Lexicon Exclusive

"The New Associate"

The X-Files Lexicon's exclusive interview with Garfield Whitman

Conducted by Matt Allair in 01/22/2016

Page Editor: A.M.D.

The new year opens with a unique situation and something never expected in the history of this website, the airing of six new episodes of The X-Files for television, and with this opportunity, the door is open to speak to new faces of the franchise. Realizing how historic this moment is, we started the process of outreach more than six months ago. One of the new names that surfaced in such venues as IMDb was producer Garfield Whitman, a veteran of the industry for the past fifteen years, and yet a face that will be new to X-Philes. I long suspected that fans would be curious to meet this person, and to find out what exactly his role would be in the new episodes. The fact that he was a production veteran of Chris Carter's all-too-brief effort The After made it intriguing to compare his insights about both projects.

But this interview is a clean slate, as Mr. Whitman has very little back story revealed about his career, and not much can be added other than his production credits, which include Fargo, White Collar, Pushing Daisies, Wildfire, and credits on Hell on Wheels, another series that has featured an X-Files alumnus with John Shiban, as well as crew work on Titus, In-Laws, and The Beach Boys: An American Family miniseries. It is a testament to Mr. Carter that he attracts figures who seem smart, and friendly. I found Mr. Whitman to be gracious, good natured, and eager to satisfy the fanbase. The interview proceeded as follows…

Matt: Thank you for taking some time to speak with me. It's really an honor, and I've had a hunch for a while that a lot of fans would be curious to meet you.

Garfield: My pleasure, absolutely. I'm happy to do it, and eager to hear what the fan response to the revival series is going to be.

Matt: How did you break into the business?

Garfield: Nepotism, just about like everybody I think. (Laughs) My dad was a line producer, and I followed into his footsteps to a degree, started working as a PA on some shows. In fact, the first job that he helped me acquire, he introduced me to the coordinator that I would be working for and said: “About Garfield, we discussed him already. You don't have to ask me later. You can fire him whenever you want,” and walked out of the office. (Laughs)

Matt: Where were you born and raised?

Garfield: Los Angeles.

Matt: What were your influences? Were there television shows, films, or directors that had a great impact on you?

Garfield: I'm not sure how to answer that question, to be honest. There's takeaways from a lot of different films and a lot of filmmakers. I realized that when something works…There are moments, and you try to remember those moments, although I'll be damned if I can remember any of them right now. The Cohen brothers, I certainly enjoy their films. They seem to present a world to the audience, and you seem to fall into that world pretty well. You feel like you are there. Wes Anderson also does that very well.

Matt: You've worked on Fargo, Pushing Daisies, and White Collar in the past: is there a particular show that you learned the most from?

Garfield: I'd have to say I learned the most from the first project I did in post production, which was a smaller show for ABC family called Wildfire. I entered post production not knowing anything about post production. I was coordinating a project, a pilot, just before that, and then I moved over to this series. The producer I was working for was a great guy named Dee D'Orazio, and he was nice enough to really let me cut my teeth, and learn a lot, take on a lot of responsibility that was new to me, and so that's the show I learned the most from. Pushing Daisies was a really wild and challenging experience. I certainly learned a lot from that project as well. That was one of the most challenging work flows. There was a lot of work to accomplish in a short amount of time for a television schedule, and we had a feature work flow that was extremely laborious in the non-digital era. Without fail, every single night, I would get a phone call at 2 a.m. to address an issue. I did not sleep much on that series.

Matt: Most fans don't understand about the role of the production manager. Could you describe it?

Garfield: I'm the associate producer or co-producer on post production. The production manager typically is on the production side, so it's a slightly different term, but the post producer, that person's responsibility is to shepherd everything after camera films, so that's the budget, the schedule, editorial, the editors, the editorial machines, the sound, VFX, color timing, the moving of media between all of the departments for what we call “turnover,” which is essentially turning over media so each department can begin their work. You turn over to sound, you turn over to your on-line facility, visual effects, color. It's a lot of fun when you get everybody working together.

Matt: Were you a longtime Chris Carter fan? Did you actively seek out working for Chris Carter, or was it something that happened by accident?

