Updated: Apr 19
The Design of "The Last of Us"
In this episode, I share my obsession with "The Last of Us", an HBO show based on a video game with a heart-pumping storyline, great acting, costumes, lighting, and especially sets. To talk about its brilliant production design, the speaker interviews John Paino, the show's production designer, who has creatively built over 180 post-apocalyptic locations with a perfect blend of growth and destruction of 20 years. With advance access to each episode, the speaker discusses the sixth episode with John and talks about his other brilliant shows such as "The Shrink Next Door", "Dallas Buyers Club", "Sharp Objects", "Big Little Lies", and "The Morning Show". Don't miss out on this exciting episode!
Timecode for podcast....
[00:16:16] The Last of Us game had attractive cinematic art and gritty atmosphere. Show design incorporates game elements and real-world situations.
[00:18:21] A team had difficulty sourcing appropriate greenery and bushes for a movie's set and had to create realistic street rubble with sculpted blisters to simulate water damage.
[00:20:50] Tank-built lobby with slimy but colorful atmosphere, live animals, and spraying to maintain grittiness. Importance of having color behind objects for desiccation without everything becoming brown and black.
[00:23:00] Challenges sourcing wallpaper during COVID led to designing and printing Aztec-inspired wallpaper for sets in a post-apocalyptic world, creating a sense of nature overtaking everything. The design resembles the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
[00:27:14] Challenged to find American architecture in Canada, they discovered frontier-style buildings out west, but little else. They ended up building on a housing development on land that was previously in a flood zone.
[00:34:06] Old, creepy brewery tunnels used as a filming location in Calgary with murals, dusting, and dankness.
[00:35:34] The text discusses how characters in a show obtain electricity and the importance of realistic lighting in set design. The use of natural sources of light, such as vents or windows, is emphasized. Puncturing holes in the vents is mentioned as a method to create natural lighting in certain scenes.
[00:40:40] Large, talented crew with multiple art directors and concept artists quickly developed and modeled computer layouts for film production. Included were meetings, a model maker for each set, and an emphasis on practical effects.
[00:43:52] Building facades and changing Kenmore to give it a western appearance, creating interior sets for stores in Jackson.
[01:09:48] The location of the Today Show is small and old-fashioned, except for the control room which is state of the art. The recording equipment and microphones are challenging to work with, but the actors give direction like a real director.
1. What are some of the shows designed by John Payneo, who is being interviewed in the episode?- Some of the shows designed by John Payneo include "The Shrink Next Door," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Sharp Objects," "Big Little Lies," and "The Morning Show."
2. What movie does Kim predict will win the Oscar for production design?- Kim predicts that "All Quiet on the Western Front" will win the Oscar for production design.
3. What challenges did the speaker face in getting wallpaper during a shoot in Calgary?- The speaker faced supply chain issues caused by COVID-19, which made it difficult to get wallpaper in Calgary.
4. What is "The Last of Us" and why did the speaker become attracted to it?- "The Last of Us" is a video game with high-quality cinematic concept art that had a sense of grit and atmosphere, which attracted the speaker.
5. What challenges did the team face when adapting "The Last of Us" game design to a real environment for the actors to work in?- The team had to adapt the game's design, which was created in a computer, to a real environment for the actors to work in.
Creating a Real-World Version of The Last of Us Concept Art: "The really good concept art that Neil had done for the game was very cinematic. And a lot of concept art for games is not cinematic and also just not everything's rounded off."— John Paino
Creating the Swamp Lobby: "It's important to have a little bit of the remnants of life in the places and then have a sense of that, so that we didn't really want everything to look like everything's dipped in mud or whatever."— John Paino
Creating a Creepy Atmosphere: "Those were, like, rooms and tunnels under a brewery in Calgary and old brewery and had enough room to work. And they were creepy and dirty and everything..."— John Paino
Kim Wannop [00:00:07]:
Decorating Pages is a podcast dedicated to taking you behind the scenes of the designs of your favorite TV shows and films. Each episode, I'll be sharing design stories from some of Hollywood's most famous sets. Interviews from set decorators, production designers, directors and actors are about creating the look of TV and films, about their design, inspirations and stories that take steps from page to screen.
Kim Wannop [00:00:37]:
Hello there and welcome to Decorating Pages podcast. I am your host, Kim Wannop. How you doing? I I feel like I haven't been on here for a while because I taped my last episode, like, kind of a week before I went to Mexico. I did really well to the last day, and then I got so sick that I couldn't leave the room. Thank God the kids and the hubby didn't, because there's nothing worse than being sick and then having sick kids. That's even worse. So just me. I'll take it. If anybody got sick, it's me. It's good I didn't get any weight on the trip, let's put it that way. But I had a beautiful time and now I'm off. I have deep dived into this podcast. I have so many good interviews coming up for you. Yes, you. I've been watching the shit out of everything, which is great. And it's award season, and in the past week, we got SDA, we got the ADG, we got BAFTA, and I'm going to give you my Oscar prediction. So let's start off with the SDSA Awards. The winners were for contemporary film. A tie between Tar and Topgun. Bravo. And then best achievement in period film. Elvis. Bravo. And then best. What's this? Best Achievement. Design and fantasy was everything. Everywhere, all at once. And then Musical or comedy was Ronald Doll's Matilda the Musical, and the unbearable weight of massive Talent. So they had two ties this year, which is kind of crazy, but good for them, the ADG Awards, which were this past weekend. I'm always kind of baffled by the winners, but let's just talk about it. Period film all Quiet on the Western Front. Fantasy, film. Everything, everywhere, all at once. Contemporary film, the Glass Onion. Okay. For television. 1 hour penchinko. I'm saying it wrong. Fantasy was Lord of the Rings. Contemporary was Severance and then Music limited series was Guillermo del Toro's cabinet of Curiosities. Half hour was our flag means death. Multicam was how I met your father. And reality competition. Variety was Saturday Night Live. Variety special was the Oscar, commercial was Lord of the Rings, and short format was Adele. I drink wine. And then Baftas production design went to Babylon. So Babylon really kicking it in. All three, I think. SDSA didn't win. It was nominated. But yeah, everything, Everywhere, all at Once seems to be crowd pleaser with the DGA even. And All Quiet on the Western Front seems to be the big winner of BAFTA. And here's my theory. Now, usually in the past, majority of the time. The picture that wins production design also wins cinematography. And there's only two films this year that are both nominated in both. And now I forget what the other one is, but I'm picking All Quiet on the Western Front for the Oscar. I just think they had to build all I mean, everybody had to build everything. I get it. But that's a rough movie to watch. Not that Babylon wasn't, but it's for a different reason. So my prediction is all quiet on the Western front for the Oscar. But good luck to all and congratulations to all. It's all great work, all the nominees. It's a lot. We all know it's a lot. And you all deserve a huge pat on the back. We all do because it's hard. That's why I do this, to let you know how hard and wonderful it is at the same time. I've been watching a lot of the movies also. What's one up watching this couple of weeks, I watched Tar and production design Marco Bitter Rouser and set decoration by Ernestine Hipper. I thought the design was interesting and different and modern and I wanted to see I liked seeing, like, Germany and all the concert halls and all that. I liked the look of it. The palette was sort of like beige and black or something. I don't know. That's what I think of when I think of it. But the movie wasn't great. It didn't go anywhere. I don't think that's Kate Blanchette's