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The Production Designer

A good production designer is a builder of worlds, part architect, part model maker, part painter. He or she is responsible for pretty much everything (apart from the actors) that is placed in front of the camera during the production of a feature film, for the color, size, texture and shape of anything the camera sees. He is generally one of the first major collaborators hired by the director, and in early production meetings with the director of photography he begins to get a sense of the props, furniture, and background architecture called for in each scene, and of how each sequence will be photographed. The models and concept drawings created by the production designer can be enormously helpful to the director and the DP when they are drawing up lists of shots. The craftsmen who report directly to the production designer include the set decorator, the head carpenter, and the property master, but his overall visual concept also guides the contributions of nominally independent department heads such as the costume designer, the location manager, and the makeup artist.

Biography

A six-time Emmy Award winner, Roy Christopher has created the look for 13 Academy Award telecasts, an all-time record for any designer, (and also was acknowledged by his peers by winning two Art Directors Guild Awards for his Oscarcast work), designed eight Emmy Award shows, seven Tony Awards and many series, including such long running hits as "Frasier," "Becker," "Wings," "NewsRadio," and "Murphy Brown." In addition he has designed hundreds of dramatic specials and musical/variety shows, leading to the certainty that Christopher's work has been seen globally by millions.

Among the many prestigious dramatic specials he has been associated with are the Hollywood Television Theatre's production of "The Last Of Mrs. Lincoln" starring Julie Harris; "Our Town" with Hal Holbrook; "The Chinese Prime Minister" with the late Judith Anderson and "Actor" with an incomparable Walter Matthau. Christopher did ten dramatic televents for American Playhouse on PBS, highlighted by "I Never Sang For My Father" and "Paper Angels," plus three live NBC Theatre productions "The Member Of The Wedding;" "All The Way Home" and "Mister Roberts." In the musical comedy/variety TV arena, Christopher has worked with such legendary figures as Carol Burnett, Lily Tomlin, Mary Tyler Moore, Shirley Maclaine, Baryshnikov and others. He won one of his six Emmys for a Richard Pryor comedy special. His other five Emmys were a tribute to his Academy Award work, creating just the right setting for the world's most-watched annual telecast.

Christopher has never lost his enthusiasm and love for theater, where he began his career. He was recently involved with two major theatrical productions simultaneously -- "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks," starring Tony Award winner Uta Hagen and multiple Emmy Award-winner David Hyde Pierce. Directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman, the poignant, bittersweet comedy ran at the Geffen Theater. The other was the musical "Do I Hear A Waltz," with Carol Lawrence, Alyson Reed and David Crivello. David Lee, creator of "Frasier" and "Wings," directed the Pasadena Playhouse production. Christopher won a Drama Critics Circle Award and a Garland Award for his stylishly elegant set for the play, "Light Up The Sky" (done with Lee). He also designed the set for Blithe Spirit, starring Shirley Knight. "Do I Hear A Waltz" featured an updated book and a restored musical score by composer Richard Rogers and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

 
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Roy Christopher
Roy Christopher

 

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