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Go to peacocke TV dot com to download and start streaming now. Hey guys. Jenna Fischer here for the month of July. You can get my book, The Actor's Life A Survival Guide for 50 Percent Off the Cover Price or download the e-book for only four ninety nine. All of my proceeds from the sale of the book will go to benefit Mary's list. This special offer is only available on orders made directly from the publisher. So go to Ben Bella books dot com.
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Each week we will break down an episode of the office and give exclusive behind the scenes stories that only two people who were there can tell you where the office ladies. Hey, guys. Welcome to this lady's. Hi, friends, this week we are doing something a little different. We are going to revisit an old episode. We're going to revisit the Season two finale casino night episode. Yeah.
Guys, we're gonna shake it up a little bit. We got so much love and feedback for this episode, and we really loved reading your reactions. They cracked us up. Also, it was one of your favorite episodes that we had done. Remember, we had Jaquet John Krasinski on to chat about those Jim and Pam scenes and Jenna Constance Gorham said Casino Night was my favorite episode of The Office and of your podcast. I loved your conversations with John, that joy you felt when reminiscing about those backstage moments and the friendship you have with so sweet and definitely had me smiling while listening to it.
Well, Constance, we agree. We agree with you. And that's why we want to go back and give this one a second look. We broke down a lot of stuff in this episode, but and we missed some stuff. We did not. People wrote in with more questions. We're going to answer those. And a little later, we are going to interview the director of Casino Night, Ken Coppice. Guys, Ken directed 13 episodes of the office, including our pilot episode.
I mean, he got us started. He also directed Diversity Day, sexual harassment, booze cruise, gay witch hunt. He directed our one hundredth episode of the Office Company Picnic and our finale. We literally could not be more excited to talk with him today. I love those human. He is one of my favorite humans. I'm so excited for you guys to hear his awesome, sweet voice. He is just a delight. I can't wait.
Go ahead. Go ahead. That's how he would say action. Yeah, go ahead. He would also give me notes like this. He would say, Jenna, you know what? In this next take. Why don't you. You know what? Go ahead. Yes. He would start to give me a note and then not give me a note. I really got kind of like ninja mind game is this. Yeah.
We're going to ask him about it. Yeah. We're going to ask him about his ninja mind tricks. All right. We could talk about Ken a lot. But first, Jenna, we should probably get started with some things that we missed, you guys. You said we miss things. You wrote in Catherine B. wrote in to say in his talking head at four seconds. Michael says the Scranton Business Park is putting on casino night, not Dunder Mifflin.
It does seem like Michael planned most of it and is the host, but just wanted to point it out since Angela was so worried about the budget. Wow. There it is. Four seconds, Angela. Four seconds. And we missed something, John. Four. One, two, three, four. Miss something. Exactly. So I feel like this implies that all of the businesses maybe threw in for the party. Or was it that Billy Merchant, the owner of the building, threw the party?
It's Scranton Business Park. To me, that sounds like the businesses pooled their money and through this casino night. That's what it sounds like to me.
So that means like Vance Refrigeration participated. But then how did Michael get to be the host? Probably just because he's the loudest person at the meeting. Like, I got to do this. This is how he has nobody else wanted to. I mean, Mary, I feel like everyone was probably relieved when. Well, I don't know, because they probably knew what it would mean to have Michael be the host. And no one else wanted the job.
Maybe so. There you go. Well, we got another fan catch from Eliana Kornfield and Raymond Chen. They said, what day was the casino night? Because when Toby was telling Michael about why they shouldn't invite the Boy Scouts, he mentions that enjoyable night.
Do you mean invite or did you want to say invite? I want to say in Voit, like in Jon Voight, he invited them out. He invited them. I've been watching normal people. All right. Maria accent the holderness caldrons. Don't marry em. Don't, don't, don't. Accent Collins Marijan could solve their whole relationship by simply having one conversation. All right. That was like eight different mixes of. I doubt it. That's how I do it, I put them all together.
I'll start again. We got another fan catch from Eliana Kornfield and Raymond Chen. What day was the casino night when Toby was telling Michael about why they shouldn't invite the Boy Scouts? He mentions that it's a school night. But when Jan leaves, Michael says Talk to you Monday, implying that it's a Friday night. Well, I think we all know what I have to say about this. Here we go. Why are they a casual Friday? If it's a Friday where we dress casually?
No, I not. By the way, a lot of people have written in to me about this and said that in Michael Scott Paper Company, we're gonna have an episode where it's explained that we are reinstating casual Friday as if for some reason it had been banned. I'm just saying we don't cover it, OK? We introduced this idea of casual Friday and then we don't talk about it for four years. It's left me hanging. So I'm sorry you were left hanging.
I feel for you and your other friends out there who are looking for those Fris of casualness. OK. But the question is, what day was the casino night? It's unclear. I would think it would be a Friday because they're going to stay up late. They're going to gamble and drink and they don't want to go to work the next day. So I'm saying it's a Friday. I agree with that. And I think maybe when Toby was saying that it was a school night, maybe he means they had school that day.
But school night means you have to wake up for school the next day. Maybe it's a Thursday. We don't know, Jenna. All right. Our next catch comes from Jeremy Cordell. If Dwight is wearing his grandfather's tux that he was buried in wouldn't be filled with bullet holes due to the Schrute tradition revealed last season of shooting their loved ones to ensure that they do not bury them alive. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm hmm. Hmm hmm. I think this also brings up another question, Jeremy.
Follow me. Follow me on this, Jeremy. After Dwight wore the tuxedo. Did they then put it back on his grandfather to then rebury him in a barrel? Or does he just get to keep the tuxedo? I mean, Dwight mentions his grandfather was reburied in Season three episode for grief counseling. I think they removed the tuxedo, kept the tuxedo and put him in something else when they put him in the barrel. But he probably would have had the bullet holes in his suit.
I think that's a very fine catch from Jeremy. Well done. So now, Angela, I have something I'd like to point out that I cannot believe we did not discuss last time at 15 minutes, 35 seconds. We have an amazing shot of Mindy's hair extensions full Mindy. She's wearing a flower in her hair. We've been literally talking about these extensions for episodes and we failed to mention them in Casino Night. Here they are everyone. They are substantial extensions.
