In almost every interview that we do with actors from The Young and the Restless, there is invariably a mention of the show's crew -- and for good reason! While the actors are the ones who normally receive all the glory when it comes to viewer attention and love, the stars of the show wouldn't be able to do what they do without the help of an extremely talented team of people in behind-the-scenes positions.
For example, as beautiful as she is, Y&R character Sharon Newman (Sharon Case) just wouldn't look as stylish without the help of the hair and makeup team; Society might be a couple of plain walls and fluorescent lights without the talents of the set design team; and Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) wouldn't sound nearly as powerful if the employees from the sound team weren't there to filter out background noises. In essence, Y&R is the ultra-glamorous and wonderful show it is due in large part to its technical team members -- many of whom took home top honors at this year's Daytime Emmy Awards. In celebration of the hard work they do that rarely receives the attention it deserves, Soap Central caught up with many of Y&R's Emmy-winning technical team members to get the scoop on how what they do each day affects fans' viewing experience -- and how they feel about this year's Emmy experience.
As previously reported, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences implemented a lot of changes to this year's Emmy process, including the mandate that only "everyday" looks were allowed in the Outstanding Makeup and Outstanding Hairstyling categories. Needless to say, that was a big adjustment for the show's beauty teams!
Says head makeup artist Patti Denney, speaking on behalf of Y&R's Emmy-winning makeup team (which includes Kathy Jones, Marlene Mason, Laura Schaffer, Kelsey Collins, Robert Bolger), "It was a big change this year not being able to include special effects or injuries in our regular submission reel. The change was made in order to keep the submissions based on one type of makeup to have fairness in the voting process. Not every show has had special effects each year, and that type of work is attention grabbing on a different note."
As such, there is now a combined category called Outstanding Special Effects Costumes, Makeup, and Hairstyling, where Denney says "injuries, etc., can be submitted for consideration."
Denney and Y&R's makeup team obviously rose to the challenge of having the new Emmy rules, having nabbed this year's top honors in makeup. And the show's hair department did so, as well, with Regina Rodriguez sharing with Soap Central that the change has actually inspired her and the show's hairstyling team -- which also includes Adriana Lucio, Lauren Mendoza, Vanessa Bragdon, Dorchelle Stafford, and Jackie Zavala -- to work even harder.
"I will say that news from NATAS at first was a bit of a shock to me since I have done the hairstyling reel for the past few years and I've always tried to balance both everyday and special event shows," she says. "We had a lot of good period hairstyling last year that I was so very excited to submit with our regular reel, but with the new changes, those period hairstyling looks were placed in the Special Event category. The changes are understandable -- I always want people to feel like their work is being seen, and if people felt like their work wasn't getting represented, then by all means, change the rules. Change is good, and it will make us all perfect the everyday look to make it Daytime Emmy worthy!"
As for what material earned the Hairstyling team top honors at this year's Daytime Emmys, Adriana Lucio reveals that the hairstyling team submitted material from Kyle (Michael Mealor) and Lola's (Sasha Calle) wedding, as well as Lola's (Sasha Calle) bachelorette party at Society.
"No one does a wedding like Y&R, and the hairstyling team went above and beyond to make sure everyone was polished for the wedding," Lucio says, adding that the bachelorette party was also unique. "It featured so many different hair styles of our female cast members. I also think the new Society set makes everything look so glamorous."
Speaking of sets, Y&R had so many impressive sets this year -- Society, the Street Carnival, the Abbott Pool, Kyle and Lola's wedding -- it seems like it would have been impossible to narrow down which ones to submit. So how did that process go?
Says Y&R production designer David Hoffman, who also speaks on behalf of Y&R art director Jennifer Savala and the show's set decorators Jennifer Haybach, Justine Mercado, and Raquel Tarbet: "Each year, I ask all the members of the Art Department to give me a list of their favorite episodes and sets that they would like to submit -- with 260 episodes to choose from, it can be a challenge to review all that material in order to narrow down our submission to just 20 minutes from up to five episodes. Usually, we like to feature our new basic sets and then follow that up with what we felt were our most successful one-off sets, like this year's Street Carnival, the Abbott Pool, or Kyle and Lola's wedding. We also try to make sure that everyone's work on the team is equally represented by what we decide to submit, so that if we do win, everyone feels that they truly played a part in it."
The set that was featured in the submission reel clip that NATAS chose to share with the public was the Street Carnival, which was built for Y&R's July 4th episode last year.
"[That set] was a great deal of fun to put together," enthuses Hoffman. "As much as we love creating homes, offices, and businesses for our characters, it is always a welcome change to get to do something out of the box like a street carnival."
