A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the competition series Hot Set featuring production designers creating Hollywood sets for a cash prize is pretty tame. But some of the set designs revolve around violent stories (like kidnapping and serial killing) and incorporate props like bones, dead people, and other potentially scary images. Teammates sometimes bicker; occasional curses like "s--t" and "f--k" are bleeped.
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What's the story?
HOT SET is a competition show that features production designers attempting to successfully design and build camera-ready Hollywood sets for a cash prize. Each episode, which is hosted by Ben Mankiewicz, features two designers who, along with their teams, must create an entire world based on brief hints from a script. A special clue is also offered to help them understand the story that the set must convey to an audience. After three days of designing, building, and working with props and special effects, a scene must be filmed on each set to see how the designs work on camera. After the panel of judges, including award-nominated production designers Curt Beech, Lilly Kilvert, and Barry Robison, closely examines their work, a winner is selected and awarded $10,000.
Is it any good?
Hot Set showcases the creative and technical work that goes into creating a "hot set" (a set that is fully built and camera-ready) that conveys a sense of emotion while seamlessly helping to tell a story. It also shows some of the various ways that production designers achieve the looks and effects that they want by using specialty props, lights, and even basic household items.
The designers and the judges use lots of terms that are common in set production, making the experience seem closely connected to the behind-the-scenes world of Hollywood sound stages. As a result, folks who are interested in this sort of thing will feel like they are learning something about the profession while watching. But the show's real entertainment value comes from seeing how a small empty space can be transformed into a magical story world.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about careers in set design. Are set designers artists? Engineers? When you watch t.v. or films, do you pay attention to the set design?
What are some of your favorite film and movie backgrounds? What is it about these designs that make them noticeable? Did they feel real? Magical? Scary?
How do the set designers and their team members work together? What leadership styles seem the most effective? Why do you think the designers agreed to be on a show like this?
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