Disclaimer: The following is a summary of the question and answer session. No recording devices were allowed so this is from notes and I don't know shorthand so I tried to get down the basics but keep in mind this is not a transcript - only a summary. I need to point out that the sound system wasn't the best so it was often impossible to hear the questions asked. I will try to give you the main points that the speaker touched on with actual quotes in bold. Occasionally a bit of my own opinion may come through regarding a question or answer. I mean no disrespect to anyone who may have asked one of these questions and apologize ahead of time if I offend anyone. Keep in mind, I'm just another person with another opinion so don't let it get to you.

Kim Manners' Q&A


Kim came out on stage following clips of the episodes he's directed. He was wearing white cowboy boots (I think), jeans, and a brown leather jacket over his shirt. He first thanked the crowd for being there and for being fans of the show. He said we make all the hard work worthwhile. Worth all the pain.

He began by telling us a few things about himself. He said he's been in the business since he was three years old, starting out as an actor from the age of 3 to 19. He said at that point, Jeff Bridges ran him out of town. Not sure what the reference there was. He said he's worked in just about every aspect of the business: props, driver, stuntman, actor, assistant director, and now producer/director. He said his first directing job was on Charlie's Angels in 1978. He then turned the floor over to questions.

The first question wasn't...it was a comment. A woman got up and mentioned that she was an actor and how fabulous he was and that he was an actor's dream director, blah, blah, blah. He said thanks and that it was a pleasure to do the work and that it was all for the fans.

The next question was about the commercially available videos. Something about whether they were up to date with the current episodes and would they be available. Not really Kim's area.

Kim directed Humbug and the next question was whether Gillian really ate the cricket. This is the sort of question that has been answered about a zillion times in the print media and interviews available online but he went on to tell the story. How they spent $2000 making up a biscuit-cricket so she could swallow that during the take but how Gillian spent time around the set and got to talking to Jim Rose and he had her eating crickets at some point. By the time they were ready to shoot the scene, Gillian decided to skip the fake cricket and reached into the container and put a real live cricket in her mouth. It surprised and grossed-out lots of the people on the set. She didn't swallow it though, walking away and spitting it out after the take.

A woman came to the microphone and told Kim how she taught at a nearby high school and that they have an X-Files Fan Club that raised money for a scholarship. She was wondering if they could get him to sign a thank you letter to give to the people who donated to their cause. He was very accommodating and agreed to see her about it afterward.

Someone asked about the timeframe for shooting an episode. He said they usually have 8 days to prep and that they have two full film crews. It takes about 10-14 days per episode but sometimes it runs long and they are constantly pressed for time. Even with the secondary crew, they keep everybody busy. He talked more about the process of prepping and shooting and post-production and how he is involved at all steps of the process as a director.

The next woman said, "Mr. Manners, or should I say bleep-bleep." Limited response there. She went on to tell of how she makes jewelry and had designed and made a necklace especially for Gillian Anderson but hadn't been able to figure out exactly how to get it to her and was wondering if he had an address or...she sort of trailed off. At this point Kim, being incredibly accommodating if you ask me (and I know you didn't), asked her if she was asking him if he'd take it to Gillian. The woman said, "Would you?" as if it wasn't what she was asking all along. He said yes he would and told her to bring it up to him on the stage. I think this was the worst of the inappropriate questions I saw all day. Not that it's wrong to make a necklace for GA, but to come to Kim's Q&A and ask him to be an errand boy for you? Whatever.

Someone mentioned the fact that he was originally going to play Detective Manners in the episode Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space' and wondered why he didn't. He said he's been really busy doing post-production on the last episode and was really tired and decided to take a pass because he was worried he'd forget his lines. He didn't want to be embarrassed. He said he does actually swear a lot and only wished they had picked an actor for the role who had a bit more attitude.

