On the second day of SciFi Vision's visit to the Midnight, Texas set in Albuquerque, New Mexico on 9/13, after interviews, the journalist were taken on a behind the scenes tour of the set by the new line producer, Jeff Rafner, who manages day to day what happens on the set.
After hearing from Rafner, we first moved on to the mobile wardrobe trailer where we heard from costume designer Daniela Moore and got to hear about the costuming department. Rafner also added some other behind the scenes information along the way. Can you tell us how many people are currently [working on the show behind the scenes]?
We have about close to two hundred people on salary almost all the time, between construction and special effects developing things we have for future episodes and all the planning.
So, the process is, when we get the script we immediately have meetings with the concepts of what we’re going to be doing, then break that down by the departments and have meetings by each department. So, we’ll have a meeting with wardrobe; we’ll have a meeting with special effects; we’ll have a meeting with makeup effects.
So, this is the mobile wardrobe department. We do all of our prep and our fittings in our office over on the other side. And then once all the clothes are ready and have been altered and dyed and aged, and everything else, then it comes out here, and it either lives here, while we’re shooting on stage, or goes to wherever we are filming, so we have all of our costumes ready to go.
And I think the most important thing about wardrobe is that you have to be ridiculously organized, because we never shoot in order.
So, if you look over there you can see some clothes, like that’s the setup of our prep line for the day. We’re shooting more than one episode, so they’ve made a divider for each episode, as which characters are playing and what day.
And then all of the outfits are put together with tags and photos and character names for all the scenes that they are in. Then as they prep and set clothes, they put the tags on the bulletin board so they know what’s out sitting in the rooms and what’s on stage. Do you have to make multiples of certain clothes and how do you manage this one was used here and this one had this on it or had a stain? Or is that always the drama?
Absolutely. That becomes a challenge. Like today we’re shooting a scene with somebody who has a shirt on who got blood on it in the previous episode, and now, today, somebody else has to come and cut that shirt up the back. I think we have four shirts that have the exact same blood on them and three of them can be cut and then we have to save one for going back and shooting another time before the shirt was cut. How do you get the blood stains exactly the same?
Um, art. [laughs]
Careful placement. You mean that isn’t digital enhancement?
Well there’s a lot of blood that’s digitally enhanced, but we try to use the real life as much as we can, so on that particular shirt, yes, it was very carefully placed on there, and then it had to be matched for every shirt. Do you have a personal favorite character that you get to dress on the show?
It’s so hard to choose. I was saying earlier in one of my interviews that in the wardrobe department we all kind of favor Olivia (Arielle Kebbel), unfairly. [laughs] JEFF RAFNER:
As an observation, we’ve had some really cool guest actors this year which has allowed some really interesting and different things than is normal on the show. So, we’ve done some really fun stuff. Do you ever try things on, saying, “I have to test this...”
I don’t fit into anybody’s clothes on this show, so no, sadly. Have you done it before?
Oh, sure, but not on this show. I’m too big for the ladies and too small for the men. [laughs]
You’re not exactly what I call big.
Well, you should look at them up close. They’re pretty slim. They’re all models, seriously.
Yeah. We have a gorgeous cast, a really gorgeous cast. Does that make it easier to dress?
Sure, of course. I mean, like we all keep commenting on how great Dylan [Bruce] looks this year. Like how could he look better than he did last year? I didn’t expect you to try on any of Dylan’s clothes.
No they would not look the same on me. [laughs] He actually told us that all he thinks about are cheeseburgers now.
Oh, yeah, because we’re so close to the end. [laughs] Do you ever have to police them, like, “You’ve gained a little weight.”
No, never, never, never. [laughs] JEFF RAFNER
: They’re a very responsible cast. DANIELA MOORE:
Yeah. If anything they come in and say, “Oh I look fat.” I’m like, “No, you do not; you are crazy. No, no, no, not even a little bit.” With some of the characters, in terms of the inspiration for their look, for some shows it will be like - especially like with witchy characters, they’ll go to Stevie Knicks and the 70s, something like that. Are there any iconic figures from history or from pop culture that you’ve looked at as references for some of these characters?
