Criminal Minds BR proudly publishes its first exclusive interview with a crew member of our favorite show. After a Twitter request, producer Harry Bring answered some questions of our team about his job on the show and what’s in store for next season.
As the writers’ strike is out of the way for Criminal Minds, Harry says he is “going to love the rest of hiatus for sure.”
Check out this fun interview with one of the most approachable CM crew members.
Criminal Minds BR: First, we see you are a great fan of the USC sports teams. So, we assume you were graduated in it. Please, tell us something about your College days.
Harry Bring: I did not attend the University of Southern California unfortunately. I have given a few TV production seminars at their film school though.
Back when I was 10 years old my dad took me to a USC football game and I became and instant and avid fan of their athletic program.
I have had season tickets to their football games since 1965. Oddly, I did not attend any college. I wish I had. I took the route of working myself way up from starting in the “mail room” in 1964, became an assistant film editor, became an assistant director, then production manager, and finally a producer. A long and blessed 52-year career.
CMBR: Every year you and CM (and other shows) crew make some campaign or anything remembering Sarah Jones. Can you tell us how the memory of her loss has improved the work conditions on set?
HB: For me, the loss of Sarah Jones carries so much emotion. I was part of the team on Army Wives that hired Sarah into the business when she graduated college.
Sarah was on our show for 4 seasons before I left to come to CM and she sprouted her wings to try different productions.
Sarah was a wonderful person with so much potential and her life was ended by an unsafe work decision and total lack of leadership.
I use Sarah as a standard for safety on our set now and we honor her every single day by keeping things safe on set.
My big speech to our crew on the first day of production every season is “Be Safe”, “If you see something unsafe, say something”. It’s every single crew member’s responsibility to themselves and others to monitor safety. So many ways to be injured, from simple tripping over a cable to big action sequences on set that could cause harm. [get to know more about Sarah Jones’ story HERE]
CMBR: You’ve been in Criminal Minds for six years now. Can you tell us what is your favorite episode and/or unsub so far?
HB: It has to be “The Replicator” 824. Working with Mark Hamill was such a pleasure. The aerial and explosion special effects work was special too.
I spent time with Mark and we talked about our children mostly. Mark’s daughter was a student at USC at the time so we had that in common.
CMBR: Besides the technological progress has anything else changed in producing a show in the latest 20 years?
HB: The enhancement of Green Screen and CGI has changed how we do things immensely. We can do things now very easily and quickly which used to take hours of work and sometimes days. The work we did back on the XFiles took days and now takes just hours. Really nice advancements.
We can enhance or create simple things like gunfire, explosions, stunts, etc so much easier now than in the past.
CMBR: You are one of the most interactive crew members of Criminal Minds. You post a lot of BTS pictures and info and we thank you so much for that. Do you use your social media to see the reactions of the audience to the show so you can use this information on the show? How do you think the audience’s opinion on SM can influence a show nowadays?
HB: I do check on fans reactions to most of my BTS posts. I do pay attention to SM reaction and mention some things to the creative team, whether they take action on it or not. Our writing staff does pay attention to SM posts and requests as well. They usually try to take action on fan requests but for many reasons, very few wishes can be granted. I know fans want certain things to happen but there are so many creative reasons that prevent addressing their wishes.
CMBR: Can you tell us how is your job on Criminal Minds? Like, do you have any hand on developing plots or so?
HB: My job as Line Producer is basically to be in charge of all physical production. The schedules, planning, financial. I make sure we stay on budget while overseeing the day to day work, both on set and in preparation. Basically, I’m the ship’s captain. I sort of steer the ship. I make the “plots” come to life as best we can.
My creative input usually comes from me addressing our budgetary challenges. As an example, if a writer writes a circus sequence and we can’t afford it, I will suggest a carnival. The story can stay the same and we can afford a carnival. Heh heh heh.
CMBR: You got a lot of experience in long-run shows about some controversial topics, like X-Files and Criminal Minds. As a producer, how do you balance the basic plot of a show, the creativity of the writers, the possibility of putting it to practice (in budget terms or so) and the interest of the audience in it?
HB: Great question! My long-running shows Melrose Place (Soap Opera). The XFiles (Science Fiction blended with Law Enforcement). Army Wives (Lives of those left behind while spouses are at war). Criminal Minds (Procedural Crime Drama). All different in so many ways. My early mentors in the business all taught me one thing. “Be a Chameleon”. Adapt to the project, the problems, and the day. Great advice and I give them credit for my success. Every day is different. Every hour is different. Address, react, apply, move on to the next task or challenge.
CMBR: The show has changed its “formula” in the latest years, with more personal stories and more serialized arcs and it’s been quite controversial among the fans. Can you tell us why and how the producers decided to do that?
HB: The show has changed, especially in the 6 years I’ve been here. We never run out of stories about serial killers or evil crimes. We do embellish the stories in keeping with network standards and practices. In the past several seasons we have added more to the personal stories of our characters. I think the audience does like to see/hear about the individuals personal life. It has increased within the show and I think that is partially in reaction to the fans wanting to see more about the character’s lives. Some are done within episodes that have a quicker crime solution which would have more time to tell personal stories.
CMBR: Criminal Minds has very obscure topics and has always stood out from other procedural shows by addressing it in a much more realistic way. Has that caused problems with the parental guidelines yet? How did you deal with it?
HB: The CBS department of “Standards and Practices” keeps us in tow. Starting with the script all the way through the finished episode, they make sure we adhere to their guidelines of acceptable and responsible television for their audience. We have limits to portraying violence, sex content, disturbing actions that would be offensive to the audience. It’s a good thing.
CMBR: Can you tell us anything about cast negotiations for season 13?
HB: Season 13 is in the bag now. Yay! 22 episode pick up and we air the first episode in America on September 20th. As far as I know right now all cast members are signed for next season, whether it’s a new contract or an extension of their old contract. The potential Writer’s Strike was avoided last night as the writers settled on a contract for the next 3 years. Yay!
CMBR: We’re looking forward to the next milestone of Criminal Minds. Is there any outline of what you’d like to show the fans on season 13 and the upcoming episode 300?
HB: Because the writer’s room does not start back until early June, I’m not aware of the stories or direction our show will take. As you will know shortly, there is a big cliffhanger coming in this season’s finale 1222. So, there will be some big story to pick up from when we show the audience next season’s premiere.
I can’t wait to see what’s in store for you, the audience, and me, the ship’s captain.
CMBR: Finally, your nickname on Twitter is LLPOS. And we’ve always been curious about the meaning of it…
HR: LLPOS stands for Low Life Piece Of Shit. It’s been my nickname for the last 24 years. Given to me by the cast and crew of Melrose Place. It is an endearing nickname. Funny. Not the true me. It was given to me more for my weird sense of humor. I hope you and your readers don’t be offended.
Translated and Edited by Patricia Angelica & Dayana Alves Coelho