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DIRECTOR OF
PHOTOGRAPHY
COSTUME
DESIGNER
PROPMASTER
COSTUME
DESIGNER
SET
DECORATOR
CONSTRUCTION
COORDINATOR
LOCATION
MANAGER
CHARGE
SCENIC
GRAPHIC DESIGNER
ART
DIRECTOR

CONSTRUCTION COORDINATOR: Conrad​ ​Chitwood

Conrad​ ​Chitwood​ ​has​ ​worked​ ​in​ ​the​ ​industry​ ​for​ ​three​ ​decades​ ​on​ ​both coasts​ ​and​ ​internationally.​ ​He​ ​inherited​ ​a​ ​love​ ​for​ ​construction​ ​from​ ​his father,​ ​a​ ​contractor,​ ​and​ ​was​ ​a​ ​willing​ ​worker​ ​at​ ​an​ ​early​ ​age.​ ​Conrad​ ​loves the​ ​interaction​ ​of​ ​the​ ​wonderful​ ​people​ ​we​ ​work​ ​with​ ​above​ ​and​ ​below​ ​the line.

In​ ​the​ ​beginning:
​​​In​ ​starting​ ​a​ ​project​ ​I​ ​feel​ ​it​ ​best​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​how​ ​the​ ​designer​ ​needs​ ​and wants​ ​to​ ​work.​ ​Often​ ​if​ ​everyone​ ​is​ ​starting​ ​cold​ ​then​ ​it​ ​best​ ​to​ ​make​ ​the time​ ​to​ ​figure​ ​the​ ​project​ ​out.​ ​Some​ ​designers​ ​are​ ​lucky​ ​enough​ ​to​ ​have​ ​the time​ ​to​ ​see​ ​the​ ​project​ ​and​ ​define​ ​the​ ​creative​ ​path.​ ​These​ ​days​ ​the​ ​prep​ ​is shorter​ ​and​ ​shorter​ ​so​ ​making​ ​the​ ​time​ ​to​ ​imagine​ ​and​ ​create​ ​is​ ​crucial​ ​to defining​ ​the​ ​work.​ ​In​ ​short,​ ​it’s​ ​all​ ​in​ ​the​ ​planning.​ ​

 

Coordination​ ​and integration​ ​of​ ​a​ ​great​ ​deal​ ​of​ ​complex​ ​information,​ ​procedures​ ​and execution​ ​do​ ​not​ ​happen​ ​overnight​ ​but​ ​over​ ​many​ ​nights​ ​as​ ​we​ ​all​ ​know. For​ ​me,​ ​the​ ​better​ ​the​ ​vision​ ​is​ ​defined​ ​the​ ​better​ ​I​ ​can​ ​estimate​ ​and​ ​plan so​ ​I​ ​avail​ ​myself​ ​for​ ​defining​ ​any​ ​problems​ ​or​ ​opportunities​ ​that​ ​may​ ​arise​ ​in the​ ​early​ ​stages​ ​of​ ​development​ ​whether​ ​aesthetic,​ ​structural​ ​or​ ​financial. As​ ​stressful​ ​as​ ​this​ ​industry​ ​can​ ​be​ ​it​ ​is​ ​important​ ​to​ ​remember​ ​this​ ​is​ ​the fun​ ​part​ ​in​ ​creating​ ​a​ ​collaborative​ ​vision.​ ​Some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​best​ ​ideas​ ​come from​ ​conversation​ ​and​ ​rolling​ ​a​ ​notion​ ​around​ ​a​ ​room.

Process:

​​​As​ ​a​ ​project​ ​progresses​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​changes​ ​and​ ​additions​ ​happen.​ ​It’s just​ ​a​ ​fact​ ​of​ ​life.​ ​So​ ​knowing​ ​you​ ​as​ ​a​ ​designer​ ​and​ ​how​ ​you​ ​work​ ​is​ ​even more​ ​important​ ​when​ ​alterations​ ​arise.​ ​Being​ ​prepared​ ​for​ ​this​ ​is​ ​a necessary​ ​entity​ ​with​ ​time​ ​and​ ​finance​ ​in​ ​the​ ​balance.​ ​Changes​ ​happen.​ ​So if​ ​we​ ​need​ ​a​ ​giant​ ​red​ ​wall​ ​it​ ​is​ ​in​ ​our​ ​best​ ​interest​ ​to​ ​explore​ ​that​ ​in​ ​a​ ​big sample​ ​rather​ ​than​ ​going​ ​down​ ​a​ ​path​ ​of​ ​a​ ​big​ ​repaint.

