The Office ‘Sabre’ Q&A

Q. Jen, what was it like working with John behind the camera? | kim

Jen: It was really great working with John. I already knew how insightful he was about the characters and the show, but I was really impressed with the way he told the story visually — I especially loved the shot of Michael driving away in his car and seeing Wallace through the window. It was both funny and felt like a scene from a horror movie.

In Sabre, we got to see a very different side to the Wallace character and I loved the way John thought about/directed those scenes so that there was a slow build to the moment where Michael realized that his hero wasn’t the way he remembered.

It was also cool watching the way John interacted with the actors — not just the specific thoughts he had, but the timing of giving his notes — with an extra awareness as an actor of when to step in and give them.

He gave me shit at one point, because after the first take of a scene I turned to John and said “I know it’s early, but…” and he said “You think?” He was absolutely right, of course, and striking that balance of when to give thoughts to the actors or Randall and Matt is really important on the set.

Q. John, what was more challenging for you, directing your cast mates or directing the guests actors/actresses, new cast members? | Gabrielle

John: I had the incredibly surreal experience of having Kathy Bates and Christian Slater in my episode, soooo yes, I was way more nervous on those days! Just prayed I didn’t make a nerdy True Romance or Misery reference!

And Zach Woods is such an awesome addition to the show. I was definitely nervous being the first director he got to work with!

Q: How did the cast react to taking direction from John? | Dana

John: They were so mean — I’m just now getting over it! Ok … they were fine. Haha! The cast was just awesome!

Everyone knew that I was nervous to direct and were so incredibly helpful. The truth is, this cast is the most talented group of people around. Right from the first take, they nailed it.

So as a director, the hardest thing to do is not laugh from behind the monitor and ruin the take!

[from tanster: i asked some of The Office cast members what they thought … ]

Jenna: John was a wonderful director. To start with, he was very prepared … which is important. He knew how he wanted to stage each shot.

We have very little time to get our scenes and the more prepared the director is, the more the actors can play around creatively. His preparation gave us that space.

He is also very naturally funny. He has great comedic instincts as an actor and he carried that into his direction.

For example, he suggested I be enthusiastically playing with a tiny tea set when he comes out of the bathroom … which was such a fun idea to play with.

He also suggested I deliver the line “And that’s the most awkward solution to the problem” like a game show host telling someone they’ve won the jackpot. It made for a very funny delivery.

Thanks John! I would love for him to direct another episode.

Ellie: John was, of course, awesome. Being new to the show, I make my primary goal in every episode to please just not ruin the episode. John made me feel confident yet calm, and also made me laugh throughout the entire week. If this isn’t too weird a thing to say, I felt like he took very good care of us.

The only time I felt anxious was during the scene when Andy and Erin sing about Sabre. It can be embarrassing to sing in front of a dozen television and movie stars. However, after the very first take, John smiled and told us we did a great job. This alone made me feel like Superwoman. Thank you, John!

Brian: John was great. A unique experience having him direct, cause of what a jerk he is personally, but the cast members who have directed have an understanding of the show and characters that an outside person cannot possibly have.

After all, we are the only ones who have been in the room for all 120 episodes or whatever. And he was bold, which I thought was cool. Wanted characters to try new things.

Other than what a jerk he is — he was fantastic.

Kate: John is a very thoughtful director who created a great tone on the set. He really did his homework on all levels. He took his job very seriously, not himself.

Oh, and I think John smelled better when he was directing.

Andy: He was great. His main problem though is just that he has no enthusiasm at all … none.

Creed: Which one’s John?

46 comments

  1. I thought when I heard it that “Taste a Rainbow” was a shout out to Chris Kattan’s Mango character, who always said crazy stuff like that. Love these Q&A’s.

  2. You are all so talented. The show is just so great. I am 55 and worked in banking for 32 years, I can’t tell you how many scenes from all the shows I could relate to over the years. I envy all of you for getting to do what you love and are all so great at.
    The Q & A’s are great. Hoping the show will be on for many more years. Thanks for keeping me entertained.

  3. This was definitely one of the best episode Q&A’s ever! I loved all the surprise guests, especially Andy Buckley, that was fantastic. And I’m super excited for Rainn’s directorial debut, who knows what crazy things he might come up with? JKras did an incredible job and I hope he can do more episodes in the future! Thank you so much to the cast & writers, you’re the BEST :) Tanster, you rock for being in such close contact with all of them!

    [from tanster: my pleasure! i love these Q&As. and it was fantastic to get so many Office members involved this time around!]

