Episode 2003 - Heart's Desire

It’s Monday, January 12, and the cast and crew are back in Hope Valley from a long winter’s (Christmas) nap. I can’t emphasize enough how important that holiday break was for the entire team.  I know for most of our fans watching the show, it must seem like an easy task making these 42-minute episodes, but the reality is there are a thousand moving parts (it’s all about logistics when we’re rolling cameras), and the entire team works a minimum of 14-hour days, Monday through Friday, every week during the production cycle. 

Spending time with family these last few holiday weeks has been a fantastic way to recharge the batteries. I’m very excited as we enter the second half of our Season 2 production calendar.  Even though we’re technically still filming a few scenes from episode 4, we’re also shooting scenes from the next two episodes this week and next, as well. 

When we’re filming multiple episodes, it’s amazing to watch our wonderful actors navigate their emotional changes from scene to scene. Each episode presents them with a “character arc” which they have to internalize and interpret for themselves as they are taking the words on the page and “putting them up on their feet.” I’m a writer, not an actor… I have no idea how they do it, especially when they are shooting multiple episodes at once.  It’s amazing and magical to watch. (I hope they feel the same way about our writing team and our writing process!)  Episode 204 is almost finished, and today 205 and 206 begin.  I’m pretty sure we’re going to hear a collective gasp across North America from our “Heartie-nation” about some of the relationship surprises in Hamilton that take place in 204.

For 205, I’m betting that gasp will change to a collective sigh of relief as Elizabeth comes home to Hope Valley. Her story of volunteering to babysit two kids from the community and some of the “fish out of water” elements are delightful, and very much in the vein of some of the stories we did in Season 1. Don’t get me wrong, I love the new characters and relationships we’re introducing, but there’s something very satisfying and heart-warming about this kind of story we’re telling this week. Makes me want a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup like my Mom used to make me on a rainy day after school. I think this story will be “comfort food” to a lot of Hearties who may have some “heartie-burn” over some of the new wrinkles we are adding in Hamilton storylines.

It’s what this show is evolving into – a very big painting canvas, which if we can maintain our creative edge – will provide a little something for everybody who watches this show. I know every member of this cast and crew has committed to these long hours, and to working tirelessly, to provide the best episodes we can make. They are keeping their fingers and toes crossed that the Hearties will love what we’re doing enough to spread the blessing of “When Calls the Heart” to their friends and neighbors.

Personally I’m more of a “stay on my knees” kind of guy, because we’ll need prayer in addition to wishful thinking to keep this show going forward for seasons to come. I pray the Hearties will keep the faith, and join us as we seek to provide a family-friendly alternative to all the zombies, werewolves and vampires that seem to be everywhere on TV.  That’s one thing they can count on.  There won’t ever be any zombies in Hope Valley! 

-- Brian Bird