Updated: Jun 17, 2020
On this episode I speak with Production Designer / Set Decorator Tracy DIshman. I met Tracy on the NBC show Animal Practice, and unfortunately haven't been able to work with her again. Tracy is able to balance a career Production Designing independent films and still Set Decorating inbetween. Her recent credits include the Sundance film “Black Bear”, “Inherit the Viper”, James Franco’s “Zeroville” and the upcoming “Music” directed by Sia. We chat about budgeting the design of a project, salaries of Set Decorators, independent film making and more.
Check out Tracy's work!
Here is the full transcript of the Podcast:
Tracy Dishman - Would a Teamster do it?
00:00:18 - 00:05:01
Decorating pages is podcast dedicated to taking you behind the scenes of the designs of your favorite TV shows and films. Each episode sharing design stories some of Hollywood's most famous saps. Interviews from set decorators, production, designers, directors, and actors about creating the look of TV. About their design, inspirations and stories that take up from page to screen. Hello and welcome to the decorating pages I'm your host Kim Wannop. I continue to hope that everyone is being safe and healthy, and I know that this past week has been an emotional one. And I hope that we're all paying attention and I hope we're getting. Getting through this. As far as work concerned, I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with this quarantine. Feels like I'm GONNA be back to work in July I have no definite answers nothing like that, but it feels like the industry starting to get it together. I think it's going to be like that. Call like Hey, can you start next week, but Yeah. Which? Also means. We gotta get it together. People no more carbs. There's no more carbs. Maybe maybe scaled down to like one drink a week. Her one drinking night per week. Maybe go for a run, but yeah gotta get it together. We're going to be back in public. We gotTA grooming people. I think I think that's our main cold. Now gotTA. Start getting it together. So so what one up watching this week Ticked! Off Base Force pretty quickly. I gotta say the I that production designer. Suzy messy did a great job with that. I really enjoyed the sets the show. I think the order was raped. Because I've worked with that costume designer on beep. Kathleen, Felix and I. I think twice so yeah, and I love Steve Carell. Feel super disappointed by it so. We've finished the wire which I think on that last episode I said we had finished season three, but really what season four and now we're done to five and I'm breaking up a little like. A special about the wire and the production design of the wire, because it is phenomenal, just phenomenal. Series if you haven't watched the wire like I, said I don't know why you're into this podcast Anna. We watched the film the Lighthouse, which is a black and white period. Peace with Robert Pattinson and Willem Defoe. Who I think was just made for this movie like an old. Seaman with like an axe like a Boston accent. He was really good. The story was like route two guys. It's like a play. It's good. I don't think I have to I. See it again and go. Gladys saw. The cinematography is fantastic. basically basically using like one one light, and every shot, which I looked up and. They had such high wattage is on these. Light Bulbs in the rooms when they were shooting. to give them the light and also the production design. They built all be sets. They built whole lighthouse in everything so really pretty. To look at. But yeah, I mean I. Check it out if you haven't. another thing. I'm in the middle of its afterlife on Net flicks an love Ricky Julius, and this is the second season. I think super funny very dark. It's about death and very dark I love dark humor, so I'm in and the productions on at this quaint little English town I. Really like I just think it's cute. wondering if you're like me, you know we always watch you know you flip on that HDTV and see what's on heavy, ever checked out bargain mansions because there's this chick on there, who has I think really good tissues in like Kansas City? She's buying up these huge houses. Like really great as she would say gorgeous. remodels loves the Word Gorgeous.
00:05:01 - 00:10:00
She uses it like twenty times. A show should be a drinking game within the show. but she has really good taste. I think in her remodels a really good. If you haven't checked out bargain mansions, MOE's up for that. Also wondering. has anyone checked out my youtube clips that I put up? I've been I. I, like doing them. A bit of work. But I think it gives nice visuals to specific details at command some these interviews, so any bill I could get on. That would be great because if you don't like anything, they suck. Let me know. They are on the decorating pages Youtube Channel. They're also on the decorating pages podcast website under watch. On, this episode I speak with production designer set decorator Tracy dishman. I met Tracy couple of years ago on the show animal practice I had done the pilot, but then went back to a parks BRAC, and so she was doing the series they had to do some re-shoots of the pilot before it, so I jumped in to help out with that, and so we met there, and then I've run into a couple of times in prop houses, but I heard You're a couple years ago that she was production. Designing which I think is super impressive. So I reached out to interview her because I think it's fascinating that she is jumping back and forth from production designing and set decorating. and how she's able to do that A. Really WanNa to to learn how she's. She's doing that. she's also super cool dresses cool. She's got cool eyeglass frame. She's she's. we talk a lot about independent films. How some of her films have turned to union and how you know, she works with the crew like Bat. A how we met, we talk about that talk about how decorators get paid and salaries and very real conversation about budgeting, especially an independent film. She's worked in a ton of. Locations for her work and we get into. The Film Zero Ville which James Franco wrote. I think he wrote it. He's the director any stars in and she sat decorated, so that's Fanatical about James Franco and then her upcoming film, which is called me. Is directed by SIA. And you get to hear how a CEO actually shared her pinterest page with her. Fascinating. So I hope you enjoy. Prairie. I mean. Forget about it own. Young! We all WanNa word. I didn't know how much I need head a reprieve. Until I was forced to take one and I was like. Oh because usually we have downtime all the time, but when I'm down, I'm usually hustling in one way or another like. This, trying to make something happen the complete off of it gives you option to like you that hustle or like worry really I that's been a lot of time worrying even if I have a job I'm going to start just worrying about. The right decision and something else came up in our I didn't add and. So. It kind takes that variable out of it. It's nice. Were you working when this happened I was. I had been on like five weeks of prep for American crime story the next one so and we were two weeks away from shooting, so we weren't shooting and I hadn't addressed anything yet. But are. Mostly because our first three weeks have been location work so. But we hadn't scouted or anything. Designers scouted locations in shift that I. Think all that's gone I think they had said they are going to work like the first like. Two months on stage. And then figure out locations. But, I I think I. Mean It's a ten episode thing I think I'm gonNA. Be on it for the next year. I. Think I'll have my wrap party next. May that's my. Because by the time they figure it out. We have to work still now.
