Daniel Novotny

And if you think something looks good you have to sell it. They might disagree with you. They might hate it. They might think that what you’re doing is wrong and you have to kind of roll with that and accept it. It’s really not your art form. The movie is an entire production, the production design is just one element in it. There are not that many elements. You know there’s acting, there are the sets, there’s lighting, there’s music, sound, the wardrobe, and it goes on and on but production design is only one piece of the pie.

AS: You were saying that knowing different lenses is important, how does that help you? How would that change how you’re designing the set?

DN: Well, I wouldn’t spend money on things that are not going to be seen in that lens. So if they’re going to be shooting something and it’s all about talking heads then I won’t buy the expensive molding to put ten feet up in the air, you know? So for me it’s all about putting the money where the lens will see it. So if you’re gonna have a wide lens then it’s all game but if you’re gonna have a long lens then there’s no point in spending money on places that you won’t see. By spending money I mean on expensive paint, expensive molding, artwork, set-dressing, all of the above.

AS: When you’re crewing up are there certain attributes that you look for in the people that you’ll be working with?
DN: They have to be really good politically. Especially on a TV show. On a feature you know you’re going to work with a person for a few months and then you’re going to leave. And with a commercial really who cares because you’re just going to be done with them in a week or two. But on a TV show when you’re going to be working with someone for ten months it’s really about finding a good family member that’s a good fit. On CSI in particular, the politics on this show are playground politics. Everybody’s been there a long time so nobody really cares who you are or where you came from, they just care if you can get along with everybody. And then obviously secondary to that, or equal to that, is their skill, what they bring to the table. Everybody’s got their own skills. Everybody’s got their strengths and weaknesses. If one person strengths are x and y then I’ll make sure the other person has something else.

AS: Any resources like books or anything that are inspirational to you as a designer?

DN: Google image search. That’s pretty cool. I have so many books -I don’t know which ones are more important than others. I have ones that I like and I have my favorite books but those aren’t the ones that I use the most. There are books that I don’t like but I use them more. I use different books for different finishes. There are great books on Modernism- they’re cool but I don’t really use them for anything. There are books on Mid-Century Modern and I use them sometimes.  Then there are books on crack-houses that I use all the time. Anything in Hennessey and Ingalls is good by me I think.

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