Who doesn’t want to meet someone who worked with someone who knew someone sort of famous? That was possibly the desire of the attendees of the CBS in NYC panel at the New York Public Library on Oct. 3, who gathered to hear behind-the-scenes television professionals discuss the challenges and rewards of shooting in New York.
A joint effort by the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment and CBS as part of the office’s “Made in NY” Industry Series, the panel was billed as a peek into the complexities of television production in one of the country’s most picturesque cities. The participants in the discussion were all well-seasoned in the New York industry: director and executive producer John David Coles, whose Empire State credits include “Law & Order” and “Sex and the City,” was accompanied by location manager Paul Kramer (“I Am Legend”), costume designer Dan Lawson (“The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Bored to Death”), supervising producer Kathy Mavrikakis (“Late Show With David Letterman”), retired NYPD first-grade detective and technical consultant Jim Nuciforo (“Law & Order”), and dialect coach Diego Daniel Pardo(“Fringe,” “Tower Heist.”)
All of the panelists are currently involved in New York-based CBS productions, but due to their experience have roots in the larger New York television community, which Cole describes as “very special,” singling out the ability “to go on set and see … all people you know.”
Of course, the production presence in New York holds more than sentimental value: Media & Entertainment Commissioner Katherine Oliver, who acted as moderator, noted that the industry brings $7 billion in annual revenue and 130,000 jobs to the city.
But the panel wasn’t all pats-on-the-back and CBS self-promotion. The insiders came to the table ready to share. Lawson, currently the costumer designer on “The Good Wife,” dished that he dresses his characters in the same outfit “maybe twice a year” in order to attain a “slight sense of reality.”
Kramer offered a unique take on the experience of shooting in the city that never sleeps, explaining that busy locations can be hard to control–due to the challenge, most shoots in Grand Central happen between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m.
He also described the diversity of the city as allowing him to experience a special enthusiasm when he finds the “best place for this car to crash.” He also deemed New York a city with more to see than its famous trademarks. Giving an example of such a location in Astoria, he said, “You see the skyline … skewered from a different angle … it’s something special.”
Despite their various takes on television in New York, the panelists all appeared genuinely grateful for their creative experiences with the city, arriving at a consensus summed up by Mavrikakis: “New Yorkers are way better.”