00:10:00 - 00:15:02
We have to rush and build on these sets that they can yeah, and then some. Shooting. What were you doing? I was in Savannah on season to Florida girls. Yeah so. Georgia opened at the beginning of this month and I was. Half expecting a call by it's like where it's happening, but instead I got a call saying Yes Georgia's opening bat. Florida girls is not up yet. We'll keep you posted so. A lot of the crew is they're all the talent is here. And, we kind of had like a little secluded enclave that we were pretty well protected, but a lot of the above the line was commuting from New York Vanna on the weekends, and when we started to get more information, it was like Oh we might be. You bring your. Things, yeah so. you know and it was the. It's going to be two weeks right will. It'll be two weeks and now as Aspen three months I think playing almost yeah, well, yeah yeah. Yeah. It was for us. It was like the a morning meeting of Hey, guys. We just don't know what's going on. We'll keep you posted and the afternoon. They brought like everyone in construction. Everybody in. Hey, listen. We're just GONNA. Take it down to just essential people, and maybe if you can work from home work from home next week and then the end of the day they were like. Shutting down. It was one day of such rollercoaster that Friday, and then it was like that next week of trying to work at home, but like shit started closing I go to kick out a prop houses they. Will. There's nothing for us to do. And then that following week. They were like art. We're done. So. We'll we'll keep in touch, but yeah I haven't heard really I mean. At first it was like. Oh, they wanNA start shooting mid. June, they're going to bring us back mid May. And then now it's sort of like well. They'd like to shoot you. Know or or you know they'd like to shoot it. August, so maybe we'll come back in July. So I don't know I have no idea either I. Don't yeah. I was trying to remember how in new you because it's like I. Feel Like I've known you for years, but I was like I don't actually remember how I met you so I did a little like you know research on us and I think it's because. Did you do the pilot? For animal practice, Jahn I did the season, and that's I met and we had to overlap on that because of re-shoots or something from the pilot. That's right. Yeah, we overlapped on that and then I would see you at like the NBC center because I was on. I guess good place in you were I think and you know what was on. Maybe I was on still parks, but I would see you at the NBC warehouse. I think when you were doing animal Chaffetz. Exactly. And then I feel like we talked like a year or so later. Think you designing? And then I haven't talked to you. Fortunately. Many of My. Guys say the things that makes me so interested in you is that you go back and forth from designing and decorating? And you do it so well. It seems you do it so seamlessly. Again now that you're probably focusing more on designing, and but that probably takes up a lot more of your of your time and everything, but it seemed like for a while at least that you were going back and forth, and and that to me is like Whoa. I. Don't know how you do that. Well How do I do it? So one thing is when I 'cause. I started in a as a prop master. Right in when I jumped from Prime Minister to set decorator in forty four. You can't hold a dual status so I had to relinquish my property status in order to get my decorator position. but when I got in as a designer. Because, it's eight hundred, I was able to keep both my decorator and designer cards, and it's kind of never say never. Lost me of like. Hey, you know yes. I heard. Here knows right. I work on a lot of stuff. I do a lot of I just some TV series, but I also.
00:15:02 - 00:20:00
I just loved the indie world. We're. so much of the heavy lifting is done by the decorator. Anyway a lot of the times like it's a lot. You know we're not doing crazy. Builds on three million dollar feature generally So I I yeah I, don't know I. I love both craft and I feel really lucky to have been able to. Participate in both when you when you're designing a indie film and Do you feel like you overset with the decorator like it's I would feel like it would be hard not to tell the decorated. Hey, listen. I got this jared Omega just go down I know it's there like I feel like that would be me because I do it now. My buyers so I know so i. I would be a ballet. Probably. I will say I. Mean like we try to stay early lane for sure and I only want to help, and the other thing about these is that were usually under crude and worked, and we don't have the time or the resources so it depends on the decorator, and like my relationship with them. If it's helpful, I'm not a like jumping in and you know. Yeah, here's twenty seven craigslist. Let me less like you know. Exactly. And if it's not, you know I just I. Try to be like if you need help, let me know. Yeah, that's that's how I tried to approach it and then just give people like you know the dignity of their own experience I also think in creative job like. There's a point where the help turns into. like creative vampirism. Right where like if you're messing, too, if you're putting too much too many ideas out there, I think it makes it hard for creative person to. Wrap their head around it and like cookies vibe going so. I agree I agree that there can be too much research. There can be too many. Can Be too much sometimes that it's so foggy that you're like. What am I doing here? And then you have to. I feel like and then i. just go back and read the scene. And I really read like what the fuck! What's going on here because I'm in love with this chair, and they want this, and but then I'm like, but what's really going on here and. I just try to go back to the scripts. Were voted as a defense mechanism. Most of like am I doing this? Oh Shit I was in love with that chair and they need like six seats and I'm GonNa. have six of them. Like what am I doing, so it's it's you know it it helps me to. That's right. That's right because you lose it time you leave, you get so in love with a chair and you're like. Oh! Man, that would have been so good. The no one ever knows that you. That's what I always think to like. No one ever knew how great that could have been, but you and I and and. There's always another job. There's always another chance for that share, or you just bring it home. Let's be honest, yeah! I was. A I was talking with someone. 'cause I'm in my bedroom because it's quieter So I was talking to someone they go. Where did you get that head Ford? Was that was an elevator dorm bones. On Weld! Iron knows like I. Just had someone welded and painted sober and Bala like. Then you're like I love it. Look around. You're like Elian that's from. I saved that piece. It was going to go in. The dumpsters, received it from yeah. But there's also quarters out there a bit I've. I've seen some who order people to which you can't let go stuff and. That's hard to. Yeah! I have gotten as I've gotten older. I've gotten better about. I don't bring my come with me. For the most part I think to when when we are younger in this, and you see the waste, and you see like that is just gonNa Literally GonNa go in the trash like. I know. Like. That's a good lamp. It needs a home lake, but now it's like I. Don't have time to be lamp matching people. So exactly exactly. Yeah, if anything like whatever the equivalent of a theater is, but for stuff, I might be a little bit of the like no here he.