best work. I love her. I think she's fantastic and everything, and she is. But I just watched everything everywhere, all at once. Or anything everywhere all at once. Production Design Jason Kevaste and set decoration by Kelsey Fram Wonderful production design. I mean, the amount of things they had to do and then all the fight scenes and all the color. That apartment that Laundromat loved it. The movie. No, I'm sorry. No, it's a half hour best, not three. It was 3 hours of that. I got really lost. I didn't know why this was happening, that I thought, oh, and I actually rewounded a little bit, thinking that I missed something and I didn't. So I don't know, I don't get it. But here's the thing. Then I started to think about really good films and I just really wanted to watch really good films and went back. I watched Taxi Driver, our director, Charles Rosen and Seth Decorator, Herbert Mulligan. Man, Taxi Driver so gritty and so raw and such a great performances. God, I love Albert Brooks. I love simple shepherd in that movie. It's so awkward, it's so frightening. As a young woman in New York City at that time, I can imagine. And this just the bloodbath at the end and then the psycho is the hero. It's crazy. It's a crazy movie. But what a time capsule of that period. In New York City, I watched for the first time The Wild Bunch, because I had read that Quentin Tarantino book I told you about. Now the name of that escapes me. I don't know. Am I getting old? Do I need some ginkgabiloba? I don't know. My mind just goes cinema speculation. There it is. And he kept talking about George Peck and Paw. And we were looking through things one night and The Wild Bunch came up and I was like, oh, let's watch that. Because I'd never seen it. And I could see so much how Tarantino was influenced by those scenes. It's not my kind of movie, but I definitely appreciate it, and I appreciate all the acting in it. And it was all filmed in Mexico, and I went down a rabbit hole about it. I enjoyed seeing how when you watch these older films and then you see how they influence films of today. I love seeing that. So that was our director, Edward Carrie. C-A-R-R-E-R-E. Carrie. And then the other night we turned on Terminator, which has production design by Maria Queso and George Costello, and then set decoration by Maria Queso. I don't know if she did both or one or I don't know if that's wrong or not. But talk about another time capsule of la in the cyborg. Shit doesn't hold up. It's really bad. But the story of it and when you you know that part two is so much better in a sense that it's almost like a just nice little pre Terminator.
Kim Wannop [00:09:57]:
Kim Wannop [00:09:58]:
Because when you think about do you hear my kids? It's like 10:00 at night. They're screaming. All they do is play at night. I don't even go in anymore because they just play. And I don't just play themselves asleep. I don't know if other parents do that. I'm too tired. It's too much. Anyway, Terminator holds up, especially when you think about how good number two is. I'm going to say the other thing is Housewives. The end of Salt Lake City was awesome. And New Jersey, I'm so sick of selling them. But I started to do little TikToks about the decor of Housewives. So if you want to check that out, so far I've done Melissa and Joe, that's on the decorating Pages podcast, TikTok, if you're into that. I've been really stepping up my TikToks. I did a couple about Denise Bizini and the Muppets. And better call Saul. They're very interesting. So they're just little snippets of the interview with the pictures of the sets that we're talking about. So you should check that out. This episode is you want to hear me dork out? This is the one. So I have been obsessed with the last of us. I have watched each episode probably two to three times. The Nick Offerman episode is just perfect to me. The development of that relationship and showing them through the years and just the acting I thought was so good. And you're in the middle of this story they're not really zombies, but God, it's so good. And like I say in this interview, I just don't know where every episode is going. And I'm really glad that I don't know anything about the video game. Sorry, I don't. I don't know anything about it. And so I don't know where the story is going. I haven't at all. And I just think it's brilliantly done, and I think the lighting is great and the costumes and the acting and especially the sets. I'm just obsessed with it. And if you're not, you're missing out. That's all I'm going to say. So I am talking to production designer John Payneo, who has brought this incredibly beloved video game to life. He's designed this poke apocalyptic world with over 180 locations, no permanent sets to fall back on. They're building towns and neighborhoods and tunnels and all with the look of this growth and destruction of 20 years. I go kind of episode by episode. I've been lucky enough that HBO has given me a couple of days advance of each episode. So I was able to talk to him about episode six, which just came out this past Sunday. It's wonderful. I don't know. I think it's the only thing I'm watching live, I think. I don't know. But then I also ask him about his other brilliant shows, which I love. The shrink next door. Dallas Buyers Club. Sharp objects. Big little lies. And the morning show. So tons to talk about with him. He was very gracious with his time, so I hope you enjoy.
Kim Wannop [00:13:39]:
I never knew how many buttons I'd be responsible for. I had a tech buyer. I never knew how much buttons cost. I was like, sure.
John Paino [00:13:52]:
Well, life is short. I don't know if you should worry about yeah, true.
Kim Wannop [00:14:00]:
Well, I think, like everyone else who's watching The Last of US, we're just blown away every single episode. I mean, I don't even know. I know I always ask, how much prep did you have? And it never seems like enough, but did you?
John Paino [00:14:18]:
No, it's not. No, I think I had two or three months. I'd say three months, but it's not enough because each episode is kind of each episode was a movie and a half.
Kim Wannop [00:14:33]:
John Paino [00:14:35]:
Each page had so much detail on.
Kim Wannop [00:14:39]:
It because even and the world was.
John Paino [00:14:42]:
Created and there's been no services for 20 years. So we built all the interiors, more or less. I think we had something like 98 sets. We had three back lots. We built in about 180 locations.
Kim Wannop [00:15:05]:
That's insane. Two to three months is maybe enough for the first episode, but then quickly episode two comes around like, were you block shooting, or is it just individual episodes?
John Paino [00:15:21]:
No, I think no, we weren't. I honestly can't remember. We never really were block shooting because we were ever in the same place.
Kim Wannop [00:15:34]:
Yeah, I guess that does ever.
John Paino [00:15:37]:
And we had different directors. We have five different directors, six different directors. So we never did that. We never really did that.
Kim Wannop [00:15:50]:
Yeah, everybody seems to die in every episode. It's not like you're going back to Sally's house.
John Paino [00:16:00]:
We didn't have any standing sets. The whole show is going from the east to the west.
Kim Wannop [00:16:09]:
When you started, we were always in a new place. Were you aware of the game when you started?
John Paino [00:16:16]:
Oh, yeah, I played the game a little bit. I had been always attracted to yeah, a little bit. Yeah, I'd seen the thing that attracted me the most to the game and that I was most aware of was the really good concept art that Neil had done for the game was very cinematic. And a lot of concept art for games is not cinematic and also just not everything's rounded off. It doesn't have a sense of grit or dirt or atmosphere. And all the concept art for The Last of US had a lot of that. And so that was very attractive to that. Even before I played the game, I was aware of the concept. It was gorgeous. It is designed and there is some you know, that what am I trying to say? It's designed, but it's all created in the computers. So we have to make that work into a real environment where the actors, they can't walk over a two X four over a chasm. So part of the design of the show is taking the raw material of the game, making sure that there's a nod to the game. But also we're building outside of the game. The game is paths. So we're adding a lot of things for character and just also we're dealing with a lot of real world situations, bringing what's in the game to the real world situations.
Kim Wannop [00:18:01]:
Two huge things that stick out to me, being a decorator is how many transpo cars you have. And then is there like a botany specialist, like, all of the greens and all of this growth that you have to create?