Garfield: Yes, I was absolutely a fan. I was a teenager in my teens when The X-Files came out, and I did like the show quite a bit. It stood out from all of the other shows. It was very unique. It seemed like both Mulder and Scully were always vulnerable in the world. They were curious, adventurous, but they were also trying to not get caught up in anything that would get them in one way or another. They were always having some sort of adventure and, as a kid, that resonated. Especially in the sense that they were going against the grain. There's a lot of against the grain that that happens when you're a kid. I happened to have had the opportunity to work with Chris on The After through a visual effects supervisor that I had worked with on Pushing Daisies another producer we both knew. That's how I met Chris and was able to continue working with him on The X-Files, and I couldn't be happier about those developments. It was the summer of 2012, when we did The After, and here we are at the beginning of 2015, when we started working on The X-Files.

Matt: What were your impressions about working on The After?

Garfield: My first impression working on The After was that Chris works very hard, is willing to put in a lot of hours, is very thoughtful and dedicated. I think to a certain degree he is not unlike Mulder in the fact that he really likes to have an adventure when creating a show, and even when things are looking arduous, he is still jocular. As the weeks continued I also discovered that Chris creates an environment that does not project hierarchy. He has a tranquility and trueness that I'd thought were beautiful qualities that led to a very open and collaborative atmosphere from everyone on the project. The After was certainly a different experience than The X-Files . It was just the beginning of that story, whereas The X-Files has a story that everyone knows. The X-Files is centered around, essentially, two people and the various unexplained events they encounter, and a distrust in government.The After was centered around one event that was then centered around many people with a common connection, and the government had collapsed.

Matt: You are working with some pretty iconic figures on the new revival. Has it been intimidating to work with Chris Carter, Glen and Darin Morgan, James Wong, or David or Gillian?

Garfield: To be honest, not with any of the writer-producers. Having met all of them in person, I felt that we'd become comfortable with each other pretty quickly. With Gillian and David, for ADR (automated dialogue replacement), yes. No one likes to shoot ADR, and it's especially unique to meet over the phone, or a video feed, and then immediately start working, creatively. David I met, in person, at the very end of the production when he was in LA to shoot Aquarius. Gillian, I have still yet to meet, in person, as she was in Vancouver or London every time we worked together, and I was not able to attend the premier. Ultimately, the original members of The X-Files are a family. When I started on the project, I thought, “They've been doing this right for a very long time. Let's not presume I know how this works.” For me, I wanted to pick up all of their cues, see how they worked, and then see what exact role I should play to make everything efficient for them in this new decade.

Matt: How would you describe your role as a producer for the new series? Are you stepping into the shoes of Joseph Patrick Finn or Bob Goodwin?

Garfield: I don't know the answer to that. I never had any of those discussions, but I think the producer on the project that I was most likely trying to emulate was Paul Rabwin, who is now a post executive at ABC. Paul ran post on The X-Files' original run, and that was my role on the revival.

Matt: Are you happy with the shooting experience in Vancouver? How has the post production experience been coming along? Has there been a favorite moment?

Garfield: There are so many great moments. It's such a great group of people, and I really mean that, I'm not just saying it. I think of Chris as a friend at this point. I don't think I've said that more than two or three times in my fifteen years in the business. There were some favorite moments, but they were personal or interpersonal. Some I can't mention as they'd be spoilers. If I had to choose one, I'd have to say it was seeing reactions of the writer/directors on the dub stage. The nostalgia was visibly powerful. The filming in Vancouver went very nicely. Vancouver does have that look of the original series, to a certain degree, with the pine tree density, but it was less damp. All the directors came back commenting on how much hotter it was now compared to the original series.

Matt: Do you feel the new episodes will feel like a step forward from what fans saw in 2008 with the feature I Want To Believe?

Garfield: Absolutely. The story progresses, the story continues, and everybody will think they are getting more. I'm sure they'll feel that way.

Matt: Do you hope to continue with Chris Carter in the future?

Garfield: Absolutely. I hope to have dinners with him. I hope to do every project he ever does. Anything he wants to do, I'm up for.

Matt: Thank you for your time.

Garfield: Thanks, Matt.

We wish Mr. Whitman the absolute best, and remember as of this writing, two episodes have already aired, but we strongly advise to spread the word about the next four episodes, for anyone who is hoping that the powers that be with the network will greenlight future episodes. The best way to make that a reality is for the public to make it clear they want to story to continue, to get more pieces of this rich mosaic that is The X-Files.

Special thanks go to Kim Kurland for helping to make this interview happen.

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