Interview by Geoff Aull:
Michael Klick, the Producer of 24, is one of the original crew members going all the way back to Season 1. Having been here since the beginning, he’s come to know the show well. Now, he manages everything that happens here, from the miniscule to the massive.
This season, Michael’s not only acted as the Producer, running the show’s logistical operations, but he’s also directed two episodes: 819 and 820.
Q: How long have you been with the show?
A: I started episode 2 of Season One.
Q: What does your job entail?
A: Basically, I’m in charge of the physical part, the physical production of the show. From getting the locations to getting the trucks, getting the equipment, getting the actors all there. Getting it done on time, on budget and completed. I don’t write the scripts but I am charged with executing them.
Q: What would you say has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced this season?
A: One, we’re supposed to be in New York. So how do you shoot Los Angeles to make it look like New York? It’s a huge challenge. Also because of that, for the first time, we got heavily involved with visual effects and set extensions. We just did a whole animated sequence of a helicopter attack over New York. So that’s not so much a challenge as much as just new and different. Something we’d never really had to consider before. And other than that, we’re in a show that’s in its eighth season, so we’re fighting the same fights we’ve been fighting for eight seasons. It’s a challenge just to keep moving forward with that.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I like the creative problem solving of being the producer. This show has a lot of moving parts and a lot of specific difficult requirements. We’re always fighting issues of time and money and locations and actor availability. And trying to come up with the best way to put that money on the screen. So that’s a constant daily battle and challenge. And I still find it interesting and it’s still rewarding.
Q: When you were directing Episodes 19 and 20, what would you say were some of your favorite scenes or experiences?
A: The bottom line is, I like to direct. I like to story tell, I like to put the scene together. To some degree, when I get the opportunity to direct 24, it’s like a vacation for me. The crew comments are, “Oh, you’re so much happier! How come you don’t do this more often?” It’s a different challenge than producing in that this is where you’re telling the story and what’s the best way to do that. I like working with the actors and the crew. I like staging the scenes. Probably the most surprising scene is on the freeway. That started out being a really good scene, and by the time we got done staging it, mostly with Kiefer’s input, we had a terrific scene. That was a lot of fun and very exciting when I was doing it.
Q: When you’re directing, you’re wearing two different hats, as both a director and a producer, does one job influence the other?
A: When you’re directing and producing at the same time, it’s a little schizophrenic. That schizophrenia moment happens in prep. It’s what I like as a director versus what can the show afford to do. This is what I have to deal with as the producer. Fortunately, in these two episodes, there weren’t a lot of challenges like that. As opposed to last year, in one of the episodes I directed, we blew up an entire apartment building! That presented a lot more conflict between those directorial versus producer conflicts. How much special effects can we afford? How much time do we have to prep the location? How big can we make the explosion? Those kinds of things. But surprisingly, it was never much of a huge issue because the answers were pretty obvious. The bottom line is: you’ve got 16 days to shoot two episodes. Both as a producer and director, I have to know that I can accomplish it. And if I can’t, then I failed at both jobs. Part of my job as the director is to say “I’ve agreed to shoot two shows in 12-16 hour days.” Unless I say something upfront that we can’t do it, then my job is to get it done. And to get it done despite weather issues, equipment failure issues, actor failure issues. That’s what the director has to deal with in episodic television.
Q: What do you think makes 24 different from other action shows?
A: 24 is different for a lot of reasons. It’s a serialized show, in that every episode has to relate to the next. It’s different from a script point of view in that it’s a house of cards. You can’t very well move scenes around without the whole thing falling apart. That’s different from shows where each episode is stand-alone.
Source: Network 24 Blog