PROUDEST CAREER MOMENTS
the truth is I rarely feel like I know what I'm doing and even using the word "career" makes me cringe because I'm not sure what I do really counts as that yet. But I'm trying to remember the times I was proud of myself and keep rising to challenges. so bear with me.
- •Saddest "Career" MomentsWhen I first got to LA I was accepting crappy jobs on Craigslist and not getting paid, and could just as easily give you a list of all the times I made dumb decisions or took awful jobs that exploited me or bombed interviews, or was not hired for either being a woman or not being a pretty enough woman (now that's a future list), or was hired and then condescended to or sexually harassed, or called my mom crying after getting yelled at by a producer on a sleazy music video. This is not that list.
- •When Will Farrell was so nice and approved of my cat poster.After about a year in LA, I started working at Funny or Die doing small design work and props for their shoots. One of them was a remake of a YouTube video called "Dear Women," with Will Ferrell and Will Forte. So we were in the studio, shooting a background with a wood paneled wall and a cat poster, and Will Ferrell came up behind us and said to the director, "this set looks amazing!" The director pointed at me and said, "Caity did it." And Will looked at me and said, "Nice work!"
- •When I had to prove myself to a designer.It was an indie movie called "Little Birds." We were shooting in a remote desert trailer park. The designer told me to go find window dressing for all 7 trailers (that's 7 different looks, and about 40 windows). All the curtains had to fit and I couldn't alter them because I had to return them after shooting. The only store nearby was Lowes, so I bought $2700 worth of curtains, installed them, pinned and taped them to fit, and then returned all of them when we were done.
- •When I first saw my name in the credits on TV.I production designed a terrible Lifetime movie called "Walking the Halls," about high school prostitution. Even so, it was super exciting to see my name on that screen at the beginning of the movie.
- •When I set decorated this beautiful movie called "Medeas" and it was so difficult and I was so proud of how it turned out.I worked on this truly gorgeous indie movie in which we had to fully furnish an abandoned house, and make it not look abandoned. We were a 3 person crew, and we had $10,000. We had to scrape bat poop out of the wallpaper and haul water up the stairs for a bath scene (since the house had no running water) not to mention thrift shop like our lives depended on it, but it looked GOOD. and I'm so so proud of the images we made.
- •When I got to art direct for Gregg Araki.The same designer I worked for on "Little Birds" hired me to art direct for him on Gregg Araki's "White Bird in a Blizzard," a weird, campy movie set in the 70s - 90s. I was a huge Araki fan and it was his biggest movie yet. We built an entire house interior on a sound stage and sourced all kinds of period details from wallpaper to artwork to toiletries. It was so much fun and my biggest challenge up to that point, and my first time working for a director whose previous work I knew and admired.
- •When Courteney Cox tried to take me with her.I set decorated a terrible movie Courteney Cox directed, called "Just Before I Go." the designer was pretty checked out and just left everything to me, which was frustrating, but Courteney noticed. She told me I was really good at my job and tried to get me to come with her to Cougar Town. The job wasn't really what I wanted to do but obviously working on a big network show would have been a step up in many ways. I don't regret not doing it, but I do wonder how it would have changed my path.
- •When I got my first Union TV gig."White Bird in a Blizzard" got me into the Art Directors Guild, so I was now qualified to design Union shows on a larger scale, but I was a little fish in a big pond full of industry vets, and I didn't have the contacts to get the bigger jobs. When a friend who is a few steps ahead of me was leaving Comedy Bang! Bang!, a little IFC show, she recommended me to take over. It was a challenge but also a perfect first Union job as department head, and I figured it out as I went.
- •When I got to redesign the set of Comedy Bang! Bang!After working on the show for a full season, the show runners and producers decided they wanted to redesign the main stage set, which had been the same for 3 1/2 seasons. They called me in to pitch a new design and I was very proud of what I came up with. It's scary pitching creative ideas, but everyone was on board and excited. We maintained the original structure of the set but gave it a colorful and slightly more upscale update.
- •When I built a big fancy set (well, big and fancy for me).I designed an hour long Adult Swim Comedy Special that pretty much had the budget of an entire season of Comedy Bang! Bang! We built a large room with 12 ft walls, and it was supposed to belong to an eccentric millionaire, so it needed to look perfectly finished and high end. We went with the classic masculine study look with dark wood and green walls and leather bound books. Our crew worked so well together, and it looked really beautiful. The director and star were happy and I was so proud.