Finely detailed sets and productions aren’t just to draw in potential audiences: Everyone from actors to the crew can benefit from a highly-specific, realistic environment.
“First and foremost where we look is for detail in performance,” says “Handmaid’s Tale” director Kari Skogland. “I’m very conscious to make the set as real and alive as possible so the performer is really in their reality — and that makes their job less difficult, if the room they’re in feels true and authentic.”
A historically accurate set can also benefit the production as a whole when it comes to framing sequences, notes “Alienist” production designer Mara LePere-Schloop. “By giving the actors and crew specificity in detail, we allow for opportunities of discovery for everyone involved: DPs can set up shots that utilize the uniqueness of a prop or the complexity of an architectural composition … and the audience can linger over elements large and small that aid in world building.”
“You’re not making a documentary,” says Skogland. “You take all the lovely details of this world, and lock onto the ones that are cinematic. You’re always looking for the God in the details.”