A.A.R.M. Q&A with David Rogers

The cast would spend time with them before they were needed on stage, and those kids were just calm and attentive from the get go. And lucky for us, one cried when I needed him to when the scene called for it, and as for calming down as soon as Dwight picked him up, well that’s where I come in as an editor, cutting to a take where the baby wasn’t crying to give the illusion of Phillip instantly settling down.

theoffive: I think there’s some interview or dvd commentary where John Krasinski mentioned that he wrote a card as Jim for Christmas Party. Was that the original card that Jenna read?

Chloe: I loved Jim’s video tribute for Pam! What went into making it, and did you take inspiration from any fan videos on YouTube?

jL: Did Jenna get to watch the JAM montage before she filmed that scene? I feel like it would have been more powerful/dramatic for her to watch it in real-time, like we did.

Brooke: Was the Christmas card that Jim gives Pam the same prop from season 2, and did John actually write anything in the card?

RBG: The appearance of Pam’s video seems to change drastically at one point. Initially, it looks very “punched in”, like it was not actually playing on the laptop but was edited in from another source. Then we cut to a different scene, but when we come back to the video it looks much more natural–there are reflections of the characters (who are watching the video) on the laptop screen and there appears to be a bit of some sort of screen interference. What’s the story behind that?

Laurie: Who suggested the Snow Patrol song?

David: The idea of Jim giving Pam the Christmas Card he pulled back from the Season 2 Christmas Party episode had been percolating in the writers room for a while but this finally seemed like the right time and place to do it.

The prop department used the same card and envelope that Jim gave Pam and pulled away from the original Christmas Party episode. Keep in mind that there are multiples — all prop masters have to cover themselves in case something ever breaks or rips or gets lost.

John Krasinski wrote what’s inside the card at some point prior to us shooting the scene for A.A.R.M. and it is a private message to his co-star and dear friend, Jenna Fischer. They are the only ones who knows what it says. She read it for the first time when he gave it to her in the first take we shot and I can tell you that judging from her emotional response, it’s really something special.

We did get some inspiration from the fan videos that captured the great moments of Jim and Pam’s relationship. Our editor Claire Scanlon combed through our episode library to build this amazing montage and she picked the Snow Patrol song which she felt was in the same style of music as the Travis song that Jim played to Pam in The Client. John had some input with the video and he did not want Jenna to see it until we shot the scene. The first time she watched it was the first take we rolled on. We played the video with music and we only filmed the scene a few times since the emotion from the video and Jim’s teapot card were there from the start.

I would say that 90 to 95 percent of the shots we originally put in stayed, and we added and changed out a few by the time the episode was finished in editing. I did not notice the difference between the shots that played back in the computer screen, and the ones that were “burned in” after we shot — we add a slight monitor/glare mask to match them as best as we can, but I suppose if you look really closely you can tell the difference. I did like seeing the reflections of the room, especially when the video ends and you can see part of Jim in the screen. We also extended the original Teapot scene to end the video in a great place, but as a bonus we get to see a glimpse of what the significance of the golf pencil he put in there relates to.

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