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Monsters Inc

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2006-05-13 Times The Knowledge.jpg

  • Publication: The Times
  • Date: 2006-05-13
  • Author: Nigel Kendall
  • Page: The Knowledge
  • Language: English

Ed Thomas on the tricks in film production design

Interview by Nigel Kendall

What do you do?

I am the production designer on Doctor Who. That means that I'm in charge of all the visual aspects of the series. I work on designs for the sets and the props and all the bits of set-dressing. A lot of my job involves liaising with the costume department and with the Mill and Millennium Effects, who provide the CGI for the series.

What are the special challenges of Doctor Who?

Well the big one is trying to make something of feature film standard but on a television budget. Things such as DVD extras have taken a lot of the witchcraft out of my profession, so kids know how we do a lot of the things we do these days. This leaves you constantly trying to push the envelope. Also, the schedule means that you are always working with three different directors at once: one you're prepping with, one you're shooting with, and one you're in post-production with.

How do you design the monsters?

That depends on whether the monster is a man in a suit or CGI. In the second episode of the new series, the werewolf was CGI, so I did a lot of research into werewolves, then drew some sketches until we found something we were happy with. When it's a man in a suit. you work with the writers and directors until you find something, then build it.

Is it difficult to redesign the classic monsters, such as the Daleks and Cybermen?

The key thing is that they still have to look like the Daleks or Cybermen that everybody knows and loves. What we try to do is make a version of the monsters that is both classic and appropriate for 2006, just as, say, BMW will do when designing a car. The Cybermen this time have a definite Art Deco or 1940s feel.

How would you design the ultimate sofa for watching Doctor Who on, or behind?

It would have a bomb-proof metal back, and be made of rubber to insulate against shocks. There would be a drop-down protective screen for whenever the Daleks turned up, and a powerful motor and wheels so that you could make a quick getaway.

Doctor Who has just won Best Drama at the Baftas. and you have been nominated for a crafts Bafta for your work on the series. How do you feel?

Surprised and really happy. I had been working abroad on films for years before coming back to the UK, so Doctor Who is really turning out to be a great calling card in this country. I have been nominated in the breakthrough category — I'm not quite sure what that means, but I'm very happy to be there. The Bafta craft awards take place on Friday. The Cybermen episode is tonight at 7pm.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Kendall, Nigel (2006-05-13). Monsters Inc. The Times p. The Knowledge.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Kendall, Nigel. "Monsters Inc." The Times [add city] 2006-05-13, The Knowledge. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Kendall, Nigel. "Monsters Inc." The Times, edition, sec., 2006-05-13
  • Turabian: Kendall, Nigel. "Monsters Inc." The Times, 2006-05-13, section, The Knowledge edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Monsters Inc | url= | work=The Times | pages=The Knowledge | date=2006-05-13 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 March 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Monsters Inc | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 March 2023}}</ref>