Emmy Nominees Remember a Year Like No Other

Catching Up With Local 600 Emmy Nominees

September 15, 2021
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Despite the considerable challenges of working during a pandemic, Local 600 members once again found ways to make great TV happen. For a lucky few, their work was acknowledged with a 2021 Emmy Award nomination. 600LIVE! was able to catch up with seven of the nominees across multiple categories. We asked them their thoughts and recollections about working during this most unusual year.

The Creative Arts Emmys were held over the weekend of September 11 and 12. View the full list of Local 600 winners and nominees here.

Donald A. Morgan, ASC

Nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series for The Conners, Last Man Standing and The Upshaws

Still Photographer Nicola Goode, SMPSP

How did you celebrate your nomination?
Geneva, my wife, popped a bottle of champagne and I reached out to congratulate my fellow nominees!

Tell us how it feels to be nominated with your peers in this specific category.
It’s an amazing feeling when you realize that your peers nominated you. You think of the work, you think of your crew that you worked with, and I have to say it’s fun to tell your crew that they’re a part of it!

What made these particular projects so memorable? Feel free to pick one or more of the shows.
I’ve found with The Conners I could bring some dramatic qualities to this comedy for this season, playing with color and shadow and light.

Was there a particular moment from the three nominated episode that stands out?
With Last Standing Man Standing, Molly and Tim are at the living room window, gazing out. We used a double filtered 4×4 450 Celeb and a 6×6 light grid at 3700K. It played great as a wonderful soft source!

Mark Doering-Powell, ASC

Nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour) for Grown-ish

How did you celebrate your nomination?
My wife, Jackie, and I were in Hawaii with our family when Grown-ish producer, Michael Petok, called with the news. I definitely spent a good amount of time calling and texting some key people I simply had to thank. Jackie and I celebrated at the Academy’s “Celebrate Under the Stars” nominee event which was a lot of fun and a great way to see lots of colleagues in person.

Tell us how it feels to be nominated with your peers in this specific category.
It’s an almost impossible task to pick a winner in any category. I feel truly honored to even be nominated amongst such talented DPs.

What made this particular project so memorable?
The same thing that helped get me nominated: the incredible teamwork that put this all together and the guidance of our EPs, Julie Bean, Craig Doyle and Jenifer Rice-Genzuk Henry, along with producer Michael Petok and UPM Lina Wong. I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with our production designer, Kristan Andrews, who gives us the best sets each week. We’re also very fortunate to photograph the work of our costume designer, Michelle R. Cole — who was nominated for outstanding costumes on Black-ish but who could have easily been nominated for Grown-ish as well.

Our lead Yara Shahidi was attending Harvard University on the East Coast at the same time she was making the show. She’d fly back and forth each week, submit long papers she’d written, then show up on set with a rock-solid performance on the first take. It was inspiring to see her pull that off and I believe that, subconsciously, the cast and crew worked even better as a team with her as our example.

Was there a particular moment from that episode stands out?
The entire cold open is a real fun ride as we go down an entirely different road with Vivek (played by Jordan Buhat). It was also all shot before lunch! You end up thinking the episode is mostly about him discovering a new side of himself, but it’s also about the way his friends use his fleeting experiences to label him.

Des Moran wrote this wonderful episode where our group of friends resolve this partially by seeing their own flaws set up in previous episodes. Our director, Jenifer Rice-Genzuk Henry, had a very clear vision of what we needed, and the main challenge was prepping the episode in order to achieve that in four days of shooting.

We began on a TechnoCrane for most of the opening, then Key Grip Paul Schmidt had already folded away some set walls to make sure we could get the crane to the dorm set on the other side of the stage. Our A-camera operator, Paul Sanchez never got a break. If the camera wasn’t on the Techno, then he put one on his shoulder to go handheld on the dance floor. We did Spike Lee dolly shots with Vivek in both sets, one of which ends the cold open. We also had Alex Cameron program a time lapse slider move for one shot that shows the dorm party winding down. There isn’t a single setup that did not make the final cut and I’m thankful for our First Assistants, Robert Schierer and George Hesse, for keeping it all sharp.

