Perhaps appropriately, the team writing The Walking Dead already has all the infrastructure in place to work safely during a quarantine situation.
As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, AMC’s The Walking Dead is a production well prepared to keep going, in some form, at least, even during the need for isolation in response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. The show’s producer and showrunner, Angela Kang, discussed how the show’s writing staff has a robust work from home infrastructure that, if you’re running a writer’s room, you should probably seek to emulate.
“We’re well set up to work remotely,” Kang said. “I’m a tech head. We do video conferences regularly. On a normal basis, I’m very stringent about, ‘If you’re sick, don’t come into the office.’ The other day, I was on the phone and in meetings from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., all day straight. I did Skype, I did FaceTime, I did Zoom, I did remote reviewing of VFX. We are very well set up to work remotely. That’s been fine for us.”
It’s good to hear productions like this one be able to put such adaptations in place. In normal situations, they’re helpful for people who are sick or who work better in a home environment. In a crisis situation, those same measures can save lives. And that’s why, for now, at least, work on The Walking Dead will continue, albeit only in the writer’s room.
“Today, nobody is going to be at the office. The room will continue to run. We’re doing it by conference call and we’re doing it by video conference. Everything will continue to run, but on a remote basis,” Kang explained.
It’s fortuitous for the series that it’s not in full on-site production mode, as instead writers can focus on breaking story for the upcoming season 11, with pre-production postponed for now.
And as for writing a show about a fantastical version of a pandemic in the middle of a real one? Kang has some thoughts about that, too.
“What’s interesting is because of the particular storyline we’re working on for season 11, we’ve planned out a whole other thing with some real western and thriller elements to it,” she said. “In some ways, we’ve been writing this show in this world for a decade. It’s based on source material. In some ways, it’s sideways from the beginning of an outbreak. All of us are thinking a lot about our own families and people out in the world who are struggling with this. All of us working on a show like this, there’s a part of us who are very pro-preparedness for anything going wrong. The thing a lot of us are thinking about is it’s good how people are really aware right now of how important public health is, and how it can really cause problems. We don’t want to see anyone turning against each other in times like these. Hopefully everyone can come together. Those are the big themes of our show.”
For now, pandemic or no, The Walking Dead will keep striding forward. The stability is actually a little comforting.