Kelly has gone all out. Yeah. I can't believe we didn't mention those. OK. Also, my friend Jonah Fisher, people say I say lady too much. So I'm gonna start calling you my friend. I would like you to call me Jonah Fisher. Oh, OK. My friend, Jonah Fisher. There we are. People also wrote in about Pam's hair. But you said not a question, but I just have to say, Pam's hair looks so amazing throughout this entire episode.
And Melissa Lynn said, I bet there was another meeting about her hair, Jenna. You know, there was a meeting about that hair. Come on, give it up. There was a huge meeting about that hair.
And we tried again as we did several different options for Pam's hair. Ultimately, we decided to go half up, half down. But instead of just having Pam let her hair naturally dry into that kind of frizzy curl, she would go back in with a curling iron and kind of soften her curls. We thought this was a good way for her to look like Pam, but like she'd given it a little effort, which seemed right on to me. So she would have had to blow dry her hair out straight, then get a curling iron and then put all those curls in.
Right. No, she let her hair dry naturally and then went in with a curling iron and just sort of softened the curl that was there. That's literally how we did that hairstyle. We did not blow it out first.
OK, I just wanted to know. I was curious about it. How many steps this was. Well, here's one thing I should mention. One of the discussions was that whatever Pam's hair looked like, it had to look like she did it herself. It couldn't look like someone else did it for her. Right. And the truth is, I could have never, ever achieved that little swirly.
If you look at the back of my head, I've got I know whirly thing there a is on the knee that holds up half the hair. Yes. Because her Pam clip is not there. There's no Pam clip. It's a swirly thing with little pins. There's no my arms couldn't bend in the way that would be necessary to achieve that. So bit of a cheat. We went with that.
Here's a little something for you guys listening. We always knew there was about to be a conversation about Pam's hair when Greg or one of the writers would come in a hair and makeup because you never, ever saw them in hair and makeup. You'd see them on set, but you would rarely see them come into hair and makeup. So whenever they did, we're like, oh, what's happening? Either Pam has a new hairstyle or Kate's getting her head shaved head going on.
Well, here's what I thought was so funny was the number of meetings we had about my hair in this episode. And all the while, Mindy was three chairs down for me, getting long, luscious extensions that no one questioned. No one questioned how and why. Kelly suddenly has long hair. But we you know, we curled my hair in a slightly new way and it was like seven meetings. We were very protective of Pam's hair. They really were.
And good thing, too, because, well, I mean, every once in a while we messed up with, you know, low pony. But we've already spoken about that LP.
We already covered LP. All right. I would like to talk about drink quarters, attract it, attract it. You and I want to talk about it. Here's the thing. At 20 minutes, three seconds, we see Jan and Carol. They are side by side at the bar, which is totally awkward. OK. Guess what Carol ordered? What? Red wine. OK, keeping it simple. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Jan orders a cosmopolitan.
You know, remember cosmopolitans were what I drank when I did my experiment with B.J. Novak about getting drunk for the Dundies. Remember I told that story. Is this because we had watched like one episode of Sex in the City and you're like, oh, people order Cosmopolitan.
When they go to a bar lady, that's literally correct. Yes. I had done so little drinking that when I had to order a drink, I said Cosmopolitan because it's what they drink on Sex and the City. Yes. Yes. One hundred percent. I didn't know any. It was that or a screwdriver. I knew those two drinks. That's it. All right. So Ryan comes up and orders a seven and seven with a marriage. You know, cherries, sugar on the rim blended if you can.
And then doesn't Jim say, oh, that's still going on? It's still going on, huh? He has perfect blind. It's perfect. Well, at 14 minutes and 46 seconds, Michael goes up to Billy Merchant. And we did not talk about the scene. And I have some info here. OK. And Michael says to Billy, your nurses hot. To which Billy says she's not my nurse, she's my girlfriend. And Michael says, your nurse became your girlfriend.
Sweet. And Billy says she was never my nurse. I met her at Chili's. All right. We had someone write in, and I am so sorry, sir, I lost your name. OK. If if you hear this, you know who you are. There's only one person who wrote in, and I cannot. Could not find the email again. But they wrote in to say, Is Billy merchant's girlfriend the same woman who played the hostess, Megan from Chili's and the client, remember, in the client?
We loved how Michael kept remembering that the hostess name was Meghan. He was like, Yeah. Again, Meghan. OK. OK. No, it is not Meggan from Chili's from the client, but it is the same actress who played the waitress at Chili's in Dundee's. What? And her name is Amanda Warren. This actress, Amanda Warren. She was a background performer in the Dundee's episode. She played a waitress and we hired the same actress to play Billy Merchant's Girlfriend in Casino Night.
That's some good continuity going on. Annuity cam owns some good continuity. And by the way, thank you, Kent P.D.A for doing that deep dive on our casting file to get me the answer to that question.
No, I can't pedia. Well, at 50 minutes, 51 seconds, Michael sits down at the poker table to play. No limit. Texas hold. Michael goes all in against Toby. Toby calls. Michael gets really mad. Toby shows a pair of jacks and then Michael folds his cards and storms away from the table. We have a fan question from K. Guth as a poker player. Did it bother Jenna that when Toby calls Michael's all in, Michael just leaves, even though he could still win?
Yes. Yes. Kay Guth. Yes, it bothered me a lot. Also in the script, it said that Michael turns over his cards, revealing a nine and a 10, which means he could have one by landing a straight right. If he gets a straight, that's going to be Tobey's to Jack's. Here's the thing. You never walk away from the table in the scene. Michael doesn't reveal his cards. He just folds his cards. So I guess we're left to presume that they were really awful.
But you never know what you're gonna get on the flop, on the turn and the river. You never walk away from your hand. Thank you, Kate Guth. It did bother me, Kate Guth. None of that made sense to me. I mean, I know what Jim said made sense to me. But I'll tell you what I'm going to take away from it. I am not walking away from the table. There you go. Thank you, Angela.
At 20 minutes. 23 seconds. I don't think we discussed creeds stealing of the poker chips, which comes a bit of a runner. Yeah, it's a total runner throughout the episode. And as far as I can tell, Angela Martin is the only person that really clocks it, right? Yeah, but then you don't say anything. I don't say anything. You keep this interesting. Angela, do you think that your care because your character clocks a lot of things.
