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.

33 comments

  1. Wow! Great Q&A! Thanks to David for taking the time to carefully answer so many questions, and thanks to Tanster for asking all of them!

  2. I love that John wrote a special note to Jenna!! I am so going to miss Jim and Pam!!

  3. John writing a special message in the card without Jenna knowing is a total Jim move….It’s like they really are a unit. I always thought they had a great chemistry together.

  4. Okay, and I’m a mess now after reading about John writing the note to Jenna that made her react like that! Absolutely the best Q & A ever – can we get a special edition box set of all 9 seasons with Dave doing audio commentary for every episode?!

    [ from tanster: i second that! ]

  5. Thank you, David, for answering these questions! So cool to know that you were “the voice”.

    John and Jenna are so freaking awesome. JAM has always reminded my husband and I of our relationship, he says I’m his Pam, but John and Jenna’s friendship is what makes their characters so…magical.

  6. Give it up for Stanley the Manly! LDB is the man for sitting through all the talking heads.

  7. The best Q&A ever! This was fascinating, fun to read and informative. I love how much care and thought and detail are put into these amazing episodes. I’m going to miss this show and all the talented people who work on it. Thank you David Rogers and Office Tally!

  8. Wow, that was amazing! Thank you, Dave Rogers. Incredible insight into the episode and how sweet was it that JK wrote a special note to JF in the card.

  9. Amazing Q&A. It really makes the episode that much better (and it was close to perfect to begin with).

  10. Wow, only John and Jenna know what’s in the card, that’s amazing!! It makes the scene even more potent.

  11. My unanswered question has always been… who is the father of Jan’s baby? It always seemed to me that she had some extra knowledge when she told people she went to the sperm bank. My theory is that Astrid is really Hunter’s, OR… Jan picked out Kevin from the sperm bank donor book.

  12. The information about the card made me happy. It’s like the hug and the “Thank you” was not only between Jim and Pam, but a genuine moment between John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer, which just makes it awesome.

  13. The one unanswered question I still have and don’t really expect to be resolved is whether Kevin is really the biological father of Astrid…

  14. Jan got an anonymous donation from a donor bank. The only way to know if Kevin was the father would be to do a genetic test with him….but why would Jan ever do that?! It wouldn’t make any sense to reveal a father.

  15. Thank you so much for the awesome insight, David! And thanks for the organization of this Q and A, Tanster! You’re both so great. And as always, even more obsessed with JAM after reading about this private card. Can they get any more perfect?!

  16. Wow, just wow. I read this right after seeing the video “The Faces of Jim.” I miss them already!

  17. I’m still confused about the Beesly/Beesley thing. Didn’t Jim’s video say Beesley?

  18. Wow. Great Q&A! Thanks so much for answering my question. I actually forgot that Dwight had used a dirty diaper for the DNA test. I’m also glad that the content of the card won’t be revealed…it’s much better that way.

  19. What will we do now? Now that the Office is officially over? Will the characters watch themselves now?

  20. the only unanswered question – why did Michael hate Toby so much? Greg Daniels mentioned he might do a backstory on that but never did…I would love to know!

  21. I wonder if that means that LDB technically has the most screen time of any actor on the show. I hope that reflects in his syndication royalties! :)

  22. Thank you David, it was a very informative and moving Q&A. Glad you contributed to the show.

    @ash
    Some things, like the card from Jim to Pam, are better left unexplained. And I’m glad they never addressed that.
    The common guess for Toby is that, Toby being HR, he didn’t answer to Michael Scott, wasn’t compelled to take part in his charades and may have transmitted over the years reports and complaints to the headquarters, as he was supposed to do.
    Anyway, Dwight did fire Toby in the finale, something Michael could never do. Either David Wallace changed the rules, or he approved first Dwight’s request for undisclosed reasons (Toby not reporting that Andy was missing?)
    And it still made it more effective that Michael’s hatred for Toby is so irrational. If there had been a concrete reason for it, we would have linked Michael’s behavior with the original incident. Without explanation, it was even more childish and effective.

  23. Great Q&A, thanks for this!

    Question though: from which episode is the deleted scene Tyson refers to in his question – with Jim talking about his best first date with Pam?

  24. I thought the misspellings of Pam’s last name were addressed in a commentary from one of the Niagara episodes. They said that at the rehearsal dinner, on the sign outside of the door, beesley was spelled wrong on purpose.listen to commentary though

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