In 2003 the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston presented Matthew Richie: Proposition Player, the artist’s first major museum exhibition. Proposition Player featured artworks created in 2002 and 2003, including a series of major installations made specifically for the soaring interiors of the CAMH. The exhibition highlighted Matthew Ritchie’s complex and imaginary story of the history of the universe as told through his monumental yet intricate paintings, drawings, sculpture, and digital animation.
Learn more about Proposition Player in Art21 website interview here.
Every episode of Supernatural has eight days of prep followed by eight days of shooting, but there are members of the crew – including the set construction guys – who may be working even on weekends not counted as part of those totals. Russ’s crew has three days during those eight days of prep to find all the locations called for in the episode’s script. Especially if there are a lot of minor locations required, they will try to find multiple locations in proximity to each other so that when the shooting happens, the circus – the place where all the crew trucks and equipment park – can stay in one spot to service multiple scenes, such as a motel exterior, a street, and a park. Every time they have to move locations, they lose time that could otherwise be spent shooting, and all of those moves have to be factored into the schedule. Even with that kind of planning behind all their location moves, Russ estimated their fuel costs alone at $12,000 to $15,000 per day!
Russ estimated they have some 10,000 potential locations already documented, and take an additional 5,000 photographs of places every week. He said they’d found the place they used as Crowley’s mansion years before they used it; they loved the look but wanted to save it for a really big pay-off, not use it when something lesser would do. They provide photos of about three to five alternatives for the various major script locations to the director, who picks the ones they’ll actually use. Day six of prep is always the technical survey day when the heads of all the production divisions pile into the bus to visit every location they’re going to use to identify everything they’re going to need to have at each place, from set dressing and props to electrical power to lights, cranes, plants – everything.
The rental costs of the properties they use vary depending on the building. An average house runs about $2,500 per day, and when they count in the expense of preparing the place and putting up the occupants in other housing for a few days while the prep and shooting is going on, that average cost jumps to about $6,000 or $7,000 for the shoot. Renting a mansion can run to $10,000 per day just for the rental. When a house is used, the crew starts by taking pictures of everything in the place before touching a thing; then they move out all the belongings to safe storage and redress the place for the shoot. When they finish with the location, they use the reference photos to ensure they put everything back exactly the way it was. Their goal is to leave a homeowner no evidence the show was ever there well, apart from the contract and the check! The set decoration crew usually numbers about ten people, but they add more at need.
Shutting down a business in town in order to shoot there – whether inside the business itself or blocking access to it while shooting on the street – can easily cost $20,000 to $30,000 per day. Even with that cost, however, it’s a lot cheaper to rent and redress some locations than to try to build them on stage from scratch, especially if they’re large, like a restaurant dining room, or full of heavy equipment that would stay in place during the shoot, like a factory floor or commercial kitchen. Shutting down a road, which requires both city and police participation, is $10,000 a day!
Russ said he wasn’t allowed to tell us the full production budget for a single episode of Supernatural, but I’ve heard a figure around $3 million per episode – which seems likely, given location, set construction, and special effects costs on top of cast and crew salaries.