John Paino [00:18:21]:
Oh, yeah. No, we had a great well, all of that, too, is the thing with Canada. It's a lot of fur trees. And so we had a great green department that was able to get stuff that didn't look like Canadian forest or like when we did Billstown, we needed private bushes and things like that. So they went into the forest and tried to get things as close as they could to it and got some stuff from Vancouver and things like that. But that was really hard to come up with all the greens and the vines and everything, because when they're walking down the streets, that's all there. They're not walking through a green volume. They're not walking through a stage with green they're not walking on green screen, and there's not green screen to the left or right of them. That's all dressed in all the rubble, is dressed in the rubble, is dressed in all the vines, all the greenery. Our sculptors would make blisters that were ridges, that made the street look like it was coming up from water damage, like riveting. And we also because the cars theoretically weren't moving, they were set dressing.
Kim Wannop [00:19:52]:
John Paino [00:19:53]:
All those cars, all those trucks, because they're not moving, they don't have motors in them, or if they do, it's just a bit. So they all had to be aged and bind and rusted and had rotting tarps on them for the trucks and the overpasses and things like that. That's huge.
Kim Wannop [00:20:12]:
Huge. I mean, the aging, some of them had dead bodies and some of them were dressed and packed full of luggage. That's huge.
John Paino [00:20:24]:
I'm not sure the exact amount, but we carried quite a bit of rusted cars and all kinds of cars.
Kim Wannop [00:20:34]:
That's what sticks out to me so much. And the growth of everything. And I mean, going episode by episode for a second, the second episode of the hotel lobby. Did you have to build that as a tank? How was that?
John Paino [00:20:50]:
Yeah, we built it in a tank and yeah, it's the idea that it's a lobby that they start up and then they walk down the steps into the water to get by it. We did build it in a tank, and we also had to have live animals in it, ducks and things. But we also had to figure out a way to make it slimy, but not too slimy. Yeah, the atmosphere and everything for that. And there's a lot of spraying down. We never had enough time or could spray things down enough to get them as gritty and greasy. That's why when we made the colors behind some things a little more fluorescent and a little more vibrant, so that knowing that when they spray down, they wouldn't just disappear. It was important to have a little bit of the remnants of life in the places and then have a sense of that, so that we didn't really want everything to look like everything's dipped in mud or whatever. It's all desiccated, but if you don't start out with some color behind it, when you're desiccating it, everything just ends up being brown and black. So always wanted to make sure there was something behind it.
Kim Wannop [00:22:19]:
John Paino [00:22:20]:
Yeah, the lobby and the piano. Floating the piano in it and all that good stuff. That was fun.
Kim Wannop [00:22:31]:
Yeah, I'm sure. I'm sure for set dressers, it was, too.
John Paino [00:22:37]:
Yeah. No, we had an army of set dressers and they were fantastic.
Kim Wannop [00:22:42]:
There's so much good, destroyed wallpaper in your sets. Yeah, so much. The aging and the curling. And then in Bill's house, your wallpaper choices are fantastic. I'm obsessed.
John Paino [00:23:00]:
Thanks. They're all printed. We had trouble getting wallpaper in Calgary, which is in the middle of Canada. We were shooting during COVID There was a real people would say, oh, we couldn't get something because of supply chain issues. And that was a real problem. It was difficult to get things like that. And all the good stuff is coming from overseas anyway, from Britain or somewhere. The stuff that's cool. But we would have Aztec print stuff for us, but we designed a lot of it. And we always wanted to play with the fact that curled wallpaper vaguely is like plants and things like that. So even though the people in this world know where the infected are and where the fungus is, when you're going down there, it just helped give the sense that everything was overrun by nature. Having these curling. It also gave the rooms, really like when Joel is up in the sniper's nest, it almost looks like cabinet of Calgary paper hanging in place. I don't know if you really can see it because it's kind of dark in there, but if you saw the pictures of the still sets that we took of the sets, it's very cabinet of Dr. Kelgari because you have literally human sized wallpaper just coming down, almost like hands, giant hands.
Kim Wannop [00:24:43]:
Making it come alive, kind of. I mean, that's an even more scary.
John Paino [00:24:47]:
That was the idea. You don't know is that an infected or what is that? Even though they probably know, because if they didn't know where they were, they'd be dead.
Kim Wannop [00:24:59]:
Yeah. We don't know. The town that you created, is that a town or did you build all that?
John Paino [00:25:12]:
No, we built it all.
Kim Wannop [00:25:13]:
Oh, my God.
John Paino [00:25:17]:
Well, you know, it's all colonial. It's based on these hamlets that are very like I grew up in New York, and there's tons of hamlets that are basically like one traffic light couple of stores and colonial home have been there since the Revolution. And people who literally came off of Mayflower. And that was the idea, was that it was one of these historic towns that was kept whitewashed and there were historic markers on the houses. And the name of the Earl Proctor, 1742. We wanted that. That reinforces it being like a secluded hamlet.
Kim Wannop [00:26:06]:
John Paino [00:26:07]:
And it reinforces why Bill is the way he is a little bit. But that was all built. Some of the roofs, like the church chapel, we only built it to a certain height, but the Civil War memorial was built full scale. Wow. And it's all there. And the houses are there and built all the facades and the sides. Some portions of the roofs we decided to do in blue screen. So the outline of the roof is painted blue or green, and they would extend it, the two fronts, the facades and a bit of the roof. But the middle VFX put in. We just needed to get it done.
Kim Wannop [00:26:54]:
So quickly, and it saves a lot of time. Do you have a heads up in episode one? Hey, we got this town coming up in episode three. Do you have that?
John Paino [00:27:14]:
Yes, but we had a heads up and we kept looking for something like it, and it soon dawned on us that there isn't a lot of American architecture in Canada. There are frontier there's frontier architecture. So when we get out west, when they're crossing into the west, there's great stuff. But red brick buildings of the Boston QZ, colonial architecture. Of course, they don't have colonial architecture. And there's not a lot of red brick brick buildings there. And it's a relatively new country. It is stupidly. I always dive headfirst like, yeah, we'll find something. Yeah. So what we did found was a housing development with roads and some plots of land that used to have houses on it, and they were torn down because it was in a flood zone. So that's where we built those down.
Kim Wannop [00:28:26]:
John Paino [00:28:28]:
So we had the road and some sidewalks, but we put in the driveways, and it is all built wow. Built in the private the private shrubs are put in and all the green trees. To some extent. Yeah. No, it's all pretty much built.
Kim Wannop [00:28:47]:
And then his interior is on stage.
John Paino [00:28:52]:
Some of his interior is on the location for when there's a gunfight outside.
Kim Wannop [00:28:56]:
John Paino [00:28:56]:
But yes, his interior was on stage. His bunker was on stage. The basement. Yeah, that was all on stage.
Kim Wannop [00:29:04]:
I think I watched that episode, like, three times. I loved it.
John Paino [00:29:09]:
It's a sweet episode.
Kim Wannop [00:29:10]:
I loved it. And I've worked with Nick offerman. He is one of the genuinely nicest people I've ever met.
John Paino [00:29:19]:
Kim Wannop [00:29:22]:
And I could just see that bunker, like him being so happy when he went down there.
John Paino [00:29:30]:
He was. I think we kept some of the drill presses and stuff, actually. Well, we figured he probably wouldn't kill himself with it.
