My name is Steve Conrad and I'm the writer/creator of EPiX's Perpetual Grace, LTD., and Amazon's Patriot. I also just released a soundtrack album of original music under the name The Jones Sisters for PGLTD. I know that a lot of you have questions for me about Patriot and hopefully many about Perpetual Grace, LTD. as well as the Jones Sisters. Please feel free to Ask Me Anything.

Proof: https://twitter.com/StevConrad/status/1159885792648581121

UPDATE: Thanks so much for all your incredible questions. I didn't have a chance to answer all of them, but will be working on my responses during the next couple of weeks and will answer as many as I can during that time.

Comments: 292 • Responses: 39  • Date: 

irocktoo95 karma

I’d just like to say from the bottom of my heart, thank you for Patriot. It was the show that made me realize I was depressed and I’d never seen the emotions I had been struggling with so elegantly put on screen. Patriot has and will be a show near and dear to me for the rest of my life.

As for my question: There is this air of non-judgement when it comes to characters actions and each character, no matter how small, has depth, what mindset do you have when you’re creating these characters?

SteveConrad62 karma

Man thanks that means quite a lot to me. It’s the reason we write. The mindset we have more or less when we create a field of characters is to create a world of tension between expectations and a world of connection between needs

filled_with_hornets53 karma

How was the extended Rochambeau sequence in Patriot filmed? Had the actors memorised the whole sequence? P.S. it's perfection.

SteveConrad62 karma

Thank you. Mike and Alliette just spent a lot of time after work practicing. They spent months. Which is one of the reasons I love them.

Miserable_Mr_Masle51 karma

Do you write so many scenes with your brother's characters being shirtless or naked as some sort of sibling payback?

SteveConrad58 karma

Yes

tornadoddt35 karma

Hi there Steve, I'm a big fan of Patriot and Perpetual Grace, LTD. ("Get it, get the rhythm, get the rhythm, there we go, there we fuckin' go" gets stuck in my head from time to time, so thanks for that, haha.) I have two questions and they're both about music.

First, what was the reasoning behind changing the theme music for Patriot from "Train Song" in season 1 to "Sure Shot" in season 2. I love both songs, but I'm just curious as to why you decided to swap out one for the other between seasons.

And second, and I've been hoping for this since the episode aired, will a full version of Ben Kingsley singing "When Doves Cry" ever see the light of day? Because I noticed it wasn't on the PGLTD soundtrack and I'm wondering if we'll ever get to hear a full version of it because it just sounds so cool.

Thanks for doing this AMA, fingers crossed for a second season of Perpetual Grace!

SteveConrad38 karma

1) thank you very much. We created a different title sequence for season two because I want the individual seasons of the shows we work on to have their own identity and integrity. The characters and their circumstances change and I prefer that the titles sequences accommodate their new conditions. And I like that Vashti’s song is still there were one to care to revisit season one

About Ben’s When Doves Cry- it was a massive feat to get Prince’s estate to allow us the use of the song. They won’t let us release a longer version but we were all pleased we had the chance to share what we had. Ben killed it

IcelandicBanks30 karma

Steve! I love your work, man!

The Weather Man, Walter Mitty, Patriot, and now Perpetual Grace, Ltd!

I feel like your current stuff(Patriot, PGLTD) is juuust weird enough that it could introduce a wide audience to the type of humor/plot/pacing you provide if they just give it a chance.

So, my question is, does it bother you that you create such highly acclaimed but widely unknown stuff? Would you prefer if your shows were as big as stuff like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, or do you think you'd end up with a watered down version of what your vision is if things got too popular?

I guess it's like this, man: what's your goal with creating your stuff? What you're currently doing or being the next big thing?

Keep up the pretty good stuff, man, and keep that haircut, too.

Oh, and Chris has the following insane qualities: body, kicking ability, acting ability, and career.

He was Johnny* Cage, for fucks sake! Can you live up to that, you think?

SteveConrad26 karma

Cool question. My only goal is to hope the material lasts a while in our audience’s minds. Maybe if the work was more popular that would be harder to accomplish. Johnny Cage gets killed in the first scene. My favorite Chris Conrad movie is Karate Kid four

melwin777730 karma

I think the first question most of us want to ask, is there any chance that Patriot will return for a third season?

SteveConrad54 karma

Most of us who worked on Patriot work on PGLTD now. We were uncertain about the opportunity to continue our work on Patriot due to the studio’s long deliberation. We worried we would be split up among a dozen different projects. So we decided to keep working as a group on something new straight away. We’re going to stay with PGLTD for a while. Patriot though is really just a group of people. We’re still together

HFTCFC30 karma

Are you aware that you've inspired a linguistic revolution amongst several people (on Reddit as well as offline)? It is cool. (Thank you.)