00:20:00 - 00:25:03
You have to take this. Definitely need this like I might do that a little bit Yeah, but I just find that I. get over. Won't you know? Do you think that 'cause I'm thinking now? People who who do that and a lot of it is prop masters. They're always like Oh i. haven't I'm just gonNA bring it from home I have that I think that happens a lot more but that's smaller stuff. That's not like a big. Fan headboard Shit. That's like. A protester mentality to. Hear for sure I mean that was one of the turning points in in when I was when I was a prop master I like. Was I going to continue to do that or was I was I going to make the change to decorating, and I didn't have a truck yet, and that was the next thing was I was going to have to get a truck and I was like yeah. Yeah not not for me for someone else. Yeah, you gotta pay to get it like. Get it in story and Park it and. It's a lot talk about about chain. It's a lot of responsibility you know so. So! Let me back up a little bit. How did you start headed? You get into this. Did you always want to be in the in this creative? Prop world or Now I didn't even know it existed. Watch movies and TV. I didn't I sure I didn't know it was like a Joe I i. don't know what I thought I never considered it. I guess I finished school in Olympia Washington. A liberal arts school and just basically got sick of the rain and was like what's the sunniest place I can think of that I can drive to, and it was Los Angeles like I just took the five south and hero was, and I had some friends here from the Pacific northwest. You were in the industry. And so this would be like two thousand four. You doesn't five and They were like. My friends making a short. Just go show up and do whatever they tell you to do. Yeah. And that's that's literally how that was the beginning of my career? Working on a short. Year, but that's like you. Like yeah. Yes. I mean I feel like. When I was looking for my first job like and going I think it was called I. Think it's still around. Mandy or like craigslist and like Yakking. Shooting this pilot and they need by production assistant. So know pay sweet. Perfect yeah I'll be there, yeah? I am sure yeah, yeah, yeah, if you WANNA, do it, you do it. And then so on that. What did you see in in that day or week? Whatever that make you be like okay? I mean I think I was just so overwhelmed like the whole thing seems so crazy. That a really didn't I just did what people asked me to do and There was a prop master there who had recently they're assistant had taken another job, and while we were on short, the prop master booked a non union feature. was like. Do you WanNa? Come be my assistant and I said yes, and then that feature flipped union. I know it's so stupid I'm so. I know. I now I hate. Him. So yeah, that that's so. That's how I wound up doing props, and what was good about that was that was onset I mean it was like baptism by fire in terms of set culture and life I mean like starting with. How do you turn our walkie to like Now I'm getting my. You know my weapons license, and I am responsible for like firearms and. Drugs and money and feeding actors, and like a you know all of it. It's a very intimate in hands on. experience so while the maybe my first five years, I, was as assisting and mastering and I started to get stressed out with like the tech and the weapons in particular right because they're just both so. Fussy and there's precision to it that is, it was very micro was very micro Approach to a creative outlet and I saw the decorators running around with like you know. Throw pillows and floor in Iras Lake Iona do that. I WANNA do the job.
