They are young and they are restless, but they are also very well dressed! From Dolce & Gabbana to Mossimo, Moschino and Armani, the array of high-end fashion labels in the wardrobe department of Y&R is impressive. With rows and rows of clothing racks four tiers high and towering floor-to-ceiling shelves full of shoes and purses, it is the ultimate walk-in closet. As fashion plate "Nikki Newman," Melody Thomas Scott says, "My character never wears the same thing twice! You're never gonna see it again!"
With that kind of selection, choosing what to wear requires a team effort. "Jennifer Johns, our costume designer goes out and brings back the choices for each scene," says Scott, "and then we have a fitting and mutually decide what we like."
Some of the items worn on the show are the actor's personal pieces. Most, though, are bought from the fashion meccas like Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard. And no, these designer duds are not available for sale! But from wardrobe to special effects and makeup we were able to get access to it all.
Makeup artist Patti Denney does both the beauty and the special effects makeup for Y&R. "I would say maybe at least once a year, we have something serious happen on the show." On the day of our visit, she is simulating the effects of a severe beating on actor Greg Rikaart, who's character Kevin Fisher has been beaten in prison.
Working from continuity photos, Denney dabs color on Rikaart's face and bruises seem to materialize. Another dab and a piece of tape, and "Kevin" has a laceration on his forehead. With the help of prosthetics, Greg even has realistically swollen black eyes.
Once Patti is done creating "Kevin's" cuts and bruises, it's time for another "serious incident," and it's one that requires Y&R's special effects team as well as a professional stunt man. Greg's character is setting himself on fire while in protective custody in the hospital. "Kevin is desperately trying to maneuver a way to not have to go back to prison," explains Rikaart, "because he is so fearful about what might happen to him."
Along with an enormous workshop that boasts tools and lumber of all sizes, there is a special effects shop. Here, the special effects technicians are playing with fire, using different types of fuels to create different colors and intensities for their flames. Once they have their formula, it's back to the set.
After a warning to everyone in the studio to be "on their game," so that the scene can be shot safely and efficiently, the director calls for quiet and the rehearsing begins. Once it has been carefully blocked and run through a couple of times, the cameras finally roll and Rikaart tapes his part of the scene.
Finally, the stunt double takes Greg's place. Before there can be flames, though, a special fire resistant gel has to applied all over the stunt double, who is also wearing protective clothing underneath the hospital gown and robe the character is wearing. When it comes time to light the fire, the scenes are shot carefully so that the flailing, flaming body in the final scene matches up with Rikaart's movements captured earlier.
It takes three attempts, and each time, the stunt man has to change into a dry version of the character's hospital gown and bandages. Nearly two hours later, it's a wrap. The director's voice booms from somewhere above, "We're good. Good, good." The crew applauds as the safety crew standing by steps in and extinguishes the flames on the stunt double one last time.
All in a Hollywood day's work.