Credit: Eli Joshua Ade/The CW

Welcome to Julie’s Diary! Every week during the season, Vampire Diaries showrunner Julie Plec will add an entry to her diary. From burning questions to behind-the-scenes stories and more, this is a place for fans to hear directly from Plec about the episode they just watched.

Thanks for watching “Cold as Ice,” also known as, “Sorry we won’t be providing you with any joy this Christmas.”

The episode, written by Brian Young, was directed by Geoff Wing Shotz. Geoff, a.k.a. “Shotzy”, has been our A-camera operator for five out of the last seven seasons. A lot of people don’t realize just how much of a point-of-view an operator has. They celebrate directors and cinematographers, but, like the editors, operators are the often unsung heroes of television. They are present for every single shot. It’s their job to find the story within the frame. Know when to instinctively push in, move, dip, tag, slide, etc., in order to make sure they are capturing not just the image, but the emotion and the beats of the story. They work in beautiful harmony with the focus puller (the one who makes sure everything stays in focus no matter how much the camera moves) and the dolly grip (the one who pushes the wheeled cart that the camera and the operator are sitting on for specific shots) in order to capture the rhythm, the flow, and the elegance or the chaos of the picture. In my opinion, the more empowered an operator is to make cool choices, the better off your show will be.

I had to go back and fix the above paragraph when I re-read it because instead of saying “the one who,” I wrote “the guy who.” That’s not good. Some old-school thinking, right there. Across the industry the camera departments have, in recent years, started trying to even out the gender imbalance in their department, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. Back in the day when cameras were made of cement and marble (just kidding, they were never THAT heavy), the common belief was that women couldn’t physically do the job. After all, only large men can carry big things, right? But now there’s no excuse. Get out there and get into Camera, women! It’s a grueling but thrilling creative field.

Dead Santa Shenanigans:

  • In the Santa bar, Todd Lasance (Julian) went to lift one of the dead Santa dummies only to jump when he realized it was an actual person.
  • During shooting, one of the dead Santas fell asleep and started to snore, ruining a take.

Tidbits from set:

  • In the spirit of the holidays (even though it was October), episode 709 was big on family visits. Both Ian’s [Somerhalder] and Candice’s [King] moms came to hang out and watch the magic happen.
  • Did Caroline and Alaric’s hippie birthing coach seem authentic? She should, because in real life she lives on a commune.
  • The flash of the Civil War battlefield at the end gave us a glimpse of what Damon would be going through in the next episode. Damon in “hell” is the first “concept” episode we’ve ever done. It’s a great episode, all about Damon’s experience in the hell that the Phoenix Stone creates. Join us on Jan. 29 when we move to Fridays and launch our next chapter. As for what Stefan goes through, you’ll have to wait and see.

RELATED VIDEO: Paul Wesley is not happy that Stefan’s back in hero mode

The Vampire Diaries returns on Friday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

Episode Recaps

Best Starting Point: ''Growing Pains'' (401) — A lot changed in last season's lead-up. It's probably best not to miss this season opener, which shows…
The Vampire Diaries

Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.

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