Press has started for #YouNetflix Season 3 (OUT OCTOBER 15th) and every time I get asked about making it, I think about our crew.
Talking about how they pulled this show off during COVID is worth a thread or five. So I'm gonna dive in and do a serious one. For the interested:
So, the crew: in masks all day while doing strenuous physical labor, social distancing, memorizing changing zone rules and getting poked with q tips. Just stopping to have a sip of water is a whole deal when you're in PPE.
(Never mind being a human with a soul who maybe read the news that morning and now has to set aside deep existential dread to get shit done. We all know that's a thing.)
I also think about our EP/director, @silvertree77. She has this quiet, gentle but direct way of working with actors. Honestly, someone tap this woman to teach a master class, it's incredibly effective...
...Of course, put everyone in masks & 6 feet away, and now she has to figure out a whole new way of communicating. By the way, there was no workshopping this. She stepped on set for day one, and had to make that day. So, yeah, figure it out AS you shoot the premiere. No presh.
And all our directors, some of whom had never done our show before; directing something for the first time is plenty without a thick, all-encompassing layer of COVID fuckery.
And caterers & crafty. Certainly, this industry would fall apart in hours without them. Not being glib when I say the thought of a set with no snacks anywhere for the crew fills me with panic.

So, yeah. Whole new deal there; those nice community spreads don't fly in a pandemic.
You can also do a fun thought exercise where you imagine being a PA in any department, where your job involves running a bunch of errands, and then add the COVID of it all to every building you enter.
Hair, makeup and wardrobe people have to be in physical contact with others. As with actors, they found themselves in a position where they had to embrace a mathematically higher level of risk and responsibility in order to continue to do their jobs.
Our line producer and ADs were at a certain point juggling the schedules of a hilarious number of episodes all at the same time because getting everything shot was like stitching a four-dimensional quilt while half your supplies intermittently disappear to a parallel timeline.
Now, our actors already have this task of figuring out how to bring a scene to life in the space of, like, 20 minutes of rehearsal. Working together is how they do that. A quick, intense burst of listening and communicating. Cool cool, now do it with 50% of your face covered.
Also our writers, who covered set for every single shot this season, but mostly via livestream. We invented a new way of working so we could troubleshoot and be in constant communication with the director and ADs.
(The writers were also incredibly supportive of each other all season long in a way that makes me emotional to think about. I want to take some kind of credit for this because I hired them but honestly I think I just got supremely lucky to get to work with such good people.)
Also our script coordinator, who got an... unusual number of late calls that we were about to send a rewrite because COVID had fucked us again in some major or minor way that required adjusting the pages that shot first thing the next morning.
Also our writers' assistant and EP assistants. No, those jobs did not get one iota easier when the room went virtual. They got significantly more complicated, because we used new apps to share information and frequently broke out into multiple small rooms.
Also all the parents, starting with @PennBadgley who'd JUST had a baby, and most of our producers and execs and crew, who had to do THAT during THIS. The logistics of parenting during COVID... is a thread for someone else; the mere thought of it just made me die of exhaustion.
To be clear: TV is a fun job BECAUSE it's unpredictable, BECAUSE you have to problem-solve as you go. It attracts people who enjoy quickfire collaboration and challenge. The idea that we had to do a lot of that isn't an inherent burden. It's what we do and most of us love it.
It's that stakes are different during a crisis like COVID. The issue of safety looms huge, and since it's unfolding in real time, parameters shift constantly. One expects a certain little margin of fuck ups in life and work. But NO amount of fucking up is okay in this area.
So, while THAT, also, the world was getting weird in ways that affect everything from traffic to lumber prices.

My point is, if a job generally includes finding bandaids for like 6 or 8 paper cuts a day, COVID is waking up covered in paper cuts. That's for everyone on our team.
I also think it's worth saying that what's been happening to us as a community goes a lot deeper than production snafus and having to reinvent workflows.

Part of the gig is that you work very closely with people. You grow to care about each other a lot.
One of our favorite actors, Mark Blum, passed away early in the pandemic.

We had been working on a story that included him. It was painful to scrap that. He would've been amazing.
His was not the only death we contended with. People on our team lost people they loved. Family members. Yes, death is always part of the deal. But there was a lot more of it and to me, it's notable that folks continued to do beautiful work while grieving.
I know I keep doing some version of this thread but that's cause it's important. Especially during a serious industry-wide conversation about what crew & support staff do and deserve-- in normal times, never mind THESE fucking times. Which are the fucking times we are in.
This season of YOU won't be graded on a curve. Nor should it be. We expect you to judge it by the standard of any other. Not one of us had any interest in making something that passes muster "for a COVID show." We love the show too much and we have too much pride in our jobs.
But I also really want to honor that our team was superheroic. That they stepped up in a truly admirable way that will inspire me for the rest of my career.
(Once it's out, I'll give you a couple fun little things to look for that are related to us having shot it during COVID. You can turn it into a drinking game.)
But mostly, if you watch the new season and you think we pulled it off, I wanted you to know who deserves the applause.

Thanks for reading. xo

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More from @serathegamble

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Hi, newish writers who love horror and are trying to figure out how to write great horror. I have a rec for you this morning. #Chernobyl is one of the greatest, most terrifying horror stories I’ve ever seen. The reason why is simple so I thought I’d share in case it helps!
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