The People We Hate at the Wedding
PWHW Cover

The People We Hate at the Wedding

Amazon Studios – Autumn Release 2022

Supervising Art Director

Feature Film

A comedy about a pair of American siblings Alice and Paul who reluctantly agree to attend the wedding of their estranged, wealthy half-sister in the English countryside alongside their mother, Donna. Over the course of the wedding week, the family’s many skeletons are wrenched from the cupboard which causes all manner of upset, though the unlikely reunion gives everyone the motivation to move their own lives forward.

  • Starring: Allison Janney, Kristen Bell, Ben Platt and Tony Goldwyn.

Trailer

Project Overview

The production of this film was very much a location-based feature with no studio builds at all. My role as supervising art director was to support American production designer Jane Musky and put in place a construction crew to take care of any location requirements such as door plugs, masking flats and a few small set builds. This also involved the normal duties of an SAD overseeing the management of both the Art Dept and Set Dec team budgets.
The most demanding aspect of this film was the extremely tight movement order especially with the COVID pandemic restrictions still in place. This of course impacted both the ‘get in’ and ‘get out’ for construction and set dressing at every location, so a precision schedule had to be devised to meet the shooting order that had room to be fluid should a location go down, which did happen on several occasions.

Location Transformation Examples

Knives Out 2 Coming Soon

Working On Location

Location filming is very different to being safe inside a studio as all manner of issues can arise being outside in the cold. Preparation and planning are key, plus thinking about any potential situation that could happen on the day. When surveying a space, place or venue possible concerns should become apparent and asking the right questions will uncover any hidden problems not just for Art Dept but also others like Lighting or Sound.
Besides a measured survey, pictures, pictures, and more pictures are essential reference post an initial recce since these will highlight anything that may have been missed. This visual information will also be extremely useful to include in an ‘Intentions Pack’ providing a guide together with a directive narrative, which I believe is better than a simple list of advised changes, additions, or adaptations as often a word or sentence can be misinterpreted.

 

Location Requirement Drawings

Knives Out 2 Coming Soon

Team Players

Besides the other normal duties of an SAD such as overseeing the management of both the Art Dept and Set Dec budgets, there was also a need to nurture several team players in the Art Dept who were relatively new to the industry. Due to the demand in crew with content production at full steam it was difficult to fill some positions, so my only alternative was to seek out a selective few who showed real potential that seemed able to take on the challenge, even if it did mean taking them under my wing.
I believe it is important to give people an opportunity even if they might not have any credits yet to their name, and from this project I am glad to say there are three newbies to watch out for: Charlie Fowler, Jack Haggerty and EJ Schreuder. As for assistant art director Erin Shien Smith who showed such competence right from the start, she rose to the title of art director and deservedly so. By creating a supportive environment where any question was welcomed, each were allowed to flourish and grow in confidence.