‘Friday Night Lights’: The Unique Way the Cast and Crew Cut Down Production Time
Friday Night Lights aired its last episode more than a decade ago. The show premiered on NBC in 2006 and ran for five seasons thanks to fans who petitioned for it to be brought back after its cancellation in the second season.
The show had a unique format, and the cast had great chemistry, which helped bring their characters to life. The cast and crew had an exciting and unique way of cutting down production time. Find out what it was.
‘Friday Night Lights’ focused on more than football
Friday Night Lights centered on a high school football team in a small, close-knit fictional town in rural Texas. The show revolved around coach Eric Taylor and his wife, who worked as a faculty member at the high school. Other cast members included members of the football team and the rest of the high school. Friday Night Lights addressed various issues such as drugs, racism, abortion and a lack of economic opportunities.
The show was inspired by a nonfiction book and a film of the same name. Two actors Connie Britton and Brad Leland, who appeared in the series, reprised their roles from the 2004 movie. The show’s creator Peter Berg managed to get Connie Britton to play the role again only if her character Tami would have a life of her own and a job.
Interestingly, the show wasn’t the first time NBC had tried to make it. In 1993 the network attempted to obtain the rights to the book as soon as it was released. However, they were unable to purchase the rights since the movie rights had already been sold.
NBC ended up making an unofficial adaptation of the book starring a 21-year-old Ben Affleck. The show, Against The Grain, lasted for only eight episodes before it was canceled and fittingly aired on Friday nights. Although Friday Night Lights had a small audience, it was a hit with critics.
The series received a 78 out of 100 score on Metacritic, while The Metro gave it 4 out of 5 stars. The show also won a Peabody Award, an Emmy, an NAACP Image Award, and several nominations for Writers Guild of America.
The cast and crew had a unique way of cutting down production time
In standard TV shows, the producers allocate marks for actors to sit or stand to be heard well. Friday Night Lights approached things differently. According to Mental Floss, the series had three camera operators follow the cast around everywhere they went for every scene.
The site reports that all the actors wore body mics, which meant that the mic would still capture whatever they’d said even if they wandered off. This helped cut production time and allowed them to film for a record eight hours every day. However, the-then NBC President had a problem with this production method, and he told the producers to get rid of the “jiggly “camera style.
Most of the cast had regular jobs before landing their roles
Zach Gilford and Minka Kelly were relatively unknown before starring on Friday Night Lights. Gilford played Matt Saracen for the five seasons the show was on the air, while Kelly played Lyla Garrity for four seasons. When they auditioned, Gilford was battling for his role with another actor.
Fortunately, the actor was double booked for another audition for a Disney movie, so Berg decided to give Gilford the part. The actor had been working at a sporting goods store when he landed his life-changing role. Kelly, on the other hand, worked as a scrub nurse in a plastic surgery clinic.
She prepared women for their breast implants whenever she wasn’t auditioning. Kelly and Gilford achieved fame and success, appearing in several productions such as Jane The Virgin and Charlie’s Angels for the former while the latter appeared in The Mob Doctor, Good Girls, and L.A Finest.