SB Nation partnered up with Comcast and Showtime to ask a field producer of "The Franchise: A Season with the San Francisco Giants", Danny Field, some questions about the show. Some Twitterfolk contributed some questions and I came up with one or two. The second episode airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. local time. Does Buster Posey miraculously return from the injury that ended the first episode? You'll have to tune in to find out! There's also the entire premier episode embedded after the jump.
1. How much freedom does the show have to air what they film? What sorts of things are expressly off-limits?
The only litmus test (with respect to whether or not footage is fit to be aired) is this: Is the footage in question compelling? Does it move the story along? If the answer is yes, we'll air it.
As far as off-limits footage, the only thing that we'll avoid using is something that could put the team at a competitive disadvantage - for instance, we'd never air footage that revealed signs or strategy that would arm the competition with insider info. The club's priority is to win baseball games, and will always be such.
2. Who were the most candid players and coaches on the Giants to work with behind the scenes?
The whole club - from Bochy to the batboys - has been great to us, and accepted our crew into their clubhouse. Having said that, Torres, Vogelsong, Affeldt, Huff, Flannery, Wilson, Zito, and Ross come to mind.
3. What was your favorite memory working on the set?
For me, personally, it occurred back in January. Going to Andres Torres' hometown (on the West coast of Puerto) and shooting for 4 days with his family and friends was an incredible experience, and energized me even more about the project as spring training in Scottsdale approached.
Oh, and also, getting hit in the side by a foul ball off the bat of Scott Rolen in the San Francisco camera well a few weeks ago - lest I sound like a masochist, I'll explain: Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, the excellent Giants broadcasters, clowned me a bit on the broadcast, but took the time after the game to make sure I'd be okay - as did many of the players. That these guys care about the people behind the cameras - putting the show momentarily aside - speaks to these guys' collective character.
4. What do you look for when choosing a story line for the series?
The word that comes to mind is compelling. That's the gauge that we use - is there an unlikely story that has emerged? Is there an expected story line that hasn't developed? Is there a unorthodox training method? A family story that viewers could relate to? Is there unique relationship-based access? It always comes back to the compelling.
5. Is there any way to show how catchers/pitchers prepare for a game -- scouting reports, video -- without getting into prohibited territory?
There is - we can show the behind-the-scenes preparation, the long hours of work that these guys put in every day - without revealing anything that could come back to bite them... That is, we purposefully stay vague on specifics of strategy.
6. What is the most self-rewarding part of producing The Franchise series?
For me, its exceedingly rewarding to go to work every day and weave together two things about which I'm very passionate: the game of baseball and story telling. The truth is that even a bad day at the ballpark beats working... And most days are great.
7. What was the greatest challenge you faced in producing this series?
I think the challenge is two-fold: Firstly, staying on top of not just developing but constantly evolving story lines. Our aim is to be a fly on the wall, but we as producers always have to sniffing out which wall to be on. Secondly, the travel: until you've been embedded with a big league team, and changed cities and time zones every three days, the travel seems fun, even glamorous. Its not.
8. With the baseball season being so long, how difficult was it to capture both the immediate and long-term effects of Buster Posey’s injury?
Although Posey's injury was devastating, I don't think it necessarily presented a different challenge in terms of story telling. That is, although it was the biggest "moment" of the Giants season thus far, ultimately it has to be treated as another event that comprises part of the bigger picture - the Giants' 2011 season.
9. One of the best parts of a series like this are learning more about a team’s role players. Who are a few of the players currently under the radar that will likely emerge as ‘fan favorites’?
Marc Kroon (now at AAA Fresno) was featured prominently in the preview episode that we aired in April, and is a perfect example of an under the radar story. Going forward, I think Emmanuel Burriss, Ryan Vogelsong, and Jeremy Affeldt will open some eyes.
SHOWTIME SPORTS presents THE FRANCHISE: A SEASON WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS, an MLB Productions Original Series. This new docu-series follows the 2010 World Series champions as they defend their title in 2011. With unprecedented access to Giants players, their families, coaches and team personnel, this series provides a candid look at the struggles, relationships and day-to-day lives of Major League Baseball players. It¹s an up close and personal journey from the off-season to Spring Training, the All-Star Game and beyond. Don’t miss this chronicle of America¹s favorite pastime as never before documented -- THE FRANCHISE: A SEASON WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS, Wednesdays at 10PM, only on SHOWTIME.