Kim Wannop [00:29:40]:
John Paino [00:29:41]:
Because he's a woodworker. Yeah, he was a nice guy. He dug it.
Kim Wannop [00:29:48]:
Yeah. Okay. I bet.
John Paino [00:29:52]:
But that always on stage. I think portions of the first floor of Bill's house, of the house were built on location, and the garage was built there. In the garage that he goes and gets his car.
Kim Wannop [00:30:11]:
I also have to say the choices of artwork in his house to me.
John Paino [00:30:18]:
You mean? What Frank paints.
Kim Wannop [00:30:20]:
Well, yes. What? Frank paints?
John Paino [00:30:23]:
Kim Wannop [00:30:23]:
You liked it and how it integrates with the wallpaper and with Bill's world and everything.
John Paino [00:30:30]:
I just thought that yeah, it's his mom's. It's this nod to his mom then being rich, and his mom, like keeping a colonial house with a Viking stove and really nice refrigerator, which is common, but keeping the giant heart in there, all that was important. You're like keeping it like a museum.
Kim Wannop [00:30:55]:
Yeah. Like a shrine, almost.
John Paino [00:30:57]:
Yeah. But also just having the modern accrutaments. I don't know if it was a Viking, but it was like a 50,000 with a giant range hood and there's giant refrigerator.
Kim Wannop [00:31:20]:
That's cool. I feel like every episode I don't know where this is going. And then you get to episode four, and you're in the middle of downtown like Kansas city and this, like, rundown Laundromat and and all of these, like, debunked buildings.
John Paino [00:31:41]:
Yeah, that was built, too, obviously, because we crashed into it.
Kim Wannop [00:31:45]:
Right. But is the city Alberta? Where was that city that you did?
John Paino [00:31:50]:
That was in Edmonton? That was Edmonton. Oh, wait, no, that part. Sorry. That where the laundromat was. Calgary was Calgary.
Kim Wannop [00:32:02]:
The city of Calgary all over in Canada doing this. You're really not just tied down.
John Paino [00:32:11]:
Yeah, we went to the middle. I don't think we technically ever went to the middle. I guess Canmore and the town where we did the hospital was and waterton. They're kind of in the middle. Canmore, I don't think I think Canmore was an hour or two hour drive outside of Calvary.
Kim Wannop [00:32:34]:
Thinking about myself dressing all those city streets. And I know that some of it higher up and the distance can be CGI and everything, but it's still a ton of work designing and dressing all of that.
John Paino [00:32:50]:
Yeah. The buildings that are like this in the background, but we're doing wherever they walk, if they go through the front of a facade of something, if we didn't build it, nine times out of ten we built it. But we dress the inside that they go to. I mean, Craig was all about the realism. It's got to be real. Let's, you know, have them in real you know, let's have, you know, utilize real locations for them and then, you know, make them look like they've been, you know, disused and there's no services or anything for 20 years, but everyone's walking through, for the most part, outside. And then we cut to inside.
Kim Wannop [00:33:37]:
That attic where they hide out.
John Paino [00:33:41]:
Yeah, that was a joy. That was fun.
Kim Wannop [00:33:46]:
And then so sweet that he gets to draw on all the walls and it's so good, all of it.
John Paino [00:33:57]:
That's sweet of you.
Kim Wannop [00:34:01]:
I think it's five where you have all the tunnels.
John Paino [00:34:06]:
Yeah, that was one of our few actual locations because we had visited those tunnels, and they are very eerie and creepy, and they worked well. Those were, like, rooms and tunnels under a brewery in Calgary and old brewery and had enough room to work. And they were creepy and dirty and everything. And I think to just kind of get that atmosphere and that grit, and they worked well. And we were able to paint the murals on the walls and dress them. We put in all that dusting in the ceiling where the light would come through because there's no electricity, so they have to have light water. We installed all of those. And I know that was really hard on set dressing to get those in there because they were concrete walls, but it looked great, and it had a dankness that I think contributed to the.
Kim Wannop [00:35:07]:
Definitely realism of it. Since you touched on it, I wanted to ask you about the lighting and your kind of talk with the DP and how I'm designing for this light.
John Paino [00:35:28]:
It was unique because after a certain point after the first episode, there's no electricity.
Kim Wannop [00:35:34]:
John Paino [00:35:34]:
So they have battery. They made batteries and things, and the QZ has electricity, and they go to different places throughout the show where people have figured out to get electricity going, or the Federal has electricity going through things that they turn on the characters. But it was a little hard ever since doing Big Little Lives with John Mark Billy, he was one of the first people I encountered who literally said, the art department is going to light the show because they're using the Alexa. And not only is the art, because he also did not like artificial lighting or light blasting through set windows or whatever. You have to integrate it in. It's not just like you don't just put a light up and run some zip wire. We're going to put in EMT. We're going to make it look like it's part of the set design sets and things, so that we'd have windows in places. So when light came in, there was a realism behind why can we can see people because there's a window or some way to get light into it from the sun that would naturally occur. And those vents are one of the ways, like how there's no electricity. How do people live in the tunnel? So at certain points of the day, or most of the day, the vents are going straight up and the light comes through. Yeah, or they made holes in it, too. And I think at one point, I think we might have punctured holes in the vent so that it made sense for there to be light in the time. Because in theory, I mean, light in the settlement because they don't have electricity or maybe an hour or two a day, they get electricity.
Kim Wannop [00:37:34]:
Yeah. I feel like I'm facing it more and more of set deck being asked to provide practicals that light the actors.
John Paino [00:37:42]:
And it's oh, absolutely.
Kim Wannop [00:37:44]:
No, it's true.
John Paino [00:37:50]:
I think it's more work. I agree. But it's also kind of like you get to not so much control, but you get to have a say or just have a way of affecting mood that you didn't have before. It also makes you work with the DP more, which is not a bad thing.
Kim Wannop [00:38:21]:
John Paino [00:38:22]:
Ever. It makes you think about, like, what should this be? I think it makes you better if you can spend the time to figure it out. I know better is the right word. A better designer, better art director, better set decorator, because you're getting to participate in a bigger picture other than instead of just like, well, no, I agree. Let them blast some light through the windows. Not my problem.
Kim Wannop [00:38:57]:
I worked really closely with the DP on impeachment, and you pick lamp shades and you do this and that, and then when the DP is like, no, we're just lighting. With this. If we had this type of shade or talking to him of like, look, I want to use black shades in here. How's that going to be? And they get excited. Anything we can do to spark a mood or anything, that's great. That's exciting. Yes.
John Paino [00:39:27]:
I think it's important to always have the DP on your side, because if you want to do something wacky or that costs a lot of money and you get the DP on your side and they get the director, you can do it. It makes things better.
Kim Wannop [00:39:41]:
Yeah, it's true.
John Paino [00:39:42]:
If she can.
Kim Wannop [00:39:45]:
I saw they did the little behind the scenes after the episode for episode five, and they showed the small town that you had built and then that big pit that all the guys come out of and everything.
John Paino [00:40:01]:
Yeah, we built 13 houses, and the house that Joe is shooting from is a three story house, too. And that was built in the parking lot. So all the hills and that was built in the parking lot that had gravel. So we laid the asphalt, we laid the road, we made all the driveways. All the stone walls were sculpted. And the amount of crazy detail.
