On the sets of the third season of "The Boys", courtesy of Jeff Mossa.

Production design of “The Boys” – interview with Jeff Mossa

September 8th, 2022
On the sets of the third season of "The Boys", courtesy of Jeff Mossa.

Irreverent, at times depraved, and always provocative, “The Boys” is a masterful exercise in social, political and pop culture satire that does not shy away from shining a light at the darkest corners of the present-day discourses are galvanizing our society. Continuing the ongoing series of interviews with creative artists working on various aspects of movie and TV productions, it is my delight to welcome Jeff Mossa. In this interview, he talks about balancing the art and the craft in the field of visual storytelling, breaking away from the constraints of traditional television in the ever-evolving world of episodic and streaming productions, and the impact the global pandemic has had on the industry. In between all these and more, Jeff talks about his work on the third season of “The Boys”.

Kirill: Please tell us about yourself and the path that took you to where you are today.

Jeff: When I was in elementary school and middle School watching “Star Wars” and eventually “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, I was fascinated by all of the visuals and the special effects. Back then we only had three channels of television, and they would occasionally have these primetime specials where they would show you behind-the-scenes or the making-of whatever it was, and I had watched a primetime special that was concentrating mostly on Industrial Light & Magic. They were covering some of their work for “Star Wars” movies as Indiana Jones and probably “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, and I was glued to it.

I always had a talent for drawing and art, so I was drawing “Star Wars” characters and all that sort of stuff. I was fascinated by Indiana Jones, and wanted to be Indiana Jones – but of course I’m not a swashbuckling archaeologist. I remember watching this one particular episode and I said to my mom at the end of it that I would love to do that. IL&M at the time was all about miniatures, things like AT-ATs for “The Empire Strikes Back”. I grew up in central Massachusetts in the middle of a very small town. We didn’t even go to Boston very often, even though that was a relatively close city, so my childhood was pretty sheltered. When I said to my mom that I would love to do that sort of thing, it didn’t occur to me that it would even be an option to consider pursuing that industry.

When my mom heard that, she said “Why don’t you?” I probably said something along the lines that I wouldn’t even know where to start, and she said “Well, somebody’s going to do it” and I’ll never forget that. I was in 7th grade at the time, and that’s where my path has started. My brother is four years older than me, and he was a high schooler at the time. He was a dancer at a variety show that they put on at the all-boys Catholic school. They didn’t have a drama club or anything like that, but they would put on a Spring Spectacular every year. I’d go watch my brother and he’d dance, and then the lights would go down and all these guys come out, and they were in black t-shirts and black pants and they’re moving stuff around in the dark.

That’s what I was fascinated with – watching them move the stuff around in the dark. Eventually I went to that same high school he went to and then I became part of that stage crew. I worked on that stage crew for four years, eventually designing all the sets for those shows, knowing that what I wanted to ultimately do was work in a film. I had a guidance counselor there when it was time for us to start applying to colleges, but I didn’t know him that well. He knew that I had designed the sets, and one day in the hallway he asked me which school I was applying to.

He asked me about Boston University and I said that it wasn’t on my list. And then he told me that they had a great theater program and that I should apply, so I did. I got accepted into their conservatory-style theater design program. Now theater wasn’t where I wanted to go, but there’s not really a lot of great undergraduate design programs for film or television, so I ended up going to Boston University.

It was a very competitive program. We started as a group of about 22 designers, and by the end of four years there was four of us who graduated. It was an intensive program, and it was very good for me. I came out of there with a lot of skills. It was the first time that I had had any sort of formal artistic training or teaching. I was doing theater shows and I enjoyed doing the theater, but I still was focused on doing film and television.

So when I graduated, I packed my car and I drove across the country to Los Angeles. I knew nobody there and I had nowhere to stay, so I stayed in a youth hostel for a couple weeks. I never wavered on what I wanted to do, and I ended up getting a job at the UCLA Theater Department as a painter, which eventually introduced me to some graduate students who were working there. They were my age, they were in the film program there and they were assisting designers, and I ended up working with them assisting designers – and the rest is history.

On the sets of the third season of “The Boys”, courtesy of Jeff Mossa.

Kirill: How has the transition of the industry from film to digital been for you?

Jeff: I graduated in the early ’90s, and the first show that I did that was digital was about 16 years ago. At the time we were still doing a lot of film, so I did that and then we went back to film. I would say really it’s only in the past 10 years that it’s been almost all digital.

