Rick Pickett (Graphic Designer)
MI.net: Another one was Duncan's birthday. They had it in February 1997, but Lilly was supposed to be born in '97 too.
Rick: '87 you mean?
MI.net: Yeah, '87. So we're like, "How does that fit?"
Rick: Wait, Lilly was supposed to be born in '87 and Duncan was born in '87 as well.
MI.net: Yeah. On the memorial fountain, it's '87. When they were looking for him, they put that, well, not wanted poster, but wanted sign on the computer, they listed his date as '87 too.
Rick: Well, it's a big year, right? Oh, but they're brother and sister...duh. Whoops. Yeah, you know, they popped her out early '87, and he then he came out late '87.
MI.net: That caused a big stink because the fans are trying to figure out the ages.
MI.net: They're like, "Wait a second, she's born in '87 and he's born in the second month! What happened?!"
Rick: The weird thing about that type of stuff is, I always assumed that, and we still don't really have it, is a list that says, "This person is born on this date. This is done on this date. This is done on that date." I still don't have a physical copy of any list that says all that stuff.
MI.net: You don't have a list? Wow.
[Editor's note: Dagnabbit, now I have to go change the timeline.]
Rick: I mean, that makes me feel that the writers don't really care that much about it. I'm sure they do, and they'd like to put their time into it, but they're just like, "Whatever. I've got a script to write." [chuckles]
MI.net: So you guys just have to make the dates up.
Rick: And when I do have to make those dates, I try to make sure....We almost, another thing with Lilly fountain, we almost put the wrong death date on the end. We almost had her dying on 2004 when she's supposed to die in 2003. "Good call in catching that one, guys. Whew!"
MI.net: Diane, the writer/producer, she mentioned that they do have a file of the birth dates.
Rick: Oh, we do? I'll have to get props to get me that file. I'll make a note of that.
MI.net: And pass it along to us, because we'd like to know too. She mentioned during the interview that they have a file somewhere stuck in a drawer.
Rick: Yeah, see, that's what I mean. Stuck in a drawer. Collecting dust probably. Not even on digital file anymore.
MI.net: What has been one of the favorite things that you have created?
Rick: I actually like my stuff this season a lot more, because in my time off, I've really tried to push a lot of my skills. Just make stuff look better, and look crisper, and fancier, depending on what it is. I've already come up with one logo which you guys are going to get a real kick out of when you guys see it in episode two. And that one I love. I did some other ones. I'm trying to think...there's one website that I really like but I can't remember which one it was. Oh, the countdown clock. And then the skeletons in the closet one, that one was fun. And the sound effects that I found out post put in it, because I didn't make it with any sound effects. Post put all the sound effects in. Like, "That's cute, guys. Thanks for adding more depth to my production."
MI.net: So the production will get even better the second season?
Rick: Yes, and I'm saying that with all sincerity. Things are going to look more professional. But I also don't want to try to make some things look more professional, because you've got to be realistic sometimes, as much as you possibly can. Like, "No, that kid is not going to make that. Well, okay." Supposedly Neptune High has their teacher who teaches graphic design and art do some of their posters. That's my theory.
MI.net: That's your theory? When you do newspaper layouts, do you have to dumb it down a little? "Wait, this is a high school. They wouldn't exactly..."
Rick: Oh, yeah, big time. That why sometimes I handwrite flyers, just to add...actually for a while, if you notice, you look at the very beginning of the season, there's not a single handwritten flyer. There's none. And then all the sudden I realized, [[huh-I-just-realized-something voice] "Kids would actually handwrite the flyers. I should probably start doing that."
MI.net: So it's your handwriting?
Rick: For the most part. I try to...my handwriting, I can only mask it a certain number of times, so I actually get production assistants and get people in the office sometimes to write things for me.
MI.net: What was your most difficult design? Was it that fountain or was that just a pain?
Rick: The fountain was just painful because stupid little things kept popping up and the file wasn't working right. But the Wanda, the "Give me Wanda or give me death" poster was a pain.
Rick: I did about fifteen different iterations of that thing. Oh, and the Scantron, where it says "Wanda Rulez" or something on the Scantron card, I had to do that. When I read the script, it said, "in heavy metal signature." I was going, "Okay, so it's going to have sharp points and tapers and it's going to look very industrial. Okay, great." And then someone else got, the art director I think, was asked to do it. And he kept doing all these other things. And I think by the end, we produced about fifty different Scantron cards. Until she finally looked at the one I made, with the heavy metal signature, how I envisioned it. And she said, [perky voice] "Great." I'm like, [not-so-perky voice] "Are you kidding me?"
MI.net: She picked the first after fifty tries.
MI.net: Wow, that's a lot of work for a Scantron.
What are your greatest artistic influences or heroes?
Rick: I think, and this goes for people in general, pretty much everything I see, I store and take in, whether I know it or not. And I might not know the names of the people, but I definitely will recall, and see that image, or that use of that material and whatnot, and let that invoke some inspiration in me.