However, as one can imagine, creating an entire carnival on an indoor stage came with some challenges!
"While we have done similar type events in the past, this time we had the added challenge of fitting three full-sized carnival trailers onto our stage. Given the narrow corridors of our studio, we had real concerns that we could have miscalculated and gotten stuck with a 30-foot trailer lodged into one of the doorways!" Hoffman shares. "But all the careful planning by our team paid off, and after a few nail-biting moments, we had all the biggest elements in place, and then the real fun was able to begin: dressing out the carnival tents with all the prizes and traditional games of chance everyone knows and loves, like ring toss, baseball throws, and balloon darts. The functioning popcorn and cotton candy machines also turned out to be a favorite of the cast and crew, as well, and I'm sure that more than one person decided to skip dinner that evening after feasting on carnival cuisine all day!"
Now that we've covered what fans can see on Y&R, it's time to delve into what fans hear. The CBS soap took home the Emmy Award in Live and Direct to Tape Sound Mixing, which is a category many viewers probably don't understand. Luckily, Y&R production mixer Andrzej Warzocha was happy to explain it to Soap Central -- along with info on the material that earned the team this year's Emmy win.
"First of all, we aim to capture the best possible dialogue from our actors. From there, we dress things up with music and sound effects to make our episodes as close to a film-like experience as possible," he shares, speaking on behalf of the team that also includes post-production mixer Dean Johnson; boom operators Mark Mooney, Ricky Alverez, Joseph Lawrence, and Thomas Luth; and RF operators Denise Palm Stones and Marisa Garcia. "[We] chose our Halloween show for the Daytime Emmy submission. This show had a good variety of scenes which highlighted our audio capabilities, and we worked extremely hard to make it as good as possible."
Being that sound mixing is a tough category to understand, we decided to get a little scoop from Warzocha about some of the surprising or perhaps entertaining elements of the audio team's job. For instance, does the team ever have to edit snot sounds out of crying scenes?
"Indeed!" Warzocha reveals. "In crying scenes, the snot sounds are always louder than the dialogue. Every single snot sound has to be edited out or lowered in volume. Another interesting fact: in scenes where we have applause over dialogue, it is always better to add applause in post, as it's extremely hard to get claps out of a dialogue track. At the same time actors always put their hearts into their claps and clap loud -- but this is a time where less is more!"
Another area where less can sometimes be more is in hairstyling for certain characters. Regina Rodriquez explains, "If Phyllis had a curled braided crown, people would wonder why, and it would distract from the scene, since it's just not Phyllis," she explains. "So, as much as I like to stay current and always follow new trends, I also know which characters can wear those trends and which hairstyles would be completely out of character... For the actresses and actors that I style, I try to always keep it in character. It gives each character a uniqueness, and it makes them more real for the viewer."
No matter what job each of Y&R's Emmy-winning crew members might do, they all share one thing in common: they are all very much looking forward to getting back to work as soon as it's safe to do so.
"I definitely miss sharing stories and catching up with the people that we've all created a bond with," says Patti Denney, adding that in normal times, the hair and makeup room is usually the number one place on set where people connect. "The buzz in the makeup room is because it's a gathering place where people feel comfortable sharing what's going on in their lives. High energy is created due to the fact time is limited and everyone is keeping to a schedule."
Adds David Hoffman, "Our Y&R family is making preparations to return to production as soon as possible. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that what each of us does not only affects the health and well-being of those around us but of their families and loved ones, as well. As our viewers welcome the Newman, Abbott, Hamilton, and Winters families back into their homes this summer, I urge you all to remember that we are all in this together, and it is up to each and every one of us to do our part to keep our friends, neighbors, and families healthy and safe."
BONUS SECTION: Where will Y&R's technical team members keep their 2020 Emmy statues?
Patti Denney: The Emmy will start out on the console beneath the TV -- but it could make its way around the house!
Regina Rodriguez: I actually have this amazing shelf that I received from Gina Tognoni [ex-Phyllis Summers] that I use for my awards. It's my most favorite piece of furniture that I own!
Adriana Lucio: This is my tenth Daytime Emmy Award, and I'm so grateful for every one of my awards. I still need to purchase most of them. When I do, I will place it in my living room.
Andrezj Warzocha: I will keep my 2020 Emmy right next to my 2019 Emmy on a special shelf in my home studio.
David Hoffman: As I always like to say, this is a team award, and in that spirit, the statuette will find its home in the Y&R Art Department office.
What do you think about our interviews with Y&R's technical team members? Would you like to leave congratulations to Y&R's technical team for their much-deserved 2020 Daytime Emmy wins? Which elements of their various jobs surprise you the most? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.