​​In​ ​working​ ​with​ ​the​ ​art​ ​director,​ ​communication​ ​and​ ​procedure​ ​of information​ ​is​ ​so​ ​important.​ ​Often​ ​when​ ​a​ ​designer​ ​is​ ​viewing​ ​the​ ​progress and​ ​sees​ ​a​ ​necessary​ ​change​ ​or​ ​addition,​ ​that​ ​information​ ​needs​ ​to​ ​be communicated​ ​to​ ​all​ ​so​ ​it​ ​is​ ​adjusted.​ ​If​ ​the​ ​information​ ​is​ ​coming​ ​from rumor​ ​or​ ​from​ ​the​ ​bottom​ ​up,​ ​it​ ​takes​ ​time​ ​to​ ​assess.​

 

​I​ ​know​ ​it​ ​can​ ​be​ ​hard to​ ​bring​ ​an​ ​entourage​ ​everywhere​ ​so​ ​communicating​ ​to​ ​the​ ​art​ ​director​ ​to disseminate​ ​the​ ​information​ ​is​ ​the​ ​best.​ ​Art​ ​Directors​ ​hate​ ​to​ ​be​ ​the​ ​last​ ​to know.​ ​I​ ​am​ ​happy​ ​to​ ​change​ ​or​ ​augment​ ​whatever​ ​comes​ ​up​ ​but communication​ ​is​ ​crucial​ ​for​ ​everyone’s​ ​sanity.

​ ​​ ​

Some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​best​ ​sets​ ​I​ ​have​ ​done​ ​are​ ​a​ ​result​ ​of​ ​the​ ​designer​ ​taking advantage​ ​of​ ​a​ ​material​ ​or​ ​structure​ ​in​ ​the​ ​progress​ ​of​ ​building.​ ​A​ ​daily​ ​visit to​ ​the​ ​set​ ​can​ ​present​ ​many​ ​ideas​ ​and​ ​opportunities.​ ​I​ ​can​ ​not​ ​encourage this​ ​enough.​ ​If​ ​a​ ​change​ ​becomes​ ​necessary​ ​then​ ​the​ ​earlier​ ​the​ ​better​ ​for construction.​ ​​ ​Knowing​ ​your​ ​crew​ ​can​ ​be​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​asset.​ ​Gaining​ ​the​ ​visual vocabulary​ ​of​ ​the​ ​plasterer,​ ​painter​ ​or​ ​propmaker​ ​can​ ​bring​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​to​ ​the table.​ ​They​ ​all​ ​have​ ​a​ ​solution​ ​or​ ​idea​ ​on​ ​executing​ ​the​ ​vision​ ​and​ ​most love​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​voice​ ​to​ ​the​ ​conversation.

Budgets:

​​Ideally,​ ​I​ ​really​ ​do​ ​not​ ​want​ ​you​ ​to​ ​think​ ​about​ ​the​ ​finances​ ​but​ ​the​ ​reality is​​ ​​we​ ​have​ ​to​ ​discuss​ ​and​ ​discuss.​ ​Making​ ​a​ ​design​ ​fit​ ​the​ ​finances​ ​is​ ​an​ ​art in​ ​itself.​ ​Some​ ​designers​ ​can​ ​ace​ ​this​ ​in​ ​their​ ​sleep​ ​and​ ​others​ ​need assistance​ ​to​ ​say​ ​the​ ​least.​ ​Its​ ​tough​ ​to​ ​predict​ ​the​ ​future​ ​but​ ​if​ ​I​ ​do​ ​my​ ​job correctly,​ ​the​ ​funds​ ​are​ ​there.​ ​If​ ​I​ ​can​ ​know​ ​the​ ​unknown,​ ​I​ ​can​ ​budget​ ​it.​ ​It is​ ​a​ ​process​ ​and​ ​a​ ​good​ ​producer​ ​knows​ ​this​ ​and​ ​is​ ​prepared.​ ​Again,​ ​it comes​ ​down​ ​to​ ​communication​ ​on​ ​everyone's​ ​part.​ ​It​ ​should​ ​not​ ​be​ ​a​ ​poker game​ ​but​ ​often​ ​in​ ​locking​ ​down​ ​an​ ​estimated​ ​budget​ ​it​ ​feels​ ​like​ ​a​ ​smoky room​ ​and​ ​a​ ​strong​ ​whisky​ ​smell.​ ​Save​ ​the​ ​drama​ ​for​ ​the​ ​screen.

The​ ​End:
When​ ​finishing​ ​a​ ​set​ ​and​ ​getting​ ​last​ ​looks​ ​I​ ​hope​ ​to​ ​invite​ ​that​ ​day​ ​well in​ ​advance​ ​of​ ​set​ ​decoration.​ ​Suddenly​ ​it’s​ ​not​ ​our​ ​set​ ​any​ ​more​ ​and​ ​the more​ ​crew​ ​on​ ​set​ ​the​ ​harder​ ​it​ ​is​ ​to​ ​adjust​ ​anything​ ​without​ ​affecting​ ​others so​ ​if​ ​time​ ​allows​ ​I​ ​like​ ​to​ ​be​ ​early.​ ​I​ ​am​ ​sensitive​ ​to​ ​the​ ​designers​ ​last moments​ ​before​ ​this​ ​birth​ ​of​ ​a​ ​set​ ​and​ ​there​ ​is​ ​always​ ​something​ ​to​ ​be done​ ​but​ ​if​ ​possible​ ​I​ ​enjoy​ ​an​ ​early​ ​delivery.

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