|COSTUME DESIGNERSGAME OF THRONESNOMINATIONSTAR WARSHUSTLERS|
For below-the-line workers, it had been a time of intense production and booming work until just a few days ago. The industry had an unprecedented amount of projects on the books, and freelance workers had perhaps relaxed a little, knowing there was work available, with back-to-back jobs booked in. Until all of it was taken away, essentially overnight. Addressing the COVID-19 shutdowns with the costume design community, we found stories of disappointment, worry, and confusion, but also a sense of resilience, determination and hope.
A designer who recently wrapped Ryan Murphy's Netflix series Hollywood, Sarah Evelyn was hard at work before the production shutdowns hit. “When you're a costume designer, you're used to spending a lot of time away from home—and all of a sudden, I'm going from being on a job to homeschooling kids,” the costume designer says. “It's a major adjustment, on every single level.”
Costume designer Amy Roth was in Secaucus, New Jersey, working on the pilot for ABC's reboot of Thirtysomethingelse until a few days ago. “We were amped up to do this, because we were one day out from shooting,” Roth says, “and suddenly, we were told that we were going to shut down indefinitely.”
Given that it comes at a moment when production in film and television was at an all-time high, the adjustment feels especially harsh. “The dramatic increase in production, it just means exponentially, there's just that many more people out of work,” Roth says, “many more people out of work than there's ever been in our business.”
But she cites the roll-with-it capabilities of her fellow designers too. In her 20+ years in the industry, she’s seen productions go down for all kinds of reasons, from an actor falling off a horse to funding falling through. “I don't think production crews in general can't handle change,” she says. “We're probably better equipped than anybody else out there to handle change, because it's what we do every day.”
Costume designer and President of the Costume Designers Guild Salvador Perez was in Puerto Rico on a job when news of the shutdowns came. Shooting out on the island for two weeks, Perez didn't see the grocery store shortages that have been top of mind in The States, but he did start to question why his own production was still in motion. “I actually talked to my producer. He's like, 'Stop being negative. We're not shutting down.' Then literally, as we're at the airport, he got the call from the studio,” Perez says.
Perez has been responding to events as best he can, just like everyone else. “Look, we're not the authorities,” he says,...
Sad news for dog lovers is coming in today as it's now being reported that another beloved television animal has passed away. Odin the Northern Inuit, the dog seen by millions of Game of Thrones fans across the world when he played Bran Stark's pet direwolf Summer in the very first episode of the hit HBO series, died this week after battling mouth cancer for the past several months. According to his owners, Odin had spent his final days with his family taking walks on the beach and dining on his favorite foods, dying at the age of ten this week when his health took a turn for the worse.
In a social media post confirming Odin's passing, his owners state they adopted the Inuit when he was just a 7-week-old puppy, spending the next ten years with the television dog as a very important part of the family. 'Odin's passing marks the end of a decade and the end of an era as he taught our friends and family a lot of lessons about life for one dog he has more stories to tell than some people would,' they explain on Instagram. Adding that we can all 'take great comfort in knowing that he is forever immortalised' on Game of Thrones, the owners also note: 'It's an incredible piece of luck to have a pet you love so well become world famous and touch so many people's hearts.'
Longtime Game of Thrones fans might remember when Ned Stark Sean Bean adopted orphaned direwolf puppies for each of his five children: Grey Wind for Robb Richard Madden, Lady for Sansa Sophie Turner, Nymeria for Arya Maisie Williams, Summer for Bran Isaac Hempstead Wright, and Shaggydog for Rickon Art Parkinson. Ned's illegitimate son Jon Snow Kit Harington adopted another direwolf puppy named Ghost for himself as well. Following the appearances of the direwolves as puppies in season one, CGI would later be used to create the larger adult versions of the animals in later seasons.
Recently, we lost another famous television dog as well, as Modern Family's bulldog Stellapassed away just days after the series wrapped filming its final episode. Last year also saw the deaths of the animal actors who played the beloved pet dogs on the comedy shows Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Fuller House. Needless to say, it's been a bit rough lately for dog lovers, so let's hope our other favorite pets from television stay safe with no new casualties for a long, long time.
Following Odin's cancer diagnosis, HBO also did their part in caring for the Game of Thrones star by helping to raise funds to pay for his ongoing medical treatment; Odin's family says the leftover funds after paying for the vet bill will be donated to animal charities. Though the dog was unfortunately unable to be saved, his top-notch medical treatment and the quality care from his owners went a long way in making his final days on Earth as comfortable and happy as they could possibly be for the world-famous pet. Rest in peace, sweet Odin - you were a very good boy. This news comes to us from...
