Manifest takes on the QC campus

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Television producers filmed scenes for the show Manifest on Queens College Campus and at THHS on September 7, marking the first appearance of Townsend Harris High School as a setting in a television drama.

Director Félix Enríquez Alcalá spoke with The Classic, and encouraged students to never “give up telling stories about the campus, about your friends, about the world we live in, about nature.” Despite the challenges that may arise in this highly competitive field, Alcalá advised, “Don’t give up on your dreams; whatever you guys want to do. New media is a great world to be in.”

In terms of location, Queens College appeared to be a suitable option for filming. The college campus fit the location scout’s criteria for the setting of Manifest: a friendly and accessible site for actors and crewmen alike to transmit the humanistic message of the show. In prior years, episodes of various shows including America’s Next Top Model and Saturday Night Live had been shot on the campus. A member of the location department, Mike, grew up in Queens and was familiar with the accessible filming environment of QC beforehand. Filming was an intense four-day process, as every department had to make sure to meet even the smallest of details.

The process of getting ready to film was quite elaborate, according to Assistant Director Pamela Giangreco, who remarked, “It really does take a village.” Her daily tasks revolve around coordinating and communicating with the cast and crew so that the filming process runs smoothly. Giangreco explained that managing the logistical aspects of the show is no easy job, saying, “The average film set films for twelve hours and the assistant directors are here before and after, so we work usually around 14 hours a day.” It takes approximately eight days to film one 45-minute episode with many retakes in between.  Despite the challenges, she admitted, “It’s long days; I will say, it is fun, [and] it beats a desk job for sure.”

The cast and crew would not be complete without the help of the onset nurse, Christi. Although her days are long and mostly involve a medical kit, Christi medically consults with the writers as the script comes into place or on set directly. “If there’s a medical scene, they’ll say ‘Christi, can you help us with that scene with the actor or the actress?” She adds, “I get to meet everybody on set.” A nurse on set, especially for a show like Manifest, is essential. Accidents, ranging from fractures to fire stunts to explosions, commonly occur on set. Christi recommends joining the New York City Production Assistant School,  a free five-week program for those interested in production.

Don’t forget to tune in on September 24 at 10:00 PM on NBC for the debut of Manifest. You might find yourself getting lost in your new favorite television show.


Mike, a member of the location department, and Christi, the on-set nurse, did not provide The Classic with their surnames.