Do you keep a little file? Oh. Do you think maybe you filed that away somewhere? Hundred percent use later. I think that's one of the things Dwight and I have in common. He's tracking all kinds of stuff. And so am I. And so when the two of us think that we're gonna have power together, we're like, oh, we own these people. Oh, you guys definitely have some secret files.
For sure. Well, lady, I think we should bring Ken on because now I have questions for him. Same. Well, here's what we're gonna do. We'll take a break and then we will be back with the director of Casino Night and many other episodes. Ken Compass, go ahead and go ahead to break.
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Ladies, get help today. Go to better help dot com slash office, ladies. Ken Coppice, hello, everybody. We are so thrilled to have you.
I am so happy to be here. Ken, you and I share a hometown. We do.
And I have a very distinct memory about one of our first meetings. So I went to an all boys high school in St. Louis. St. Louis University High School. All boys. And the only girls I met in high school came from two sisters schools, Ursuline Academy and narrowings and those were the girls who like, were actors in our plays. Yes. So anyways, when you and I auditioned, I remember having this moment where I thought, wow, this woman has such a weird Catholic girl vibe going on here.
She reminds me of, like the girls I knew from Mary's High School.
And that's where you feel like that's high school. Yes. And the only boys I knew came from St. Louis University High School to be in our place, though it was the weirdest, most random thing.
And but obviously, there's a there's an important St. Louis contingent on the show. Obviously, there's a huge one.
It's you guys and Ellie and Phyllis. Am I missing anyone else? Rusty. My Rusty. Our first Dee Dee Dee. Oh, my gosh.
Yeah. I really wasn't aware of how many people were from St. Louis until the World Series. That one season when everyone was watching, remember, it was like, am I going to get it wrong? Anyway, I just remember you guys were really intense about baseball. And I was like, why are you guys were all from St. Louis?
Right. It was a bad World Series that year for the Cardinals. So that's why I thought I was going to have a really great memory. You guys are like silent. I'm like, what's happening now? All right.
Well, Ken, we always like to ask our guests how they came to be a part of the office. And you were our first director. You directed our pilot. We'd love to hear how that happened. Well, I you know, I did not know Greg before the show. I, I met with him. I had an interview with him. I was actually very nervous to meet him because I knew his work. I really admired him. I also was nervous because like so many people said, this is a terrible idea.
Did he make this check with the office? And so I went into this job interview with these all these different feelings, including like, you know, what if I get this job, this is this this is an impossible task, remaking this beloved show. And I don't remember much of the meeting except for one thing. And that is Greg asked me what I thought of the British show. I said I really loved it. But then I was completely confused about the layout of the paper company in the British show.
I just found it totally I couldn't figure out where where people sat or anything like that. And I remember even in the meeting thinking this is a really bad move part. He wasn't like you if there you are when you hire a director because they have no visual sense.
And here I was basically saying I'm like spatially challenged. And Greg, to my delight, he goes, oh, yeah, I'm totally confused about that, too. And then we we were sitting I don't know where the meetings took place, but we were sitting on a sofa and then we kind of scrunched down next to the coffee table and got pieces of paper and pens and started like drawing like we were a couple of kids merely drawing what we imagined the original paper company layout was like.
So that was, I think, the turning point of the meeting.
Oh, my gosh, I love that story. I guess, you know, it's it's a little bit the lesson of, you know, sometimes it's okay just to admit where you don't know.
I guess it really speaks to Greg, too, because I could see Greg getting a bunch paper and saying, let's draw it. Let's figure it out.
Oh, that's exactly what it was. The two of us just like little kids drawing for a while.
So when you got the job, then, how did you approach building the Dunder Mifflin world? Did you scout real offices? Because, you know, our first location was that real office in Culver City. How did you choose your space?
Well, the space, as I recall, the office suite that we shot in was it's just this kind of shuttered office. You know, there was nothing going on. It was basically a big empty rectangle. There was nothing in it, really. And I remember a lot of questions that Greg and I batted back and forth, including should there be dividers between the desks, should there be cubicles? And, you know, we're sure if there are dividers, should they be low enough that you could people could still kind of see each other over them.
And we decided, you know, happily to have no dividers except accounting and accounting and and which is also a very bizarre part of Heider because you. It's still staring at each other. You know, I have my theory. I have my theory that Angela Martin requested that because she needed a buffer between her and Kevin, because he's you know, he's a little smelly.
He's like a murderer. Even when we decided it would be glass, I was like, well, what's the point of having that divider? But I think I was just sort of we wanted some sense that somebody was in a cubicle, we kind of thing. And but I do remember spending a lot of time thinking about the relationship between Pam's chair and Jim's chair. That actually was something that I played around a bunch with different ways that I mean, Pam's you know, you're your reception area was always where it was, but it was a question of where would Jim sit?
And I know it. And it seems now like how could it not be what it was?
But I loved the idea that you were. You always look at Jim. And Jim has to turn to look at you. It's like the simplest thing, but it thought that somehow the way you're desk's related would help tell the Pam Jim story. And so I love. Nothing makes me happier than some of the shots we did were like John's in profile in the foreground. And you're in the background, Jenny, like gazing at him. And he either is unaware that you're looking at him or he's completely pretending to be unaware.
And he knows very well that you're looking at him. So I feel like that was actually something that was like a key moment in setting setting up the Dunder Mifflin world.
I love that. Sure. And that would have been totally different if if Jim sat where Dwight said absolutely. They'd be staring at each other all the time. Oh, I love that.
And the other thing, you know, I was thinking about are, you know, or morning at 30 minute exercise where, you know, as we know that that actually that exercise.
Was inspired by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. They said that when they shot the British show that every morning or occasionally they would just stop and do what they called general views, and they were basically different, establishing shots.
And so when we did it, I didn't really think about that time, but I really feel like it sort of set the tone for the day and that once we kind of segway it into a scripted scene after, you know, a half hour of shooting shots.
