ADG Perspective

July-August 2021

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Page 47 of 99

The Art Department isn't meant to work in separate pods. Props and graphics, coordinators and buyers, set dressers and transpo all need to constantly communicate. The pandemic changed every custom of our culture. Safety came fi rst. Having to arrive on the lot earlier for testing, random temperature checks, social distancing, not using paper, not gathering around construction drawings to discuss plans all had the potential to hurt the work. Yet we adapted. Outdoor meetings, Zoom walkthroughs, FaceTime reveals for approvals, and texting, texting, texting kept the lines of communication open. Everyone from Universal Television, Broadway Video and NBC were remote and available, so, I had to get used to sharing a packet of renders, drawings and mood boards during a 'show and tell' and EVERYONE is on the Zoom! All of the big wigs. There were times where I had twenty- fi ve executives examining the design packets and making notes virtually. Meetings with showrunners involved me dashing around the stage with my laptop camera pointed toward the sets and narrating a shared screen on Zoom. I learned how to virtually teleport visitors to the world in progress, to help them see where we were and where we were going, constantly anticipating and bracing for notes. The Wake Up with Kenan morning show set layout was inspired by my fi rst job in TV, where I spent many days sitting on the fl oor holding cue cards for Joan Rivers. The color palette is a warm wash of sunset-toned peaches and corals (a nod to the city of Atlanta) and one that would fl atter Kenan, represent his sunny, cheery personality and allow his signature blue suits to pop. The adjacent two-story offi ces featuring fl oor to ceiling glass walls overlooking the morning show were inspired by Robert Downey Jr.'s second-fl oor offi ce towering over The Sun Also Sets in the fi lm Soapdish. Honoring Production Designer Eugenio Zanetti's 1991 Soapdish set was the fi rst concrete decision I settled on after reading the pilot script. Building the set within the set for Wake Up with Kenan in this way allowed for continuity of story between the stage and the offi ces and provides opportunities for the story to be more interactive. We were learning how the pandemic created roadblocks daily. Set dec would show up to rental houses that were either closed or required appointments. Attempts to shop online were met with the unfortunate reality that many things were out of stock, back ordered or stuck in a port. A. WAKE UP WITH KENAN MORNING SHOW SET AND OFFICE BUILD IN PROGRESS FROM HIGH ABOVE ON STAGE 23. B. WAKE UP WITH KENAN HOME BASE. SET PHOTO. C. WAKE UP WITH KENAN INTERVIEW AREA. PHOTO BY CHRIS HASTON/NBC. A B C

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