The video above by The Hollywood Reporter is well worth a watch. Marvelous Mrs. Maisel production designer Bill Groom discusses his upbringing in California, Missouri without indoor plumbing and how he started as an art director on the fourth season of Saturday Night Live learning his craft by moving quickly and not overthinking things. He also talks about his big break production designing A League of Their Own which led to a continued relationship designing films for Penny Marshall.
“If you love what you do and you’re not quite where you want to be, just don’t give up.”
It’s funny to see someone as accomplished and competent as Bill Groom be so humble about how good he is as a production designer. Bill said something that really stood out for me, “My career has had more momentum as I’ve gotten older. My greatest success has been after I turned sixty and I’m at a point in my career where I don’t have any intentions to stop. If you love what you do and you’re not quite where you want to be, just don’t give up.”
So often when we don’t have immediate career success we think about quitting, but not every career has a meteoric rise. Some people have a career resembling a slow burn which, as we see with Bill Groom, can be just as fulfilling- so what’s the rush?
I have been a fan of production designer Bill Groom’s work for some time but I didn’t know it. I had no idea Bill Groom had production designed A League of Their Own, It Could Happen To You, Riding in Cars With Boys, Milk, and Eat Pray Love, to name more than a few.
As a lifelong lover of the romantic comedy genre and female centered coming of age stories, I’ve seen almost everything Bill Groom has ever designed but I only registered his name for the first time when I became obsessed with Boardwalk Empire which had some of the best production design I’d ever seen on a television show at the time.
This past spring I decided I should watch The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and it knocked my socks off. The period detail and attention to colour and texture in that show is extraordinary and I don’t say this lightly. I think it’s one of the best designed television shows of the year and I can’t recommend this show highly enough.
One of the lovely happy accidents Bill mentions in the video above is of the pink carpet he chose in a hurry that miraculously matched the pink wardrobe Midge wore in the scene. The imagery of that scene was minimal but very beautiful and it’s nice to see Bill Groom is as proud of his minimal work as much as his more bold or period-specific work- like the sets he designed of the ’60s Catskills in season two.
You can catch season one and two of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel on Amazon Prime Video and with any luck we’ll see The Marvelous Mrs Maisel production designer Bill Groom nominated for an Emmy very soon.Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Production Designer Bill Groom On His Big Break and Outstanding Career Click To Tweet