Sure, a little bit, but I wouldn’t say in a strong way, no. Especially this season, it was more about adapting for the weather, so a lot of people have completely different wardrobes, just because last year we were shooting in freezing cold winter, and this year it’s summer. JEFF RAFNER:
One of the topics that we talked about at the beginning this year, was heat and dust. We’re doing a lot more heat and dust as opposed to the cold and like we did last season. DANIELA MOORE:
We called it sexy grime - sweat with a little bit of dust. When you’re dealing with dust, even though that adds authenticity, it must add a real headache for you from time to time.
Well, it’s just like anything in wardrobe, it’s just all about, like I said, being really detail oriented and organized. And yeah, you’re either putting dust on or taking dust off, cleaning blood up or putting blood on. That’s just part of your day. JEFF RAFNER:
As far as the blood is concerned, we have for every episode, a memo that goes out to all the departments - who’s responsible for what blood in every episode, so, the craft service department comes and cleans it up, or that it’s going to be on the clothing, but not on the person. All of these things; all that goes into the planning. Is there a special title for the blood person?
Well, every department does their own blood, like he was saying. So, if there’s blood on the floor, that would be set dec or props. If it’s a bloody knife, that’s props; if there’s blood on the clothes, that’s us. If it’s blood on the skin, it’s the makeup department. The special effects department does blood, like if there’s like a squib or blood spurting. JEFF RAFNER:
And even who’s cleaning it up is also planned.
Yes. There’s no actual title though.
No. DANIELA MOORE:
No, everybody gets their own blood responsibility. JEFF RAFNER:
No, it overlaps into everyone. How much percentagewise would you say the costumes are built versus like acquired pieces that you then assemble?
I would say like 95% we acquire, we purchase, and five percent we build. But it depends on the episode too, like I was saying earlier, this episode we had a lot of things to build. So, a couple days ago I had six people sewing until midnight to get ready for a scene. But it must be nice to go to thrift stores and all kinds of clothing stores. “Oh, I have to go here I have to build them for this work.”
Well sure. I mean, I picked this job, because I enjoy doing that. [laughs]
So, it is nice, but it’s not like sometimes when you go to a store and go shopping the sales people will be like, “You’re so lucky; you have an exciting fun job.” But you don’t know the pressure, the stress, the lack of sleep. What’s the biggest challenge that you’ve faced?
The biggest challenge? Getting enough sleep to make it through the day. [laughs] JEFF RAFNER:
Just keep in mind, when we get a script, we usually know very little about what’s in it. Luckily, for our finale episodes, we’ve known ahead of time and been able to do things. But [usually] we get a script, have to conceptualize it, and put everything together, get all the clothes altered, fit, ready everything and all the choices in less than eight days.
So, because we’re a machine going, one episode is shooting while the other one is preparing, and just rolling continually. So quite often, we’re all in a situation where she’s ordered clothes that are supposed to get here on Thursday that work on Friday, and we’re hopeful that it gets here. And she always has a contingency and never has let anyone down. DANIELA MOORE:
Not yet. JEFF RAFNER:
Not yet? [laughs]
Oh, come on, we’re almost at the end. She has not let anybody down. And, you know, we are in that situation where it’s a perpetual machine running waiting, getting things.
One of the challenges that I know that Daniela has here, is a lot of the stores that we would normally shop in in Los Angeles, aren’t here. So, she does a lot more online shopping to get things. So, you have to get it here then try it on them, as opposed to the idea of running to the store, getting it and trying it on, like if you’re in Los Angeles, or you’re in a place that has a lot more of a shopping hub. DANIELA MOORE:
I have a view of the mail room from my office window. [laughs] There isn’t a lot of stores here like thrift stores that you can -
Sure, there are thrift stores, but thrift stores don’t often work very well on this show, because we need so many multiples. Oh because of the multiples. I didn’t think of the multiples.
