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“Friday Night Lights”: Jason Katims explains how they get ‘er done

Fnlkatimsbritton How do they do it?

Showrunners and other creatives marvel that the quality of the work that the “Friday Night Lights” team pulls off on its modest episodic budget of about $2 million and change. On a day when showrunner/exec producer Jason Katims were celebrating the clinching of a two-season, 26-episode pickup, Katims took a moment to answer the “how” question.

Although everyone associated with the show raves non-stop about his talents as a showrunner, Katims (pictured left with “FNL” star Connie Britton) was humble in spreading the credit around.

It starts with the video verite 360-degree shooting style that Peter Berg (helmer of the 2004 “FNL” feature who also created and exec produces the series) established when the pilot was shot. Multiple cameras are going all of the time, and moving all around, in any given scene. Actors never know where they’re next shot is coming from, so they just focus on the nailing the scene from any angle. (Katims didn’t say so but you get the feeling there’s a strict no-whining policy on”FNL” sets.) 

“The way Pete Berg directed the pilot allowed us to do the show in a very timely way,” Katims says.

Then there’s the “incredible team in Austin,” says Katims, who supervises the writing from L.A.

Helmer-in-chief Jeff Reiner and producer Nan Bernstein plot out the shooting sked with a military precision. Katims notes that they often shoot footage for more than one football game at a time, to take advantage of the time and coin spent on elaborate setups.

“It saves a lot of money,” Katins says, particularly when your show is blessed with a talented and dedicated crew.

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