The pilot episode of The Winchester’s was amazing. It was a throwback to early Supernatural, yet was its own entity – part of the reason why this worked so well was David Moxness (Moxy), who was the cinematographer for the pilot.
Please tell us about your role as a cinematographer for the Winchesters. How were you hired and when were you brought on for the project?
I was hired by, initially contacted by the director Glen Winter. I've known Glen for many, many years, and when he was a working cinematographer, we worked alongside each other on the show Smallville. So that was the first time I had met Glen. Gosh a long time ago now -- and we had stayed in touch over the years and obviously his directing career took off and it's wonderful. So he reached out to me. I guess it was kind of early in the new year, February, March, if I recall about possibly doing the pilot. He was waiting for it to line up for him. And when it came through and the dates worked out yeah, I signed on it was with the CW and Warner Brothers, which I've worked with a lot before. So checked out with all those folks and headed off to New Orleans to do the pilot.
Awesome. So how much influence did Supernatural actually have on the pilot? Was Supernatural something you were familiar with, or did you have to familiar yourself with it?
I was familiar with Supernatural, but I hadn't viewed it in quite some time, and I wasn't involved in that particular show. So I did go back and review many, many, many episodes and seasons of that show to get reacquainted and up to speed with that. So it was nice to see where they were going with this prequel. So yeah, it definitely played an influence, but there was a desire to have this show be its own as well, though. I mean, obviously story wise and whatnot, it relates a little bit more directly, but we were definitely trying to put our own thumbprint on this particular one.
And you guys have done an excellent job, especially with the pilot. It was with my next question, it says The Winchester's definitely mirrors vintage Supernatural, the early seasons where it's the monster of the week plus an additional arc like the Akrida, and it's absolutely fabulous. How was this kind of mirror achieved?
Well, we definitely wanted to lean into the seventies in a big way and early part of that. And Glen had a desire right outta the gate. It was interesting too, was when I read the script and understood it to be a prequel and seventies, we thought, oh, it be really nice to shoot sort of anamorphic or towards anamorphic sort of format. So we agreed on a 2.2 to one aspect ratio and using anamorphic lenses, and fortunately the studio/network went for that. So I think that in itself sort of started to get, even though Supernatural didn't do that specifically, I think it added our flavor, but we were able to lean into how they approached the early seasons of the original show and I think it worked out really well. So gave it our own little spice right out of the gates.
It was beautifully shot. I distinctly remember one of the scenes in the graveyard where it actually included the drone pulling up. It was beautifully shot, very well done.
Yeah, that was our very last night of shooting, actually -- very, very last night of shooting right up to the sun, coming up. Almost the usual all nighter. But yeah, that was great. That was great fun. But I also have to give credit to another cinematographer, the James Chressanthis, because I came down with COVID in our early days of shooting and was out for better part of a week. So James came in very quickly and covered me for a few days while I went through the quarantine process for that. So I do have to give a shout out to James for coming in, and I believe James has continued on with the series, actually is my understanding. But that's great. But he's a great guy. I've known James for years as well, so that was really nice. But I have to give a shout out to him as well.
How closely did you work with the executive producers, Jensen and Danneel?
Oh, very closely. They were awesome. Hadn't worked with them before, certainly aware of them, and Jensen, of course, through the Supernatural and other shows, but fantastic. They were so great to work with really gave a really clear understanding and path as to how they saw the show, where they wanted to go at the show, but at the same time, very trusting and collaborative and allowed you to do your thing and offer up and suggest and yeah, they were amazing. Really, really great time working with them. Fantastic.
A lot of fun too. They're like, they're a lot of fun, great people to be around in and out of work.
Do you have any little anecdotal kind of funny behind the scenes story?
Yeah, not really. It was a pretty busy shoot, 15 days, which is sort of common for pilots but it was busy. Every day was busy but the entire cast was awesome to work with. they were so willing and so great and just jump right in two feet right outta the gate. So our set was fun. We had a really good time on set. It was lively and light, and Glen steered that too. Glen is an incredible director and extremely prepped, well prepped and focused, and he just carries on every little speed bump we had. Didn't fluster him whatsoever. I mean, he's a pro and just managed through every obstacle along the way. So we had a really, really fun set. Our set was really fun to work on. We had a really good time.
So the one scene where Dean is sitting on the road with Baby that was filmed in near Austin, must have been correct?
Nope. That was outside of New Orleans as well. That was probably about it was a ways out, I would say 45 minutes or so, if I recall correctly. It was a ways out, but we found that road we were scouting and we found that road and we knew this is perfect. And our only fear was, is that there was a train track that ran across that road and we thought, oh my gosh, we get there in our luck, the train will be parked or going across the tracks or something. But it worked out famously and we had a lovely sunset. We were trying to get it in that kind of sunset magic hour timeframe, which is a very short window and the road lined up absolutely perfect for that scenario in its direction. And yeah, it was a great find. But yeah, that was in Louisiana, not too far from New Orleans.
And then of course the rainbow showed up …
Exactly. And we got a rainbow. We knew the show was gonna hit at that point cause everything was falling into place.
So what did you enjoy the most about working on the Winchester's?
Well, it was really fun to, a number of things mean, obviously working with Glen, again had been many, many years. And I had not worked with him in his director capacity actually. And that was phenomenal. I knew it would be cuz he's such a great guy and just talented beyond belief. So that was nice to reconnect with him. And in that capacity, it was awesome. I really got into the script and the vibe of the show right outta the gate when they first sent me the material. Leaning into the seventies aspect was fun. The fact that we could shoot anamorphic.
Then to get there and find it, the cast top to bottom was wonderful to work with and amazing. It was just like, yeah, it was just one of those ones that, you know, have all these hopes and dreams and I hope this is gonna be with that. And it had checked off every box. It was a really, really good piece to do.
Do you have any upcoming roles you'd like to share?
Yeah, I mean I just finished the feature shooting in New Jersey, which hopefully will make its way to the big screen next year. That was a lot of fun. So I've been doing that since the summer. We just wrapped last week. So yeah, it's called Breed of Greed, look for it. I think it's gonna be a fun suspenseful thriller. So that was fun.