So, there’ll be a character, and I’m like, oh this guy will be great we’ll go to all the thrift stores, but he has to be clean and bloody and everything, so forget it; it can’t happen. Have you discovered some things that you’ve bought for yourself because you went out and tracked down all these different things?
I try to make a rule that I don’t shop for myself when I’m shopping for a show, because otherwise I don’t get a paycheck [laughs]
right? All my paycheck would go to clothes.
Hey Jeff, can I show them Fiji (Parisa Fitz-Henley)’s blue dress? JEFF RAFNER:
I think so. DANIELA MOORE:
Just because that’s a good story about a challenge that we had to overcome. [[Daniela brings out and holds up dress]] JEFF RAFNER: How many people would you say we have full time in your department? DANIELA MOORE:
Like twelve, up to thirteen.
So, one of the other things we always have to take into account is stunts or special makeup effects or things like that, and this is a dress that Fiji is wearing in one of our episodes where they came to me, and they said, “Well, we’re going to do a special makeup effect, and there’s going to be a prosthetic, and so we need her to be in a dress that covers this, but there needs to be an opening here, and it has to be high on the neck, and it has to fit with the character of Fiji and look amazing on her.”
So, this is actually a different version of a dress that I tried on her in first fitting. It was in black, and it looked different than this. And I sent a picture off to the producers, and they were like, “Oh, we don’t think it’s very flattering, and it’s so dark.” It had really long sleeves; it didn’t have this collar. So they’re like, “Send it back; we don’t want it.” And I was like, “Well I just have a feeling about this dress; I know it’s going to come in handy.”
So we were shopping and shopping and shopping and looking for a dress to cover up for this special effect, and somebody on the crew said, “What about this dress,” and it just happened to be hanging there, and they pulled out the black one. And I’m like, “It can’t be black, because we have to be able to see blood, but it’s a good dress. Let’s see if it comes in other colors.” And so I found it in blue. We changed the sleeves; we added the collar. JEFF RAFNER:
Se we had to buy multiple dresses and tear apart the dress to make the dress that we had. DANIELA MOORE:
And we needed multiples in general, so I think we probably bought six dresses to make four. JEFF RAFNER:
So one of those dresses - the overlap of all the departments - one of those dresses she made to go on a torso that special effects makeup made that she puts her head into that’s wearing the dress to do the effect that the torso was built for. So that’s the overlap of all the different departments putting together for one scene that’s going to be two minutes on the screen. DANIELA MOORE:
Like that dress had to be bigger than the one she wears for the rest of episode. And then it turned out to be my favorite dress on her. It’s really beautiful. Where is that dress from, because I want it?
Nordstroms. SCIFI VISION:
Do you sometimes find the perfect piece, but they don’t have enough of them, so you can’t recreate the material or whatever… DANIELA MOORE:
All the time. It’s constant disappointment. What’s the biggest difficulty, the material or the ways it was cut that you couldn’t duplicate?
Well, it just depends. Like you’ll see something you love, and you’re like, “Oh, I think that will be great for Fiji,” but there’s only one. If you can’t get any more, then you just have to move on and find something else. So, it depends. And you don’t have enough time to replicate it.
Very rarely. [[A man walks in.]]
This is Jackson our drycleaner everyone. JEFF RAFNER:
Just the little things that you don’t think of, every night, everything that’s been worn, has to go. Last night we had thirty of the witches in their robes all of the clothes has to go to him, and he has to have it back with us if we need it in the morning. So, he’s up all night, or someone is. So you see the idea of how everything is so intertwined and it has to be a big machine.
**Be sure to check out the rest of the coverage of the event, and stay tuned for much more, including the rest of the full individual interviews and more set photos, leading up to the premiere tonight.**