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Dispatches From the Set – Producer Jolly Dale on Season 5

The Walking Dead‘s producer Jolly Dale talks about growing tomatoes on-set and which character she’d want on her team during the apocalypse.

Q: You started off as a production supervisor on this series. What are the main differences in your role as a producer now?

A: Being production supervisor is very “nuts and bolts.” It’s about numbers, keeping track of the budget, hiring crew, getting equipment… I’m freed up a little bit from that now. I sometimes think of myself as the mom of the crew. I run the internship program here and we have a relationship with a couple of different universities. I get to interact with other people more.

Q: A The Walking Dead internship? That sounds amazing.

A: Yeah, it’s a coveted position! We had so many applicants.

Q: You’re spearheading an effort to “go green” on set. What does that entail?

A: Every year, we try to build on what we established the year before. During Season 2, we tried to address how much paper we were using and encouraged people only to print when they had to or to print on double-sided paper; or to use an electronic device to retrieve their information. So, we started there and then really got into the recycling efforts. It’s a challenge. There are people who don’t understand, I think, all the reasons why recycling is such a good idea. We try to make it as attractive as possible and as easy as possible to do it, but sometimes people just don’t want to do it. To that end, we’ve tried to have a “green” representative from each department to be the cheerleader.

Q: What’s been the coolest or most innovative way in which you’ve re-used something? Do any of these efforts make their way into what we’re seeing on screen?

A: The amazing prison garden that the production designer created for Season 4. We bought a composter and started composting breakfast and lunch. This year, we’re expanding our effort so we’re composting all the time even when we’re on location. We had compost at the end of the season that we used in our prison garden last year. They were flowering fruits and vegetables all over the interior of the prison, so we’re using it all the way through its cycle. This year, we have our own garden for the crew and we hope we’ll make some zombie salsa here when the tomatoes ripen. [Laughs]

Q: You’ve spent a large chunk of your career on the series Army Wives. How do you think they’d fare in a zombie apocalypse?

A: Really well. It’s funny because I had never given too much thought about the families of people in the military. Being on the show for a couple of years really gave me an appreciation for that, and those people are tough. I think they would do really well, except for the wardrobe.

Q: Fighting walkers in high heels?

A: Yup, and the fancy dresses.

Q: Which The Walking Dead character would you want on your team if you had to brave the apocalypse yourself?

A: I would have to say Michonne. She’s no nonsense, but she has something underneath her and once you get to it, you can have a real, human relationship with her.

Q: Is there a certain character you relate to most?

A: Again, I would have to say Michonne. I just think she’s a badass. She doesn’t make any apologies and it doesn’t matter that she’s a woman, but the fact that she is a woman makes her really cool.

Q: What’s been the biggest challenge for Season 5 thus far?

A: Well, you will eventually see that the Premiere episode is by far the biggest episode that we’ve ever done. So, getting it all together to make it come off as good as we want has been a huge task, but it’s going to be amazing.

Q: What are you most excited for this upcoming season?

A: There’s a lot of stuff I’m not allowed to talk about, but readers of the comic book will have a pretty good idea of which direction we’re going in. The way I see it is, we’ve killed a lot of beloved characters on the show, but that just opens it up for new story lines to come along. So don’t be too sad about all the people who died in Season 4 because there will be way more characters to come.


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