Outside it is a wet and gray late afternoon in Vancouver in the first days of November. But inside, it is a bright and sunny morning in National City at the headquarters of CatCo on the set of The CW’s Supergirl.
The elevator opens onto the office and the beleaguered editor-in-chief Snapper Carr (Ian Gomez) exits, danish in hand. He is quickly intercepted by Kara (Melissa Benoist), then James (Mehcad Brooks). Walking through the office, the two debate competing news stories and over whose heroic antics deserve more press: their alter-egos Supergirl or Guardian.
Kara, who has yet to discover Jimmy is the man behind Guardian, is flummoxed by how much her friend supports the new vigilante in town – which gives the banter an added layer. On the various National City news networks playing in the background, talking heads discuss a crisis involving an airplane. Meanwhile, all Snapper wants is some damn peace and quiet -- which is a shame because, even after he dismisses the pair, he has to deal with a mysterious woman with a plea for help.
The scene cuts, and a bearded man with a Flash jersey and boisterous voice emerges from the video village to call for a round of applause for the cast and crew before resetting for another take.
This is how you know you’re on a Kevin Smith set -- at least in my experience watching the Clerks director, podcast kingpin, and nerd royalty helm this week's episode of Supergirl, titled “Supergirl Lives.” Music plays when the camera isn’t rolling, people applaud -- a lot -- between takes, and there's a crackling, infectious energy. And it’s a helluva lot of fun.
Filming a show such as Supergirl -- about a caped, colorfully clad comic book superhero flying around and kicking villainous butts -- seems like it should be a fun day at the office, but the reality is there are long, grueling hours involved. Even as a spectator reporting on the sidelines from many sets, the most exciting shots to watch on screen can feel clinical to observe as lights are repeatedly set and reset, actors hit their marks and say the same lines over and over ... and all the while, time ticks down and the dollar signs add up.
But, positioned both from a CatCo desk right next to Smith’s monitors, then a few feet away from where the walk-and-talk ends outside Snapper’s office (literally; I’m right outside the shot), I get a view of all the moving parts in this scene. And this is a good set; maybe one of the most upbeat I’ve ever seen.
However, I wanted to get the impressions of the actors who worked with Smith on the Supergirl ep -- especially since he recently revealed he'd be returning this season to direct the 17th episode of the show -- and how he fit in with their universe after previously directing The Flash. Revisit the trailer for this week's episode, "Supergirl Lives," and read on.
I cannot say enough amazing things about Kevin Smith. I have been a fan for ages, and anticipated working with him. I was so excited about it, and he exceeded all my expectations. He is so supportive and encouraging. The atmosphere on set – we work crazy long hours, and the energy he brings is always positive. You saw how many rounds of applause there were! That's a daily occurrence, and all day. I don't know how you keep that up. He is so intuitive about this genre, and knows it so well.
I loved Kevin Smith since Clerks. I was huge Jay and Silent Bob fan. But he's an actor's director, he's a crew director, a writing director, he's a camera director. He's everybody, and everybody's favorite. He makes you understand it doesn’t have to take eleventy billion hours to get the right thing and to make it look good. He also brings an amazing energy to the set and is always applauding, and laughing, and yelling out things that are funny.
He is such a fun, good guy. He is great at what he does. From my character's perspective, specifically, he’s been awesome. Mon-El has that comedic, off-in-his-own-universe energy, and Kevin is very good at finding a place to add things. There is a lot of lightness that comes in his direction for my character. He keeps things moving, he plays music and always having people applaud. He keeps everyone engaged and a part of it.
He has got a great energy. He keeps everything very light. As far as I've been here, nothing's been heavy, but he keeps it light, quick, fast-paced. He has a lot of humor, so it's a good place to work. Him being an actor, he kind of knows what's best for him, what he likes, and so he tries to give that to other actors. His notes are right on point, and succinct. You know exactly what he means. And he comes up with things spur of the moment that really helps the scenes. It has been great. I was not surprised, but happy it turned out this way. Sometimes, some actors who direct don't know what they're doing! It is not easy to do, and I'm really pleased.