By Ryan Sy
The streets of Wall Township might not paved with gold, but a former Wall Township Public Schools’ student who grew up on them helped to land some Oscar gold on Sun., Feb. 24.
Sean McDermott did the set design for “Skin,” which won for being the best live-action short film.
McDermott graduated Old Mill Elementary School and Wall Intermediate before going onto Christian Brothers Academy for high school. He was a Wall resident until the fall of 2016 when he moved to Los Angeles.
“It so happened that I was working on that set or that shoot and it is a cool little thing, my little claim to fame and it looks good on my IMDb profile,” McDermott said.
McDermott’s involvement in an Oscar-winning film extends a notable streak over the past two years when former Wall students have been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and an Emmy Award.
“That is an incredible honor for a film and its cast and crew, and a very hard feat to achieve. I am so proud of him,” said Wall High School graduate Ryan Hutchins, a former classmate of McDermott at the Intermediate School and a director working in LA. “Sean and I go back to when we were both at the Intermediate School. We both had a passion for film and so we became great friends and started making videos to put on YouTube together.”
McDermott and Hutchins both went to film school together before they ended up in LA. They also work together for AwesomenessTV on a bunch of different projects.
“Skin” tackles the tough topic of racism in America. McDermott worked on the set in a key role in keeping all of the props together and making sure they were clean and in pristine condition so they were able to be used during filming. Having clean and intact props is important because the budget for the film might be small and cannot afford to buy more props if something gets damaged.
“My job was to maintain props and, specifically, what the actors handle, things like a gun, paper, pens and whatever they touch, I make sure they get organized and do not get lost,” McDermott said.
The success of “Skin,” and McDermott’s contribution toward it has helped them earn much-deserved attention.
“Most things you work on out here you do not see most of the stuff that you do,” he said. “I only saw the movie once because they did a special screening for the cast and their families.”