SteveConrad39 karma

Pretty good

SteveConrad34 karma

We like to use those recurring worlds and phrases because it helps us find the people who really like the show, and that helps me learn what’s actually good about it. That’s the basis of it

future_forward22 karma

How the hell did you pull off that long, long take in Patriot S2?

Looking forward to good news on LTD S2 – can't wait for more Special Boy hijinx (and Hana Mae Lee being badass).

Thanks for your work, and for doing this AMA!

SteveConrad37 karma

Long take = dumb luck. We just needed actors (Mike,Chris Michael,Tony) and a a camera operator (Jody Miller) who were up for spending a night in a French jail if we got caught. It took 14 takes to get the trains timed right

elazarf22 karma

Any chance of Michael Dorman making an appearance in future seasons of PERPETUAL GRACE LTD?

SteveConrad31 karma

Mike Dorman is a genius. But jimmi Simpson sits in that seat at the family table of PGLTD. And we’re lucky to have Jimmi. He is a remarkable partner. mike and I will work together someday soon

MartinTidy22 karma

Hi, Steve. John Tavner and James both exhibit signs of clinical depression to a degree and level of realism I rarely see on screen. It's so refreshing, not to mention literally therapeutic. Have you or has someone close to you dealt with depression? Or is it something you just had to research? Neither? Thank you!

SteveConrad36 karma

Patriot is largely about depression and the coping mechanisms someone hopes will lift them out. It’s the bad guy in the show. I have had people close to me contend with it. We all have. It’s all around us. Friendship helps John

King_Allant21 karma

Patriot and Perpetual Grace have been my absolute favorite shows to watch with my family these past years, so thank you kindly for the many hours of enjoyment we've been able to share. Now, I have two very important questions. There's a lot riding on this.

  1. Do you have a crush on Terry O'Quinn? There must have been atleast four separate characters in Perpetual Grace who called him beautiful. I mean, he is of course. But are you telling us something?

  2. There are several very specific recurring elements across Patriot and Perpetual Grace. A few examples include the line, "Blessed with faith, cursed with sons," the idea of "The Thermodynamics of Running" versus "The Structual Dynamics of Flow," and the idiosyncratic way Terry O'Quinn and Kurtwood Smith's characters in both shows continually address each other by their names at the beginning of sentences. Is there special significance to these recurrences?

SteveConrad29 karma

Anyone who knows Terry O’Quinn has a crush on him. I know him. Therefore I have a crush on him, yeah. The only significance to recurrences is that we build them in to thank our audience for paying attention. It’s important to us to say thank you that way

IsobelJ20 karma

Hi Steve, how far ahead have you plotted out Perpetual Grace Ltd? It is an absolutely brilliant show, I hope y'all get renewed!

P.S. Chris Conrad is a phenomenal actor - the way he plays New Leaf as simultaneously intelligent, sensitive, and perpetually one moment away from assaulting someone is 👌🏼

SteveConrad24 karma

Chris texted me earlier today and challenged me to guess which question he was going to ask me. I don’t think this is it though because I think it’s clear to anyone who cares to notice that Chris is a remarkable actor. Thank you for noticing. I’m very lucky that he has signed on with me. We have the series pretty well figured out. We’ve plotted it out to the end. And if this is Chris… just a reminder to watch Karate Kid four.

DellZissou16 karma

What are some of your favorite books?

SteveConrad26 karma

A list of my favorite books would include Independence Day by Richard Ford. Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders. The Name of the World by Denis Johnson

WardenclyffeTower16 karma

Really enjoyed both of your shows. What's your role in the band The Jones Sisters (what instrument do you play)?

For those who may not know, these are the subreddits for the shows:
/r/PatriotTV
/r/PerpetualGraceLTD

SteveConrad15 karma

I play guitar in The Jones Sisters. But Sheriff Dolittle does the hard parts

livegamedeals14 karma

Also any confirmation on Season 2 of Perpetual Grace, LTD? Would the current cast be kept completely intact if there is one?

SteveConrad33 karma

All those decisions makers about PGLTD season 2 seem very pleased with the way the show has been regarded. There is a necessary waiting period of a few weeks longer. But all signs are good for a quick delivery on season 2. Everyone is back. We’re a pretty tight group.

filled_with_hornets14 karma

If Patriot and/or PGL didn't continue in TV form, would you consider publishing a subsequent season's unfilmed scripts/storyboards for fans to purchase in book form?

SteveConrad38 karma

I think what mike and I might do regarding Patriot is maybe make some john Tavner home recordings of john Tavner’s further songs

filled_with_hornets14 karma

Can you tell us about the origin of Pa's chant (in your own head, or in the fiction of PGL)?

