Dennis Gassner

Dennis Gassner

AS: And they’re looking to spend as little money as possible.
DG: Exactly. But if we, the art department, the director, the cinematographer, are united in what our wishes are then that’s a force. And that force has to be unified to find the path.

AS: What characteristics would you say are good to have as a production designer?
DG: Know everything. Take risks. Don’t be conventional. Unless it’s necessary. Develop a yoga practice too for strength and balance. It’s all about strength. You have to be strong to be in this business. I train for every film.

AS: Physically train?
DG: Physically train and mentally train for each film. My shoulders carry a lot of weight. And that’s an important part of the business. And travel. Travel and learn from the world.

AS: Any advice to avoid the mistakes and pitfalls?
DG: Do all the things I just told you and you won’t make any mistakes.

AS: What do you love about production design?
DG: I love the whole process. This comes from way back. From listening to Dean Tavoularis talk about the Godfathers and about The Conversation and about other classic films and how they were all put together. The uniqueness of the film making process. You work so hard but then you sit in the cinema and there it is. It’s an extraordinary thing. It’s one of the most amazing art forms we have.

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About the Interviewer

Tom Lisowski is a production designer who has designed swamp mazes shot in China, crumbling cliffs in Utah, future arenas in South Central, dilapidated tenements and twisted laboratories under luxurious mansions... William Anthony is a Los Angeles-based commercial and editorial photographer specializing in portraiture, lifestyle and documentary imagery... Guest photographer Nelson Cragg is an award-winning cinematographer who shoots and directs television, feature films, and commercial projects. Contact ArtStars: