In keeping with last week’s post, I was talking with our construction coordinator about how sets are built. In the middle of the conversation, he tossed out his philosophy about the art department: “The only things the audience sees are the actors and the art department.”
As a guy who’s worked in camera and production, and who is trying to be a writer, I really haven’t given enough thought to the art department. When I make my own shorts, they’re usually set in the present, so the actors can wear clothes from their closet and we can film in a friend’s apartment. The set decoration is usually whatever’s already at the location.
But the construction coordinator is right. You can have beautifully-lit actors reading great dialogue, but without the art department, you’re remaking Our Town.
I think a lot of filmmakers think this way. They’re so fascinated by gorgeous celebrities and cool shots, they forget about the world the story takes place in.
Of course, others focus only on that.