Production designers Mark Ricker (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), David Crank (“News of the World”) and Barry Robison (“One Night in Miami”), and set decorator Jan Pascale (“Mank”) worked on very different films, but the pictures have one thing in common: they’re period pieces, covering post-Civil War Texas, 1920s Chicago, 1940s Hollywood and 1964 Miami. And that was all music to their ears. Click on each name above to view each person’s individual interview.
“I love doing period. I love delving deep into whatever period I’m involved in for sure,” Robison shares during Gold Derby’s Meet the BTL Experts: Film Production Design panel (watch above). “I’m a reader and I love history. I just can’t get enough of it. … On ‘One Night in Miami,’ I went to Life magazines. That was super important, getting those Kodachrome and then going back and really delving into that. That was super important. But I’ve done other period films where you just get deep into the historical detail.”
All four agree that research is the best part of their jobs — “we’re library nerds,” Robison declares — and period projects offer the most research and learning opportunities. “I love digging into the details of it all, doing the research, and then distilling it to see how we can help tell the story properly. I’ve jumped to the future right now and it’s actually harder,” Pascale says with a laugh. “So I would much rather do a historical reenactment. … I tend to listen to the music of the period too that I’m doing [too]. I just end up doing that. Maybe it’s subconscious, but it kind of helps me think it through.”
Watch the full panel to hear how they collaborate with actors and why the smallest spaces are the best spaces to work in.
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