Call them Easter Eggs or “set dressing,” in books and in the television adaptation sometimes the biggest delights come in the smallest and seemingly insignificant packages. A name. A book. The traditional meaning of a herb or flower. A corner of a room with exquisite painting. A beam carved with a witch’s mark.
As a writer, I know that part of what transports my readers to other worlds and makes them want to linger there are the details that capture the imagination and transform what might be an otherwise general picture of a room, or a desk at the library, or a street and make it sparkle with life and vitality.
The Art Department of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES knows that, too. This week’s #book2screenmagicmonday is dedicated to the team who thinks through every detail of what gets put on screen to make sure that nothing breaks the illusion for the actors or for you in the audience.
A whole team of people were kept busy for nearly a year painting sets, buying furnishings, building what they couldn’t buy, making sure the floors creaked when you walked on them (yes–really, and it didn’t always make the Sound Department happy, I can tell you!), and crafting exquisite signs, backdrops, letters, paper objects, and other items that would convey what life in 1590 was really like.
Often, I would be brought up short by the sight of something so perfect, so period accurate, that I felt like I’d dropped through a rabbit hole and ended up in Wonderland. “Oh, nobody will see that,” James or one of his team would say. But I know my readers. And I know that you will be freeze framing, enlarging, and poring over these tiny details just as I did.
And I know that it meant a great deal to the actors. They have to imagine themselves into another century. Imagine how much it helped to have this beautiful, rich, and textured environments to support their work.
So for Kate, Ella, Dan, and the rest of James’s team who thought no one will notice: I noticed. The actors noticed. My readers will notice. And I will be forever grateful for the care that you took in bringing the Elizabethan world to life.
The main room in the Blackfriars was recreated–right down to the “lighting fixture” that could be raised and lowered depending on what kind of light you wanted. On it were some of James’s specially-made candles.
If anybody ever lost me in the studio I was always in one of two places: a prop store, or the costume department.
Even the corners received attention, like this little nook in Louisa’s bedroom, which is clearly now occupied by Sarah and Em.