Amazon’s The Boys — How Production Design is a Superpower

Amazon’s The Boys — How Production Design is a Superpower


♪ ♪ How do you create
unforgettable worlds? How do you establish unique
characters settings and plots? One great way to do this is with production design. ♪ ♪ But stylish design for
its own sake isn’t enough. Locations, props, wardrobe and set dressing they are opportunities
for you to convey mood, tone and theme without saying a word. In this video, we’re going to explore how to create unforgettable
scene elements. Specifically the
production design in the Amazon original
series “The Boys.” And how you can apply
the same process to your own projects. But before we jump into
our scene examples, make sure to subscribe below and click the bell icon
to stay in the loop. “The Boys” is about an
ordinary young man Hughie, living a simple life, working at a quiet
electronic store. An underdog surrounded by a culture
that’s completely obsessed with celebrity. Specifically,
celebrities with superpowers. ♪ ♪ “A multi-billion
dollar global industry supported by corporate lobbyists,
and politicians on both sides.” They are above the law both figuratively and literally. We’re going to use StudioBinder’s
production software to break down scenes
from “The Boys.” Let’s get diabolical. “Holy fuck. That was diabolical.” Production design elements include
wardrobe, set design, and props. You identify these elements
when breaking down a script. ♪ ♪ This creates a
complete robust world. When building the
elements of your world, we’re going to touch on three
things you want to consider. Your first job is
to begin with story. Because it should inform
every decision you make. “My deepest condolences
to Robin Ward’s family.” Your second job is
to compile research. Create mood boards for wardrobe. Set design. And Props. “Name’s Butcher. Billy Butcher.” Your third job is to take design
elements and exaggerate it. It can be exaggerated
to the max, like the pile of money
in “The Dark Knight” or flood blood in “The Shining.” But you can also exaggerate
to the minimum, emptiness. For a show like “The Boys”
exaggeration is critical because it’s a satire. “- Here comes the A-Train! – My wish was to
meet Translucent. That was my only wish. – Ummmm. Well, you know, maybe you can
swing by next week or some– –something…” So how do you go about building production
design that is accurate and believable “Oh my god, turn that off.” First,
let’s talk about the wardrobe. ♪ ♪ How do the costumes in “The
Boys” support the story? ♪ ♪ In the first scene
we meet Homelander. What is the first thing we see? We see the American flag. The eagle shoulder pads. “- Homelander? – You boys, okay? – Can I get a selfie? – Of course, you can.” In the next scene,
we see Hughie. “So this is pretty much everything
in one Bluetooth speakers. It’s in stereo, so you can put
it all around your living room.” He’s clothed into
conservative work attire. Brown corduroy pants. Laminate ID hanging
from his neck. Both of these
characters are at work, but unlike Homelander, there are no vibrant colors here and that contrast illustrates
the different lives they lead. So let’s look at the research
needed for the wardrobe. In the case of “The Boys”, it’s based on a graphic novel. “Stay back. Just stay the fuck back or
I’m lasering you god dammit! I laser every
fucking one of you!” Every costume you
see in “The Boys” has some connection to
existing superhero costumes. Homelander’s costume is a mixture
of Captain America and Superman. Queen Maeve’s
resembles Wonder Woman. The Deep is based on Aquaman. “We make heroes Super.” (applauds) ♪ ♪ The costumes in “The Boys”
are all highly exaggerated. Look at Homelander’s cape, literally the American flag. Or Starlight’s costume, from a naive, Iowa farm girl to a sex symbol. Look at the Deep’s costume. “What’s up?” As the playboy of the group his wardrobe is
sexualized for his fans. The stuffed pecs, the ABS. When you see the hyper
specific and exaggerated look of the Sup standing
next to a civilian the difference is made painfully
clear due to the exaggerations. So what about the set design? The set design in “The Boys” serves as
a constant reminder of circumstances. The art department goes to
great lengths to tell us that this world
is similar to ours but it’s a world that
