Behind the Scenes with Michelle MacLaren Skip to content

Behind the Scenes with Michelle MacLaren

It’s another big day at the 14th Annual New Hampshire Film Festival! Like the others, today brings it’s own set of special features and events. The afternoon began with the Waterfront Hospitality Party at One Harbour Place, brought to us by our generous sponsors. It featured appetizers and drinks from Demeters Steakhouse, as well as seafood chowder from Robert’s Maine Grill.

Tent Party

Only right down the street from the party, we couldn’t have been any more excited to share part of our afternoon with special guest Michelle MacLaren. MacLaren is well known for her work as an executive producer and director of the hit television series Breaking Bad, as well as for being a guest director of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.

As a guest to the New Hampshire Film Festival, MacLaren came to give attendees a behind the scenes look at the making of the three hit television series. Attending the New Hampshire Film Festival herself and present to welcome MacLaren onto the stage, was Rae Dawn Chong. Chong has played an instrumental role as the festival has grown over the years into what it is today. A great friend of Maclaren’s, Chong shared what a dream it has been for her to watch MacLaren “take the world by storm as her career exploded.”

The session was set up in such a way that attendees viewed clips of MacLaren’s work, followed by questions from the audience. The Q&A portions of the event covered topics far and wide. A major theme that emerged? Balancing external demands with the creative process.

Despite what we may oftentimes think, even Hollywood works on a tight budget. It wasn’t until about season four of Breaking Bad, that MacLaren could feel the reins loosen on what had previously been a pretty strict budget. By season six, while there were still discussions on cutting unnecessary costs, a greater emphasis was made on ensuring that the full vision of the show could be seen—even if that meant spending a little more money.

Trying to balance both budget and expressing her creative liberties, MacLaren discussed the amount of detail that goes into shooting a scene—such as the memorable Crystal Blue Persuasion Montage of season five. She shared that the key to her creative process is thinking about the larger story being told, and tying in all of the details that are a part of that. Working on tight hours and budgets though, this requires thinking outside the box—shooting scenes in chunks, utilizing studio space as much as possible, cutting the unnecessary to make room for the essential.

For aspiring creatives and fans alike, hearing from MacLaren was truly an incredible experience.


The day is far from over though! For a full list of NHFF screenings and events, see the full Festival Schedule. Join us later this evening as we celebrate another successful festival, at the Portsmouth Chevrolet After Party at Martingale Wharf. Haven’t purchased your ticket to NHFF yet? It’s not too late—visit the Box Office.



Related Articles