“No Tomorrow (Pilot)”
October 14, 2016
Television series pilots often present many complex variables for Costume Designers, including whether or not they will design the series, or if the green-lit show will shoot in a different city. Another hurtle is the establishment of believable and intriguing characters in a single episode because, without them, the pilot would be unlikely to be picked up. These challenges can make designing a pilot particularly daunting.
Veteran designer Melina Root, whose day job is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend for The CW, explains, “I like doing pilots, because I love creating the original look, even though the approval process can be incredibly frustrating and nerve-wracking. I thought the script for No Tomorrow had a lot of possibility.” Initially, the show was set in Silver Lake, but took on a different bohemian locale as it was edited and is now being shot in Canada.
The two leads serve as visual foils. “Evie (Tori Anderson) is orderly, Xavier (Joshua Sasse) is more sloppy. “But, they’re both in the same context, they live in the same neighborhood, and go to the same farmer’s market,” says Root. “They are both of that world—that sort of young, hipster Silver Lake/Seattle world. So, they’re recognizable to each other. They both wear combinations of chic and trendy clothes, and hand-me-downs.”
Root’s first impression of Evie was that she was straight laced. Show creator Corrine Brinkerhoff also thought she was thrifty. Root gave Evie a back-story, as she melded all of the traits together. She considered where Evie shopped—probably at neighborhood boutiques and at retailers like Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, with a few vintage pieces mixed in. Root wanted to emphasize Evie’s reserve while maintaining a funky, thrift store vibe to her looks. To make Xavier distinctive, Root used more jewelry and items like scarves from foreign locales, as well as a jacket with Nepalese patches on it. She built a large wardrobe of items that looked well worn, starting with pieces from Buck Mason and Levis, then aging, distressing, and painting them.
Root likens all the opinions colliding on a pilot to over-parenting. “I don’t think I could have done this when I was thirty,” she chuckles. “I had to evolve. We’re trained to defend our position at all times, which is tiresome. But, I’ve developed a lot of flexibility. It’s when we all learn how to compromise that we end up with something that’s hopefully richer.”
In the process of the creative discussions, Root feels Costume Designers can benefit by presenting a “Designer’s Cut” to the studio, which features their best final version of each episode. “I have a new perspective that makes the whole process more joyous for me, which is that I am a chef in a very large kitchen, with a lot of sous chefs. I just have to deliver that final product and make it believable, even if I might have made different choices along the way about how to do that.”
No Tomorrow airs on The CW Tuesday at 9/8c.