I don't know. You know, like Angela, you know, doodling a picture of a cat or something. Like when we segway into a scripted scene, everyone kind of maintain that sense of just being, like under observation. You know, nobody was doing a scene. There was there was that's you know, everyone was still sort of being I was still just eavesdropping on these characters is supposed to do a scene. Yeah. You know, the other thing that was great.
I mean, none of the phones on the set worked, obviously, and they were all dummy phones. But it kind of gave some of the cast members who didn't have dialogue in the pilot like Phyllis didn't have doesn't have a line of dialogue in the pilot. But when we were doing our morning exercise, she was like on this new fake phone improvising a sales call. And so I remember actually filming her. And so it was kind of a great way to go for all of the cast members to start to find their voice, even if they didn't have words in the script.
Well, Ken, one of the things I remember as well, I just was watching you and our camera operator watching you and Randall sort of like scope out the look at the scene and we would rehearse for the crew and you guys would watch and your eyes dart back and forth, back and forth from who's talking. And you're looking around. And I would find myself if I didn't have lines in the scene, I would only watch you. I would watch you watching the scene, figuring out where you wanted the camera to be and how you wanted to tell the story.
Well, I can't speak for other directors. And obviously, the show there's so many great directors who worked on the show.
But for me, it was always critical to stand next to the camera, not to be off watching at a monitor. And part of what excited me was because I was standing next to the camera, I could see everyone who wasn't on camera. And so, for instance, like Janov, we were looking at you. But Angie, like, caught something that you were doing at the corner of my eye. If we did another take, I might say, you know, find Angela at some point.
So because so it just gave me a sense of where we might look. I mean, Greg put it really well when he was on the podcast on Puttan, when you talked about booze cruise and he talked about. I mean, among Greg's many talents is the way he sort of empowers the camera operator and he is sort of encouraging the operator to send a kind of get curious about what's going on, to look for things, to find things, to kind of get interested.
And. And I think that's such a I mean, it's such a fantastic way to approach the camera operating. But for me, at the beginning, it was mostly I just needed to figure out what else could the camera fine take to take. Anyways, that's a long puzzle. Hoggard involved way of answering the question.
No, I loved that. The other thing that I loved was the idea that the camera would be, quote, in the wrong place. So then we did that. We didn't do this a lot. As time went on. But at the beginning, there were a few times where, for instance, like Jen, if I was on you, but Angela, you had a line and then we whip over. But we'd get to you too late, Angela.
So we arrived just for, like a dead bit of dead air. There's like so we'd get there, wouldn't get the line. So I occasionally it was great to kind of choreograph some of those missteps a little bit. There's a lot of great times where it just feels like the deliberately the camera's not quite ready for what's about to happen. I was looking at Diversity Day again because I wanted to see Pam falling asleep on Jim's shoulder, which may be like my favorite scene that I directed in the whole series.
I love that scene so much. But what's nice about it is I'm sure it's Randall that when Jenna when you lean over onto John's shoulder, we're not quite framed for you. And so suddenly the camera sort of like quickly zooms into a tighter shot. But at the beginning, it's kind of just a kind of a loose frame with the two of you and maybe a couple other people.
Yeah. I wanted to ask you can about marks on the ground. So when I came out to L.A. and I had my theater degree, I took a bunch of on camera acting classes. And the big thing I learned was how to hit your mark. And a mark is a piece of tape on the ground that the actor must walk to and stand on because the camera has meticulously measured the distance from the marked the camera so that everybody's in focus. And like hitting your mark was a thing that I was constantly nervous about as an actor.
And I remember coming in on the pilot and asking, where is my mark? Because I'm now a professional actress on a television show and I must get to my mark. It's a new thing I like to learn from my classes is where your mark is. I'm like, where's my mark? And you said, no, Mark's the actor shall have no marks, no marks. Why did I spend that three hundred fifty dollars on the way? I have a question though.
Did it feel weird to not know where you were supposed to stand?
At times it was such a relief because it freed me up. I had started every scene. As an actor on camera, not thinking about where did I just come from, what's my emotional life? What am I doing in the scene? I started every scene with am I standing on my mark? Like that's what was going through my head was did I stand on it properly? I think I'm off. Should I look down? I looked down. Did it look obvious?
So it was so wonderful that I wasn't worried about where I was standing. You would just say just land in this general area, you know, walk over to Jim's desk somewhere between here and here, wherever you land, we'll find you.
An important part of that is that we had a lighting plan that for the most part meant that you could land anywhere and you would be, you know, equally lit.
Right. So actually, that's the key. I mean. And I mean, I would say I mean, there's nothing against marks, because if we're doing a scene, you know, where we have some complicated lighting going on.
You do occasionally need to hit the right spot. You can't be too far off. There will be no light on you. Yeah. But I think that that was part of it. But the other part of it was just the idea that generally that we were never staging things for the camera. Well, we were we were always staging things for the camera, but we were creating the illusion that we were simply sort of observing what was going on as opposed to choreographing something for the lens.
You know, I just loved the idea that we had to follow you. We were the documentary team. We came in each day. We don't know what you guys are gonna do and we're just gathering footage.
Well, speaking of documentary crew, can one more thing that you established. I'm not sure if we've shared this with people about the talking heads that. You can sat in the place of the documentarian. So when we started and then with every director that followed you. You sat next to the camera and asked us a question before we delivered our talking head. And early on especially, can you would start our talking heads by asking us general questions about our life, about our weekend.
And you sort of gently lead us to a prompt that would then get us to deliver our scripted talking head. And that was kind of an exercise that we did in the beginning. But I think a lot of times people don't notice you deliver things like that to like a piece of tape or to a tennis ball so that you're just meant to look at so that your eye is in the right place. But you were like, no, I want you to deliver this to me, a human being, and look at me and and have a conversation with me.
I thought that was such a brilliant decision and it helped us so much. It helped so much. And I think you guys listening out there, when we sat in the chair, we were immediately in character and we didn't know what Ken was going to ask us. And it really, for me, helped me discover so much about Angela Martin. It was sort of like this acting exercise, Ken.
Well, one of the things I thought about was the fact that a lot of the talking heads were very short. I mean, some of the one most wonderful talking hands are like just one line. Yeah. So. So it felt like. I mean, for me, the challenge is like, how do you make one line feel like it's part of a conversation? In theory, I found the documentary filmmaker. I did ask you a bunch of questions and then in the editing room pulled this one line out.
