AS: Do you spend a lot of time with the location managers and scouts?
ES: Yes. But having grown up in London and done an awful lot in London I’m pretty good at knowing where stuff is now.
AS: Do you ever just go out on your own scouting?
ES: I don’t go out on my own scouting but I’ll certainly know where to suggest quite quickly. What would be a good area or what type of building would work.
AS: When you first get a movie what is one of the first things you do? What is your process at the outset?
ES: I’ll always read it and start drawing all over the script. And I buy a new sketchbook and start drawing. I’ll sit in a room with the director drawing and thinking. Looking at research and pulling out books and images.
AS: I hear you’re involved in a Frankenstein movie?
ES: Yes! I did the Muppets Most Wanted and then I did another Call the Midwife television series and now I’m doing Frankenstein.
AS: A historical period film?
ES: Yes. It’s all set in the 1800’s. It will be another big historical thing but given that I’m now doing the research I’m learning how to bring someone back to life. I should have it licked by the end of the year.
AS: Is that another attribute a production designer needs to have? The ability to bring people back to life?
ES: Yes, it’s a useful extra skill!
AS: Say someone’s starting out in the business. Any advice?
ES: Learn to smile all day! Be positive. And learn to draw. For God’s sake learn to draw! It’s the only way you’ll ever get in your own way.
This is a very interesting conversation. Thank you for sharing your insights about the production design and entertainment industry! As a student aspiring to one day work in the entertainment or production industry these insights are very inspiring and helpful in career planning. Wish you the best in all your endeavors! Keep up the incredibly beautiful work.