I don’t know that digital has really affected what we do in the design world that much. I started working in features largely for the first 10 years, and there was one thing that was impressed upon me very early. If you’re in a movie theater and you’re standing in front of a 40-foot or a 70-foot wide screen, at some point you know they’re going to do an insert. You know somebody’s going to be dialing a phone and we’re going to do a shot of that, and then it’s going to be on the screen. That phone is going to be eight feet tall on the screen – which is very much the opposite of what I would do in theater. When I was in theater in college, your audience is 30-50 feet away. You are making things more contrasty, more loose, less precise on purpose because they can’t see the details, and so you have to do broader strokes.

When I started doing films, it became very micro at times. This was before digital was a thing, but I think because I had that training initially, that part of it hasn’t really changed for me.

What has changed dramatically is the ability to shoot in low light, the ability to light sets with practical fixtures more so than movie lights. I’d say this is particularly true in the last 7-8 years that I have a little bit more hand and a little bit more influence in how the sets are lit. I do a lot of built-in lighting into sets, and so I end up working a little more closely with the director of photography and the gaffer then I might have prior to the digital age. Back then they had to use a lot more high-powered lights to expose the film. We would put a practical lamp on stage and then they would support it with a light off stage. They still do that sometimes, but now they can actually use the practical lamp that we put in there as their main source of light. That’s probably the biggest change for me.

On the sets of the third season of “The Boys”, courtesy of Jeff Mossa.

Kirill: Between finding the right artistic expression to convey a certain story point and the technical solution for it, do you think one of them is more important than the other?

Jeff: It’s situational. When I think of the technical aspect, I think of tools. I still do a lot of hand drawing myself, and I draw a lot of concept sketches with pencil – but obviously we have 3D modeling programs we work with as well. I bring that up because I think there’s a parallel there. For the execution, you have many tools at your disposal and the methodology is a craft. Getting good at being a carpenter and knowing how to use the right tools, for instance, that’s developing your craft. But actually coming up with what you’re building, that’s the creativity. There are some brilliant carpenters who are executing somebody else’s idea. There are also some brilliant carpenters who are coming up with all of these ideas on their own. They’re doing inlays, they’re doing furniture of their own – so I separate those two things.

I think that creative is more important. The craft is important, obviously, but if I’m to pick one or the other, I’m going with the creative. The source of the idea and the basic piece of storytelling that you’re trying to convey at the time is where you start. Of course, you want to execute it well, and that’s where the craft comes in, but if the idea is not good, it doesn’t matter how well you execute it. If you design a ugly building, it doesn’t matter if you have the best contractor in the world, the finest painters and the finest carpenters. It’s still going to end up an ugly building.

So in that regard, the creative is important. Now you can have a brilliant idea, but the craftsman is not as good, and it’s not executed to its potential. There’s that obviously as well. Hopefully you have a good creative idea, and you have great craftsmen and tools to bring it all together.

Kirill: There’s a lot of people involved in these productions. Do you want to keep an open mind and hear what everybody has to say, or do you find that sometimes there’s such a thing as too many ideas?

Jeff: Or too many cooks in the kitchen. Every show is different, and certainly I find myself in situations at times where I might get frustrated because I feel like there’s too many ideas.

I worked on a television show a few years ago that had four main writers. They were all brilliant writers, and they all had great ideas, and they were all so interested in including each other almost to a fault at times so that we couldn’t actually land on a choice. I might present them two or three concepts for a set. One person liked this one, the other person liked that one, the other person liked two of these, and then they go back and forth, and sometimes we ended up in this endless loop of not being able to decide in a timely manner because there are so many voices.

That’s when I get frustrated with it, but I don’t think that’s the norm. The collaboration is key, and the best part of the collaboration is when I have an idea and my collaborator makes my idea better. And then they have an idea, and maybe I have an idea to make their idea better. It’s a back and forth, and you’re feeding off of each other – and that always produces a superior product, certainly when you’re in film or television where it has to be collaborative.

On the sets of the third season of “The Boys”, courtesy of Jeff Mossa.

Kirill: Speaking of film and television, it used to be an almost impassable divide between the two. And nowadays in the world of so many episodic and streaming productions, it feels to me that the more interesting storytelling has shifted away from the world of feature film.

Jeff: A thousand percent. If you ask me, the majority of the good writing is in television right now. I got into what I do because of movies. But if I asked anybody right now to name me the five best movies of the past five years, I think everybody’s going to take a pause. They’re going to think about it, it’s going to take them a while, and they’re going to go “Well, maybe this one or maybe that one” and I think when I was a kid, people would have been able to rattle that off quickly. The ’80s were a golden age of imagination and fantasy films.

