Joseph T. Garrity

AS: What size crews have you worked with?

JG: I would say… maybe twenty? You have a coordinator you have an art director, you’ve got a graphics person probably, you’ve got a set designer or two, you have a set decorator and a construction coordinator, a lead man, and you’ve got a scenic painter, and then their crews. But these are just the key positions. There are carpenters and painters. Four swing at least and you’ve got a shopper. Then you’ve got a prop department which has about two, three people. So you’re at twenty. Easy. Usually that’s kind of minimal. Fifteen to twenty for an average art department. But then you get more people when you’re doing bigger things and you’ve got to bring the carpenters in, the welders and the plasterers. And there’s illustrators and all these other things. Model-makers. It can grow. And it does when you do Men in Black and when you do Ghostbusters. When you do all these big movies you get hundreds of people working for you.

AS: Do you do your own sketches in the beginning?
JG: I find myself being kind of architectural and I create a model a lot of times. And sketching- I do illustrations sometimes. For Best in Show I would do a sketch and give that to Chris to okay. You gotta be clear. You gotta pre-vis what you’re going to do so people understand what they’re getting before they get there. And not be surprised. And that’s when we make changes- not when it’s up and you want to make it three feet…

AS: Instead of ten feet.
JG: Right. Constant communication and collaboration is vital. If you can’t collaborate and talk and keep the communication flowing -actively be bringing people together to solve problems, then you don’t belong in this business I don’t think.

AS: Say someone was just starting out and they wanted to avoid any pitfalls…
JG: Well, there’s no right or wrong way. You talk to anyone who comes through this school. Their stories of how they got to this point. Every single story’s different. You’ve got to have a passion for this and you’ve got to love to be a storyteller. And you’ve got to be flexible and you’ve got to be adjustable to anything that comes up. You’ve got to not give up and be persistent. You’ve got to really believe in what you’re doing. Know how strong you are about the ideas and when to fight and when to pull back.


  • Kathleen M Garrity

    Just watched Mr. CHURCH and found your name. I’m a Garrity also so it was neat to see it. I really enjoyed Mr. CHURCH and will now be watching the others mentioned, beginning with Waiting for Guffman. Nice to meet you.

  • ….Joe – happy for you. Wonderful life you’ve designed. Continued good fortune to you!

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