I finally jumped in and asked Kim about the type of episodes he likes to direct the most. He's done dark, moody episodes (Grotesque); funny, satirical episodes (War of the Coprophages); mytharc episode (Apocrypha). Which does he find the most challenging and enjoyable. He said he's become really attached to the whole mythology and enjoys these episodes the best these days. He's enjoyed working on all the various types but finds the whole story of the mythology fascinating to work on not to mention the great cast that comes out of the woodwork for these shows (Mitch, John Neville, etc.).

Another question about the making of the show. He said they usually shoot 15-16 hours a day. He talked more about being involved in the post-production, including the addition of the musical score.

He was asked about John Bartley (Director of Photography) leaving the show and how difficult the transition was during that time. He said it was very difficult at first. They brought in a new DP and he shot some stuff that really didn't work out. It was very dark and they were having problems work-wise and just getting along with him personality-wise on the set. Carter decided to make another change and they brought Joel Ransom aboard and he did a great job and is working out really well.

Someone asks about the upcoming feature film and what he thinks. He said he hasn't seen it but from everything he's heard he thinks it's going to be terrific.

He is asked about working on the set and how everyone interacts. He says it's a really fun show to work on. He couldn't tell any real stories but he mentioned one thing Gillian does...that she likes to use the phrase "F**k me!" and it really cracks everybody up.

I hogged the microphone for another question and asked him about the special effects intensive episodes; if they were difficult, challenging, and if he had any anecdotes to relate. He said that Max was a lot of work but was really worth it. He said they built that entire plane set. It was six feet off the ground, had a 22 degree tilt, was shot with 80 extras, and the plane crash scenes took 3 days to shoot. He said it was sort of a dangerous shoot and he actually had the camera crew wearing helmets. The extras really put themselves on the line shooting those interior shots without wearing the helmets and everything you saw was shot with real people, not a CGI effect. He said the scenes where people were sucked off the plane (like Max himself) were done using what he called a "jerk off". They hooked the people up to harnesses hooked to a cable and jerked them right off the plane, 40 feet across the set. He said he wanted to explore the minds of the people on that plane. There they are just having seen such a beautiful thing in Max's abduction and return to the plane and suddenly they're thrown into this horrible event with the UFO and their plane being shot down and the ensuing violence of the crash. He said he thinks these are the sort of scenes that define the show.

He reiterated his feeling that all the hard work is worth it because of the fans and their positive reactions. He said we are very important. Boy, he really plays to the audience and of course we're eating it up with a spoon.

Someone asked if the roaches in WOTC were real or fake. He said they were 99% real and that it was really amazing. He told the story about how during filming the roaches often took his direction better than the human actors. For the shot with the guy sitting on the toilet, he was going to pan behind him and the roaches were supposed to come running up the back of the tank. Apparently, they tried this multiple times and the roaches weren't cooperating so he went over to them and, using his often colorful phraseology, told them in no uncertain terms to run up the damn toilet tank when he called action. Amazingly, they did what he asked and he got the shot.

A question was asked about whether they were assigned certain scripts or did they get to choose. He said that right now the only people who direct mytharc episodes are Rob Bowman, Chris Carter, R.W. Goodwin, and himself. As far as the rest, it's just sort of what comes up in the rotation. They aren't selected for anyone's particular talent.

He was then asked about the episode Home and censorship. He said that Fox was going to show that episode on March 22nd because it had been voted as a fan favorite but they backed out at the last minute. He said he thought Home addressed the biggest fear of so many people - what's under the bed. He said they took a chance with the episode and maybe they went too far. He said that people need to go back to the source of the story which was based on the movie "Brother's Keeper". He said the reason he felt the baby was killed was because the brothers knew it was born a mutant and didn't want the baby to grow up and have to live the life that they had to endure.

The next person asked where he got his ideas for the stories. He politely asked, do you mean where do the writers get the ideas, not being a writer himself. He said he thought the writers were a bunch of weirdoes. Weird, confused, and eventually desperate as their deadlines hit. When their time runs out they get desperate for an idea and come up with these bizarre stories. He was mostly kidding around except for the desperation at deadline part...I think. As far as his role in the storytelling, he says he puts himself in the viewers mind to decide how to do the visuals. What would scare him? How could he shoot something to elicit the emotion he wants? What would work if he was the viewer?