00:25:03 - 00:30:03
She's got a starbucks in her and. She'd been up since five. She helped unload the truck. She's got a meeting right after this. She's not getting. Like little, did we know? That's right. Glad, you wear it well. We all do I. Mean Look we have to. It's also that sort of double standard that still around where. I don't know like. Mariam, biddle was a emailing, or said something on facebook a couple of weeks ago. About like you know it's only been. Fifteen years or twenty years that I we still have to wear pantyhose or like. You still had to really get dressed up for me. It's like A. It's not that long ago. But Yeah I, the my first job I've is so insecure at the time in thinking like. I need to dress her up and up and I was wearing heels like almost every day like a nutjob. It is a thing of like. What was he doing, but we do it. I'm impressed. Cover me press for sure. But I think it's also yeah, it's It is sort of the thing of like I. Want I want to? I want people to feel empowered to give me money and give me responsibility and to trust my decision making and yeah, it absolutely is antiquated, but I think it's totally still alive and well, Blake! I can't show up with yeah I. Mean I do occasionally? Do show up rarely in athletic wear leisurewear whatever? But, but those are the mornings of like Oh. A were doing a circus outside not gonNA be here. Three legged. I'm cold. Yeah well, you know. But yeah. I've always. I've always gotten that sort of thing of like dress for the job. You want not the job. You have type mentality. and. He gets lost along the way, but it is. It is a reminder of like. Yeah, you gotTa, but I also think. and. You've worked on comedies, too. I think comedy brings down. There's a lot of COMEDIANS writers out there coming to work in their pajamas and I'm not joking. A hundred percent hundred percent. I remember getting departs. And thinking I'm overdressed. Actually reduced and I had a producer, stated we. Do you have an interview today? Like they were like wow! Aren't. Going to get my Hoodie on I got. So, I think your sneaker collection. Manager fighters. Election maybe to your environment. You really read the room to yeah. So, but yeah. But that was a sidebar you were doing prop master, assistant and imprompt Master, and then you saw back. Then you got you got. Yeah said then I did I was I was of force higher onto a job onto the tracey ullman show. A producer brought me on because the designer was still finishing job on the east coast, and so she brought me in before he got there. which those can always go, you know? One way or another, and luckily in this instant it, it turned out really well a good relationship and his decorator left on that job, and he always did the like you know. The Academy Awards the sex. The pretext segments before the beginning. Or for the MTV awards like the he always did those at the time as were non union, so he. Gave me a chance to decorate those. When we finished Tracy Oilman, and then after that he booked Eagle Heart, which the pilot was nonunion, and then the show went union, and because I did the pilot I got grandfathered in for. The show, so that's how I got me decorator car. Yeah, wow, that was good. What was it? I mean on just dumb luck, I, know I know, and so then I decorated for about five years which I loved Love I'm trying to look as we talk just to go along with like I, saw I just interviewed In Caveat, pro, who did the runaway? Interaction, you had or whatever but I love that movie. I love that man now that I've talked to him, but I thought that movie was really fun the runaways.
00:30:04 - 00:35:05
It was super fund so. That I did all the prep in like maybe the first week of shooting. That was a really good. Okay, so this is really what happened. Is that when I was still doing crops designer that my prop master I was assisting in my prop master worked with this designer on Deborah, Herbert and She had booked the rich. The show called the riches, and I told her that I was really trying to get into decorating and buying in. She said if you come to the series, I'll make sure that you can shadow my decorator who was special? Fontaine, which was an amazing so I, would get on my assistant work done, and then periodically like just. It was almost like a right along. It was almost lake. You know I would go to a few houses or I would go open set with her or I would see how she did her budgets, or whatever, so when beauchamp booked the runaways. I already had I was doing Sarah Silverman show every year as a prop master, and had that booked so it conflicted if I could prep it, and I could do the beginning of the job, so I got to do all the shopping and all the research and one of my favorite things about the runaways. Is that because they were huge in Japan at the time? That's like one of their stories, points and their history for higher. One of the salesman was in Japan in his teens at the time, and was a total music nerd, and he knew exactly like what fabric was on their vendors speaker. He knew everything was yeah. It was they are. Source I mean they themselves are like why you go there. They know all of history. They know like this the periods like the back of their hand. Right like the that resource to us is like unbelievable I'm always a fan of there, so that's incredible. Good luck. Yeah so unfortunately I didn't get to shoot it, but I did get to shop it and It's still got. Yes so fun so fun! I would love to do another something another something comparable. Yes, so that was the runaways. So then you're into decorating, and then at some point you're like L. Way. What am I doing? Why do all this work when I you? No actually. I mean I should have thought that, but I I was to better. Clear. Exactly. Adamant. I think. Why why did I ever because ice? On. The roads of big wanted to design and was like got into eight hundred and everything, and then I was like. I want to decorate and I had to start over and go back and then I think to myself like who that was dumb. I could be sitting over there being an art director making three four hundred more week like Yup. It's live. On a lot of MAR but. Essentially I think about it all the time. Or not I mean it does legitimate and you know. I think it's also something that that the the money of it all really needs to be discussed yeah, and we don't have to discuss it now, but lake well. It's the lowest department head. Crafty makes more than set decorators. It's no, it's no joke. It's no secret we're all know. Reject right new craft as a teamster. So of course you know, and then that's what I try and tell like 'cause because I do a lot of news I work with like a lot of Like newer people and they have actually had the opportunity to get a lot of people into the union on either nation contracts, or on shows that has flipped or whatever and but that's my thing is if the teamster won't do it, we won't do it so like if they're asking us to forfeit our turnaround if they're asking Mr, forfeit meal penalties. If they're asking us to do, an impossible job with the impossible amount of time and people like. Where did teamster do it? Now and if the answer is no then. Along the line. I mean exactly when they do do it. It's awesome and they do get the job done great. Yeah, mostly it's like. This is the reality of what's IT GONNA take. You're right. It doesn't seem to be at argument. Will. Let that it's going GonNa take, and that's what we have to pay. And this is what it's going to be. But when it comes to creative, it's like well. Can't you guys just? This could shoot tomorrow, right? That's right I mean.
