Writers get writer’s block. And designers get designer’s block. So how do some of the top TV production designers overcome it when they have a gajillion sets to create?
For “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” production designer Joe O’Neil, he goes back to the start to get new ideas percolating. “I always go back to the research, back to the source material and bounce ideas off of other people,” he shares. “As things iterate, you get further in the process and you have to adjust things or cut things for budget reasons or whatever. The better solution is usually the simpler solution at the end of the day.”
Michael Wylie, who’s in contention this year for “The Twilight Zone,” makes it a collaborative effort, turning to people in his office, especially young up-and-comers for ideas. You know, so he can steal them, he jokes. “I’d go like, ‘If you had to do a doghouse, what would it look like?’ And I’d go like [whispers], ‘I hope it’s really good.’”
All jokes aside, Wylie, an Emmy winner for “Pushing Daisies,” believes it’s worthwhile to include everyone in the process. “It helps people feel a lot more closer to the material when everyone’s had a bit of it,” he notes. “All I ever want to do when I’m at work is to go home so whatever makes it go faster is the best thing.”
During our discussion, the designers, all of whom are former Art Director Guild Awards nominees, also weighed the pros and cons of hand-sketching versus digital sketching and revealed their production design heroes.
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