The Television Academy is adjusting the eligibility and voting deadlines for this year’s Primetime Emmy calendar in response to concerns made by TV communication executives and awards strategists in the current coronavirus climate.
The dates for the Creative Emmy Awards and Primetime Emmy shows remain unchanged respectively on Sept. 12-13 and Sept. 20, and will only be moved should state and national safety directives deem them to be, should the coronavirus worsen.
This morning’s big changes involve the entry deadline moving close to four weeks from May 11 to June 5, and the Phase one voting period jumping from June 15-29 to July 2-13 with the new nominations announcement date being July 28 instead of July 14. The Phase one period thus shrinks from 15 days to 12 days.
Phase 2 voting, which was originally set for Aug 17-31, will start slightly later, and shave off four days, now occurring between Aug. 21-31.
Also being extended is the eligibility date for hanging episodes for regular series and limited series, as the TV Academy takes into account production and programming delays. Now, all hanging episodes must broadcast or post on an accessible platform by June 30, instead of May 31. Both regular and limited series must still premiere by the end of this year’s eligibility date which remains May 31. A minimum of six episodes continues to be required for a show to be qualified in the series category. A limited series in its entirety must air or post on a platform before June 30, and if it doesn’t, then the limited series will qualify in the 2020-2021 Emmy year.
Meanwhile, all TV Academy FYC events “whether with a live audience, streaming or recorded for posting on a viewing platform” per the org remain suspended for the current Emmy season.
In recent weeks, the TV Academy appeared to be standing firm on their original voting and eligibility dates. However, TV publicists and Emmy campaign strategists reportedly voiced their reservations about promoting too heavily and too soon, thus wanting to exercise a greater degree of sensitivity in a spring that’s been rocked by COVID-19: Many productions have shut down, leaving many out of work, and the whole atmosphere across the nation is rather dour as we all self quarantine. Emmy season has traditionally been decked with glam marketing, billboards, food trucks, stunt events, big DVD boxes and soirees. Earlier this year, to tame some of that, the TV Academy banned DVD mailers to voters, and in doing so, favored online screeners. The hope here with the TV Academy’s tweaking of the FYC calendar is that we’ll be on the other side of the curve in regards to coronavirus, and in a lighter-spirited environment. Between the entertainment capitals, New York City currently counts 23K COVID-19 cases and 365 deaths as of yesterday while Los Angeles counts 1,2K cases...
There’s one particularly telling and effective moment in The Skywalker Legacy, the feature-lenght documentary that’s included on the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker home release that sums up much of the ambivalence and consternation that some had with J.J. Abrams’ return to the Star Wars universe. After showing the intricate construction of a giant, practical snake monster, the doc cuts back to footage of Jabba The Hutt, that old analogue beast that slithered its way into our hearts. The sentiment is clear – we’re making movies like we used to! A celebration of practical effects, the dripping of k-y jelly to give viscosity just like the old costume days, it’s all there. There’s excitement on set, everyone talking about how amazing it looks, how lifelike, how this is how you’re supposed to do movies like this.
Cut to Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett who shatters the myth, letting us know the creature was replaced by a CGI version in post.
Guyett’s resume is mighty. Having made his bones on groundbreaking films like Twister and Casper, he helped Spielberg bring the events of D-Day to screen in Saving Private Ryan, helped bring to life the best looking film in the Harry Potter series, Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, and even made the theatrical version of Rent feel more than a stage production. Guyett has had many collaborations with Abrams – from the Star Trek Reboots through The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker he was even second unit director on the former, as well as working with George Lucas on Episode III to round off the prequels. He’s in a unique position to speak to these changing landscapes of epic filmmaking.
We spoke at length about the apparent contradictions and indulgences in making a Star Wars film, and he made the case for why nothing was wasted and all contributed to the final presentation. He was erudite and open to the discussion, making for a dream conversation with a man who quite literally has helped shape what amazes us on screen for decades.
The following has been edited for clarity and concision.
We see practical effects being championed as almost a marketing ploy with the “postquels” as a mix of nostalgia and an attempt to delineate from Lucas’ second trilogy. In some ways the love of the practically-realized snake undercuts the extraordinary CGI you and your team accomplished, and raises questions about why the need to fetishize the on-set inclusions when they’re replaced anyway. Could you talk about that ethos, that somehow doing stuff on a computer is a “cheat” while doing an effect practically is not?
I think at the end of the day we’re all trying to do the best that we can, trying to make the best, most dramatic or emotional movie we can visually. I’m coming from figuring out how do you get the most...