In this filmmakers video go behind the scenes of a film set and see what the art department is responsible for.
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Mike: Welcome to the substream’s ON LOCATION documentary series. Over the next few months, we’ll be spending one day with each department of a real live, hard-working film crew. These are real people doing real work on a real film set. When a film crew needs an empty studio transformed into a busy police station, they call the Art Department. This team is responsible for building sets, making props and helping to create the overall look of the show. Brian Rice: I think that a lot of times, people have no idea what we do and that’s okay.
Adrian Greenlaw: Everything in this planet can possibly be used by us. It’s not like there’s a special store that has special Art Department thing because every time I go to the dentist, I’m studying you know, what’s in a dentist’s place. I go to the doctor, everywhere you go, you kind of catalogue what you’d see or what you’d experienced and what’s there? Why it’s there? Mike: Brian and Adrian had the Art Department of the crime show Cold Blood, which has been shooting nights this past week. As the production designer, Brian works closely with the director to establish the look of the show. Along with Adrian’s help, he leads the Art Department in creating that look and making it believable. Adrian Greenlaw: Through anything you see visually that makes up the camera is under our control more or less the colour schemes and the props. Brian Rice: Construction of the sets, painting, choice of style themes, furnishings. Adrian Greenlaw: All that stuff kind of falls under our responsibilities so it has to be safe. It has to be practical. It has to work and do what it’s supposed to do and any other things, textures and new ones so we make sure it’s there and being able to kind of think on our feet and adopt those things to the Director’s needs or the DOP’s needs, or the actors’ needs. Also has to be up our sleeve. Brian Rice: Everyday is a new challenge. Every single job is different. If somebody walks to an environment that we have built and thinks that we haven’t been there, then we have done a perfect job. Mike: Being at the Art Department often gets saddled with a huge amount of responsibility. It helps to divide the work load in a way that makes the most sense. Brian Rice: The Art Director runs the floor so to speak. He’s a liaison between the working floor and me and the director and producers. Under the Art Directors, will be the Art Department team that does the graphic work, the drafting work. Adrian Greenlaw: These are going to be used for handwriting samples for the main suspect in the case, so there are little bits of handwriting filled in there. Brian Rice: There’s a construction team, the construction coordinator runs our team. They will have the carpenters and painters that are required to build the sets. The props master acquires and maintains all the things that are touched by actors. If it’s touched by an actor, it’s props. If it scene, not touched, it's set back. That’s the divide set decorator fills the rooms with furnishings and all the style that’s in the room. I should say that all those jobs don’t exist on all of the shows. Small shows will have teams where six people do all of that. Bigger shows, forty people will do that or more. So it really is a fluctuating set of parameters. Mike: The Art Department on this episode of Cold Blood is made up of five people, which means there is a lot of overlap of responsibility. It also means long hours of heavy work load. But these are people of a special breed. They work hard and they love what they do. Adrian Greenlaw: We actually, probably carry the heaviest workload on our shoulders when most of the people on a film crew show up to the worlds we provide, there’s a decent chance we’ve been there for many hours before, days before, bossing it, making it look like it’s suppose to. Brian Rice: We have such a diverse amount of things that we need to do. We end up with a big umbrella over a whole bunch of people that are every diverse and that’s part of makes it great. Adrian Greenlaw: We all come from very eclectic backgrounds you know, like there’s no real training for our job. We’re like Jacks of all trades you know I can do anything kind of. Brian Rice: There’s a little feeling of pride and accomplishment by making miracles happen day after day. It’s great fun. Adrian Greenlaw: My title’s Art Director, you know like that is to me one of the coolest job titles in the planet because in the end, we live in this three dimensional space but people receive it in a two dimensional play on television so it just really need thinking, all the smoke, mirrors are flat and scenic painting and you know what, we cheated and all that stuff is really, it’s a really neat process. So that’s all we’ve got to do.