave set made its first appearance as Episode 309's ice hive, then was later repainted and reddressed to become Episode 315's cave ("Finn") in which Challenger attempted to tap into the Plateau's energy lines.

Meanwhile, the art department and construction crew concentrated on the main cave to turn it into Episode 309's dungeon grotto for "A Witch's Calling" (replacing the castle courtyard) to be later repainted and redressed as Episode 312's Death Domain in "End Game," leaving lots of time in the schedule for the dungeon to be removed from the London street, which was then repainted and redressed as a German village street for Episode 313, "Phantoms," only to once again be transformed back into yet another London street for… but that would be telling…*

  • But now it can be told - the redressed London Street was used once again as the location for the opening scene in Episode 320, "Legacy."

NEXT WEEK: More news, updates, and an all-new Behind the Scenes for "Brothers in Arms."

J&G

TREEHOUSE NEWS 07 04 02

SEASON FOUR PRODUCTION

With this week bookended by holiday weekends in Canada and the U.S., the between-seasons lull has been extended, and at the risk of repeating ourselves ad naseum, there's nothing new to report. Completely unofficially, production of the fourth season of TLW is expected to begin later this month, with the first episode of the season scheduled to air the week of September 30. So, Happy Canada Day and Happy Fourth of July, and get ready for the pace of news and updates to quicken in the weeks ahead.

DAVID ORTH CHAT AT WWW.TLWADDICTS.COM

Just as a reminder, be sure to bookmark this site:

www.tlwaddicts.com

That's where the David Orth chat will take place soon. In the meantime, watch this space for announcements of other chats in the weeks ahead…

SEASON THREE BROADCAST SCHEDULE

Each week, Treehouse News lists the next four episodes to air in the U.S.

Summer reruns continue with:

07/01/02 - 07/07/02 Episode 310 "Brothers in Arms"

07/08/02 - 07/14/02 Episode 311 "Ice Age"

07/15/02 - 07/21/02 Episode 312 "The End Game"

07/22/02 - 07/28/02 Episode 313 "Phantoms"

FOR THE RECORD: TLW Newsletter

If you like finding out more about The Lost World, be sure you sign up for the online weekly newsletter from New Line. In addition to details and photos from the coming week's episode, it always includes an INSIDE SCOOP FROM TREEHOUSE NEWS detailing some of the fascinating background detail that goes into the series. This week, discover some intriguing facts about an 800-year-old invention that makes its second appearance of the season in "Brothers in Arms." As Malone might say, Let 'er rip…

Follow the link below to subscribe today.

http://www.lostworldtv.net/

FOR THE RECORD: Convention Goodies

Jeff Hayes and Lisa Churchhouse have been kind enough to provide a selection of promotional TLW merchandise for a charity auction at the Chicago gathering. Unlike merchandise intended to be sold (e.g. T-shirts, mugs, action figures…), promotional items are usually given away at trade shows or through mailings. Very few items are made, and most, we suspect, are tossed or - in the case of one particular item - eaten, which makes them hard-to-get collectibles.

Here's what will be available for auction at the gathering:

DISPOSABLE CAMERAS These are the type of plastic flash camera you'd find on the rack in a grocery store. Except, instead of being wrapped in the cardboard packaging of a film manufacturer, these cameras are packaged in a special TLW wrapping, with the TLW logo on the lens side, and the advertising line, "You never know what you'll capture…," on the back. Each camera is sealed in a clear plastic wrap. Four will be available.

VICTORINOX SWISSCARD From the manufacturer of the famous Swiss Army Knife comes the credit-card-sized SwissCard Quattro. The plastic card is Swiss Army Knife red, with a TLW logo. It contains a letter opener blade, ballpoint pen, multi-bit screwdriver, tweezers, nail file, toothpick, and straight pin - in other words, everything Professor Challenger would need to make an airplane from stone knives and bear claws. It's packaged in a nifty display tin, also with the TLW logo. One will be available.

BINOCULARS We have no idea what the specs are, but they're a nice-looking pair, about four inches across, three-and-a-half inches long, with the right barrel printed with what appears to be an early version of the TLW logo, and the left barrel printed with the New Line logo. The binoculars come with a padded black nylon case with belt loop. The case is also printed with both logos. One pair will be available.

CANTEEN This could almost be a prop on the show, except for the large TLW and New Line logos printed across one side. It's a two-quart canteen, circular style, with an encircling tin band (two-and-a-quarter-inches wide) and sides (seven-and-a-half-inches across) that are covered in green fabric. (The tin and fabric are attached to a plastic canteen interior.) It has a cap on a chain for drinking while being chased by raptors, and a black nylon shoulder strap. Very impressive. One canteen will be available.

A RAPTOR'S EGG IN A BAG This is as silly as it sounds. The raptor's egg is actually a gumball (or jawbreaker - we've never met anyone who's actually tried to eat one) that's spherical, mostly white, and speckled with bits of color. It's sealed in a clear plastic bag that has a label printed with the TLW and New Line logos. We have combined the egg with a burlap bag, suitable for filling with iron filings and hanging on the side of a balloon. The bag is twelve inches across and fourteen inches deep, with a drawstring and a large TLW logo printed across one side. One "egg" in a bag will be available as a set.

