Capturing moments behind the scenes in fandom improv and geek television series

By Josh Henderson

“A picture is worth a thousand words” may be a cliche, but there’s a reason the phrase resonates with people. I think that’s because what it really captures is photography’s ability to tell a story – even with a single image. As a photographer and cinematographer, I love finding the moments that no one pays attention to and could easily slip away unnoticed. Behind the scenes photography provides a lot of those moments. Normally, I’m the one taking the pictures when The Dandies are performing fandom improv; but, today, I’m taking a break and sharing some of my favourite behind the scenes photos from today’s geek television series!

A fandom improv photographer’s top behind the scenes from geek television

The Magicians

The Magicians is one of my favourite shows on television right now. Not all their effects are done in post-production (AKA after shooting). In this photo, you can see how a light dimming up on set helps add to an effect that will then be amplified in post.

Star Trek: Discovery

It’s exciting to me that Star Trek: Discovery isn’t just shot on a soundstage or green screen. Here, you can see the team shooting the first episode on location in Jordan.

Supernatural

Supernatural is nothing without the Impala! I love how this photo captures the way the car is basically like a set inside the middle of another, larger set.

Doctor Who

Behind the scenes photos are a great way to see set and prop details without having to pause an episode you’re watching. Sometimes I’ll even pull up Instagram while I’m watching a show, hoping there’s a photo of a certain space or prop. Sorry everyone who watches TV with me!

Handmaid’s Tale

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for the handmaid’s tale funeral, inspiration came early. in early spring of last year, i was doing my first exhibition of the handmaids tale costumes at the paley center in los angeles. i decided to play with the idea of the handmaids as an abstract entity…utilizing all one color, red hood, red cloak, red dress, and even, red fabric colored face in a kind of surrealist version of handmaids as iconography. i wanted to take away the idea of the individual as handmaid, and mask the actor, in a kind of indirect subjugation. this was strictly for effect, for the exhibition. lo and behold, bruce miller, our show’s creator came to visit the show, stopped dead in his tracks and told me that i would be seeing the red faced handmaid in the script in season two. “it’s weird – i like it”, bruce said. thank god for open-minded collaborative creators. bruce miller is that, and i’m grateful for the immense faith he gives me for my vision for the costumes. often, i'm trying everything on myself, using me as a blank canvas. some of the sketches were done six months before we actually shot the scene. showing you from start to finish…the thought process behind taking an idea of art/abstractionism into something that can translate to the screen and to the actor. what did you think of the handmaid’s funeral costumes? -@anecrabtree

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Photos can give insight into other parts of production. This one’s for you, Andie, and for all the other incredible costume designers out there!

Travelers

Behind the scenes photos like these can tell me so much about a production. I can see how they light, what cameras they’re using, and more. While some of what I can see is based in specialized knowledge, I still think this is a great photo showing how a production like Travelers works!

The Orville

When Star Trek began, they used physical models for the ships. It’s nice to see that The Orville is continuing this tradition. Now to find a way to bring models into The Dandies’ fandom improv…

Mr. Robot

This is my favourite kind of behind the scenes photo – the kind that shows a camera setup! I love spending an afternoon geeking out about camera and lighting equipment. At the time of this photo, Mr. Robot was shooting on RED Dragon cameras with Cooke 5 series lenses.

Going through behind the scenes photos is making me excited for The Dandies Toronto ComiCon appearance in March. Check out our Instagram and Twitter to see all the behind the scenes – and onstage – photos from our fandom improv shows!