Oral Histories

Interview of Ann Harris Hayes

Set designer, art director and fine arts painter who has worked on We Bought a Zoo, Six Feet Under, and many other productions.
The Crafts in Hollywood: Production Design
COVID-19 Pandemic
Film and Television
Biographical Note:
Set designer, art director and fine arts painter who has worked on We Bought a Zoo, Six Feet Under, and many other productions.
Collings, Jane
Harris Hayes, Ann
Persons Present:
Harris Hayes and Collings.
Place Conducted:
Sessions one and two: Harris Hayes' home in Los Angeles. Because of the necessity of restricting personal contact during the COVID-19 pandemic, the third session was conducted by phone.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Jane Collings, principal editor and interviewer, UCLA Center for Oral History Research; Ph.D., Critical Studies in Film and Television, UCLA.
Processing of Interview:
The interviewer prepared a timed log of the audio recording of the interview. Harris Hayes was given the opportunity to review the log in order to supply missing or misspelled names and to verify the accuracy of the content. The corrections made were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff. Harris Hayes provided the resume.Some months after the oral history interview was completed, the UCLA Center for Oral History Research recontacted Harris Hayes to invite her to participate in another interview session documenting the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the film and television industry. The final session thus focuses primarily on the personal, professional, and industry-wide effects of the pandemic.
3 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series of interviews was undertaken in collaboration with the Art Directors Guild. Its aim is to document the lives and work of Guild members and staff who have made a significant contribution to film and television history. Interviews capture the work of title artists, set designers, art directors, production designers, and many other categories. The contribution of labor unions in shaping the conditions of the work is also addressed.
Early life and education--Becomes a mother--Works as an interior designer--Sells her own art work--Has an interest in studying to become an architect, but is unable to pursue this direction--Begins work at Universal Studios--Benefits from pressure on studios to hire more women--The reporting structure and work routine in the are of production design at the time--Begins to freelance when the Universal art department is dissolved--Stephen J. Cannell Productions--The job duties of a set designer--Begins work as an art director.
Works on Edward Scissorhands--Works with Jackson De Govia on Sister Act--Changes in production method for pre-visualization illustrations ("previs")--The prevalence of accomplished artists in the art department at Universal--Training for set designers--Uses union availability lists and own network when seeking new work--Efforts to keep to a regular daily work schedule--Dante's Peak--The replacement of some set design work by computer-generated imagery (CGI)--Enjoys work on The General's Daughter for Paramount--Builds a small-scale Oval Office for The Thirteen Days--Own artistic work--Work on Martin Scorsese's Casino.
In the face of the COVID pandemic, begins taking precautions at home--Counts on a vaccine to resume traveling--Regularly eats at restaurants outdoors--Has found a seamstress who makes nice masks--Swims regularly outdoors--Husband works in an office setting--Works on a home improvement project--Disturbed by federal response to pandemic--Supports Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests--Husband starts a Change.org petition related to BLM--Hopes to see good health insurance coverage for all going forward.