So it was just a question of. And I by the way, it was it was actually hard for me because I had to come up with different questions before teeing up the scripted line. And I I wasn't even sure what I was gonna ask. And but it just mainly was a way to keep it conversational. And but I thought it was also important that as characters that everyone started to develop a relationship with the, quote, documentary team. But I just felt like the documentary team is like important off camera characters in the show.
Yeah, I used to love being surprised by your questions. Like, I, I like, have the memory. One time you said to me, what do you think about Kevin?
Those are the type of questions you does. And I was like, I try not to think about Kevin. You want to ask some of the questions of the people wrote in? Yes. Let's ask some fan questions here. Can a lot of people wrote in wondering which episode was the most rewarding or the most challenging?
I feel very blessed because I got to direct a lot of significant stories and certainly a lot of important Pam and Jim stories. And I would say the most challenging for different reasons. The fire was very challenging because we spent so much time in the parking lot and it was like a hundred and fifty degrees yet because it was so hard and and and booze cruise I love so much.
But boy, that boat was not fun.
Here's a question. What would you consider the most under appreciated moment in the show? That's a big question.
Wow, that's tough. I. Wow. Let me think about that. Well, here's here's a moment from the or a short scene from the pilot that I always point to is to me, one of the best scenes certainly in the pilot is this is the scene towards the end between John and David. Then the when they're like leaning on Pam's desk after she has left and they're just leaning and not talking to each other and it goes on forever. And it's just this weird scene of dead air.
But there's such tension between them. And finally, I can't remember John's life, but he starts to engage with David and then David just walks away. It is that it is the oddest little see it. But I love how beautifully like it. It's it's very tense and there's not a word. And they're not even looking at each other. I just find that that would fall under a great underappreciated moment. I love that moment.
And it it felt so real. Like in watching it and Jim tries and then Roy's like, I'm out just walking out. Oh yeah. I love moments like that. We got this question from Justin Sweeney. Justin asked, as a director, how do you balance telling actors what to do versus empowering actors to be creative and make their own decisions? You're so good at this, Ken. You're very good. I feel like part of my job as a director is just to simply create an atmosphere where people feel loose and people feel like they can kind of play or, you know, or fall on their face or make a fool of themselves.
I mean, I just feel like part of it is is trying to really not be in any way, shape or form kind of judgmental in my mind and just sort of like it and sort of, you know, kind of love people into their best work.
And so it's not a specific thing. It's more just kind of. And I also feel it's very important to be near the actors, to not be often. I mean, obviously, this is the case in the office.
But, you know, I don't want to be off in another room looking at a video monitor.
I want to be near the actors so that when you call it, could the actors look up and you're the first person they see? And I've talked to so many actors who work with directors who are sequestered at a video monitor a half a mile away. And they say that, you know, after calling cut, they don't hear and they get no notes. They hear it's radio silence. So you're kind of at sea wondering what, you know, how am I doing?
So for me, it's so much of it is just being. You know, near the cast, I'm also kind of odd by actors, by the way, and I should.
I am not an actor at all, so I'm just sort of a little bit, you know, just kind of odd watching. I feel like I have the best seat in the house here. Yeah. There's one thing I do want to mention about Steve. I know it. On the booze cruise episode, you talked about how you talked about his intensely great work ethic and the fact that he was shooting a movie at the same time we were doing the booze cruise.
And what I remember in there at the beginning of the series is I always tried to get to the set before anyone else to kind of figure out what I was going to do during the day. And Steve was already, always already there. And he was in Michael Scott's office with the door closed. And he was just thinking about the day's work. And he was like, he was there before everyone. And I thought, wow, that's that's a pretty cool a cool signal for Steve that this was his intention.
But what a great signal to send everyone in terms of like. Yeah, I'm serious about your work.
Yeah. Can you would give me a piece of direction that you gave me more than once, and I am convinced it was a Jedi mind trick.
I know. I know it. I know it.
What I would do a scene a couple of times and then you would come up to the reception desk and you would say. Jenna on this next one. What if you. You know what? Never mind. Go ahead. I don't think what I want. What if I won?
What do you got to say?
Oh my God. You're on the me. Is it is it a Jedi mind trick? It it it it kind of is. Yes. What is the purpose of it. Is it to. What I think what I'm doing there. I think maybe. The purpose is to clear your mind. Yeah, maybe I do remember once Steve and I were working on a scene in the absurd company picnic and there was just a lot of discussion, as there often was, you know, with the writers between text.
And I could tell that Steve actually was a little like felt a little overloaded over noted.
Maybe that's the right way to put it. He was over noted. And I remember before one take I said, okay, Steve, what I what I want to do in this next take is like wipe the whole blackboard clean.
That was all I said.
And he goes, Oh, good day. He was very relative. I thought so.
Well, you know, can I have done an improv pilot that didn't go and I had done a few commercials, but this was my first steady gig as an actor. And I remember feeling such comfort when you would say, go ahead, look, just go ahead. And it's something the whole cast has always talked about how you would just say, go ahead. And I was like, don't say you don't scream action. You know, you do it for audience.
Ken, we've talked about it.
Will you do it? Go ahead. There's a lot of differences.
No, no. There.
There's a lot of different versions of. Go ahead.
By the way, there are no that's true. In, like, really emotional scenes. Like there was always a lot of support in your go ahead for Pam.
You be like, go ahead. It's OK. Like giving you would give me permission. Go ahead. There is there is a lot of like going back to the Jedi mind trick. There are also a few versions where it's like I'm about to say something and then I just say, go ahead.
It's like when you're not a god. Yeah. You do that with your hand. You be like, you know what? Never mind. Go ahead. You really play what's happening. Shannon, I got to work together again on Black A.F. for Netflix. And you got to say go ahead. And I got to hear it. And it's been so long, I almost like in the scene. My character wasn't supposed to cry in that moment, but I was like, oh, my God, I'm tearing up.
I'm getting up. Can I go?
