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  • Carter Ferguson

THE DEEP | Working with Minnie Driver and James Nesbitt

The Deep is a thriller mini series written by Simon Donald. Set far below the Arctic ice, the action follows the crew of an oceanographer’s submarine as they search the final frontiers of Earth for unknown and remarkable life forms. When inexplicable circumstances cause catastrophe to strike, the crew find themselves stranded with no power, limited oxygen and no communication with the surface. And they are completely alone – or so they think…

I directed fight sequences on 3 of the 4 episodes of this series and it’s one I very much enjoyed. At moments this was very much like working on an episode of Star Trek.

I was asked to stage the actions derived from debris hitting the outside of the sub, so that “Star Trek bump from side to side” type action had to be coordinated to work with camera department who also shook the camera a little on certain takes, but more importantly with CGI who were already generating the digital exterior shots which showed the Submarine being battered, which cuts to and from the live stuff I was working on myself. It’s a matter of getting everyone on board and doing the same thing more than anything else, and that can be a little tricky as very often everyone has an opinion. It’s surprising how often being a fight director just involves giving clarity of action and timings for people, cutting through and unifying contrasting opinions and trying not to step on toes along the way. I’ve come to think that way about just directing. Largely you are managing and interpreting and unifying cast and crews opinion in order to proceed in the direction you would like them to follow. Sometimes that direction is changed as you agree with points made, at other times you need to look passed the opinions of others and get people on board with the ideas you have in mind.

One amazing thing about the Deep was the set. I’ve got somewhere, and if I find it I will upload it, a video walk through of the entire main submarine set which I made on my first set visit. It was a sight to behold, and hats off to the design department that made it look so amazing. You can see a video trailer of the show on THIS LINK.

As mentioned before, I worked on 3 of the 4 episodes of the show. Fights wise it was pretty basic on some levels but quite exciting and different in others. The Deep filmed in Scotland in 2010 with action filmed between two main studio sets on the stages at BBC’s River City base in Dumbarton, and on an old military weapons testing facility just across the Clyde near Erskine where some interiors of the Russian super sub were shot. An amazing location.

The show only lasted a mini series but it was one of the highest end pieces I have worked on. If you get a chance, give it a watch. You can buy it on THIS LINK at the time of writing.

Copyright 2014 © Carter Ferguson /

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