Now, if I asked you to name me ten television series that are brilliant that came out in the past two years, I think most people would be hard-pressed to narrow it down. I think that they would be able to give me fifteen. I have a couple of theories on why that’s the case, but the most prevailing reason is not being wedged into specific time frames and selling commercials, and network slots, and amounts of episodes in the streaming world in particular.

When you’re not constrained by those things, the storytelling becomes much more like a book. When you read a book, one chapter might be five pages and the next chapter might be twenty. Traditionally when we’re watching a movie, we expect we’re going to be in that seat for 90 minutes if it’s a comedy. Maybe if it’s a big budget action film or a drama, we’re expecting to be in the seat for two hours. And if we know right off the bat we’re going to sit down for more than two hours, people are talking about it. Mentally, we’ve constrained ourselves into it, and therefore the fundamental reason why most movies don’t live up to the book at all is because you’re trying to fit a pretty large story arc into two hours. It’s tricky. It’s a little bit of a square peg and round hole problem.

Now you have streaming television where the deeper we go, the more the rules break down – as they should. An episode of a particular show may be an hour, it may be forty minutes, it may be an hour and ten minutes. Episode one of whatever series might be 47 minutes, and episode two is 53, and episode three is 70 minutes – and this is a good thing, because it allows you to more closely mimic what is brilliant about books. Then each episode becomes a chapter. Whether you’re doing six episodes, eight, ten or twelve, you have much more leeway to develop characters and story properly.

The deeper we get into the streaming, the better it is for the story. I’m working on a show now where we’ve got one script that’s 44 pages that’s supposed to be one episode. Typically it’s a page a minute, so you’re saying that this episode’s only going to be 44 minutes. It probably won’t be, it’ll probably be like 52. And the script before that was 61 pages, but it’s good.

Before the age of streaming and when it was all network, and everything had to be 42 minutes because we had to account for commercials. Sometimes the writers were stuck on adding two more pages even when the storyline is nice and concise and it worked, but it wasn’t long enough. Or they really need a couple more minutes, but the network won’t allow it, so they ended up cutting a couple minutes of crucial material out, and then it begins to be a little choppy. I hope the rules become less and less the rules as we get along. I hope we have shows that go three episodes, and that we have another show that goes thirteen – whatever makes sense for the story.

On the sets of the third season of “The Boys”, courtesy of Jeff Mossa.

Kirill: Speaking about the rules, it feels like “The Boys” is breaking literally every single rule in the traditional book, if you will. There are no clear-cut heroes or villains. And there’s certainly a lot of uncomfortable sequences that I don’t think any show in this genre has dared to go even close to. I wouldn’t even call it a genre-bending show, but rather a rule-breaking one.

Jeff: For sure, and I think that’s what appealed to me about it. I typically will seek out shows that are starting fresh. I don’t generally like to come in mid-way, but I was a fan of the show.

It definitely breaks a lot of rules, and there are certainly things about it that are shocking and might make a viewer uncomfortable. But it’s not shocking for shock value sake, which I think is really tricky to do. I think that’s the brilliance of the writers of “The Boys” and Eric Kripke. It’s not just about shock value, it’s not just about one-upping what was previously done. It’s over the top because in general it’s satire, and satire needs to be over the top.

I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to work on something where you do start to feel like all the rules are gone and everything is fair game. What we’re going to see on the screen might have been a problem for standard of practices before, and maybe we’re still going to talk about it because it’s on streaming. Does it serve the story? I think one could argue that all the shocking things that happened in “The Boys” serve the story, and are not just there for gratuitous shock value.

Credits to the original comic that it’s based on, which of course it’s diverted from quite a bit, but credits to those guys who came up with the original comic and to Eric Kripke and the writers team. I don’t know that there would have been a better person to take that material and turn it into a TV show than Eric. He’s done it in a super smart way.

Kirill: Would you say that it’s also the perfect time for it in terms of how polarized the country is, and how much satire you can push for?

Jeff: It certainly seems that way. I almost wonder if maybe it was a year earlier, it might even have been better. With what has been going on in our country politically, it’s so perfect. You have this comic that you can be inspired by, and then you also have these real life characters – and I’m not even going to call them people, but real life characters – in our politics that fit into this world seamlessly. So you can cross-pollinate those personalities. You’re able to create this completely fantastic, fictitious world which is also completely grounded in our real world.

