“I’ve tried to make it as different and quirky as we possibly could,” declares production designer Greg J. Grande about Fox’s “Call Me Kat.” The freshman sitcom stars Mayim Bialik, also one of the show’s executive producers, as a single woman who abandons her career in academia to fulfill her dream of opening a “cat cafe.” Grande has had a long career in production design, with credits on shows as diverse at “Friends,” “Cougar Town,” “Dear White People” and “Casual.” Check out our exclusive video chat with Grande above.
Grande admits that he had never heard of cat cafes and was surprised to discover how popular they are in this country. “I never would have imagined that food and cats in the same space would go hand in hand,” he remarks. “But they’re quite interesting. The architecture and some of the creative freedom that these spaces have created is amazing. So that was my first dive into figuring out how I could best emulate this space and make it look interesting.”
A four-time Emmy nominee for his work on “Friends,” Grande describes the unique challenge of designing sets for multicamera shows. “The idea is to kind of create the space so that it’s got a little bit of a forced perspective, because you’re trying to squeeze in as much information into those three walls as you can,” he explains. “Obviously, you want it to look as believable and real as you can.” Another challenge is the quick turnaround time required for sets that may only be used in a specific episode. Grande and his team only have a few days to create a given set. “It’s a quick turnaround to create a world that needs to look like it’s believable,” he says. “So that’s the challenge every day for us.
For Grande, who has worked extensively on both single camera and multicamera shows, creative opportunity is what draws him to specific projects. “It’s about trying to be as creative and collaborative as possible with the producers I work with,” he says. “For me, it’s a good balance to be able to do a single cam and a multicam, and I’ve been able to balance both of those very nicely and keep my skills sharp and in giving the reality of what both genres have to offer.”
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