Kim Wannop [00:40:31]:
Did you start on that town? Like, episode one.
John Paino [00:40:40]:
We had big crew, five art directors, four or five concept artists. They're a lot big crew, but we needed them. They were really talented and good. And we started conceptual like that came together very quickly because again, talking to Craig and coming up with reference and agreeing on what this code is actually look like, where it is, and being able to make computer models of it that were very succinct was like, yes, this is what we need. We really need this. We have all the stunts and crazy stuff going on in Pyrotechnic, so we really need to do this. We really need to build it. And we came up with it came together very quickly, but there were lots of meetings. One of the other things that I would love to always have is that we had a model maker oh, fantastic. With incredibly talented every set, every location he made a model of.
Kim Wannop [00:41:45]:
John Paino [00:41:45]:
So we made a model of this rather big model of this set. And that was very helpful for everybody. So there were many meetings about doing where it crashes, how do we do this? Lots of safety means all of that. But the actual design of it and starting to build it was pretty quick because we've learned our lesson with Billstown that we're just not going to no one's going to let you into their neighborhood and destroy their home.
Kim Wannop [00:42:19]:
John Paino [00:42:23]:
And then we'll rebuild it.
Kim Wannop [00:42:26]:
John Paino [00:42:27]:
You can't even cost effective, and no one's going to let you do that there's not even quickly that if we couldn't find slummy areas or desiccated areas, which we couldn't, we're going to have to build it. And also there's a lot of dangerous.
Kim Wannop [00:42:46]:
You can't even go into cemeteries. Like, there's only really one cemetery in Los Angeles that lets you dig. You can't really do that.
John Paino [00:42:57]:
You just can't find there's less and less. And there wasn't hardly any desiccated areas. There's less and less of those.
Kim Wannop [00:43:06]:
John Paino [00:43:07]:
And you can't just go into desiccated neighborhoods and push people around in time, you know, so we had to make it.
Kim Wannop [00:43:14]:
So then was the log cabin in six, was that a build, too, or was that a location?
John Paino [00:43:22]:
That's a log cabin that was there.
Kim Wannop [00:43:24]:
Finally, yet a location.
John Paino [00:43:27]:
Yeah, no, we found that log cabin. But snow, you'll see, in other episodes, we built, like, old sawmills and things. Yeah. I mean, that was a log cabin that was there, and it was perfectly fine for what we needed it to be. We dressed it, put the snow down and all of that.
Kim Wannop [00:43:49]:
And then did you build Jackson 60ft.
John Paino [00:43:52]:
Long log wall with big doors, and we built facades and things to change Kenmore. The great thing about Kenmore, when you looked up and down the street, it looked like Jackson had the Rockies in the background. Then again, it had some similar frontier architecture, but a lot of it had been homogenized. We built out facades and changed a bunch of it, but the town was there. But we did a lot of work and built facades. We did that in every town in high River, I think it was. I can't remember. We built the town that they go to when they leave Austin. We're always changing facades in Jackson. We tried to put a few landmarks in there, and we did a lot of work in Kenmore, which is that town on the main street. And then if we went into certain areas, there's one area there's, his brother's wife. There was a location there we found yeah. That we were able to dress, but there was a bunch any of the stores that they go to into in Jackson, we built interior sets for mix there.
Kim Wannop [00:45:19]:
You only had one decorator.
John Paino [00:45:24]:
We had one decorator, but he had an army.
Kim Wannop [00:45:27]:
John Paino [00:45:28]:
We have great assistance. Yeah, paul, he's been working with the same people for 20 years, and he just has amazing people, and he's got his right hand people who came in.
Kim Wannop [00:45:43]:
Yeah. Once you got a good crew, you can't let them go because you depend.
John Paino [00:45:48]:
On you try to hold on. Yeah. Be good to them and yes, absolutely.
Kim Wannop [00:45:56]:
So I've only seen up to episode six, which airs Sunday. Which airs Sunday, and then I'll post this on Tuesday. So we talked about Jackson and then the university was that exterior that was.
John Paino [00:46:14]:
An actual university exterior that we desiccated again. And the interiors were it's hard for me. I'm trying to remember.
Kim Wannop [00:46:28]:
Classrooms. Those were sets.
John Paino [00:46:30]:
Yeah, those were sets. We were in the lobby, which we did a huge redress of. But the laboratory and all of that were set. All our laboratories were sets.
Kim Wannop [00:46:46]:
There's so many shots, too. And the more they travel of just expanded like land.
John Paino [00:46:53]:
Yeah, lots of locations scouting in the middle of nowhere.
Kim Wannop [00:46:58]:
Your location scouting. You had to be location scouting all the time.
John Paino [00:47:05]:
We had to take snow cats and it was crazy cold.
Kim Wannop [00:47:10]:
Have you worked in Canada before?
John Paino [00:47:15]:
No, I hadn't.
Kim Wannop [00:47:18]:
Did you like it? Did you get to bring people or did you hire there?
John Paino [00:47:23]:
Calgary is hard. Yeah, Calgary was hard. I'm sorry, I'm just laying something out. Calgary is hard because Calgary calgary would be the equivalent of working in Idaho. You're bringing everything and people from Vancouver mostly in Toronto. And it's a vast country and the weather is harsh. Yeah, it's a hard place to work in those respects. It has good crews. But I would have to say it's like working in the middle of America. So there's nothing there. And you have to bring everything in.
Kim Wannop [00:48:00]:
John Paino [00:48:01]:
There is a little bit of a local crew, but once they're gone, you're stuck. You have to bring people in and everybody in. Pretty much.
Kim Wannop [00:48:10]:
How long were you there for?
John Paino [00:48:13]:
I was there for a year and three or four and four months. Wow. So long show.
Kim Wannop [00:48:21]:
That's a lot.
John Paino [00:48:23]:
Yeah. No, it's a super long show.
Kim Wannop [00:48:29]:
Were your episodes like 14 day episodes?
John Paino [00:48:35]:
Oh, gosh, I don't remember. Yeah, some of them went on. Seems forever. No, I mean, like just shooting the night scene. Just shooting the whole run. The truck going into the cul de sac.
Kim Wannop [00:48:54]:
John Paino [00:48:55]:
Driving down there, crashing into the house and the hole. That was four weeks of shooting, I believe. What with all the effects? Well, with all the effects and everything, four weeks of nights. So that's 20 days there.
Kim Wannop [00:49:13]:
John Paino [00:49:16]:
I can't say that we had that. Some episodes were quicker, some were less stuffed than others. I don't think we ever did a 14 day episode. No, we weren't that kind of episodic TV. We were like Game of Thrones. We're up there in that area as far as cost and time and attention to detail. And I would tell people we should be like Game of Thrones. We should have that attention to detail. We should have that kind of simultaneous reality. We were fortunate because someone allowed us to do it. We were allowed to kind of pursue it, which was Craig. We wanted everything. Right.
Kim Wannop [00:50:03]:
And you did. I feel like I'm talking to you like I'm like a schoolgirl and I'm asking you like, is this a thing? But I'm such a I am watching I'm watching this in awe as a viewer of what was accomplished by every department. I mean, costumes, props, and I'm just in awe as I am when I watch like, Game of Thrones. So it's absolutely on that level of.
John Paino [00:50:33]:
Like Game of Thrones has repeating sets. We did not true.
Kim Wannop [00:50:37]:
And they blocked shoot locations.
