"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.
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?
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?
Matt: What were your influences? Were there television shows, films, or
directors that had a great impact on you?
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?
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?
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?
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
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
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
has a story that everyone knows. The X-Files
around, essentially, two people and the various unexplained events they
encounter, and a distrust in government.The After
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?
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
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
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
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?
Absolutely. The story progresses, the story continues, and
everybody will think they are getting more. I'm sure they'll feel that
Matt: Do you hope to continue with Chris Carter in the future?
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.
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
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