As for the heavy color palette, we never went with pure primaries. We always showed a hint of what comes next, in layers. So, when they’re on the dance floor, you get dash of the pink and violet of the dorm room just before we go to that palette. It’s all layered and cohesive, even though I think we hit every hue except for yellows and greens. Jay Yowler, our chief lighting technician, managed this flawlessly with our Console Operator, Dave Darwin. I work closely with Gareth Cook, our colorist who has been the perfect partner on Grown-ish with a keen eye for details.

I’m just so glad we were able to get everything that Jeni needed. If any one piece was missing, it would not have been as fun or as powerful.

Tat Radcliffe, BSC

Nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour) for Lovecraft Country

How did you celebrate your nomination?
A glass of champagne with the Mrs.

Tell us how it feels to be nominated with your peers in this specific category.
Honored and humbled when I see the class and quality of the work of my fellow nominees.

What made this particular project so memorable?
Working in Chicago. I love Chicago.

Was there a particular moment from the nominated episode that stands out?
The road trip we shot to accompany James Baldwin’s speech on the American Dream is one of the most powerful sequences I’ve been lucky enough to work on.

Ben Richardson, ASC

Nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Anthology Series or Movie for Mare of Easttown

How did you celebrate your nomination?
I’m currently in production and still very much following COVID protocols for the safety of my crew and cast, so my celebration was an… inner one? I think I had a glass of whisky and called my family.

Tell us how it feels to be nominated with your peers in this specific category.
I’m honored to be in the company of such a talented group of artists. All the work is outstanding and knowing much of it was produced during a pandemic is testament to them all. I hope to congratulate them all in-person when such things are possible again.

What made this particular project so memorable?
I was loving working with a wonderful team of frequent collaborators and new (to me) faces, with scripts, directing, and a cast of a lifetime, and then COVID hit. We’d had enough time to become a tight-knit team before that, that when we went back under the RTW agreement – very early and pre-vaccine – we were able to do so safely but without changing the core qualities we’d established. Although it was very tough, I’m proud of and grateful for every member of that team who gave 100% and more to see it through. And you’d never tell on the screen. The work didn’t suffer at all. We all had one another’s backs, and that’s something I’ll never forget.

Is there a particular moment from the episode (or series) that stands out for you?
The standout moments for me were all performances. I designed the cinematography to be understated and entirely in support of our incredible cast and their heartbreaking performances. I am in awe of what they created in front of our lenses, particularly Kate Winslet’s astounding work from the first to the last day of the shoot. Watching Mare brought to life with all her flaws and humanity gave me chills and being able to witness that first-hand will never leave me.

Garrett Rose

Nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for a Reality Program for Queer Eye

How did you celebrate your nomination?
My first nomination came as somewhat of a surprise. I remember getting a FaceTime call from Jennifer Lane, Rachel Mendez, and the Fab 5 to congratulate me on the nomination while at work on another job. Afterwards, I called my family to let them know the good news. Needless to say, they were happy and congratulated me on the nomination.

Tell us how it feels to be nominated with your peers in this specific category.
To be nominated alongside those in this category is an honor. I’ve heard stellar things about Life Below Zero camp, as one of my very good friends, Tony Deleo, knows them very well. Their work is gorgeous, ominous, and innately cinematic. To be nominated alongside them and amongst the other nominees has been a validating experience.

What made this particular project so memorable?
Very simply, it was the stories that made Queer Eye so memorable. Being present and observing a transformation, which for many is life-changing, is an experience that most people aren’t commonly afforded in our day-to-day. There were many days on the set of Queer Eye that I learned new things about myself and questioned aspects of my own identity, vicariously living through the journey with our cast, which is great, because, ultimately, this is the same experience we would like someone watching a Queer Eye episode to have.

