Friday, July 2, 2010

Thanks for the well wishes and a little news.....

I appreciate all your comments especially after such a long work drought. I think I've still got it! I almost hesitate to report since I don't want to jinx anything--but it looks as though I am working with the best creative team of my career! It's not just that we all get along and are on the same page, but the people in the art department are fantastic, creative, and listen! Not to say that it's been easy by any account, but at least our challenges are being met with professionalism and creativity and not.....well, like some of the not so pleasant working relationships I've had in the past!

Being reunited with my crew again and having the most experienced shopper/buyer to follow through on the paperwork and track down the best prices is a huge help to me. If it wasn't so frustrating it would be funny, but the set dressing warehouse we fought so hard to get is already full and we haven't even started filming yet! I think once we have time to organize and get some racks we will be all right for awhile. I had no idea we had so much stuff from the pilot. We'll make it work somehow. Is it too soon to say "I told you we needed a larger space?!!"

One challenge at the moment is not having a script. We have outlines for 4 episodes, but nothing specific and they still expect to start filming on the 15th. The entire creative team will be arriving shortly so I'm sure we will have more info soon. I was able to see the entire pilot episode on DVD--there's nothing like it on TV AND it's in Hawaii! Knowing that it's been 42 years since the original premiered, I think they've done an excellent job of updating the show while still keeping the original flavor of what made the show so popular in the first place. Many local people are already wondering if they will still be driving by Diamond Head. turn right and suddenly be on the North Shore or maybe Waimanalo Beach like the original did. Can't say, but they are committed to showing Hawaii so you can expect lots of scenery no matter where their "creative geography" says it is.

As already reported in the media, we are going to be filming in one of the 2 warehouses left behind when the 154 year old Honolulu Advertiser shut down last month and doing construction and painting in the other building next door. Originally they wanted me to share space with construction, but the former "LOST" construction coordinator helped convince management that he needed all of the space and set dressing needed their own. When over 400 workers left their offices behind (either losing their jobs or now working our only daily paper the new Star-Advertiser) they left a treasure trove of 50+ years of desks, file cabinets, shelves, lockers etc. behind. We not only furnished our production offices but I was allowed to purchase enough office furniture to do every police, bad guy, or retro office set they can come up with. With the economy still not recovered here, old office furniture is difficult to find and even more difficult to sell so it was a perfect winning combination. They will be auctioning off the rest--still a considerable amount! Speaking of offices, our production office space could hardly be more perfect for the company than if it had been designed for us. Ok, first floor would have been better, but that's about it. Some of my main retail sources are in the same building.

Well, better get that first paycheck in the bank and get to work. I've been printing out photos for work so I'm not goofing off too much. Really.

Aloha, Rick

P.S. I really like the idea about having Tom Selleck do something on this show. Maybe during the rating sweeps they will? Of course there's that other former Hawaii resident, President Obama, who wouldn't hurt the ratings either! Couldn't hurt his ratings either :-)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Five-0 Books Me!

I suppose most people think it was a done deal, that I would get the job, but in this business there are no done deals anymore--at least not until they ARE done. I was interviewed by the new production designer and producer on the 3rd and offered the job on the 4th. I start work next week but as of now the "where" isn't known. They are currently working out of the same hotel as "Pirates" which is convenient for those who are staying in the hotel but not for much else. "Off the Map" has the lease on the film studio even though their show is more about remote jungles and not Hawaii--but ABC had the facility first with "LOST." so it looks like Season 1 will be housed in warehouses or empty buildings somewhere. Given the talent and resources behind this show, I'm sure wherever they wind up we'll make it work. The original 5-0 started without a facility as well.

Thinking about it, this would seem to be the biggest revival of a show in television history. Other shows have been revived certainly, but none that ran 12 seasons. I like to remind people that the original show premiered 42 years ago and ended 30 years ago so not to expect guys in coats and ties, big hair that doesn't move, or shoot-outs in Iolani Palace! I guess that means no disco shirts, no million dollar ransoms, or even an atomic bomb in a refrigerator being delivered to Aloha Tower. You will, however, learn more about Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams in the pilot than you learned in the 12 years of the original 5-0 and some of the best dialogue I've ever read in a television script. Of course the sets will be so wonderful, you may not notice what the actors are saying! (guess I'd better say lol in case anyone else reads this)

Aloha, Rick

Friday, May 28, 2010

No News is........well, no news.