The most brilliant thing is we have this very contentious political climate and the show delves into it with the superheroes, and you have fans of this show from all spectrums. It has such a range of fans, you see what different people see in it. There are people out there who don’t understand that Homelander is a villain [laughs]. It’s fascinating, and I think even Eric Kripke is surprised by it. He tweeted one day about people that don’t realize that Homelander is a villain.

I also did Season 7 of “American Horror Story” which was similarly based around the political climate at the time. It’s interesting when you can do allegory about the modern day.

On the sets of the third season of “The Boys”, courtesy of Jeff Mossa.

Kirill: You said that you joined the show for its third season, and it looks like you’ve had your hands full with all the new sets, like the TV studio for the “American Hero” show, the flashback to the CIA operation in Central America, the Russian facility, etc. How much time did you have in prep?

Jeff: First of note, Arv Greywal who was the production designer for Season 2 passed away after he began early prep for Season 3. It was very early on in prep, but he had started some of the work. Some of the things that you see on the screen in Season 3 are a combination – and in episode one you’ll see both of our names in the titles.

The news station had some pretty good sketches already done by the time I came on. As we got deeper into the season, we had to add to it, but I was really working off of Arv’s work there. They had a full Art Department up and working, then Arv passed and he was of course part of their work family. They didn’t know what to do and they had to keep prepping. I think the Art Department worked without a designer, and the two great art directors there kept everything afloat for about four weeks before I came aboard. After I came in we had about seven or eight weeks. So overall the prep was about 12-14 weeks of which I was there for maybe two-thirds.

Then of course we’re continually prepping as we’re shooting as well. A big set takes something like 2-4 weeks to develop a concept, and then you have to get into the the actual nitty-gritty of drawing it and constructing it. I started on the show in November of 2020, and we finished in September 2021. I was on it for 10 months for eight episodes of television.

Kirill: How was that affected by Covid? Did you feel that you were slowing down significantly?

Jeff: It definitely affected us. Right off the bat, coming from Los Angeles to Toronto at the time, they were not allowing anybody across the border. So the production had to get special permission and a work permit for me to be able to come, and then once I got there I had to quarantine for 14 days. We got into prep and then the Christmas and New Year’s holiday hit, so they sent me home, and then I had to come back in January and quarantine for another 14 days.

There was a small amount of us Americans working on the show, and most of the crew was Canadian. They built that into the schedule, and they also built in longer shooting times because they knew that the virus was going to slow us down. I think we had extra 4-6 days per episode for filming.

There was a limit on how many people you could have on set at any given point in time. If we were shooting at interior or on location, we would have to measure the square footage and the studio would only let us have so many people per square foot. Everybody still had to wear masks, everybody was getting tested every day, so you had to make time for that. It affected everything.

When we filmed VoughtLand, we were only allowed to have 50 actors in the park where we shot it in Ontario. We were outside, but still we were only allowed to have 50 people. And 50 people in a theme park does not look like a lot of people, so they ended up having to add some VFX. It was constantly a concern. How big is this location we’re going into? We can’t shoot here because we have five actors in this scene and we’re going to need five actors and two cameramen but that exceeds the limit, so now we have to find another place. Sometimes we had to build a set simply because we knew if we were building a set, we could pull a wall away and shoot it on stage, and we can have more people there.

On the sets of the third season of “The Boys”, courtesy of Jeff Mossa.

Kirill: Did you build that CIA camp? Was it built somewhere close to the conditions portrayed for that Central American location?

Jeff: Imagine being in Toronto in February [laughs], and it’s snowing quite a bit. You’re having to go out on a scout with your location manager to find something that looks like Central America. This is what I had to do with Drazen Baric our location manager. I’m looking at these places, imagining the trees full of leaves, and imagining what we could bring in and what we could do with VFX.

We shot it in a park that was about 40 minutes outside of Toronto. We brought in a lot of tropical greens and all the tents. It was quite the undertaking. We built a whole village there. I think anybody would be surprised how little VFX had to do in there. It was largely practical. All the stunts were practical, all the explosions were practical. VFX put the helicopter going overhead, but we were able to bring enough tropical plants that looks pretty convincing, didn’t it?

Kirill: Probably water spray everybody to make them look sweaty.

Jeff: Oh yeah, although given that it is the Northeast, it was hot and humid when we were shooting it anyways [laughs]. We started scouting in February, and shot around July. It was pretty hot.

Kirill: Speaking of practical vs VFX, was there a single live octopus on set?