People-wise, I like...geez, who do I like? I like Tim Burton a lot. In the sense of his playful approach to narration and the brooding sensibilities. Who else artist-wise? I like a lot of new designers out there. It explains exactly who I'm talking about is Wooster Collective, woostercollective.com. It's all street art. So you have people like Nick Face and...so many names. There's above. There's Shepard Fairey, who does the Giant, Obey Giant stuff.
MI.net: That appears a couple of times throughout the show.
Rick: Yeah, there's actually a poster, an Obey Giant poster in Mars Investigations. So I try to do that stuff, along those lines. Those people influence me. Otherwise, just stuff I read and look at. I'm constantly enjoying looking at new things. I don't have a particular favorite.
And inspiration-wise, I love creating tangible art. I like being able to hold art in my hand and see it. Also, making people happy, for sure.
MI.net: We just ask these questions of everybody. First question, how much taller are you than Kristen Bell?
Rick: How tall am I?
Rick: Six foot six.
MI.net: Wow, that's tall. Who's your favorite Backup? The pilot dog or the later one?
Rick: [chuckles] Actually the dog I really like is Kristen Bell's dog Lola. You actually see her once in the missing dog episode. That's my favorite dog.
MI.net: That's your favorite dog? What do you like about it?
Rick: I love dogs with short legs. I think they look so funny. Something about them. Lola's quite possibly one of the sweetest dogs I've ever met. She's very friendly and she loves licking my hand.
MI.net: So they bring their dogs to work?
Rick: Oh, Kristen brings her dog a lot. So does Enrico. I think Enrico got jealous that Kristen had a dog, so he decided to get one too.
MI.net: Do you interact much with the cast?
Rick: Not as much as I would like to. They're all great people, and I interact with them a little bit. I played poker with, uh, with Duncan...er...I'm forgetting his real name.
Rick: Teddy, thank you. Teddy Dunn. Which was a good time. It was kind of weird. I was still new, and like, "Wow. There's the actor who's on this national show. And we're in his apartment playing poker." [both chuckle]
MI.net: Can you describe your coworkers in one word? You can start with Rob.
Rick: Rob. Blows my mind.
MI.net: Who are some of the other people that you work with?
Rick: There's Alfred Sole. He's my production designer.
MI.net: And how would you describe him?
MI.net: Can you do the cast members? I'm not sure how much you interact with them.
Rick: I would, but I don't feel I interact with them enough to really know anything about them. I did get to meet...name, name...Tina. Majorino? It was great because I'm a big fan of Napoleon Dynamite. And when I found out that she was going to be on the show, my friends and I, Boyd Lung, the swing guy, we were like, "Hey, why don't we draw her a liger and bring it down to her?" So I drew a liger. I found one, an image of a liger that Napoleon draws on the Internet, and I drew my own. It looked pretty close. All child-like. It was tough drawing like that simplistic style. And I gave it to her, [high girly voice] "Oh my god, it's great!" So we have a signed liger by her.
MI.net: That's cool.
MI.net: Rob, have you seen his Maui Wowie photo?
Rick: There's a Maui Wowie photo of him?
MI.net: Yeah, he's wearing a grass hula skirt.
Rick: Oh, no. I need to see that. Has his wife seen it?
MI.net: I'm assuming so. Diane uses it for her screensaver.
MI.net: We can email it to you or send you the link.
Rick: Sweet, I'd love to see a picture of that. Maybe I'll put it on my desktop the next time he comes down for a scout. So he works up in L.A., right?
MI.net: Yeah. That's all the questions we had.
Rick: Sweet. Oh, just to get you guys salivating more, there's a full, professionally made yearbook that was the wrap gift last year.
Rick: With all the cast pictures and behind-the-scenes stuff. I designed that. It looked like a real school yearbook.
MI.net: Wow, that's cool.
[Editor's note: What I really meant to say was, "Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie."]
Rick: If you guys see one floating around, you should check it out.
MI.net: So you designed it yourself?
Rick: Yeah, that was a 100-hour work week. It was real rough. I think I even got sick after that. "Well, my body doesn't want to do this."
MI.net: That's about it. Thank you for doing this.
Rick: No problem, and I'll work harder at making sure I've crossed my t's and dotted my i's when it comes to props.
MI.net: If I see stuff on the boards, should I e-mail it to you? "Oh, that's a great prop." "Oh, he didn't do that right."
Rick: Sure, I'd love to hear it. Both positive and negative criticism.
MI.net: Most of it is positive. Everyone's impressed with the sets and props.
Rick: Cool. I'm glad I make people happy through art.
And that concludes our interview with the Veronica Mars graphics guy. Thanks, Rick, for taking the time to do this interview. We love all the background props and it was a blast talking to the guy who creates them.
If Rick added all these extra little details last season when he didn't know the fans were paying attention, we can't wait to see what he will do this season when he knows that we are. On your mark. Get set. Pause.