Herbert Pinter APDG received the APDG Design on Television Drama Award at the inaugural APDG Awards for his work on CloudStreet. Over a decade on, the APDG got in touch with Herbert to find out what the award meant to him and what he is doing now.
In addition to your APDG award, CloudStreet won several awards including AACTA, Logie and ADG awards. Do you have any fond memories working on that particular mini-series?
It was great to be asked to design CloudStreet. I had seen the play a few years earlier and really enjoyed it. It became quite a challenge turning the book and the script into a series for television. The layout of the house in its novel form cannot easily be translated directly into a shootable floorplan to give the director what he required. We had to build a house that ‘breathed’ which had a life of its own. We built a two story set in a bitumen carpark, with the ground floor and stairs to the first floor useable, the garden and verandahs. We then built the interior of second story of the house with bedrooms a disused hall. We also built a bedroom set and part hallway in another disused hall. This allowed all of the disparate elements of the house to be filmed as if together in one set. It was challenging and in the end satisfying. I doubt the audience ever realised it not one living breathing house.
Why did you decide to enter CloudStreet into the APDG Awards and what do you think makes a work “Award Winning”?
The producers entered CloudStreet into the AACTA awards. They were obviously happy with the series and the way it looked. I’m not sure why I entered CloudStreet in the APDG awards. I think it was to find out what my peer group thought of my work and of that of the Art Department crew. I was pleased with my design and how it had come together and I wanted to see if others were too. Asking what do you think makes a work award winning is a difficult question. I think as a designer you are hyper critical of your own work and if you’re not you should be. When it comes to giving awards other people on selection panels have other criteria and reasons for their selections. These may not match mine. They may not be looking at the detail, if the door handle is on right or the colour of the wall satisfying and correct for what it needs to portray, but if they get a sense that the set is ‘real’, is a place where this story is being told, without question, then that may be what makes an award winning work.
What have you been working on recently and will you be entering the awards this year?
I’ve been working on the Mystery Road Series 1 and 2, and hopefully 3 soon, which I have really enjoyed. I like the ethos, the producers and the people involved and I really love the country it’s filmed in. As to entering the awards, who knows, the series was one of the most popular television series in Australia and has been well received overseas. The last series was entered into the recent AACTA awards.