It's been great hearing from lots of people about the pilot being picked up (including 5 former art directors I've worked with), but so far no one has offered me a job yet! There is no "obvious" in this business and I will have to jump through the usual hoops regardless of my previous experience or great job I think we did on the pilot. I was very pleased to see they kept the original opening credits and added a few "C.S.I." grid graphics while boosting the drums a bit. Also the trailer looks good as well.

Not getting much publicity yet is the new ABC show called "Off the Map" about the Doctors Without Borders team. I did a couple of episodes dealing with them for "E.R." a few years back. They will be keeping the Hawaii Film Studio since they held the lease from "LOST" for the past 5 years. I suspect it will be your basic jungle clinic and tropical settings--again not "Hawaii." The humanitarian work these people do is amazing and there should be no shortage of exciting, ORIGINAL plots on this one. They shot the pilot already in the Caribbean. Also Steven Spielberg is supposed to be doing some sort of future/past series on the Big Island which probably means lava fields and fern forests and not much set decorating. "Pirates of the Caribbean" (12?) starts filming their water work this summer. Given that it is a franchise film (with major budget cuts) that already has much of their dressing, they are mainly hiring just to assemble and move things. The news makes it sound like there is a lot of work, but again, the reality remains that most of the jobs are filled in L.A. and with the exception of the 2 series, they will be over and gone by the end of summer.

In the old days they used to shoot pilots as MOWs (movies of the week) and air them before decisions were made. Given the expense of shooting a 90 minute or more show, they do the pilot and make an internal decision and just go for it. So you won't be seeing the pilot for 5-0 until it airs this fall on Monday nights with the series to follow. Other than their names and ethnic backgrounds, there is no attempt to replicate Jack Lord's famous rigid hair style. Interestingly though, both characters are of Irish descent. Makes you wonder if they ever revive "Magnum, P.I." if Thomas Magnum would have a moustache? Speaking of descents, I did work for a week on the George Clooney film "Descendants" as a shopper/buyer. No, George and I never had lunch together--in fact I never even met the decorator I was working for! They were all on Kauai filming and I was here taking pictures of potential set dressing and posting them each day. I was already involved in a roof extension project and garage sale when they wanted me back so it just turned out to be the one week.

Hopefully posting some actual (GOOD) news soon!

Aloha, Rick

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thanks for all your emails and comments!

The production office for the "Hawaii Five-O" pilot shuts down today here and the wait to hear something from CBS begins. Pilots are sort of like a difficult birth with too many doctors in the delivery room. Everyone wants a successful birth, but between trying to use forceps, a knife or just plain PUSH, it's a pretty stressful operation. In fact, the labor pains lasted 3 weeks for a 50 minute pilot! Usually with pilots, the production team put together to do it seldom follows it to series. In fact, there are those who just specialize in doing pilots and often normally do features so the pilot is quite different than doing regular episodic work. They used to do 90 minute pilots that could be shown as a movie of the week (MOW). That way the studio or network could recoup some of their expenses whether the pilot was successful or not. I can't imagine anyone not liking what we did--unless they are expecting a repeat of the 1970's which this version is definitely not.

Haven't heard anything about a Magnum revival of any sort. I didn't know (but not surprised) about a 5-0 website but I made mention there.

Thanks for all the good wishes and I'll keep you posted.

Aloha, Rick

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Even Happier New Year!

Ok, my thanks to whoever is doing all that praying or whatever on my behalf because it's been working! After being ignored for the decorator job on a surf film about Bethany Hamilton and then turning down a 2 week job as their shopper buyer, I was asked to be the art director for a national Capital One ("What's in your wallet?") commercial with those wild and crazy visigoths. You'll probably be seeing the commercial in a few weeks. I worked 11 days, hired 9 guys, filmed 2 long days for 30 seconds of air time. We were based out of the same hotel as the surf movie and even another Capital One commercial for the Canadian market. It was a completely separate commercial and crew but for the same client. It's funny that several of them said how spoiled TV people were because commercials are so fast paced now. Then TV people think film people are spoiled because TV is so fast paced. Film people think TV people are spoiled because they don't have to worry about all the details of "The Big Screen." My take is to just shut up and do my job.

Right now besides "LOST" there is a George Clooney film, an Adam Sandler film, the surf film, and early rumblings from "Pirates of the Caribbean" filming here this summer and my phone wasn't ringing at all. Then 10 days ago I got a call to interview as Set Decorator for a new pilot for CBS's "Hawaii Five-0" Wow, that will teach me not to believe rumors. Lest you think I was a shoe-in because of my experience here, wrong. It wasn't until I was able to show my work online at that I was seriously considered. Then it took some discussion and another meeting before I was offered the job.