Was there a particular moment from the nominated episode that stands out in your memory?
One particular moment from “Groomer Has It” that stands out for me occurs at the end of the episode when the Fab 5 surprise Rahanna with a new mobile grooming van; her previous van, where she conducted her dog grooming, was not operable, and it sat parked in front of her family home and was a big part of Rahanna’s malaise. I think it stood out for me because, as a freelancer, I know intimately how much faith it takes to step out on a limb and put all of your resources into a career you’re passionate about.

Simon Miles

Nominated for Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Series for The Masked Singer

How did you celebrate your nomination?
When the nomination was announced, I was in camera rehearsal for season 6 of The Masked Singer with my fellow teammates, both of whom are first-time nominees. We celebrated together by sharing our surprise and delight at being nominated and then I enjoyed what seemed to be a particularly fragrant cup of PG Tips from crafty at our next break.

Tell us how it feels to be nominated with your peers in this specific category.
There was a strange combination of disbelief and euphoria that came with the announcement of the nomination. Once that subsided a bit, I felt appreciative of having our team included in the group of nominations for this category. All the nominees are extremely good and do excellent work. Being included in that sort of company can only make one feel good.

What made this particular project so memorable?
The Masked Singer is an incredibly fun and interesting show to be involved with. When we started on season 1, the premise was completely new territory. A singing competition show with well-known competitors hidden within brilliantly exotic costumes and masks. You get to see short video with some embedded clues and misdirects, they sing a song and then you, along with the panel of celebrity “detectives,” have to guess who they are. Sounds easy, right?

So, for me, the most memorable aspect of The Masked Singer is the way the show rewrites the conventions by which we “normally” perceive performers, how performers “normally” perform and without getting specific, as a lighting designer, how I “normally” present a performer and their performance. I will always remember this show for all the things I didn’t do.

Is there a particular moment from the nominated episode that stands out in your memory?
I don’t want to sound glib by saying something like “No particular moment stands out, it’s all… (fill in the blank)” But the reality is that as we record the shows, there are moments that do stand out, a song that touches your heart, poignant words from behind a mask, an unmasking with an unexpected revelation, even a particularly beautiful lighting cue. Those moments are fleeting; we remember them fondly for entire seconds and then move on, but they are the parts that contribute to the whole that is The Masked Singer.

Brian Reason

Member of the team nominated for Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control For a Series for America’s Got Talent

Brian and the rest of the America’s Got Talent crew

How did you celebrate the team’s nomination?
I wouldn’t say I celebrated, but it’s always nice to be acknowledged for your work. This was the first time that America’s Got Talent had been nominated in this category, which I thought was kind of nice being that I’ve been on this basically for 16 years. We all work really hard, as does everybody else on all the shows. We’re all in good company with each other.

Tell us how it feels to be nominated with your peers in this specific category.
It’s always nice to be nominated and acknowledged by your peers. I look at all of us in the category and it’s a pleasure to be in the company of all these people who do what we do. Everybody does what they do very well.

What made this particular episode so memorable?
We did the finale of Season 15 at Universal during COVID. There were a few more difficulties involved, and we were doing multiple set-ups all over back lot of Universal. We would be shooting on a rooftop at midnight and setting up in the meadow in the afternoon and another at Harry Potter World. It was like setting up little shows multiple times a day. My hat goes off to all of the utilities on this show, and to every department for that matter, because we were setting up lighting, sound, and setting up cameras in three or four locations all around Universal on a daily basis. Everybody worked their tails off.

The whole Universal Studios backlot was closed down, and we had access to the entire lot which was unprecedented and will never happen again, I’m sure. Russell Norman who directed the episode did an amazing job, as he always does, and we all tried to make his dream come true.

Is there a particular moment of the episode that stands out in your memory?
That season was the most demanding season of shows that we have ever done. We started out and did the first seven acts in the studio and pre-taped down at stage 23. For the last four acts. we all got in golf carts and did it live up at the top of Universal Studios with a huge fireworks display. We had a large aerial act, which was live as well. It was one of the seasons where we all finished what we were doing and said, “We are never going to forget this season of America’s Got Talent.”

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