00:35:06 - 00:40:14
At? What cost, of my sanity! Or safety you know or or The sacrifice to the the you know what you're. What product you're delivering now. That's a real thing to do i. want name on this. If we put it together with bubble gum twenty minutes before yeah, rolled into shoot. Any soon take my name off of it. Take my Dave. You can have it. I mean. And so here's the thing there's no. It's no secret that every craft as they become dominated by women. Participants, their rates stagnate or. Decline even and for us as you know in eight hundred. We have our. You know our union negotiated. Minimum Rates Right which Oh. That's great well, really really. Cinematographer are subject to negotiation meeting. They're starting the bar above what my mom! You know way above what my minimum even is. And once you have a minimum established producers don't WanNa go too far off of that they will if you have cachet. Are you know newer in the industry or an up and comer whatever you Kinda have to just, and that's another thing you know. I see these facebook threads I. Don't participate because it would not be good for any. But I. Check him out sometimes. Booker. And, there's a there's this rhetoric that is if people stopped taking those jobs that are for a one hundred twenty dollars a day, then they won't exist in I, think what has what gets lost is that those are tiered contracts are union negotiated Contra. Their Legal Union contracts, and yet it's completely it is it is. It is below poverty level in terms of what you're actually getting paid, and how it breaks down, and it's unlivable, but it's where we are right now so I think all of it's really very interesting. I only got an agent because I wanted someone to negotiate my rate for me. That was named smart because it takes you out of it, and it's right. This isn't personal and I don't want to deal with this and I. Don't want it to be weird, but I. It's socks that you have to do that. You'd have should. It sucks that you have to then get this third party in there to do it because. Our work is are working their hire new. For reason they want you for reason and. It's it's another I understand why is needed and I think I definitely think it is needed, but it sucks that it has to be that way. Really Decorators could get. Decorators could get a agents, but the pins that we may. Want to take it from your take another ten percent off of it. Yeah, no, it's depressing. or But yeah, I don't. Know, it's the contracts and everything you're so stupid. Everytime starts at an how many times I've called the union. Ask for my rate, and they've given me the wrong rate. Come back and been like. Oh, no, it's this and they're like. No, it's not like. I call the Union. They're like full this here. This is what it is like I. I'll be right back. A buddy. Out Yeah that that HBO country. That's tricky to read. That's tricky to review. Yeah. But. Yeah, it sucks, but. I'll tell you what I think. We're going to get screwed on this, too. Because you know the first thing they're going to say is well. You know we have so much money allotted to like Cova product, production or You know it's gotta come from somewhere, and it's always the US does what I think. That's a played well. I also think you know. They have been just chipping away at our minimum staffing for years now, and it's going to be like. Can you and a? You know tape roll. Go and do this entire job basically and and. How I feel about the covert projects is the same that I feel about the tiered projects, which is the script is never taken into consideration when they're getting approval from the unions, and there are absolutely our scripts up incomers and indie projects that can be done for a million dollars done well and done safely and a lot of times you get you know new new writer directors who want the world and there's any seven locations and ninety.
00:40:14 - 00:45:05
Ninety percent of its night shoots, and they want to do it on a crew of three people, and it's like that's the kind of thing that I think needs to be looked at is what is the content that were green lighting and were were saying yes, our people can deliver this product. Exactly I think you are, so you so hit on the head with the script because I know people who work in accounting and they're like. They set budgets or they? You know they. Let's just say American Crime Story. They set the budget based on the previous season's show. Will that doesn't what what? But that's a completely different show. It's a completely different era Like what are you talking about? How is that the same? Why did nobody like read this? And I know that accountants to read it, and they give a full line budget, but in this case I've heard many times. It's based on last season's budget. Well, that's right and. Listen. If forces you to I mean. It doesn't happen frequently. It has happened where you know I can see. We're coming towards the end of the project, and they're still money to be spent, and I'm like you better spend that right I want to be in a situation where I am spending money that we don't need to spend in order to protect myself for the fall for the next generation, right? That's the that's the system that's in play right now decorated I decorated two shows for these shirkers Lennon. Prime and Jessica Saint Clair for different designers for both show best friends forever was Jennifer, gone and playing house was pets, and for season two of playing house they were both on Maternity, leave and Jessica and Lennon. We're like. Hey, you should just do this. And I was like, but I'm a decorator I'm different union and they were like. No, you have pre existing knowledge your yeah for you to do this, so they wrote the Union and they got me and on a hundred and so season two applying house was my first. Designed job and that's I. It wasn't the Plan I. Didn't you'll qualified. I didn't think that I was allowed to do it. I didn't go to school for it. you know my drafting is chicken, scratch and yet turns out. I, have an opinion about static aesthetic I. I know how to break down a script I. Know How to. Think about blocking. Think about lighting work with DP's work with directors work with construction. People I turns out I personally. Don't have to do it all. That's why we have good people. That's why we're all. We all. That's why it really is. It really is good people surrounding yourself with good people. That makes a great project. I love it, but I also think it's important that the the decorator or the designer knows that that I don't have to do it all like it does. Get overwhelming and you're reading. Going to do this all right day one day one day one, but my lead man I like to think like if we could just get by next Tuesday, our lives are going to be so much easier. If, we could just get to next Tuesday, it's GonNa run, and then we had i. do I really do break it down mentally a lot like all right as soon as they get done the set and I'm still thinking about him so planning on these other sets, but yeah, yeah, you have you have to get good people, and and you have to be a good manager, too yeah. Yeah I, think you have to get good people, and then you have to trust them, and you have to empower them to do their job. I'm not interested in micromanaging people and when I have had no, no one wins. And, that's ration-. You know and it's. Also why I love working with I love working with the same people repeatedly you know and I ha. I have done that a lot because it. You get that shorthand and you know what they're. You know you know what their limitations are, but you know what they're capable of, and you can kind of back that into all of your planning the last few years I have been traveling a lot for work, so it's been a new learning curve of a full new crew in a new stranger in a strange land maybe five jobs in a rope.
