AS: Do you always work with the same crew?
AS: No, you can’t say, Here’s my whole crew and we’re all going to travel together. It’s just not always possible financially. And then people aren’t always available. So you try to patch it together and meet new people and start over each time.
AS: Say someone’s just starting out in this business. What would you tell them to avoid pitfalls?
AS: The big thing I would say is if you think that you’re going to design this set all on your own and come up with this brilliant thing and never need to talk to anyone about it and that they’re just going to show up at the end and it’s going to be amazing…you’re making quite a large mistake. Involve your collaborators in the process early and often.
AS: How do you see the future of Production Design?
AS: The technology is certainly a growing part of the process but it’s just another tool. I don’t see it as fundamentally changing what we do. Computers are much more involved now but it’s not changing anything. We’re still doing exactly the same thing, trying to communicate and tell these stories.
AS: What do you like about designing movies?
AS: On a basic level getting paid to play make-believe is pretty great! It’s fun and really challenging that each movie is a whole new experience that you have to dive in and figure out … to become fluent in a new language for each new project. For The Grand Budapest Hotel it happened to be Art Nouveau and Jugendstil architecture from Central Europe at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. This is the fun of being a production designer—you never know what the next thing is going to be.