By the way, one of the wonderful things about that show and our work on that show, Blackadder, is I got to say, you do improv in a way that I hadn't done the office. Yes, I was as a lot of improvisation. And of course, as you both know, everyone always asks how much the office was improvised. And, of course, you know, it mainly was just brilliantly written. It's a sound improvised. Yeah.
Well, listen, you guys, should we get into casino night? Yeah. So Casino Night received critical praise. I found that in a 2011 poll conducted by the fansite office tally, fans voted Casino Night as their favorite all time office episode that had aired at the time. Did you have any idea while you were directing it that it would be received like that? Did you know you were directing this monumental episode within the series? I had no idea that.
I mean, you're really you're not sure how anything is going to come together when you're in the middle of it. And what's so good about Casino Night is, again, I feel like there's so many story elements that are just working so well. And I also love watching it again. You know, I forgot how much of the story is about romance. You know, there's there's the Dwight Angela, the beginning of that romantic story. And obviously, Pam and Jim, but also, you know, Michael and Jan and Carol and also seeing I can't remember how much we've seen Bob Vance before Casino night, but just seeing the two of them together.
I don't know. I feel like there's there's there's all this. No romance in the air in this story. Yes, I really love that. It was kind of a date night in a way, for a lot of the couples. Ryan and Kelly as well. Ryan, Kelly.
Maria Cino, Cherries and I. I have so many favorite moments from Casino Night, but I have to there's like a couple of tiny ones I'd love to. They're so tiny that I love them so much. And one of them. And Angela, you talked about it after you slapped Dwight and walk away that tiny little moment before you exit frame. It's so small. It's so beautiful and and it's so great that Randall kept capturing it. Take after take.
But what I also love in that shot is that you see both yours and Rheins reaction at once. It's a very energetic shot because you're watching. You're kind of keeping an eye on both of you at once. It's really great. The other tiny little moment I will is is right before the first derald talking head. That's when Steve says Dinkin Flicker and we cut to crack. He gives a tiny, tiny look to the camera before we cut his talking head.
It's barely noticeable, but it's so great. It's almost as if the camera just see that. It's such a great little moment. And so there's a lot of little creepy, beautiful little grace notes like that in the episode.
You had mentioned that scene with Jan and Gem out by the car. You're positioned that very deliberately. Can you talk about that? Yeah, I actually I haven't read the scene description.
I'm sure I just said that they were standing outside talking, but I. And they may have actually found this on their own. They may have literally just leaned against a car hood. Side by side and then rehearsed it. Who knows how that it landed?
But when I saw it, it felt so sexy. It felt like, wow, this feels and plus, you know, malaria, smoking a cigarette.
And Malonis just kind of sexy, though. She is so beautiful. You know, she's no she's, she is very sexy and but she's also in that scene.
She's, she's in such a not good mood which to me actually made me feel even more that this would play as an interesting mislead for the audience. So maybe she's going to, you know, maybe they're going, I don't know, something's going to happen with these two.
And it doesn't it alleged the cop released revenge. No, but it just felt like that somehow, just the two of them just leaning casually against a car hood, just felt like it was the right way to go. And I also I loved it when you did the Casino Night podcast that you you talked about Jahns overnight bag in your car. And I loved Jenea. What you said you said the camera finds her overnight bag. And I was so delighted when you said that because in fact, the camera doesn't find that she holds it up for us to see.
And I. And I remember this.
I had a big discussion with Melera that night because in the script and in the Steve script, it says she tosses the what appears to be an overnight bag over her shoulder into the back seat. And in the first take her to that's what she did. She just threw it over her shoulder. And I thought, oh, I have no clue what it is that she just threw back there. What is that? So I. And this is like this tricky acting challenge.
I said, you know what? I hate to say it. I think you need to kind of hold it up for me to see what it is before you throw it. And so we had a discussion about why would she pause and look at it? And we I remember talking to her about, you know, you that this bag is like taunting you. It's like sort of, you know, it's like just made fun of you, like, you know.
So she did it so gracefully and into feels completely natural, even though it's a totally stagy moment. I would have had I had no idea. I mean, we watched it. We had no idea. Yeah. I thought it was totally organic. I, I mean, that's brilliant on your part and malarious part.
Well, Belorussia Melera pulled it off. It's so beautiful. One of my favorite shots. Is so not a documentary type shot, and I just love it. It's the shot of Jan and Carol side by side at the bar. You can just see the background and he notices them and then he slinks out of frame and he's framed sort of it's a very formal very you know, he'd like it's sort of very funny shot, but he's framed right in between them.
He slinks out of frame. And then moments later he reappears deep in the background and he's still, like, sort of monitoring them. And it's like such a hilarious shot. I don't have any clue what they're having a dialogue. Jan and Carol, I have no clue what they're talking about. All I'm doing is watching TV, like scurrying around in the background.
They're ordering their drinks. Let's see, Carol. Gary, tense small talk. Yes, that's what this tense, small talk. But I just totally every time I see his shot, like, I go, oh, shit, I should listen to that dialogue. You know what? I'm just looking at Steve.
Now, was it worth I wonder if it was in the script that Steve was pacing in the background or if that was something you guys found on the day to fill out that scene?
The scene description says Michael approaches in the background, sees the two of them talking, then turns on his heels. Then what Steve did is that he his his back is to them for most of the shot. And then he turns and then he doesn't know what to do. And then he leaves frame and it's the reappearing.
And the defense isn't really something that so much he's like is sort of stalking them a little.
He he does know what to do about this, like way too much action for him.
Another favorite memory of mine is when Creed wins the refrigerator. Because I remember staging it so that Creed's off camera and he had to load up his sleeve full of poker chips and he had to hold his hand up. So or else they'd fall. And as I recall, the camera was on Bob and Phyllis, Bob and some Phyllis. And and as soon as Bob announces that Creed's the winner on as the camera whipped over, I like, gave create a hand signal so that he could lower his arm and let the chips all fall.
I have very fond memory of making sure he had his the chips up in his sleeve. So can we talked a lot about all of the Jim Pam scenes in our Casino Night podcast, and John was on and he was able to give his point of view. But we had a fan right in Jess Marie asked, why did you decide to not let Jenna and John talk to one another before their kiss on casino night? What was what was in your head there when you were setting up that night?