00:45:05 - 00:50:00
You did you were in Alabama. I was I was in Birmingham. Love their loved it. Gosh yes I. Go buy houses and Birmingham. Par I particularly for us because it's, it's A. It's a groovy town degree southern town, so a lot of people are from Birmingham, but a lot of people are maybe from smaller towns and. Who have come to Birmingham for this team? And because it's so affordable to live there I mean everyone is making their art right because they can have a real a reasonable part time job or fulltime job and full time is nine to five, and then they have a beautiful studio space and have a great house, and they have chickens I mean the whole thing right like lovely, lovely, super talented people who are all artisans in all. You know making their stuff who? I know he's not me I'd never been to Alabama is terrified. I would've been like. Yeah no I think of Alabama. I mean I think of some things I think of. The heat. Of Keith more so than anything. There I have no idea. I mean I. Hate to get off on whether tangent but I'm like I'll I think is like. Is it hot there and sticky, humid and like? So I guess so, but the funny thing is. We were there in winter, and it actually snowed for the first time in thirty five years or something insane like that. We took a snow day. We took an insurance snow day allows. The locals refused to drive to location because they're not equipped I. mean they have no equipment for clearing roads or salting or anything like that so It was not hot when I was there. There's nothing worse than working humid hot weather I think. Yes agreed agreed and. How was that experience on the film like how did? However locations. And how were how was it? Amazing! Epoch It's it. They call it the the heaviest town on her. Because the iron foundries are all there so all of the architecture and there's a rock quarries that are still there as well and so in its heyday. Everything was ironed still brick masonry. All the architecture is gorgeous brick buildings with casement windows With like the old advertising, still painted on the brick. That is seventy eight years old. It's it's beautiful. I mean they. The production value is high in my opinion and We shot at a corey. You know you can't fake that like yeah, it was it was. Super Cool. And then just really beautiful wooded areas. We did some railroad tracks. That were out in a wooded area that it's just. Yeah. It was in the movie that I was there for inherent the Viper, which was sort of like an opioid family drama gritty. Bang so this world really. Just sold kind of like Rural but. You know at one point there was industry at one point in. Deer Hunter when they shot it and. That's yes, that's what it reminded me of now. I didn't watch it. I watched the trailer like twice. I didn't get to watch that film I watched. Was I watched I chose zero bill. To Watch. But I let I was GONNA. Do in here at the Viper, but I was. Kind of see a much rather ask more about that greediness that you got out of Alabama that I don't. I didn't know it was their existence, so but yeah I mean. It reminded me of deer hunter looking at it. Yeah, that's that's exactly right. And that was a good experience like just as a film as crew because we did. We shot an outside of Birmingham and a lot of communities that have just been decimated by the loss of industry and we were able it. It was one of those where we were able to leave things better than we found them. which I love I love not being bit.
00:50:00 - 00:55:01
You know that locus that come in and just yes. Script ruin everything. Yeah. Yeah, so did Birmingham, and then I did Austin Texas I did some? I did two seasons of showed there for facebook watch, and then I, did Savannah Georgia for Florida girls, and then I did. Adirondack State Park for a feature called black bear that just premiered at Sundance this year hand. How was that location and was a quick shoot or was it? We were there for a month. So I prepped from I prob- from here and then I was in in the park for a month, and it was bananas. We had no cell reception. No wifi no. Completely a lake. Completely off the grid Like. One thousand, nine, hundred I've taught. All over again. Where's my Polaroid Camera? Just. Take a mental picture this hold on. Exactly, it was intense but it was awesome de Niro Johnny Durban I. Know The name I don't know yeah. I able to bring in my decorator, and she happens to be of not only a phenomenal decorator, but also a skilled. Doors woman, so she was very good asset to have Gallo. I. WanNa go to upstate new. York for this movie called Black Bear. It's going to be in the woods and she was like. I just passed my dentist. Cores so I. I'm. I'm more. More would WANNA ask her. Why did you just pass? Here. I mean it's good to know I. Guess. I yeah. Hey you know what I'm. It's a bear. Can Run. There's my marriage and. I ever! It was awesome. It was it was one of those things where like every lunch break people would go down to the dock and jump in the water and. Take the Kayak back to their that they commuted from set to their cabin via Kayak, like and It was grueling and very difficult and Mary challenging and two hours to the nearest target. Oh. Yeah well. That sucks, but. I mean. There's times when you're like all right I got to be creative and. That works best I mean. Obviously I'd love a target to be closer, but if you can't get to it or you know I don't have time. You got to be creative and sometimes great great designed comes out of that too so I'm I'm scared of that but. A lot of times it has helped me in my decorating of like. Oh. I don't have that resource. I gotTa make this work like yeah, we all do exactly. So I think it was my first few years. Designing did a lot of project I. Just did every project that I could get which included overlapping a lot like I would be wrapping one and prepping the next one other. That's Birtles I mean look at you. You did like. Twelve fifteen, sixteen, sixteen, sixteen, Seventeen, seventy, like so many projects in two, thousand, sixteen, twenty, seventeen, designing. You've got like. Five projects a year. Yeah Yeah. It will in a lot of that was financial like. I couldn't afford to live on one job right now, but also you know I'm not I'm not fresh out of college and so reinventing myself. It's like I have a mortgage. I need to I need to get the credit so that I can starter. You're smart. You'RE NOT GONNA. Take that that rate so you're smarter for like. That's also helpful in the sense of like I'm glad I'm not fresh out of college and being told like. Hey, here's a dollar. Right right exactly I mean. It was a fine line of like you know advocating for what I'm worth while at the same time realizing Mike Okay I'm starting over in a new yet again and a new career, and like having to get the experience and the resume together, and you know really get myself in tradition where I am marketable and competitive. You know in terms of.