The question of why they don't do more abduction stories was asked. He said they have done some and, in fact, just had Cassandra Spender abducted in the last episode. He said we'll just have to see if and when she's returned whether it was an alien abduction or something else. The question was posed as to whether he believed in extraterrestrials. His answer was an emphatic yes.

Someone asked if he really thought Chris Carter was crazy. He said Chris was "one twisted puppy". He told a story about working on Teso Dos Bichos. He commented that it was not his favorite. He said it was three good acts then suddenly the killer kitty cats arrived. "What a stupid show!" He told about how they were on the set and he was eating a sandwich and Carter was there telling him how he wanted one scene shot, describing effects and how he wanted them grosser and more graphic, and there was Kim just eating his sandwich. He said at that point he thought, "We're all going to hell."

He was asked whether the production of the episodes were always frantic paced. He said it was pretty much always frantic. He thought the name of the production company could be Miracle Productions instead of Ten-Thirteen. He said that, for instance, The Red and The Black was still filming scenes on Friday, two days before it had to be on the air.

Kim was asked how they got Jodie Foster to do the voice of the tattoo in Never Again. He said it wasn't a show he directed but that Randy Stone (casting) is a really good friend with Jodie, has been for years. When they had the voice-over opportunity come up, Chris Carter mused that it would be great if they could get Jodie to do it and when Randy asked her she agreed immediately.

Someone asked what his favorite aspect of the show is. He said he's been directing for 20 years and this show is such a great opportunity because it's like shooting a feature film. He said you usually don't get opportunities like this in TV but it's thanks to the fans watching that he's been given this opportunity and gets to continue working on the show. He said if we weren't watching the show, "I would probably be directing traffic."

Another lame one. A guy got up and proceeded to tell Kim about how he's a musician and his friends told him his music sounds like it should be on The X-Files. He was wondering how he'd go about submitting some of his music to try to get it on the show. Kim was very polite and told him to see him afterward and he'd look into getting him some addresses.

Somebody came to the microphone and said he hoped they never censored the show or themselves. Kim said that's how he wanted it and that his philosophy was that there was an ON/OFF switch on the TV so people could use it.

He was asked how he felt about other networks' shows that had tried to imitate the tone and feel of The X-Files. He said he didn't think it was working; that the quality just wasn't there. "I'm not bragging but we do it well." He said the whole thing is a learning process. If you look back at the first season and progress up to the latest episodes, you can see that they've leaned and changed as the show matured.

A guy got up and commented how he likes all aspects of the show including the dialogue. He wondered if they would ever have scenes where the characters talk about events that have happened, sort of to keep people up to speed or refresh their memories about events that have occurred. Kim said that Chris wouldn't write that way so it would never happen. He did say that we would see more answers in the future, both in the feature film and in season six. He said things about Samantha would be dealt with and commented, "I think CSM is her father."

Someone asked if there were any directors that inspired him or that he tried to emulate. He said he doesn't pattern his work after others but tries to use his own style and shoot visuals, etc. that he'd like to see if he was a viewer. He said his biggest inspiration is his wife, his family, and the fans. He said when he's tired, frustrated, or having a hard time with the show his wife tells him that he doesn't realize what an incredible thing they're doing. He said that 10 years from now, after the show is past its original run, we'll all realize that The X-Files is among the top 10 most important, influential shows in history.

When asked if Mulder and Scully are ever going to get together he answered, "Not on your life! No way!" He said they care deeply for each other and are a special couple but if there was a romance on the show, it would be over.

That was the final question and before they carted him off to start signing autographs he profusely thanked the audience. "Thank you very, very, very, very much. I love you. Bye-bye."

March 23, 1998 

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