John Paino [00:50:40]:
We did yeah, there's not a single set we went back to. Everything was built, always.
Kim Wannop [00:50:52]:
I guess I'm not allowed to ask you if, you know, there's a season, too, but as a fan, I hope there is.
John Paino [00:51:03]:
Yeah, no, they already announced yeah, I think they announced it a couple of weeks ago.
Kim Wannop [00:51:07]:
I really am so enthralled with the show more because I love it.
John Paino [00:51:13]:
I'm glad you like it.
Kim Wannop [00:51:17]:
I like a zombie show, but if you're like a Walking Dead fan, I'm done with zombies at this point. And so for this, because I was unaware of the game and when I started watching this so for these people to regenerate in a different way and to like that's why I asked about botany and everything of how makeup and.
John Paino [00:51:44]:
Everything, that was all Barry. We didn't have anything to do with the infected, only when they integrated with our locations or sets. And then we would work with his people to integrate them and make sure that they had the fungus growing through things that made a told a story. Like in the Boston Museum, if it's growing through, like, antique teacups, things like that.
Kim Wannop [00:52:17]:
John Paino [00:52:17]:
That's how we would contribute to that and contribute to the story and all of that business. Yeah, but we didn't make any of that. We helped them paint things into locations and we interface with them for the dried stuff that's on the wall. But it was all his guys and.
Kim Wannop [00:52:36]:
Him making the fungus, like when the guy is melted into the wall in episode two.
John Paino [00:52:46]:
Barry did that.
Kim Wannop [00:52:48]:
It's all phenomenal, and it's great storytelling. I mean, that episode with Nick Offerman is a movie, and it's wonderful.
John Paino [00:52:59]:
And, you know, like, we were able to do things like that subway that they walked through for all of a minute. We built that because we couldn't find one. We couldn't find one.
Kim Wannop [00:53:11]:
That's crazy. Isn't it crazy?
John Paino [00:53:17]:
We were able to do it. I'm glad that we didn't try to make something that was fake or didn't stand up.
Kim Wannop [00:53:27]:
Well, it sounds like and I haven't worked with any of them, but it sounds like you had good producers who knew what it would take to get this to the screen correctly.
John Paino [00:53:38]:
After a while, there was a realization that we would have to just do it right after a point.
Kim Wannop [00:53:49]:
Yeah. Well, that's fantastic. That's what you want. We all want to do it, right?
John Paino [00:53:54]:
No, you do.
Kim Wannop [00:53:55]:
We all want to do the right thing and get it done.
John Paino [00:53:59]:
No, absolutely. Yes, absolutely. And also just someone saying it's worth it. Yes, I think it is.
Kim Wannop [00:54:09]:
Oh, it is. I did want to ask you a couple of things about other projects, if that's okay.
John Paino [00:54:16]:
Kim Wannop [00:54:17]:
I loved the shrink next door. I cannot believe that. I don't even know how come that wasn't, like, the biggest thing ever. I loved it. I loved his office. I loved the house.
John Paino [00:54:33]:
Kim Wannop [00:54:34]:
I loved it.
John Paino [00:54:38]:
I don't know what happened. So hard to predict. There are things you think, like, this is going to be a short hit, and there's things that yeah, it was fun.
Kim Wannop [00:54:51]:
I think so well acted.
John Paino [00:54:54]:
It's really yeah, but I I guess people you know, like, I was I wish it was darker, and it and it didn't rely I think it was really hard to find the right tone, I think. And I think it didn't find the right tone between comedy and surrealism or like a Cohen's Brothers kind of weird, existential, this is life kind of thing. Yeah, I think it was well acted. I think it's one of those shows maybe also, that people just didn't get. I don't think they got it. It was too complicated. But I enjoyed it, and I thought it was good. But I do think it's really hard to find that right tone. And some episodes were dark. They were dark others that find it.
Kim Wannop [00:56:00]:
But it's a very sad story, really, with two comedic acts.
John Paino [00:56:04]:
It's an unbelievable story. It's just unbelievable.
Kim Wannop [00:56:07]:
It is. It's really unbelievable.
John Paino [00:56:09]:
Marty and I met him oh, wow. Hung out with him. Just a fake. Yeah. And he's like he's not a stupid I mean, he's he's a very smart man. He has degrees in accounting from Harvard and business from Yale, and really smart guy. And he got him psychologically in a place where he was ripe for the picking. And he said, I belong to a cult. He's so, like, embarrassed by the holding. He's like, I can't you know, I feel like I but I belong to a cult.
Kim Wannop [00:56:42]:
John Paino [00:56:46]:
It's almost like the story is too good to make it. It's just, like, unbelievable. I mean, truly is unbelievable story.
Kim Wannop [00:56:53]:
My husband's a therapist, and I was like, hey, you got any rich coins? Maybe pick up some tips here, because.
John Paino [00:57:01]:
I think he he lost, you know, $20 million for this guy. I mean, at least his license was finally revoked. Other people he had scammed other people, too, quite extensively, but he lost his side. Marty lost a lot of money.
Kim Wannop [00:57:22]:
It's a sin. It's a sin.
John Paino [00:57:24]:
Kim Wannop [00:57:25]:
I love the progression of his office through the decades and how you could see it. I'm a huge fan of Amy Wells. I've met her many times.
John Paino [00:57:34]:
Yeah, I know. Amy is fantastic. I've worked for her the past eight years. I think she's really good.
Kim Wannop [00:57:42]:
John Paino [00:57:43]:
And I enjoyed making the fabric warehouse was a set. Their houses and their apartments were sets, and The Fabric Warehouse was a set.
Kim Wannop [00:58:00]:
I was actually going to ask you about that, if that was a location because of the grittiness.
John Paino [00:58:04]:
No, the fabric warehouse was a set.
Kim Wannop [00:58:06]:
Wow. Fantastic. Oh, that was fantastic. Yeah. If anyone hasn't seen the shrink next door, it's so good.
John Paino [00:58:14]:
No, I'll tell people because I think it got it's kind of like the leftovers. I thought it was a beautiful the.
Kim Wannop [00:58:20]:
Leftovers was so good.
John Paino [00:58:22]:
Yeah, but no one watched the leftover.
Kim Wannop [00:58:24]:
I know, but I don't understand why nobody watched it.
John Paino [00:58:28]:
I thought, Why didn't the leftovers at least get an Emmy nomination?
Kim Wannop [00:58:32]:
Because no one watched it. The acting was so good in it all.
John Paino [00:58:37]:
I know. It got a Peabody award. It was brilliant. If you look at the top ten TV shows on list, usually the leftovers makes the top ten. Yeah, to this day. But it was depressing. Nobody watched it.
Kim Wannop [00:58:54]:
It was depressing.
John Paino [00:58:55]:
Kim Wannop [00:58:55]:
Can I have a throwback and ask you about the wall colors in Dallas? Buyer clubs in the motel?
John Paino [00:59:03]:
Oh, yeah. No, that's cool. Boy, that was one of the hardest shows. I like that. I can tell you, if you look up the movie, it says we had, like, $5 million. And that was a lie. I think if we had $5 million on that movie, 2.5 of it went above the line.
