Life behind the cameras: an interview with John Hatchitt

Criminal Minds just started its path to season 13. And as the sets come back to life, we were able to get in touch with one of the most prolific CM crew members on Twitter, who posts a lot of BTS pics of his job.

Join us and get to know more about John Hatchitt and his 13 years of working on Criminal Minds.

Criminal Minds BR: In your Twitter profile, besides the pictures of your job on Criminal Minds, we can see a lot of bike rides. When and how did you start road cycling?
John Hatchitt:
I raced bikes before getting into the Industry, but just so happened our Director of Photography, Greg St John’s, rode bikes for the first few seasons and lured me back in. Knowing what it takes to race, he allows me the time to train and travel, which is amazing.

John Hatchitt riding his bike on the road (photo: John Hatchitt)

CMBR: How did you start working in the entertainment industry?
I got into the business when Disney studios in Florida were being built on what was a 1-week job. Almost 30 years later, here I am with my 3-boys 29, 28 and 26 working with me.

CMBR: Tell us about your job on Criminal Minds. What’s your usual daily schedule?
Our daily schedule is pretty straight forward. My best boy and the guys are normally there 30-1 hour before to unload equipment. I arrive before the Director of Photography to make sure if we have camera mounts or camera cranes and they are set and ready for Greg and director to look at.

John Hatchitt and his team joking on Shemar Moore behind the scenes of episode 10×19 (photo: John Hatchitt)

CMBR: What is the difference between working in movies and TV? What is/are the biggest challenge(s) in each one?
With TV you know it’s a Monday-Friday, where with movies your working days can be all over. Also, with Movies, you have a little more time during the day to get creative with moves/shots and camera rigs. Where with TV the fans really want to see their stars up close.

CMBR: How does the fact of having different director and writer every week affect your job on set?
Having different directors/writers just adds a variety to our shooting. Harry and Glenn go out weeks before the director to find locations which then gives us a little idea as to what to expect before the scouting and helps us get one foot in the door on the episode. So if there is a chance to do a fun rig we have time to come up with the most efficient way to do it without taking time away from the shoot day.

John Hatchitt behind the scenes of episode 11×06 (photo: John Hatchitt)

CMBR: How has the technical evolution in the latest years affected your job on set?
With the changing in technology, a lot less equipment is used in Day/Night shooting which helps speed things up. And as cameras are getting smaller, it is easier to rig in new places for different angles.

CMBR: Tell us about set safety and how does it affect/help your daily job on set, such as in a “normal” day or the ones with stunt/special effects sequences.
Our set-safety is to walk around each day, wherever it is we are shooting and make sure all is good. With the stunts, Tom Elliott is in charge and has extra eyes around but we are there to assist when needed.

The view from a camera rail installed by Hatchitt’s team (photo: John Hatchitt)

CMBR: What is your favorite episode/unsub so far? Why?
My favorite episodes were in Season 2 with Keith Carradine [who played Frank Breitkopf, on episodes 2×13 “No Way Out” and 2×23 “No Way Out: The Evilution Of Frank”]. It was very interesting and he disappeared with never finding a body.

Camera equipment set on an external filming (photo: John Hatchitt)

CMBR: For finishing, you guys just started filming season 13, what can you tell about what’s in stock for the next year?
Thank you for allowing me to share this with you and your Criminal Minds fan base. And get ready to spend some time on the edge of your seats. I will share some behind the scenes on Twitter [@johnhatchitt] without giving away too much.

Writing and Editing:  CMBR Team – Patricia Angelica & Dayana Alves Coelho