Behind the Scenes
Production Designer Meeting
How on earth does the team decide how to make sets and what they should look like? And what exactly is a set anyway?
Well, on The New Tomorrow there is a Production Designer called Nigel that creates the overall look of the program and makes sure that every tribe in the show has a different ‘brand’.
Nigel works closely with the Executive Producer, Ray and the Producer, Janet and brings them drawings and models to make sure that they are happy with what will be built and how the program will look. He also has to make sure that he is working within his budget so has to work with the accounts team and the Finance Director, Jeremy has to keep a very close eye on how much money is being spent.
A ‘set’ is the actual area where the program is filmed – like the Ants’ huts for example.
There are many different ways that a program could look but in the case of The New Tomorrow, Ray was keen for the audience to see a completely different way of life for the children in the program – no real beds, no knives, forks and spoons – some very different places to live!
The kids in The Tribe had all sorts of things that were left over from their old lives – such as the shopping mall and vehicles, tinned food and computers.
But the kids in The New Tomorrow have nothing and have to make everything themselves. Imagine having to make your own knives and forks before you could eat your dinner! And it brings a whole new meaning to ‘make your bed’!
There are all sorts of places that the tribes live in – there are the huts that the Ants live in for example – what would they sleep on? Where would they sit? What would their bedcovers be made of? All these are questions that the team have to give a great deal of thought to – everything right down to a coffee pot needs a lot of decision making.
How do the tribes get light? There is no electricity in The New Tomorrow so torchlight is what is used as well as braziers at night and cooking is on the open fire.
The designer also has to think about what to do if it rains – there needs to be all sorts of cover for the crew and cast to film in. And then there needs to be extra space for the cameramen and lighting team to get their equipment into the area that filming is taking place in. There isn’t too much space in the Ants’ huts so there are windows for the cameras to poke through and the roof actually comes off!
There are also duplicate sets built – one in the studio at Cloud 9 and one at a place called Whiteman’s Valley where a lot of the outside (or exterior) shots are filmed. This means that the cast and crew can film in all weathers, which is very important as the filming goes on for a few months without much time afterwards to film any more.
Nigel has a large team of people working under him from construction people who make the actual set to painters who paint the walls to the model makers who make all the pots and bowls and small things.
A lot of props are made out of real things – like a patio heater could be bought, taken apart, put back together and roughened up to make them look old and used.
Some props are made right from scratch.
And some have been taken from the props store of The Tribe and fans might notice some familiar bits and pieces showing up, some looking the same…and some looking very different.
There are so many things that the team have to bear in mind and it is no easy job to create the look of a program – there are all sorts of issues to think about and a time limit to work within.
Think about how you would have designed the sets – you can send in your ideas to us and we will put them up on the site for everyone to see.
Either design a set for your own tribe or re-design a set for one of the tribes in The New Tomorrow.
We look forward to seeing them …
And join us soon for another Behind the Scenes report.