Well, I felt and I know you and I have talked about this, Jenna, but we shot the kiss actually the night before we shot the parking lot scene.
That would leave my mind, by the way, like when when I found that out, I was like, well.
I mean, the reason is just a practical one. And that was it was the end of the week. And we saved our night exterior work for Friday night. Yes.
That's all it was. So that which we don't. So I felt like it was hard because how do you go into the kiss without having experienced that parking lot scene? How do you how do you prepare for it? How do you. And so it seemed to me that maybe having some distance between the two of you might help create. I don't know, just just this feeling that you're kind of off balance because you hadn't done the scene. Obviously, we'd read the scene.
We had a table reading, but we didn't rehearse the parking lot scene. So it was. So I know in a way, I was I was I just sort of felt like and I'm sure Greg and I discussed this. And and he may have had a different idea, but I just remember thinking, well, since we didn't do the scene, which was which is really that, you know, kind of a turning point in their relationship when, you know, Jim declares that he loves Pam and and it throws everything, you know, it upends everything since we hadn't done that.
There might be a way just to kind of, again, create a little tension. Well, it really worked because John told on the podcast that he was like, what happened to Jenna? Where's Jenna? Here, Jenna. He was like a she. What's going on? Yeah, where did she go? And I was in my trailer just sort of sitting there feeling. Very separate from the crew, and normally we you know, normally we didn't spend a lot of time in our trailers.
We sat on set with the crew while they did their lighting or we were snacking at the snack table and chatting with people. So to be sequestered and really did create a whole new experience.
Well, also, I mean, once we got into the scene, I mean, the lighting was so moody and obviously the you know, the crew was hidden.
And I and I think I listened to your ear and talked with John about this. And he's you know, he's right. It was weird because I was also trying to, like, underplay the whole thing. And in general, you and I have talked about this, that I had to make his little of it as possible, even though the call sheet that day set in like the all caps, chim kisses, bam. But I, I. I do feel like it was important that you guys be off balance.
Yeah, it worked. It worked. I mean, beautifully. So I also remember the discussion about whether to have a second camera to capture, in effect, your side of the kiss. Jenna and I and and and I do remember it, as you guys mentioned, that Randall was totally opposed to it. And he's absolutely right.
There's definitely only be one camera. And what I also remember, though, was I edited I was wrestling with whether or not to ask John to come further into the room when he came towards you, because if he did, it became effect. In effect, it became downstage little more. It would force you to open up the camera. And the shot would then be like the two of you in complete profile facing each other. And I was like, how do you how do you shoot and how do you stagey?
How do you photograph a kiss? And that's, you know, very classic Hollywood, you know. Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart facing each other on the tarmac. You know, it's like it's so but I decided at the last moment that that wasn't there are show that Edward that would be that that would be to Hollywood he for our show. And so we shot it. And I remember first of all, I was probably, you know, crying, watching the scene.
But I remember thinking that the other reason the camera angle was so good, so appropriate was that Jim knows what he's about to do. Jim has such a strong intention. He's coming there to kiss Pam, but then Pam is unaware of it in his surprised and we're surprised. So the camera angle really kind of puts us in Pam's shoes and sort of we are, Pam. No more surprised by it as well. So it felt like another angle would have really hurt the way we are involved in that moment.
But then we had to restage it. Oh, my God. I know. That was so weird.
We had to wait all summer to find out Pam's reaction. And then the only way to get it was to restage that whole moment. Was that so hard as a director to recreate a moment so that it seemed like it was just playing out? I mean, I kind of don't even know how we did it. A lot of people wrote in asking. Wait. Did you film the beginning of gay witch hunt? On the casino night, Rogers waited and you saved the footage and it was like, no, we completely re-created it and let it play out.
I remember being surprised when I saw the gay witch on script because we I mean, we hadn't gotten. I mean, this group, everything was written when we shot Casino Night, you know?
And I do remember going, oh, my gosh, we got to do that again, because I thought it was such an emotional it was saying, you know, it was so kind of draining for everyone. Now the bad way. And it's just emotional. And it.
I remember it being a lot, you know, a lot breezier of a job to recreate it, you know, because there was not nearly as as heavy neveah like.
No. Ken, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today.
Thank you. I had such a blast. It's so great to see both of you.
And I just so happy I'm part of this show. Well, you have to come back.
OK. I mean, listen, we've got a few years here. We're gonna be you up with some questions, OK?
Well, I will put in a request for you when you get the company picnic. Jenny, I think we need to have a discussion about your volleyball skills.
Yes, we will have you back for a company picnic reverser. You guys, I want to tell you that Ken is without a doubt one of the very best directors I've ever worked with. I feel so fortunate to have worked with you can. And he has a book coming out. It is called. But what I really want to do is direct lessons from a life behind the camera. It comes out October six, but it is available for preorder now on Amazon.
I got an advance copy, so I've already read it. Oh, please, guys, if you're an aspiring director, if you want to know more about just the experience of what it's really like to direct, please pick up Ken's book. But also, I mean, there's so much about your philosophy in this book that could really just be applied to life in general. Can it's it's a beautiful book.
Thank you. Thank you. It was such a pleasure to write and I'm so excited to get it out there.
I can't wait to get mine and then I'm going to text you about it. So get ready for your plan to blow up. I have found a quote about your book from Larry Wilmore. He's one of our writers and I'm going to read it to everybody. Okay. Do it. Do it. It says, action is what most directors bark out to begin a scene. But Ken Clops starts by gently intoning the words. Go ahead. That simple suggestion assures everyone there in smart, capable, humble hands.
And that's how you'll feel reading his book. And so if you're anxious to discover how a top director always brings humor, honesty and humanity to his work. All I can tell you is.
Go ahead. Perfect. Larry Wilmore. That is so beautiful. Can and so true. So true.
Thank you. And all I can say is. I'm going to keep listening to this podcast. I so enjoy Weakley getting to listen to both of you. So thank you.
Well, I'd love to come back. Good. Well, we would love to have you back. And guys, we're going to put Ken's book up on our Web site. Office ladies, dot com, you can find it there. But like we said, it's also on Amazon. But if you're looking for a quick link, you can head over to our Web site and we will link to it there and in the show notes.
Thank you. Can we love you? Love ya.