Jeff: There was never a live one. There were puppets that were made. We has this amazing octopus made out of food gelatin by one of the food stylists for when The Deep has to eat Timothy.

Kirill: How do these decisions get made, what is done practically, what is done as a prop, and what is done in VFX?

Jeff: It’s a moving meter, depending on what effect you’re talking about. We had a team build us a puppeteered octopus, but it’s really tricky. No matter how good your craftsmen are, it’s hard to get the movement and the right level of glycerin on an octopus’s skin. And if you get that, the actors still need something to react to. In that particular case, quite a lot of energy, time, and money was spent on building puppeteered tentacles and pieces of the octopus, and then ultimately it was decided that it needed to be VFX to make it look convincing.

And then there are other things where you try to do it as practical as possible, because sometimes the visual effects don’t look as convincing.

The explosion in New York when Soldier Boy is walking through and hears the music, and blanks out, explodes and destroys that building – that was a combination. Obviously that giant hole in the building was VFX. You look at the financial and the practical side of it, but also the time. Time sometimes is key. Sometimes you have less time than you have money.

Those decisions are always very situational. I will do them as much practically as I possibly can. Sometimes the VFX folks get rushed in post, and it goes back to the time budget issue. I think that they aren’t afforded the time they need, and sometimes what comes out is not always what we wanted. I worked on a show years ago where we’re supposed to be in a two-story house, but we could only find a one-story house in the neighborhood we were filming. We conceptualized how we would make this house look like a two-story house, so our art department build a 3D model of the second floor. We sent it to the VFX, and at the end of the day somebody decided, long into the post process, that they weren’t going to spend the money for it. So when it hit the airwaves, it was just a single story house.

I very much try to do as much practically as I can. I did the first season of “9-1-1” which is the Ryan Murphy show on Fox, and people don’t believe what we did practically. We had a jumper jump off a 125 foot shipping crane, and we did that for real with the cameras 125 feet in the air. But “The Boys” obviously needs a certain amount of VFX. People don’t fly [laughs], and some things needed to be augmented. I would say that most of the things done in VFX did start with some real practical effect, and then was enhanced from there.

Production design of the third season of “The Boys” by Jeff Mossa.

Kirill: The house that we see in the Herogasm party, did it exist or did you build it?

Jeff: Both. That is a house that exists on the outskirts of Toronto. And the section where Homelander and Butcher and Soldier Boy have their big fight, and then Homelander flies out of the skylight – that’s all a built set. We found the house first, and then designed the set to go with it.

Similarly with the Russian bedroom, there was actually a scene that we shot on location that didn’t make the cut. We found a mansion that would serve well with all kinds of crazy marble, and then we had to build that bedroom because we had so much stunt work and so much blood flying around. Also then the Russian lab was a lot built inside a practical location.

Kirill: Does it become easier with time to build props for such sets where you can 3D print some objects, or do fine grained wallpapers and textured elements?

Jeff: That technology has definitely afforded us the ability to do things that we couldn’t do before. The chamber that Soldier Boy comes out of in the Russian lab – that was all designed as a three-dimensional model, and then we sculpted it with a five axis head CNC machine out of foam, and then hard-coated it. We did a similar thing for Homelander’s birthday party. There are these big statues of Homelander, and we did those with that technology as well. Then outside of the main conference room where all the superheroes get together, we added this year some big architectural elements outside the windows – which was Homelander holding up the rest of the building. All those were done by initially as 3D models, and then cut by the machine and then hard-coated.

Similarly, we can print wallpapers, which is great if we’re doing period flashback stuff. If my memory serves correctly, when Mindstorm puts Butcher into a trance, and Butcher flashes back and dreams about his childhood home, I think that the wallpaper we used in the kitchen was something we printed in order to get that vintage European look. A lot of times we work on timelines that are much crazier and faster than real world timelines. You may find this great wallpaper, but it’s going to take five weeks to get it here from Italy or wherever, but I don’t have five weeks. I have five days, so we end up designing something.

On the sets of the third season of “The Boys”, courtesy of Jeff Mossa.

Kirill: I recently read an interview with the showrunner and he said that he comes from the world of the more traditional television where you don’t stretch a storyline across multiple episodes, where every episode has to pack some punch. And this season certainly looked like you had a lot of punch packed into every single episode.

Jeff: We had stuff that we conceptualized that either got cut for story or cut for money, because that always happens. We shot this in blocks which is an ongoing trend now. You don’t hire a director for just one episode. You hire a director for a block of two episodes, and so instead of eight directors we have four directors each doing a block of two episodes.