Kim Wannop [00:59:26]:
John Paino [00:59:27]:
Had nothing. I think for parts of it, it was unbelievably low budget movie. But I did it. I did that movie because I'd had so many friends who died of AIDS, and I just sought out that when I heard it was being made. That was the first time I worked with John Mark La, and I just sought him out. But to talk about the colors. Yeah, those were based on some pictures of the trans musician, maybe Marty Balin, who John Mark was obsessed with these pictures of Kim that we modeled, that the costar, not Matthew, but the other fellow who played Jared Leto. A transport. Yeah. We modeled him after these pictures of Marty Bell and skateboarding. And so we lifted a lot of colors from his albums and his costumes because he was, like, painting the walls and decorating the place.
Kim Wannop [01:00:39]:
John Paino [01:00:41]:
That's where we got that.
Kim Wannop [01:00:43]:
When I think of that movie, obviously you think of those scenes, but I always think of those colors and those rooms that they worked out of and how gritty and everything. And you saying not having a budget, I get it, but you still made it like a character.
John Paino [01:01:02]:
Yes. That certainly, I think, was part of how it came out, like the lack of resources. But we did things on that show that were unbelievable. Like, we shot in actual hotel rooms that we painted, and John Mark really wanted to like, if this is where they would this is where they had their drug clinic. Let's just shoot the place where they had their drug clinic.
Kim Wannop [01:01:30]:
John Paino [01:01:32]:
That was shot in New Orleans. I mean, in Sweetport. But it was fun making this Trail Park and all that fun stuff. And I just really wanted to work on there's so few movies about AIDS and what it did to people. I would have worked on it for free, probably, because I wanted to work on something like that.
Kim Wannop [01:01:56]:
I mean, it definitely had an impact.
John Paino [01:01:58]:
I practically worked on it for free. I don't want to even tell you what we had because you wouldn't believe me. We just go, oh, no, you're exaggerating.
Kim Wannop [01:02:10]:
It was probably less than the Hallmark movies I did, I'm assuming, if you're going that low.
John Paino [01:02:17]:
Oh, yes. No, probably. But Hallmark, they have it down pat. I'm actually oh, yeah. I'm enthralled with Hallmark, their modus operandi. Because it's the same movie over and over again.
Kim Wannop [01:02:31]:
John Paino [01:02:32]:
And it's so successful. And I'm just, like I've always been fascinated by them and where they shoot and I know people who've worked on them, too, and they shoot it in the same town and it's pretty crazy.
Kim Wannop [01:02:45]:
Yeah, it's a machine. It's a machine. It's a crazy thing. And good for them.
John Paino [01:02:53]:
So was Charlie Chaplin was a machine, too.
Kim Wannop [01:02:55]:
John Paino [01:02:57]:
No, he worked in a studio system and they did the same thing over and over.
Kim Wannop [01:03:03]:
Yeah. Contract actor of our industry.
John Paino [01:03:06]:
Yeah. There's nothing wrong with that.
Kim Wannop [01:03:10]:
Did you work? In treeport on sharp objects. Was that louisiana.
John Paino [01:03:15]:
No, that was shop in La. And we went to a town called Barnesdale in Atlanta just for the street, some exterior stuff. Most of Sharp objects was built on sets in La.
Kim Wannop [01:03:40]:
But where was her house that big, like, terra?
John Paino [01:03:44]:
That house was in Reading, California.
Kim Wannop [01:03:47]:
John Paino [01:03:49]:
And we actually built the entire interior on stage. We built the exterior on stage and we found a house that resembled it in Reading, California. And so we altered that house to match our stage house because Victorians, they just have really small rooms and everything didn't work out. Shooting.
Kim Wannop [01:04:16]:
John Paino [01:04:17]:
So that's how we did that. And we did some VFX melding of the two.
Kim Wannop [01:04:22]:
I love that kitchen. I love that kitchen. I mean, I love the whole house, but that kitchen real marble.
John Paino [01:04:29]:
Yeah. No, that was gorgeous. Again, that was fun because we were able to have a little fun with things. We actually used real D Gornay wallpaper in the hallway. I don't know. That's like $20,000 worth of wallpaper. That 20ft of wallpaper.
Kim Wannop [01:04:53]:
We were gorgeous.
John Paino [01:04:56]:
Yeah. I really wanted to do something based on a Chaparral heiresses boudor, which was what the main character would be kind of like. So we locked out. We found some rich person had if you buy degornet wallpaper and you don't use it all, they'll buy it back. So Amy just looked on the website. I said, we got to find this jungley DeGrane because Aztec can't replicate it. They can't get the colors we looked, and they actually had it.
Kim Wannop [01:05:40]:
John Paino [01:05:43]:
That's a remnant that some rich person never used.
Kim Wannop [01:05:50]:
And then some rich production company got it.
John Paino [01:05:52]:
It was expensive. It was 20 grand.
Kim Wannop [01:05:54]:
John Paino [01:05:56]:
But that's the only way we could ever get it. It's like a cut off.
Kim Wannop [01:06:04]:
Well, it still were. I mean, it's magnificent.
John Paino [01:06:09]:
No, we hated ripping it down.
Kim Wannop [01:06:12]:
Yeah, it's gorgeous. And then you did big little lies on location.
Kim Wannop [01:06:20]:
Kim Wannop [01:06:20]:
But that wasn't here, was it?
John Paino [01:06:22]:
No, big Little Lies was pretty much built. The ladies didn't want to go to Monterey.
Kim Wannop [01:06:29]:
Oh, I thought you did, like, half of it up there or something.
John Paino [01:06:33]:
Kim Wannop [01:06:33]:
I thought the half of it was done up there and then, like no.
John Paino [01:06:38]:
We were only for the entire season. We were only up there for maybe just a couple week and a half. We were up there for obvious, like Nicole's exteriors and things like that. But a lot of it was built and shot in California.
Kim Wannop [01:07:07]:
Did you go up there for research? Because these houses are so specific to that.
John Paino [01:07:12]:
No, wait, say that again. I'm sorry.
Kim Wannop [01:07:15]:
Just research wise of how these three.
John Paino [01:07:21]:
Different economic kind of just figuring out their characterization, which we talked a lot about their strata and how the houses would relate to each other and how they would be based on the architect, the geography of Big Sur. I mean, they really live in Carmel. They don't really live in Big Sur. Big Sur is more of a blue collar town. They live close to Carmel. And again, we did have locations up there for just exteriors, but we built.
Kim Wannop [01:07:59]:
You built all the houses?
John Paino [01:08:00]:
Most of it, or did it in Los Angeles.
Kim Wannop [01:08:07]:
And at Sony. Now, I know that you're not there for that season, but walking by most of your sets on the morning show, they're gigantic.
John Paino [01:08:21]:
Yeah, well, they were real, too, like that apartment. Well sorry, I'm getting in my car.
Kim Wannop [01:08:31]:
Yeah, go home. I'm only going to body a couple more minutes. I know. You got to go.
John Paino [01:08:38]:
Yeah, no, that's fine. The whole studio with the control room and everything, that all worked. We had live feeds from the control room, from the stage set, and we had very little stuff that we shot ahead of time. We didn't have green screen. We did a lot of getting footage for news stuff. And if we were shooting, it was all live stuff from the set. It was all wired to work. Like a real like a real newsroom.
Kim Wannop [01:09:17]:
John Paino [01:09:21]:
Sorry. Hold on.
Kim Wannop [01:09:22]:
John Paino [01:09:23]:
I'm sorry. Go ahead.