00:55:02 - 01:00:03
Can it because you know it's the well. If you haven't done a fifty million dollar job, you can't do fifty million dollars. You haven't stuck in. Here's of. You probably can't handle that. Oh really really. Day, thing. For, more money. Oh, thanks like. It's so stupid. You should actually start out big. I. Think. Martyr I think I mean it's IT'S UNBELIEVABLE! Like what we have to do with limited budgets, limited people compared to. If you have the the you know, the luxury of of fat budget and bat mandate situation. It's like well while we really can do. Anything. Yeah and that's what I think. That's what's going to hurt us in. All of this is that we can do everything because I'm sure it's not just going to be my show. It'll be a Lotta shows. That are now fighting for stage space and. Creating the whole world on stage, which is how it used to be, but you know it's going to I hope that it's appreciated financially for what we're going to have to do in all of this and I know it's not forever, but hopefully, but you know. We're GONNA get screwed. So, but in all this time you're still going back to decorating, but you. You're not only signing on this stuff to your also decorating other things. You did thank. You well, you had playing house, and then you moved up and then. And, then good good session and Zero Ville still your double. Duty Yeah. Yeah I am so it so this is my right so i. do like a one million dollar features designer, and then good session was a fox pilot, so I'd go squirrel away some money and be able to go design. You know another thing for for less, so that's. That's kind of what I did my first year and you know and I'm and I was lucky to do that at a certain point I, found it. In my best interest to. Again never say never, but I haven't designed in a few years and hard part of. Part of what's so hard about. Our job is getting people to think about us. In the way of what we're doing right ran because I have changed, you know positions so many times I just wanted to kind of stick with something and and really try and like. Carve out a niche for myself. That wasn't yeah, so that's what I've been working on recently. Yeah I mean by the way your websites great. Very. It's very visual. Is I was like oh? My Gosh. Can I steal this? Can't. I and but I got too much shit. I'm like Oh. This is so nice in bold, and you know what you're seeing and it's very nice. Really liked it. Yeah. Sorry, so also, but I did read on your website that you travel a lot, and that inspires you, and it's that traveling personally or is that had been in your travels of being doing location work. Do you think I mean I? Think so I mean I have I was raised military, so we and we didn't move around as much as like. Some people on I was never stationed overseas as a result of it, but it is still part of the nature of the upbringing of just like we did travel a lot, and then I spent a lot of my late teens and early twenties. Taking the long road through college of like a lot of Sabbaticals, and like you know studying abroad, and whatever all of this sort of thing, and so just by nature I love to travel and. So I think I actually wrote that before 'cause I only started working out of La and twenty eighteen, the last two years I've been out of town, and in fact in October of two thousand nineteen six months ago, I did my first job back in Los Angeles It was a little nervous. It was like back in the big city back in. You know, but also like Oh. We could just go to a house. Weird Shit didn't escrow weird. Yeah, but I think it's good. It's good just for my personality, but it is part of what has made me be able to do this work right it.
01:00:04 - 01:05:01
It just happened to be the skillset to have and to be comfortable. You know in like unknown arenas a thank I'm curious and observational, and you know others things that. That make us. Who we are. Yeah, I, I do think traveling is so essential, just seeing other vernacular. and. Like the day shit like I More so as I've gotten older, I don't I want to go to the big tourist things but I also Wanna just like needs to walk down the side street and likes she on over here and like L.. That's a weird place for teapot. Like. Hans Cool. If I ever get to do an Italian movie, this would be great. Out like. I'm never it's like you're saying like I'm never gonNA. Get to do an Italian movie. You're never gonNA. I don't know I. I always think like I'm probably my way down. And this is where we get real okay. I I've said. Many Times I. Like I it scary I have like this like fear of it I, talked even with the designer of veep about it, and he's like. Yeah, it does feel like that feels like we had something in and I said well I wonder if everyone feels like that like Oh, it's never going to be this good. Even though it was awful, it was so hard and so. Like brainwashing Mehar. And so hard! But I feel like I'm never going to my work. Never going to be that good again probably wasn't even good. First of all veep is lightning in a bottle. I mean what a gem of a show that looks amazing by the way and. I mean it's just a quality show, but. I think. We do that happens when we're like. We have a good like a solid experience, and then you flounder for a minute you know, and it's like you wait for the next thing to sort of like catch on, and then and you will, and that's one of the really great things about like. Yes, you know. We had to wear pantyhose twenty years ago, or whatever, but one of the things that I love about our job is that I see women. Sixties seventies now our houses holding it down and that is super inspirational to me where it's like. We're just getting better. I believe that, too. I also try so hard when I whenever I run into someone who's been through a this world and seen so many changes in our in our little world. Two of like what's your constant like what? What you? Would you hold on? It's it's usually always like good research. Did people like just. Do the research and we're just take jobs with good people and you'll be and I think that's true, too. I mean working. I and it's so draining, and it's so like. Yeah be speaking of how was reveal? What. I. I don't understand anything. I I will say as of you were. I was excited because I was like Oh actually. I heard this, but I never saw it. I don't know, and then it was like Oh. This is this preview I'm in all right watching it, and then I was like I can't watch. I can't watch him anymore. I would I actually muted it for a while and kept it on, but it was very self serving I thought as an actor and a director that I was like Oh. This is like. I feel bad. I feel I feel like I've been in projects like that. We're like it's all about him and it shouldn't be. It's about all of us putting this together in creating this, but this is just my opinion of of working in our industry and seeing this movie I could be completely wrong, and you don't have to say anything, but I thought great is this. I thought looked great and I mean you've got to go to some really great like Los Angeles locations and really. You know things in the lighting I thought was great and.