So we were doing blocks, each block as its own mini-feature. We cross-schedule and try to consolidate things. Each one of those blocks had a major set piece and maybe a minor piece as well. So that major set piece would take up a good chunk of our budget and take up a big chunk of our time. Going back to what I said earlier, sometimes time is the biggest constraint that we have. We had to be smart about it.

If we have this big set piece that is the Russian lab, for instance. I need time, my crews need time. You start scheduling it with the assistant directors. You ask for it to be put towards the end of the schedule because it’s going to take 2.5 weeks to get all the design work done, and it’s going to take them another 5 weeks to get all the construction work done and get it all in. Now we’re 8 weeks away, whereas a smaller location or another set might take only 2 weeks of prep.

All the episode blocks had their big elements. If you look at the season as an arc, you’ll find this thing in the first two episodes, and this other thing in the next two, etc. That’s not to say there weren’t other things that were big. Unfortunately for me, you don’t even see half the things that we did. Some of the really big elements didn’t make it into the final cut.

On the sets of the third season of “The Boys”, courtesy of Jeff Mossa.

Kirill: Now that the season is over and you’re a little bit removed from it, is there such a thing as your favorite set?

Jeff: My favorite set from “The Boys” Season 3 is the set that we’ve built where the Herogasm fight took place. The house that we riffed off of was very interesting, and I’m pleased with the way that set turned out to be. We had a great team working on designing all the little details. One draftsman did a great job on every little detail. If you look at my website, you will see that this set is sort of “my thing.”

Kirill: If you go back in time to when you started, knowing what you know now – the stress, the long hours, being away from your family and friends for long stretches of time, but also the enjoyment and the satisfaction that you get out of it – would you still make the same choice to join it?

Jeff: I would still make the choice to join it. I certainly did not know what I was getting into. What you allude to in terms of the stress and the hours and being away – all of that is a very real part of the job, which is not always great. I was away for ten months in Canada when I was doing the show, six of which – because of Covid – I was not able to see my family at all.

Having said that, we all make choices in this industry. We’re all basically Gypsies. You can make a choice not to do a particular show if you want to spend more time with your family. I made an active choice when I got home from “The Boys” that if I didn’t get the right project, I wasn’t going to work for the rest of the year. It was middle of September, and I thought I can take the rest of the year off if I wanted to. A few projects came across my desk, and I was going to do this one and I was going to do that one, and the schedule didn’t work out, and then I didn’t work for the rest of the year. I spent a lot of time with my family, and that was great.

On the sets of the third season of “The Boys”, courtesy of Jeff Mossa.

It is something I had no idea of when I was headed towards this business. There’s a lot of long hours, and there is a lot of stress, and for me the reward is still there. I watched this season of “The Boys”, and I want to go watch it again. I was excited. I love working on projects that I want to watch. The writing is so good, and the performances are so good, and I’m proud to have been part of it. I am proud to show off the work.

In general, the process for me of starting to scribble something on a piece of paper, and then I’d show that idea it to a couple of people, and they like it, and then I’m able to take that initial idea and start working on it with a bigger team. This person starts drawing the construction drawings for me, and then this person starts building the set, and then these people start painting the set – and this little idea that I had on this paper becomes this real thing that I can walk through, and with these amazing craftsmen having contributed to it. It’s something I get to do every day. And along with that come a lot of annoying stressful things. It’s like birthing a baby every couple of weeks. There’s a magic to it that I don’t think will ever get old for me.

Kirill: And jumping back in time again, if you could tell your younger self to not worry about one thing, what would that thing be?

Jeff: If I could tell myself my younger self what not to worry about, it would be not to worry about what everybody thinks of you and your work. When you’re starting out, especially in a collaborative business, you’re acutely aware that all eyes are judging you. I think for my younger self, I felt like I had to fit into what I projected as their expectations of me at times. But I don’t think that’s the case.

My advice to younger people is to be true to yourself. It’s still a collaborative art. You’re still not working in a vacuum, you’re still not working by yourself, so it’s not like you can just stay narrowly focused and insist on your way of doing things. You still have to collaborate, but embracing who you are and what you bring is important. People starting in their career, and I certainly did that, you lose sight of that at times.

Production design of the third season of “The Boys” by Jeff Mossa.

And here I’d like to thank Jeff Mossa for taking the time to talk with me about the art and craft of production design, and for sharing the supporting materials. “The Boys” is streaming on Amazon. And if you want to know more about how films and TV shows are made, click here for additional in-depth interviews in this series.