  4. Thanks to everyone and Tanster! It is so amazing and unusual to be able to learn more details like this. Fantastic!

  5. Wow, what an amazing Q&A! Thanks to everyone – we really do appreciate you putting the time and effort into doing this and doing such a thoughtful job answering the questions.

  6. That was GREAT! Thanks to everyone for participating.
    I still want to know.. “John.. how did you become so awesome?”

  7. That was SO much fun to read. Hearing the fun behind the scenes stories make the episode even better, in my opinion. Thanks Tanster! :)

  8. Thanks everyone for answering the questions. It is amazing the information that you share with us fans!

  9. W00t! This made my day! Thank you so much, Office Cast and Staff! (And a special thank you to Tanster. You’re the best!)

  10. Best Q&A ever! …but that was with John Krasinski so I might be biased… ;) Creed: perfect answer!
    Thank you so much everybody: Jen, John, Andy, tanster… :)

  11. To echo others – that was amazing! I always love the Q&A’s, but this one very well may be the best one yet. Many, many thanks to everyone involved!

    And Creed’s answer nearly caused me to spit water all over my computer monitor. Classic!

  12. Loved Creed’s answer,spot on. And I loved the insight into the shenanigans of the writer’s room! Making magic wands out of chopsticks is a fantastic idea…I know what I’ll be doing this weekend!

  13. Woo! One of my questions was answered! Thanks Jen! And thanks Tanster for setting this up! :-)

    Awesome Q&A! One of the best! I love all the behind the scenes stuff. Any chance we may be getting one for the birth? Please?

  14. Hooray! Andy answered a question from me. So fun. Thanks to everyone! What a fun Q&A!

    Oh, and I love the Harry Potter stuff! Too funny. I had to read that out loud to my coworker.

  15. Seriously, how can you not love these people? Cast, crew, and of course, Tanster, all totally awesome.

    We are not worthy.

  16. john answered my question… i can die happy!

    the answer was great too… 9ft. 2in… heeeeeee. oh john how i love you.

  17. Thank you so much! This was the best Q&A — it made me laugh and smile and made my day! All this insight and funny stuff was such a great added bonus to yet another truly great episode. There is no other cast, crew, writing team in the business that gives so much to their devoted fans! What a truly functional, happy, crazy-talented bunch. Thanks again to Tanster and The Office!

  18. Thank you Andy for answering my question. In my opinion your David Wallace and Amy Ryan’s Holly are the only ones who have managed to bring out the most tenderful and precious side of a man who has a tendency to create havoc for himself and others. Michael Scott of course.

  19. Yay! My question was answered. Thanks again Tanster for putting this together. I love all the behind the scenes info!

  20. “Which one’s John?” – Classic.

    Loved this Q & A! Best one yet! Thank you Tanster for making this happen! it certainly helped my Office withdrawals (1 more week!)

  21. This was great! And John answered my question!! *dies a little* Thanks again for having this Q&A, reading all these answers and the behind the scenes tidbits was so much fun. :)

  22. So great. I loved the Harry Potter story, the true story behind the awkward interview, learning that it was John’s idea to have Wallace be so creepy, and of course, Creed’s statement. Thanks so much to EVERYONE for chipping in and answering our questions! (And thanks, Jen, for answering mine!) This Q & A just reminds me why I love you guys so much– thanks for loving us back!

  23. Wow, so so fun. THANKS again, Tanster and amazing Office peeps who make us fans love you and your show so much!

    As far as Office Withdrawal goes, I can only be thankful that these two weeks at work have been crazy! (plus, this Q&A allowed me to spend Office Time – which would start roughly 20 minutes from now if it were a good Thursday – doing some Officey-thing : ) Woot.

  24. Thank you so much for this. Great Q&A. Special thanks to everyone for taking the time to give interesting and funny answers. :)

    I noticed that John mentioned making a Director’s Cut of this episode. Is that why we never saw any deleted scenes on NBC.com? And does this mean the cut will be shown at some point on the website and/or included on the DVDs?

  25. Awesome Q and A for an awesome episode. The cast and crew are some of the most likable and naturally funny people around, and it’s always interesting to hear how much thought goes into even the minor details. Thanks to everybody involved!

  26. Great Q&A! Huge thanks to everyone involved, especially John, Jen and Tanster :D

    It was an honour to have one of my question answered… It’s not very often that fans get this kind of opportunity to interact with the cast and crew like this!

    Also, did anybody else think of Skittles for the “Taste a rainbow” quote? Maybe it was just in Canada, but a couple years ago, Skittles had a promotion called “Taste THE rainbow” =P

  27. Thank you so much for this tanster, you never fail!

    Michael Scott with a sixpack would’ve looked weird, indeed.

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