Kim Wannop [01:09:25]:
I think that's one of the things that makes that show feel so real is the walk and talks from the control room or from their green rooms to the set. Like, that's what's so fascinating when you watch that.
John Paino [01:09:39]:
Yeah, that's all connected. Have you been on that set?
Kim Wannop [01:09:42]:
No, I didn't get in there, but I peeked in a lot.
John Paino [01:09:48]:
Okay, well, you can do all of that. You can walk from one to the other. It's kind of like we were fortunate enough to scout the actual Today show. And they're in tiny, tiny buildings that were built for radio programs. So all the dressing rooms and even Matt Larner's room was tiny. And it's all right within walking distance of the stage right. Which is old and antiquidated. Everything is so not glamorous and anything. But the control room is incredibly glamorous, and that's really where the money is put and everything is state of the art, right? And it's like being like inside of a submarine. But yeah, all the live feed work and we could record in real time. And there was a lot big a lot of learning to work with giant Led screens and just all that AV equipment had to work, and the microphones and everything. And we wanted our actors to be able to give direction like a director would on the actual Today show. Give direction just like the Today show.
Kim Wannop [01:11:08]:
I mean, what great opportunities that they took advantage of in walk and talks and camera views and going from the.
John Paino [01:11:16]:
Monitor to real I'm sorry, go ahead.
Kim Wannop [01:11:19]:
Oh, no. Just like going from the monitor to the real person. It gave them so many opportunities to create intense scenes that it's about news.
John Paino [01:11:29]:
Well, it's also interesting and incredibly hard to make a kind of interesting and.
John Paino [01:11:36]:
New kind of talk show.
Kim Wannop [01:11:38]:
John Paino [01:11:40]:
It's a lot more complicated than it seems. Not only working technology into it, but trying to not do something that's been done before. Like, we had the President no, not the President. One of the old producers on the Today Show came by just to look and he said, how many versions of the desk have you done? I said, well, just one. And he said, oh, we had to do 25 before we could figure out the heights of everything and how everything's going to work. And even the stupidest things when women are sitting there in skirts, you have to do Sundays and make sure that the camera can't see up their skirt or like, oh, I see up her nose too much, or the height of this. And then working all the technology into it was kind of crazy. Just all of those facets of it. Putting them together was a lot more complicated than I could have ever imagined.
Kim Wannop [01:12:53]:
It's a lot it's a lot of discussion about news desks. News desks for rent, like rental news decks. They're all awful. I always ask them to build one.
John Paino [01:13:04]:
We didn't even use them for, like, little one offs. You have to build all the desks are falling apart.
Kim Wannop [01:13:10]:
John Paino [01:13:11]:
Have you done any?
Kim Wannop [01:13:12]:
I have on Veep, one of the episodes well, a couple of the episodes. We built the CBS Morning Show.
John Paino [01:13:21]:
You know how hard it is and.
Kim Wannop [01:13:23]:
All the feedback and the monitors and getting the real cameras.
John Paino [01:13:27]:
And Apple, they were like, hey, we don't want you to shoot in 4K. We want you to shoot with eight k. So we had to get like, we had like 300 monitors in that control room, and they all had to be like, eight K. I'm like, Holy shit, can you even find 308k monitors? It was madness.
Kim Wannop [01:13:52]:
That's insane. I didn't have to deal with that. Mine was like five, six years ago.
John Paino [01:13:56]:
When we did it.
John Paino [01:13:57]:
I didn't even know there was eight.
Kim Wannop [01:13:58]:
K. I didn't know until you just said it.
John Paino [01:14:02]:
No, I was serious. Apple was like, okay, we're going to do this.
Kim Wannop [01:14:07]:
Why an eight K.
John Paino [01:14:11]:
4K was advanced?
Kim Wannop [01:14:13]:
Because it streams better. Maybe.
Kim Wannop [01:14:16]:
I don't understand.
John Paino [01:14:17]:
I don't know why we did it. I think someone will. Someone in Apple was like, maybe they wanted to try the technology. I really don't know why they did.
Kim Wannop [01:14:31]:
It, to be honest. This season of thorough mankind, they just kept saying, like, well, these new cameras. These new cameras. So maybe they got some eight k's. But no one said eight K to me.
John Paino [01:14:42]:
But gentlemen's, name. But we had a really good AV guy who set up with us the morning show, you know, control room. And, you know, at first I thought, well, some of these secondary monitors, like in their rooms and stuff, we could just buy off the shelf, right? And he's like, no, just to figure out with the different cameras they were using that none of the monitors would flicker. We did so many tests, it was nuts for every single monitor. Because all the stars, all the actors had monitors that they're watching the show in their room.
Kim Wannop [01:15:30]:
John Paino [01:15:31]:
So they also had a series of monitors that were also live feed to the floor. Because there's a lot of it is like, I can't believe she's saying that shit about me. You know, like, there's a lot of that there.
Kim Wannop [01:15:42]:
John Paino [01:15:44]:
And also Apple, it being its first big show, they wanted all this high tech. They wanted tech. They wanted to push the tech. That has gotten really complicated now. All of it, just like even having monitors on set. I still I'm so old. I still call all that the 24 frame.
Kim Wannop [01:16:07]:
Yeah, 24 frame playback.
John Paino [01:16:12]:
That playback is too new for me.
John Paino [01:16:14]:
I'm like, where's the 24 frame person?
John Paino [01:16:17]:
People look at me like, hey, Grandpa, like the pas on set don't know what the fuck I'm talking.
Kim Wannop [01:16:24]:
Right? Well, they should let's put it that way. They should.
John Paino [01:16:27]:
No, yeah, they figure it out.
John Paino [01:16:30]:
But I usually say, you know, the playback.
Kim Wannop [01:16:36]:
Wow. Did you hear me dork out? Did you hear me? I know the audio wasn't crisp and clear, but I hope you got all that and how much has gone into every single set in the show and the locations and even just filming through the weather in Alberta, Canada. He was, as I said, very gracious with his time. And I'm so thankful that Joe and I finally got together. I'm literally like the one day my parrot went out or he's on a show and been conned into meetings. And so we sort of reference how we kept missing each other. But I'm so glad to have talked with him. And so I hope you enjoyed that. Gosh, I know that I do it too, but when I see other people's work and then. I hear about it, I am in awe. I am in awe of so many of our projects and how much it takes to get it to the screen. And I'm so excited when I watch that show because I know it's painful, but it's worth it. And I hope that people see my work and think that, like, that was painful, but, boy, was it worth it. That's a huge compliment to me. Anyway, yeah. Got some other greats coming up. Let me just tease you a little bit. We have the production designer of Hello Tomorrow, which started this past week on Apple TV with Billy Cruddup. It's awesome, people. It's awesome. I didn't even talk about how I watched the whole thing in two days. The series is awesome. It's half hour, ten episodes. They already released the first three. I got to see it all. It's great. The decor is retro 50s, but the tech is, like, well advanced past us, even. It's really great how they integrate all of that. So maya Siegel, production designer, coming up. I have Jordan Ninkovich, who did hoax the kidnapping of Sherry Papini. We talk about that and all of our Hallmark experience. I have some costume designers coming up. I have more production designers. It's David Smith's coming back. It's we got a lot going on here, so, yeah, I hope you got an ear full. I'm Kim Wan, up for decorating pages.