Hi there fans! This is Celine, one of the neighborly boosterish writers' assistants here at SVU. I figure many of you may wonder what goes into the process of developing an episode, and so I'm here to address this query. Showrunner Warren Leight with Co-Executive Producer Julie Martin editing a script. To begin with, writers will either come up with an episode, perhaps based on something they have read in the press or have imagined up (and in light of the disturbing nature of the content, have hopefully not experienced!). They come forward with the idea to our hardworking showrunner Warren Leight and suggest the idea. At this point, either the writer will go off and begin developing the episode or will consult any number of the other writers on staff for a hand. In the latter case, the writers sit around the Writers' Room, throw around ideas (plot twists, character names, the day's lunch order, casting suggestions, etc.) and brainstorm, filling up a cork board with organized index cards describing potential scenes, until the writer can go off and write up the "beat sheet." The beat sheet is essentially a play-by-play summary of each scene - or beat - of the episode. The beat sheet then gets sent to Warren to work on. He can make suggestions and corrections for the writer to go back and edit. Once it is eventually finalized, it goes to the higher-ups to, in turn, offer their sets of notes. And then the writer can begin working on a draft of the script. My fellow writers' assistants Rob and Scott, as well as yours truly, make ourselves useful by lending a hand with notes, research and sometimes suggestions. The script then goes through several drafts and sets of notes until it is eventually published. This process can take an unpredictable length of time, although often the script is on deadline and must be ready for publication by the prep date. "Prep" is the period of time during which the episode is prepared for production. So now, various departments such as wardrobe, art, props etc. have their scripts distributed to them by our script coordinator, Brendan. The departments comb through the script to find elements that address their department. For instance, in our season premiere "Scorched Earth" - about a high profile politician's accusation of sexually assaulting a hotel maid - the wardrobe department needed to figure out the style of uniform of the maid, as well as the clothing that this sort of politician might wear and much more. The quantity of work each department has is unimaginable, but the team always gets it done in the fabulous quality that is visible on screen. It is also during the prep period that our wonderful, talented cast receives their copies, reads it out in the read-through and becomes acquainted with the material that, in the following week's time, they'll begin shooting. Their work is very impressive, as often, while they're getting to know the new episode, they're still working on the previous one. Meanwhile, the script continues to go through multiple edits and revisions, until it is all ready to go. Again, there is usually a deadline on this as the shoot and air dates are pre-scheduled. At last, the episode is shot. The script is still vulnerable to tweaks and changes, but eventually the episode is ready and sent to post-production. There, the team in post works its magic, and it isn't too long until the episode is ready to air. And voila! That is, in a nutshell, how a story is developed. Stay tuned for more posts to come, and more importantly, stay tuned for the excellent Season 13 these writers are cooking up for you. I can tell you firsthand, it's gonna be sooo good...
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