is owned by the suits. Like in this scene where Hughie just
wants to buy some beer, but instead he surrounded
by images of A-Train. “When you ever
besmirch Billy–?” A superhero that stole his life. ” I can’t stop… I can’t stop.” ♪ ♪ The aisles are tightly packed, so there is no way to escape. The script may mention that A-
Train is everywhere Hughie turns. ♪ ♪ A large part of production design
is reading between the lines. ♪ ♪ And searching for
every opportunity to tell a story through
design elements. Research. Much of the set
dressing in “The Boys” acts as branding for the Sups. In some instances,
it takes cues from Greek and Roman art. ♪ ♪ Look at stone busts of the sups. ♪ ♪ And columns in the meeting room. ♪ ♪ The ceiling art. ♪ ♪ After all,
these are modern gods. ♪ ♪ The design also takes
inspiration from Marvel and DC. The v-shaped table looks similar to the table
inside the Avenger’s spaceship. ♪ ♪ The sets are also exaggerated. With the seven tower, they use the
existing window style from their filming location in
Toronto a Roy Thompson Hall. They did this for
stylistic reasons to create a Mount Olympus like
building a towered over the city. Everything is there to remind us that this world exists
to serve the celebrities. “My skin turns into
this carbon metamaterial then bends the light.” And by everything this
also includes the props. ♪ ♪ Props are defined by objects
that characters interact with, so both the object and the way a character interact
with them means something. “Who put the fucking
blanket on the bed? You fucking asshole.” Take this early moment where Hughie makes a sale. Hughie selects a high
speed HDMI cable. “…3000 mega HDMI,
let’s go with this one one.” One of the script describes as
having more conductive carbon. ♪ ♪ “It costs a little bit more but
the carbons way more conductive.” But look what it
shares shall space with an A-Train branded
computer mouse. ♪ ♪ Both of these props
foreshadow the events to come. “- How’d you know the
electric could do the job? – Skins carbon. Highly conductive. Saw it on a… Jimmy Fallon.” Or this scene where Stillwell has just
finished a pumping session. “Yeah, I’ve just been
pumping for 30 minutes and I got quarter of an ounce.” It seems to have little weight, but it’s actually an
important story element that foreshadows a
future storyline. ♪ ♪ “Personally,
I think it’s amazing that woman your age can
have a baby period.” Also notice how Homelander moves the action figure to
the center of the table. They aren’t there
just for style. They’re there to introduce
important story points. “Jesus.” As well as convey character. “Have I not been paying
enough attention to you?” ♪ ♪ Research also applies to props. What should the superpower steroid
known as Compound V look like? Which color should it be? Viscosity, the container. It’s based on a comic. ♪ ♪ The props are also exaggerated. Like the first time
we meet Starlight, she’s lifting a car
with just her arms and punching holes
through a brick wall. It’s over the top but that’s what
makes it memorable. And Frenchie’s
gun-running business, he doesn’t own a few guns. He owns tons of guns. ♪ ♪ But the opposite
kind of exaggeration is just as effective
under exaggeration. ♪ ♪ Take the scene where
Billy Butcher has nothing but a single hot
pocket in his freezer, just one. What does it say
about a character when their refrigerators
virtually empty? Production design gives you
an opportunity to exaggerate so you leave zero
room for confusion. You have a limited amount of
time to hammer home a point. Exaggeration
heightens the effect. ♪ ♪ “You fucking cocksuckers.” So let’s recap. When building the
elements of your world, specifically wardrobe,
set design, and props always think story. Find opportunities in the script to
support the characters setting and plot. Do your research to build
a rich authentic universe that connects to
history and precedent. And then exaggerate it
to make it memorable. This can be under
exaggeration as well. What are some other movies or shows you’d like to
see us break down next? Who do you think is a
master of world-building? Tell us in the comments. Remember to subscribe
to our channel below. Click the bell icon
for notifications and follow us on
our Instagram page. After all, why have average… “…when you can
have extraordinary.” ♪ ♪

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