01:05:02 - 01:10:12
And that projector room I thought was like fantastic that you did and decorated Saint Louis. I don't know I was disappointed that it was so self serving as right. So First of all to be totally honest. I haven't seen it. Yeah! So there's that. There's that, but so there was an interesting experience because a first of all. It's star studded like was. So many people in it. Everyone is it yeah? And we got. It Will Ferrell's really good in it actually I mean he's funny. Yeah. Yes. So regards to yet we did. We shot in some amazing locations we got to recreate the like the filming part of apocalypse now so we went to bamboo garden at the Arboretum and recreated the set, and all the research that we did on the has been characters an editor right so. It's out actual filmmaking of and I think we respond like nations, seventy, two to nineteen, eighty, five or something like that I'm not i. don't remember anymore, but so keeping up with like that rapid change in terms of technology and whatnot, and we got to talk to real characters, who still had all the editing suites and whatnot and could use you know could use the cutting. Of Film. And and then be able to, but like the onset tax for. Right, for actors said that they knew what they were doing so that was all super cool, but You know and I think this is what I will say about it. I think it's really hard to do a low budget project. That's period and not have. It looked like a costume party. And I think this one looks pretty good in terms of. you know period? I I thought the period is great and I think. Capturing like Hollywood in that time is always really interesting because it's. And it's Kinda grow, and I'd like. The line is come off, but. Now I I was I was like Oh and now they're at the lochner like was like Oh man. LA, times building and like. So! I was like all right. You would so many locations for that. I was like this is like a decorator nightmare, but I I wish. I could get through. I could have gotten through it, but so I think like to like a half hour. Laughter something but I was like I can't. I, don't even care how this ends at a certain point. I was like I, don't I? Don't know where this is going on it ends. Megan Fox is so beautiful to look out like I hate. You can't watch. Thank you anymore. So. And I think that that was part of the problem. The DP by the way is lovely and and one of the things. I got out job. was that that DP onto direct his own feature in the Salton Sea, so I spent a month out in the Salton. Sea Art, directing his feature like two years after. Zero Ville and I don't know how much time you've spent out there, but that's another. Wow, that's another kind of must experience yet. My husband keeps wanting us to go out there and I'm like. Yeah, let's go. Home. That is one place like he's like. No, it's awesome. You got to see it and so yeah I've heard it's. It is, it's pretty incredible and you know, and so for a month they lived in a trailer and like again completely off the grid and super cinematic and very cool community but that's not my point. My point was. I don't remember what my point was. That's. It's no. Ever I remember. I got it got it. So we did that movie and it all came together very quickly. We shot it very quickly. And then it Kinda like win away and. Never heard anything again. And what I learned was that because there were so many strong comedic comedic actors, but it's based on his book, which is not particularly funny. It's kind of A. It is sort of a narcissistic like yeah, you know greatly replayed, played it perfectly, but it was like. Totally and they didn't know how to either promote it or market, it or what? The final edit was supposed to be I think they were taking a movie that we shot as a drama and trying to make it.
01:10:13 - 01:15:02
Comedic because of the you know because of the star power in it so that you know it's so interesting these projects where it's like Redo. Our part right, but then there's so many other so many other elements. We don't have consolo war. That's right I. Know many other circles. How that it can just get stuck in because you know it? Yeah, so and not something that I went to a production designer. Roundup at Sundance this year. There was talking about. How increasingly do you know how design is going into posts? And you know World Building that Redo in physical production, but then is sort of expounded upon in post and how there's really no communication between Yom. Right the end. It's hard. I've talked to designers who been in a lot of like visual effects type movies of like I. Don't WanNa I. Don't WanNa say like Hey. That looked fantastic and then like they didn't do it. cleberation on that. Where 'cause I don't? It's done so well I don't know I as a viewer. I don't know what is set in. What is green screen at some point? It's so great with Vance now, but yeah I I would think that the production designer would be every meeting I would think that. And that's part of what we were talking about very much lake. You know directors do a director's cut and cinematographers do color correction. It Neil's like production designers should have post days that are solely. Dedicated to communicating and downloading in kind of collaborating with. The effects but. What do I know? And I think. Over most one hundred percent of production designers agreeing with you like it's. Being taken out of your hands. Like that could change the whole tone of what you. Going for so no I think it's a huge discrepancy in our little world. Yeah. Yeah. Go ahead. I was then. just make you talk about Sia. I WANNA hear. I WANNA. Hear about what's going on. Holy cow well I mean that's another one right where it was like we shot it three years ago. I think Oh and In that I. Mean is the hardest job I'