SteveConrad22 karma

Pa’s chant…. It’s crazy… it was the day before I met Ben for the first time. He was arriving in Santa Fe a week or so before we began shooting and I was terrified by his talent. I couldn’t sleep I was so intimidated. Then that day the chant just popped into my head. The whole thing. And I liked it and I thought “now I have to tell him I want him to do this stupid chant on the first day of shooting that I can’t explain the importance of at all.” Somehow that weird idea I loved protected me so when I walked into the room to meet him I was going to be “the guy with the weird Idea that maybe wasn’t good and maybe wasn’t bad and we’ll just have to see…” Anyway, Ben loved it and made it faster and more intense. That’s Ben

BeckettBoi13 karma

Hi Steve, what are your thoughts on the recent news that Patriot will not be returning, did you have plans for a third season?, if so please can we have the details, i am a big fan of all of your work, especially patriot! Very sad to see it go.

SteveConrad20 karma

Thank your very much. There are complications obviously with our cast and our filmmaker’s schedules allowing for a Patriot 3 but I’d like our audience to know that we would have been pleased to have been given the chance to continue our story

Owl-with-Diabetes13 karma

With Perpetual Grace and Patriot, you seem to be a huge fan of noirs. What are some of your favorite noirs that have inspired your work or you love?

P.S. Love your music!

SteveConrad18 karma

Thank you very much. Favorite noirs - No Country. A Simple Plan. The Killing. Dog Day Afternoon. Mildred Pierce

uranist12 karma

Thank you and the whole team for both Patriot and Perpetual Grace, LTD.! I first learned about Patriot from the Harmontown podcast you were on, binged both seasons, and signed up to Epix just for Perpetual Grace, LTD.

Question time: Both Patriot and Perpetual Grace, LTD. share the trope of a band of unlikely allies coming together to accomplish something. Is this something you want to continue to explore? Why do you think you're drawn to stories like that?

SteveConrad16 karma

I guess because (versus family) friendships are the intimate connections that we choose. And I think that we choose them subconsciously (in the best versions of events) because of a need to get healed by them

MartinTidy12 karma

Outside of your soundtracks, is there any place can we hear other songs you've written?

SteveConrad7 karma

There’s a website for Pa’s church that has a page on it that keeps posting older songs. Once a week. I think they have a bunch of older stuff (http://ourladyofperpetualgrace.com)

PeligrosoOso11 karma

Do you choose all the music for your shows? I swear I heard a ZAO song in the Guillermo Usted space training scene.

SteveConrad24 karma

I do choose the music. It’s my favorite part and sometimes it helps me get my friends paid

SmokeontheHorizon10 karma

I've got a two-fer: Do you write characters with certain actors in mind, and have you had to change your original plans for any of your characters after they were cast?

SteveConrad19 karma

I can’t write for an actor until I get to know them in real life. Someone might notice how PGLTD changes over the course of the season. It’s because I had the occasion to get to know Jacki, Ben, Jimmi, Luis, Dash, Damon, Tim and Efren. And I started giving them more detailed stuff because I was able to learn their details. That is probably the difference between Patriot Season One and Season Two. We all got to know each others details.

livegamedeals10 karma

Are you the vocalist on The Jones Sisters album? Specifically the opening and ending themes of Perpetual Grace, LTD. Great tracks!

SteveConrad15 karma

We all sing now and then but that’s Bobby Bare Jr. Check out his records. Jim Becker (Sheriff Dolittle) sings You are hurting me and My Old Old Lady Check out his records with Califone. Carey Kotsionis sings Iris and Restless as The Former Horses. Her records are lovely. Lillie Mae Rische sings Kawasaki KX80 and I want to get something going on (her new record just came out) I sing Drunk (Chicago).

bloodflart9 karma

How many seasons are you planning or have ideas for?

SteveConrad12 karma

3

2by2wastaken9 karma

I loved patriot, it’s easily one of my favorite shows of all time. My favorite scene was the entire store robbery segment. What are some of your favorite scenes in patriot? And what are some of your favorite movies and shows?

But my biggest question is where you learned how to film? Did you go to a film school, or did you just develop the skills on your own? All of patriot looks so stunning and the story and writing is all so well blended with it, so I just wanted to know how you learned to make it so amazing! Thanks!

SteveConrad12 karma

What I learned in the early days is it’s a good idea to meet two people as talented as Jimi and Nicole Whitaker and to promise them with no sense of whether it was going to turn out this way that we could try to make tv that didn’t look like tv

crsven9 karma

Is there any way to hear the full version of Ben Kingsley's "When Doves Cry" cover?

