Alrick Brown: Vixen's ElixirQ: You come from indie film….was making a Final Witness like making a small movie?
The production schedule, small budget and intimate cast and crew made this process feel like an indie film. I worked closely with the writer and producers and editor. The execs gave great input and guidance but trusted us to make it work. It felt very personal, like our show, our episode.
Unlike indie film, this was the first time I had to take into account commercial breaks during my storytelling! And though in many ways the show broke the mold and stands separate from others, it was still commercial TV, which is very rigid. Indie filmmakers like to break rules…not follow them…Q: Was it hard to have to combine documentary interviews and movie scenes?
I have produced documentaries and directed a movie. It was great to combine both skills. The hard part was staying true to both. These are real lives and real stories and we can’t just tell the story any way we want to. We have to respect our subjects' truths and the facts of the case. But we also have to engage with the scripted material. I just hope that the family of our subjects feel we did justice to their loved ones' stories.Q: What was your favorite scene to shoot?
I loved all the scenes. That’s why it was so hard to edit. But what stands out is a quiet moment we created for just Glenn and Lynn. All the people we interviewed knew them as public people, but we are different people when no one is watching. I wanted to show what it might have felt like when things were good and it was just the two of them. We shot a moment of them dancing at a gas station while listening to music from their car radio. I felt it while we were shooting it. I felt the crew feeling it. The actors felt it too. It was really intense.Q: What is your favorite scene in the finished product?
There are several scenes in the finished product that when I see it I feel proud. There’s a moment where Lynn simply walks away from the camera wearing a dress that blows in the wind. The cinematography is exquisite. There is also a scene when we mix archival footage with real footage in a really delicate and beautiful way. It’s an apex moment where a bunch of different things - cinematography, production design, hair/make-up, acting, music, costume, blocking and editing - come together perfectly. I think audiences will be left stunned.Q: Any good stories from set?
We shot a bar scene where we show our victim and his friends dancing and having a good time. The cast was learning a line dance on the spot from the only person in the room who knew the actual steps. "Chattahoochee" by Alan Jackson played on the loud speaker. It was fun. Later that day I heard that one of the producers who visited set was crying as she watched the scene. You would think a producer crying is the end of the story but it's not. Her tears underscored the reality that we had to constantly contend with: these were real people, with real lives and real families. And no matter what, no matter who was wrong or right, watching that scene she was reminded that a life was taken and family and friends still lost someone dear to them. Q: Are there any details you wish you could have included, but didn’t?
Many things. Little things: their favorite foods, their favorite songs, their first romance, or the kind of car they used to drive. But these were things that mass audiences didn’t necessarily need to know. Maybe those are the precious things that we hold on to. The world might know one story but family and friends hold other things close in their hearts and memories.Q: What did you come to know about Glenn Turner?
Erase all the drama and all the hype associated with our episode, and Glenn was simply a good guy. They are rare in this world. I think detectives call them TRUE victims. He was not a perfect man as we all have flaws but he was a good man. He treated people with respect, he loved his family and loved to make people laugh. After doing this episode and listening to his friends and family’s stories about him he will always be with me. I made this episode for him.