This is just the pilot. It has not been pre-sold or picked up yet--or so we are told. However, the script is absolutely amazing and riveting. Remember, I did another 5-0 pilot in '96 or '97 that never even aired (although it probably did help Gary Busey's career on Celebrity Rehab) so I am cautiously optimistic on this one. Daniel Dae Kim is going right from "LOST" into 5-0 as the character Chin Ho Kelley. Well, if they can revive "Hawaii Five-0" can a revival of "Magnum, P.I." be too far behind? There was only a year between the series after all.

I wasn't going to, but I got talked into seeing "avatar" in 3-D imax. I don't often say OMG, but OMG! I was ducking under those palm fronds in front of me during every chase scene. Nothing stayed inside the screen, it was right in front of me. I decided that it wasn't a film at all. It was an event. I came out of the theatre covered in popcorn and wanting to keep my yellow 3-d glasses on for the rest of my life. Go Blue People!

Well, Aloha from the only state that didn't have snowfall this weekend. I do assume there is snow on top of Mauna Kea, though. You have to drive up 14,000 feet to see it instead of outside in your driveway.

Aloha, Rick

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Decade, Gadgets, Job Hunting

Welcome to another decade of the Magnum Blog--well, that's Hollywood for less than 1 - 1/2 years, but it IS another decade. Come to think of it, this posting will probably bump the last actual set photo and that wasn't really even from "Magnum" so this is hardly a Magnum blog anymore. I guess if you know to go back to earlier posts you won't be disappointed--I still think there has to be a stash of photos I haven't found. That's what happens when you don't move for 25 years and have "stuff." Maybe that's why my 2 favorite shows are "Hoarding" and "Hoarders" which, of course, I'm not! It is interesting to hear the excuses the people use, however, since I have a tendency to keep objects that have memories attached when the reality is the memory is independent of the object. I haven't actually put that newly arrived at observation to the test in getting rid of anything yet--but it's still early in the decade.........

The COSTCO Santa brought me the new Nikon digital camera I should have asked for years ago when I had more sets to take photos of. Speaking of photos, my flickr page has gone from over 400 views a day to less than 200 views now that the Macy's Christmas tree photos aren't as popular. The 2nd most downloaded photos are from the marijuana greenhouse set we did for "LOST." I don't know if they find it by looking under "marijuana" or under "LOST." It was a pretty accurate depiction, though. (or so I was told)

One of the many anonymous followers asked a question about gadgets in the previous post. I am assuming the reference is to one used on "LOST" since we didn't have GPS back in Magnum days--we had giant surveillance vans and my Amiga computer and once in awhile the data storage room of the JAIMS Center in Hawaii Kai. That was about the extent of the electronic gadgetry which would mostly have been props and not set dressing anyway. In case you haven't heard, "LOST" is going to auction off all the stuff from the show instead of filling up the landfill here where most of the stuff would go if it hadn't been associated with "LOST". Imagine what a broken pair of glasses held together with rubber bands will go for just because they were worn by Sawyer in the series? As with most personal props, there will be several back-ups so they will be sure to make even more money with that show. I would not be surprised if it eventually comes out that it was the most financially successful show (worldwide) in the history of television and that is before the next 20 years of re-runs. I haven't seen it since my "Welcome back, Happy New Year, We love you, You're fired!" talk 3 years ago this week. I wonder if they will finally be battling aliens from outer space in their final season--the only area apparently left untouched after smoke monsters, time travel, and island moving. Meow.

Since 2009 brought me 3 weeks as a backstage dresser on "Mama Mia" and 2 weeks supervising 93 Macy's merchandising Christmas trees, my new (almost) full time job is to find a job to start out this decade. While 2010 is also the 26th consecutive year I have been on unemployment at least part of the time, I would actually like to have a job where I can complain about only having 2 weeks of vacation instead of 20 weeks (or more) of unemployment each year. I am now a "Designer," "Consultant," or "Project Manager" although I'm still pretty good with a bottle of Windex. I'm afraid the "Set Decorator" title got left behind with "Flirting with 40" in May of 2008. Time to move on. And time to go feed the animals......


P.S. President Obama didn't stop by to view his boyhood mentor's home, but I still had a great Christmas!