I love both of you. And I hope to see you soon.
I mean, who is better than Ken Corpus? Nobody. Nobody. He's the best. He is the best. I love him so much. Can I have saved several of your Christmas cards? Is that weird? Love you. OK. So we have just a few more things to discuss. Jenna OK. Manea wrote in and said something I'm curious about. Pam often fussed with her engagement ring, most noticeably when Jim walks away after his big confession.
Was that a script direction art or was that Jenna's own added touch of mania? You are always so thoughtful with your questions. They always stand out to me. Thank you for asking. You know, a lot of media is the artist who does all of the beautiful drawings of scenes from the office. We've talked about her podcasts before. Okay, so that was not in the script. That is something I do in my life. I'm a bit of a fidget or.
But I did make a conscious decision for the character of Pam to futz with her engagement ring to Roy while in that scene with Jim, because, you know, that ring that she feels on her finger is why she's not saying what she really wants to say.
Oh, that's good, lady. That's so good. So that was that was an acting choice. I think that's so good. Well, listen, I loved that question. I appreciated that you noticed my little acting choice there. That means a lot to me, actually. I like that. You know, I tried to put those details into the character and into my performance, and it always feels really good when people notice.
So thanks. Yeah.
Also, lady, we got a ton of mail about your big brother kid sister. Bit with John. I know. OK. So, Angie, remember how you and John were talking on the podcast and you were trying to remember what the actual name of the Boydell was called and we couldn't remember. Yeah, well, a lot of people wrote in. Tom K. Willey one all said the boy dolls name is my buddy. And Angela, not only that, the original commercial is still on YouTube.
Oh, I know. I went and watched it, guys. I went and watched it. Can we play a little bit of that?
There it is.
Big buddy. Kid sister Angela and my buddy. Mom, what about you? Big. Use that big buddy. Got my being.
We will never get. We literally just listen to it and it's not landing on me. But here's. I can only hear Big Brother kid sister because that's what you and John did for so long on set. But Angela here is what creeped me out when I watched that commercial and I saw that doll. My God, it looks like you. Oh, come on, lady, braid your hair. And you are his sister. It is. Well, John, who started it?
He said to me, he called me kid sister. And then clearly classic Kinzie, I got it wrong. And I went mad mother instead of my buddy. Well, he nailed it on kid sister because the resemblance is eerie. Well, I guess I'm just going to have to go get one. Don't get why it will scare people in your home if they come upon it. It'll be like you putting a Chucky doll in your house. You can't do it.
I'm going to get one. And I'm not done it by my mailbox.
I thought you were going to say you're going to put it in my window or something. And I feel like, oh, no, I have to go. How do you how do you protect someone in a pandemic? That's how you get a creepy doll and send it outside their window. A creepy doll that looks just like you. Yeah. All right, guys. We also got some mail that is not specific to casino night. OK, why do some characters on the show have character names like Pam, Jim, Roy, Dwight?
And some have their real names, Oscar Crede, Angela, Phyllis. We get this question. I would say the most. It's in the mail every single week. Yeah, every single week. So I feel like we have maybe answered this before, but we want to take it again. Do we answer it in one of our candy bag episodes? But we're going to answer it here because we really feel like people want to know.
Well, listen, you know, we had asked Greg about this and he said, obviously some characters are based on characters from the original British office. Right. Jim and Pam and Dwight. And then there were these new characters and it was myself and Oscar. They we weren't in the original and they just used our names and just kind of let it start. I think what's interesting, Angela. Did Greg ask your permission to use your name or did he just name you Angela?
No one said anything. The only conversation I ever remember having is he asked me if I had any pitches for my last name. Oh. And and I did pitch Martin. But this was several episodes in. I was already Angela. And then we were talking about, well, what what would your last name be? I, I wrote down a list of them and one of them was Martin. And that cleared. Is that significant to you in some way?
Is Mark, Murdo, Emily name or something? No. I just was trying to think. I thought it was interesting that Kevin was Kevin Malone and Oscar was Oscar Martinez. And then I'd be Angela Martin would be the three Ms. And then we for years had a running joke that our spin off would be the accountants go have their own firm called M, M and M. They love it. I love it. Well, there you have it, guys.
That's that's why some people have their real names and some people have character names. Nothing like their name. Yeah, I think the writers just were like, we'll use their names. It's really not probably that interesting of a story. But there you go, guys. Thank you so much for sending in your questions. This was so much fun. I loved this revisited episode. Angela, honestly, one of our favorite things that that we do is get to read comments and interact with you guys.
And I just love that. I love the office. Jen and I obviously loved the show. So we love getting to interact with fans that also loved it and have questions and comments and things that you caught that we missed. I love all of it. I also really like the idea of being able to deep dive with some of like the original visionaries for the show. Like we have to get Dave Rodgers, our editor. We've got to get Carrie Bennett, who designed her wardrobe.
Season one in the beginning and end, like Randall Einhorn or cinematographer Kent P.D.A.
Ken to pedia, you have to get Kinta P.D.A. So, yeah, I don't know what we're going to call these, but from time to time we're gonna give you what do we want to call an angel. A deep dive. A revisited. We'll figure it out. You guys actually tell us if we do an episode like this again, shall we call it the deep dive or The Revisited? I like the deep dive. Well, I mean, you've got a deep you've got to dive.
You put them together. Get a deep dive. No, no, no. That's my son. That my son. That's my son, Angela. And you're like, no, no. That is horrible.
Coastal areas. OK. OK. So, guys, keep sending in your questions. We have folders over an office, Lady Seacom, to submit questions for specific episodes. You can also send us an email at. Office ladies at your wolf dot com.
Yes. We love engaging with you in our social media. You can follow us over at office. Ladies pod on Instagram. And thank you so much to Ken, Croppies. And thank you guys so much for listening in. Yeah. We'll be back next week with the merger.
Thank you for listening to. Office Ladies Office Ladies is produced by Airwolf. Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey. Our producer is Cody Fisher, our sound engineer, Thamm Keeper. And our theme song is Rubber Tree by Creed Bratton for ad free versions of the show and our bonus episodes. Candy bag. Go to stitcher premium dot com for free. One month trial of Stitcher Premium Use Code Office.