Supernatural Pilot: A Closer Look (Part 3)

Did you miss part two? It’s right here.

At this point in the story, Dean is arrested and handcuffed to the desk when the sheriff is called out of the office (thanks to a fake 911 from Sam.) Dean needs a way to escape and he spots the paperclip on a page in Dad’s journal. What happens here is a push-in. This can be done as a slow move in close, or in this case, a series of quick edits that zero in on a certain object. It’s used as kind of a visual lightbulb going off in a character’s head.

A paper clip


(Lightbulb!) I can use that to escape!


Dean escapes and the boys meet up on Piru bridge for one of the best scenes of the episode. “Whose driving your car?” It’s actually stunt man Eddy Donno tucked down tight behind the wheel and he really is driving straight for Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. Once you get past how crazy that is, notice the excellent lighting. That blue haze accented by the white glow of the bridge lights and the blazing car headlights.


Dean goes over the bridge and into the mud. According to the commentary, Sam was supposed to be muddy too but wardrobe forgot to bring a change of clothes for him. Since the scene would need to be shot more than once, they couldn’t allow Sam to get dirty. It was a lucky accident that made this scene even funnier.


In the Supernatural pilot, the ghost girl blinks in and out of her true form. It’s very fast so you never get a good luck at her, but I caught her. Check out the make-up job on the Woman in White.


When Sam returns home, he wakes up to find Jessica burning on the ceiling and then the room goes up in flames. This looks like a stunt man to me but in the commentary, Nutter says that Jared and Jensen did the scene in the room with the real fire. To quote Paris Hilton, ‘now that’s hot.’


The final shot of the pilot is interesting for a couple of reasons. From a storytelling standpoint, the show repeats this scene only with Sam and Dean’s roles reversed in a later episode. They’re also shooting up from inside the trunk of the car and again lighting from underneath to give their faces that red glow which harkens back to the red glow on baby Sam’s face when John cradled him outside after the original fire.

pilot_closing trunk

So that’s it. That’s my closer look at Supernatural The Pilot! David Nutter and the whole crew did an amazing job with the lighting and directing giving us a scary story that still had plenty of humor and brotherly angst. Another example of why David Nutter is the winningest pilot director in Hollywood.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about the pilot and any details that struck you that I may have missed.


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