Ask production designer Maria Djurkovic how she researched period-accurate sets for the late 1970s-set espionage miniseries “The Little Drummer Girl,” which airs on AMC, and she answers: books, the internet, some personal experience. But then she brings up her secret weapon: Philip Clark.
“Phil is something like a detective,” she says. “He can respond to a very specific brief, and my inbox will soon be filled with thousands of images that are appropriate. He has a skill of tracking everything down.”
It may take a village to shoot a TV series, but historically based shows such as “Drummer Girl,” Starz’s “The Spanish Princess,” FX’s “Fosse/Verdon,” History’s “Vikings,” Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle” and PBS Masterpiece’s “Victoria” rarely get very far without some added know-how.
It’s these outside experts who make the shows historically believable. But even though their work is invaluable, their compensation is as varied as the shows themselves — and clouded by blurry distinctions between the rights of authors and the public domain.