Charmed director Vanessa Parise talks about The CW series and the process from start to finish

Charmed -- Courtesy of Vanessa Parise -- Acquired via Persona PR
Charmed -- Courtesy of Vanessa Parise -- Acquired via Persona PR /

Vanessa Parise is the producing director and co-executive producer on The CW’s Charmed. In this exclusive interview, she talks about the process of bringing stories to life and why this project was for her.

Charmed is The CW’s highest-rated freshman show of the 2018-2019 season so far. Picked up for the full 22-episode season, the series is a take on the original from the late 90s/early 00s, bringing a new audience to the magic. Director Vanessa Parise has her own part to play in the production.

As Producing Director and Co-Executive Producer, Parise has made sure as many women as possible are hired on this new production. During this exclusive interview with Hidden Remote, she talks about why she jumped on board this project and how she brings her episodes to life.

Fans got the chance to see Parise’s directorial work in Episode 2, “Let the Mother Out.” The next episode to look out for is Episode 8. The title isn’t out yet, but IMDb shares that the episode will air on Dec. 2 and looks to be the fall finale.

Are you ready to relive the magic through this interview?

Vanessa Parise
Charmed — Photo credit: Alec Watson — Acquired via Person PR /

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Hidden Remote: Did you ever watch any of the original Charmed to get an idea of directorial style for those episodes or to take any inspirations from them? And what made you decide that this was a project for you?

Vanessa Parise: Alyssa Milano was starring in the original when she starred in my first feature film, Kiss the Bride, which was about four sisters and their dysfunctional but very loving family. I watched a lot of the original series at that time – and loved it.

I’ve always tried to write interesting, multidimensional female characters in my scripts, and to hire as many women as possible below the line as well. To be given this great opportunity [to be Producing Director, Co-Executive Producer] on Charmed feels like the perfect culmination of my work to date… like it was meant to be.

HR: How do you start the process when it comes to directing an episode?

Parise: I have a ritual. I sit quietly and read the episode without interruption, so that I can feel the emotional impact – and get a sense of what’s most important.

What is the episode about? What themes run through it? I want to get the big picture before I begin the technical steps of prepping.

Then, I look at the Chrono, and I pick out what I feel are the “movie moments” – where I feel like we should spend more time.

I think a big part of my job is deciding how to allocate our time. Where to spend a little more, and where to spend less. Everything does not have equal importance.

Charmed — Courtesy of Vanessa Parise — Acquired via Persona PR
Charmed — Courtesy of Vanessa Parise — Acquired via Persona PR /

HR: What’s the process like as you go through each episode you direct? Do plans and ideas change along the way?

Parise: I start general, with big sweeping ideas. What the episode is about. Visually how best to tell the story. I log visual references.

Then I begin the process of getting more and more specific. I read the script again. Start breaking it down into emotional or story beats.

Then, as I find locations, I start to block where I think the actors might move, again to best tell the story. From this, I can estimate how long each scene will take to shoot. And work with my AD to make sure we can successfully make our days.

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HR: What’s been the hardest and easiest part of your job on Charmed so far?

Parise: Hardest is trying to accomplish all that we want to do in the amount of time we have. (Though I think this is the biggest problem on every show. It’s the nature of our work.)

I’m also dedicated to creating a positive work environment, where everyone wants to come to work and feels like an integral part of the whole (because everyone is!).

Easiest? Hmmm… (laughing) I’m not sure any of it’s easy. But it does feel like it comes naturally. Like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. There’s just so much to do all the time.

Charmed — Courtesy of Vanessa Parise — Acquired via Persona PR
Charmed — Courtesy of Vanessa Parise — Acquired via Persona PR /

HR: What would your dream project be?

Parise: I’m so grateful for my current job [as Producing Director on Charmed] – just loving it. I’m also excited for what the future brings.

The dream is to direct television pilots about multilayered women. And action films. And of course, to continue to learn and grow. And continue to have so much fun along the way!

HR: Can you share anything about what you can’t wait for fans to see in Episode 8?

Yes! One word. Cocoon. ☺

HR: Thank you, Vanessa, for taking the time to answer our questions. Can’t wait to see what this “cocoon” is all about!

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What do you look forward to seeing in Charmed? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Charmed airs Sundays at 9/8c on The CW.