JENNIFER O'DELL'S PERSONAL SCRIPTS Jennifer sends her best wishes to everyone at the gathering and has kindly provided three autographed scripts from her own collection, one from each season.

CREW JACKET At the end of Season Three, everyone on the production was presented with a handsome black fabric, cotton-fleece-lined jacket, with "The Lost World Series III" embroidered on the front. One jacket will be available. (We don't know the size, but we'll post it as soon as we find out.)

More convention updates to come…

BEHIND THE SCENES FOR THIS WEEK'S EPISODE: "Brothers in Arms"

It's a fact of life in television that no script ever gets made exactly as the writer imagines. Even if a first-draft script is perfectly written, with no holes in logic, sparkling dialogue, and just the right mix of characters and scenes to fit a six-day shooting schedule, the nature of television is that rewrites are inevitable. And that's because the unexpected always happens.

These are some of the unexpected things that can arise from time to time over the course of a season as various scripts get closer to production:

- the weather changes and a day's worth of Exterior scenes must be rewritten to become Interior scenes.

- one of the main cast is needed in ADR to rerecord dialogue on an earlier episode and won't be available for a day or two of the current episode

- budget concerns mean that the twelve extras called for in the script have to be reduced to five extras

- a prop that sounds good on paper is too expensive and/or too complicated to make in time, so must be deleted and/or changed

- one of the sets required for the episode will not be available

And some times, all of the above can happen at once to a single script, which is exactly what happened to "Brothers in Arms." And the wonderful thing is, each complication that arose ended up making the episode better than we had originally imagined. Here's a brief history of how that script came to be.

We wrote the initial, two-page story for BIA in June, 2001. At the time, no one knew if TLW would survive, but Jeff Hayes was thinking positively and asked Guy Mullally and us to come up with a few stories so we'd be prepared in production began with a rush.

The original story was approved right away, and for a brief time was penciled in to be Episode 305. But then, production did begin in a rush, accompanied by the disappointing news that David Orth could only appear in seven episodes. Because everyone hoped that the technical reasons limiting David's appearances would be temporary, we suggested that Malone should leave the series by choice, and not by misadventure, so that he could return at any time. Since BIA was intended to give insight into Malone's past and deepen his bond with Roxton, we also suggested that BIA could make a strong send-off for the character, and so it was scheduled to become Episode 310.

As we originally imagined the story, BIA was going to be another opportunity for the main cast to portray other characters. Our intention was that when Malone was suffering from his hallucinations, we would see through his eyes. At this stage, Challenger was to appear as the wounded Sergeant Haskell, Roxton as a captured German officer, and Marguerite and Veronica as nuns in a bombed-out church.

Then came complication one. Given the time constraints, there was no way the company could fit all the required scenes into a six-day shooting schedule. The main scheduling roadblock was the big action finish which would essentially have to be shot twice - once in the jungle with the Explorers surrounded by the Raiders, and once in the bombed-out church with the Explorers in completely different make-up and costumes, surrounded by enemy soldiers. There was only one way out, and that was to cast additional actors as Haskell, Rutherford, and Jones. Interestingly enough, by seeing Malone's past as it happened, instead of filtered through his eyes to include his friends, the emotional intensity of the story was dramatically strengthened. After all, if we had seen Challenger shot and killed as Sergeant Haskell, we would know that Challenger really wasn't dead. However, by seeing an unfamiliar Haskell die, we more fully shared Malone's horror.

Other complications quickly followed. Though the schedule now worked, the cost of the additional guest stars, along with the many extras required to play the Keeran Raiders and the enemy soldiers, meant that other elements of the budget had to be reduced. First to go, the German tank! The construction department had the plans and was eager to build it as a wooden shell that would fit over a small car. As we originally imagined the story, Malone would face off against a triceratops in the jungle, seeing it as a tank in his hallucination. To save a considerable amount of money, the tank and triceratops became a single enemy sniper in the forest, and once again the dramatic focus of the scene became more intense. Now, instead of putting Malone in danger from a dinosaur and having him escape death through a lucky accident in the present, we could concentrate on the pivotal moment in Malone's past when he killed another human being. (In the original story, Malone dropped the Mills Bomb/grenade inside the tank, which meant that we never saw the tank crew he killed. Using the grenade against a visible soldier made the event much more personal and horrific.)

Money was also saved by reducing the number of extras used for the Raiders and the enemy soldiers. To disguise the fact that several Raiders and soldiers were "killed" more than once, the costume and make-up department did a superb job on the camouflage worn by the Raiders, and both the first-unit director, Michael Offer, and the second-unit director, photographed the enemy soldiers so that they were often backlit and faceless, adding to their menace. (What's the difference between the good guys and the bad guys in the three original Star Wars movies? The bad guys - Darth Vader, the Storm Troopers, Boba Fett - all have their faces completely covered by masks, keeping their personalities and their humanity hidden from us.)

The final complication to strike BIA occurred while filming was underway. It rained. Usually, rain on a day scheduled for exterior shooting is viewed as the end of the world. But in this case, the rain that transformed the trenches of No-Man's Land into a sea of mud was welcomed by everyone because of the authenticity it added to the flashback scenes.

As someone once said, anything can happen in the Lost World, including unexpected complications that actually improve the situation!

NEXT WEEK: Vacation's over so lots more news, plus Behind the Scenes on "Ice Age."

J&G