Spotlight






    Newel Props - Get to know Marina Parker SDSA

    By SDSA BusinessMember Newel Props - July 10th, 2020





    July 10, 2020

    Marina Parker SDSA is a Set Decorator based out of Brooklyn, NY.  She inherited an appreciation for aesthetics from her father, a self-taught carpenter, designer, and builder. As a kid, Marina was her dad’s assistant, small enough to army crawl under the house with flashlight to perform minor wiring and plumbing repairs as he shouted instructions from the yard. One of her earliest chores was combing the living room carpet fringe, keeping it straight.  

    After graduating from Vassar, Marina briefly studied architectural restoration before moving to New York City to intern with a small documentary film company, Cine Qua Non (a play on Sine qua non). Although Marina loved working in documentaries, she knew this job was not sustainable as the pay was unreliable. After catching malaria in Liberia while working on a movie about Doctors without Borders, Marina made the decision to step away from the documentary world in search of a job with more stability. Marina’s experience working in documentaries taught her how small elements can come together to tell a larger story.

    Marina’s decision to pursue a career in set decorating was a natural transition given her visually-oriented nature.  After 10 years of applying to Local 52, the union finally allowed her to take the entry exam and in June of 2016 Marina was voted in. Aside from rogue episodes of Jessica Jones, her first job decorating was an Errol Morris mini-series called Wormwood for Netflix.  She then went on to decorate the Tony Danza series The Good Cop, also for Netflix.  More recently, Marina decorated two seasons of the Peabody award-winning show Dickinson for Apple TV+.  Marina greatly enjoyed working on Dickinson as the sets reflect both period accuracy and fantasy worlds. Marina attributes much of her success as a set decorator to her earlier years in the industry assisting and learning from the talented Alison Froling and Stephanie Bowen. Today, Marina is considered a leading set decorator in the industry and she is excited to continue decorating a variety of films and series in the coming future.

    Q&A with Marina Parker

     

    Q.

    What are your morning and night rituals?

    A.

    I started Transcendental Meditation a few years ago after a job nearly crushed me and forced me to realize I needed to change something about how I was managing my stress. I used to revel in not having routine as it sounded stifling, but these days, a morning routine feels like it gives me strength and clarity. 

    My morning routine is as follows:

    1) Wake up and drink water, or hot water with lemon & honey. 2) Shower, brush teeth, etc. 3) Notice how I’m feeling and think about my intentions for the day. 4) Meditate for 20 minutes. 5) Make coffee or tea. 6) Ideally have a 2-4 song dance party. 7) Listen to “The Daily” podcast by the NY Times while I make breakfast. In quarantine, however, I’ve slowed down on the news and I’ve been trying to work in yoga/abayanga when I can.

    As far as my evening routine goes, I’m honestly still working this out. I am trying to figure out how to unwind and go to bed earlier, but it’s so hard!

    Q.

    First investment piece of furniture you purchased?

    A.

    My first investment piece was actually a stereo that was used as a prop on set. I fell in love with this stereo and I was able to purchase it at a cut rate after filming wrapped up. Although this is technically not furniture, it is the first investment piece I threw down for that made me feel like I was building a home for myself.

    Q.

    If you could switch lives with someone for a day, who would it be?

    A.

    I’d love to switch lives for a day with a Studio Head or Producer, or to be a fly on the wall…  I’d love to learn more about how value is assigned to the work we (Set Decorators) do; in the form of salary, crew, and time budgeted for prep.  We are living in a golden age of television!  Streaming shows (+the tax credit) have brought an abundance of work to New York, for which we are grateful. The shadow side of the streaming boon, as it affects Set Decorators, has been an increased pressure to strive to create cinematic-level quality shows, on a TV timeline and budget.  Traditionally, large budget movies had much more time and money, to create complex, layered sets.  With audiences watching so much content on TV, the delineation between movies and television has begun to blur.  Increasingly viewers expect TV shows to look like feature films.  It feels like our industry has really shifted in the past 10 years, which has shaped what we (set decorators) are asked to do within a TV schedule and budget.  Efforts to meet elevated expectations have resulted in a crushing, and unsustainable, pace; and can prove a challenge to living a whole and healthy life.  I would be curious to gain more insight into the greater picture of how content is produced, from development through post. Understanding the larger ecosystem might elicit insights +solutions for infrastructure and timelines for the Set Dec department. I am filled with joy when I imagine working in a creative climate where we are set up to successfully build beautiful shows, that delight, and entertain people, while protecting each other & our community, and thriving as human beings.

    Q.

    How do you define beauty?

    A.

    I think beauty resonates in some way with your soul.  Beauty is often a feeling– it can be physical, emotional, or cerebral. You know it when it rushes through you.

    Q.

    Describe your childhood bedroom.

    A.

    The worst. When we moved into our house it had wall-to-wall pea green shag carpeting everywhere!  My parents ripped up the carpet, to find hardwood floors underneath, in every room except mine. I was a year old. They kept the carpeting in my room for safety.  The inherited wallpaper was also terrible.  Large pointy shamrocks, in peach colors, and chintz patchwork patterns.  My parents say when they would come in my room to check on me, I’d be standing up in my crib peeling the wallpaper off the walls…

    Q.

    Favorite city to recharge?

    A.

    San Augustinillo, Oaxaca (Mexico)

    Q.

    Sweet or savory?

    A.

    Savory!

    Q.

    Are you a dog or cat person?

    A.

    Both. I have a cat named Wabi Sabi.

    Q.

    As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

    A.

    The president of the United States or an airline stewardess. I think I was attracted to travel, adventure, risk, leadership and service. I didn’t fly until I was 18 years old. I had imagined flying would be like a rocket ship and was super disappointed the first time I flew.

    Q.

    If you could own a second home anywhere you wanted, where would it be?

    A.

    Big Sur, CA







    Share This Page ▼