SteveConrad17 karma

Copied from Above:

About Ben’s When Doves Cry- it was a massive feat to get Prince’s estate to allow us the use of the song. They won’t let us release a longer version but we were all pleased we had the chance to share what we had. Ben killed it

MKoilers9 karma

Hi Steve, big fan of Patriot and planning to check out Perpetual Grace Ltd as well.

The Patriot cancellation stings for me, so I can only imagine what it is like for you as the creator. How long did you envision Patriot running for, if you had been given the opportunity to keep going?

SteveConrad15 karma

I sensed that the studio wasn’t into it anymore so we tried to make the last 8 hours work. But we could have done one more year

gettherhythm8 karma

I also saw your short pre-Patriot stop-motion Timm's Valley - what is it that lead you to choose industrial piping as a backdrop to both shows?

SteveConrad14 karma

We use names sometimes in a few different shows… it’s weird… we do it to show that maybe that stuff isn’t really that important. I think what we’re trying to do is to maybe share that the important stuff is happening somewhere else in the show.

elbowleg5138 karma

Did you ever see the Beastie Boys in concert?

SteveConrad22 karma

Ha yeah I did. Like 1985. Chris Conrad interrupted the experience by getting into a fight with the opening act Bad Brains (they’re great) then fighting cops and going to 15 year old kid jail) so I had to leave early, but as I was leaving the dick became present

notyou8 karma

First off, huge props. Both these shows are favorites of mine. I love virtually everything about them and have watched all of Patriot at least twice.

Based on the arcs I'm going to venture a guess that in the improviser/planner spectrum for TV shows you're a planner. If that's right, what kind of space (if any) do you leave for improvising in the construction of these shows? As a mostly-improviser by nature, I'm curious to hear you opine about this subject in general.

SteveConrad16 karma

I live in Chicago. Improv is part of the important scene here. And I wish we had the time and space on TV to mess with it. But man we have to shoot so fast that the day needs a plan. And, we’re also making suspense which… well… it just needs engineering. But someday someone is going to make an improved suspense show that’s great and I’m going to love it

filled_with_hornets6 karma

How did you shoot/edit the extended sequence of Hector walking around and through his house? I can't hear a second set of (camera operator's) footsteps on the gravel, or see a track for the camera to be sitting on. But the sound seems too perfectly matched to be ADR.

SteveConrad10 karma

Cool technical question. Sound was live. Sound mixer was in front of the actors (off screen), our brilliant camera operator (Cédric Martin) was behind them and scampered like a cat burglar)

filled_with_hornets5 karma

Will PGL (and/or Patriot) get a DVD/Blu Ray release so that I can cram it in my friends' Christmas stockings? PGL is incredible and it'd be great to be able to spread it around. I'm in Australia and very few people here are aware of it. P.S. Thankyou for putting so much heart into this show. The Special Boys and Ma/Pa are unlike any other characters on TV.

SteveConrad13 karma

I would love for you to cram Patriot and PGLTD into your friend’s stockings. But they just won’t make objects. They cost too much to their way of thinking. Our way of thinking is that objects are art and we would be really happy to be one

VantasnerDanger4 karma

Are there plans to take The Jones Sisters on tour? Cuz that would be, like, cool.

SteveConrad10 karma

We’re going to play in Nashville and Chicago the weekend the vinyl version of the record is released.

jez1243 karma

Whats your dream project?

What existing work- books, comics or a remake would you love to work on?

Favourite tv show/movie of this year?

SteveConrad6 karma

The Return of Billy Jack (I’m working on it. Tom Laughlin’s son Frank is a brilliant and lovely caretaker of his family’s work) we’re trying to figure out a way to make the next one

KennyKatsu3 karma

Love Patriot and would rank it in my top 5 shows. What are some of your favorite tv series this year?

SteveConrad10 karma

This year we have been working so much I just can’t watch tv so I’m going to say the show what I have watched this most this year... The Mighty Boosh.

AnEnchantedJockstrap3 karma

Quick and simple question for you, Steve - any chance of news of PGLTD getting acquired in the UK any time soon? Dying to see it but there's no way to watch it over this side of the world.

SteveConrad11 karma

The UK has the greatest density of Patriot audience on the planet so I hope it’s just a matter of time before the people who make those decisions who are not me make the right decision which would be to get PGLTD on the air in the UK as soon as one can

filled_with_hornets3 karma

In PGL, How on earth did you film/stage the bank/antique shop split screen? Were both sides filmed simultaneously, or was one filmed first?

SteveConrad6 karma

We filmed bank one first then (so painstakingly) tried to time the antique store to it. Dash established the long pacing. With his long drinking of his bank water