Choosing the right tech props for HBO’s “Silicon Valley” was key to giving the show an authentic feel.
Business Insider spoke with production designer Richard Toyon about how they made important decisions about which characters used which gadgets.
After scoping out various tech company headquarters, Toyon says, “When I went to Facebook, the overwhelming weapon of choice was the MacBook Air. They were also everywhere at TechCrunch, probably 90% of the machinery we saw there was all Apple.”
Still, says Toyon, “The PC and the Android platforms are very present and many companies create for both of them, so we made sure we had a good balance.”
As for which characters worked on which computers, Toyon tells us, “We tried to ascribe accordingly of what their jobs were — so when you look at the Hacker House [where Richard, the main character, lives] certain people had Macs, certain people had PCs, and it was based on what their jobs were and what their requirements were for hardware.We did some research in terms of what they would use for particular jobs so we tried to make that as correct as possible.”
For example, the character “Gilfoyle” — a coder and security expert who protects the potentially revolutionary app at the center of the show — “
is a much more hands-on, hardware architecture guy, so his stuff was all created by hand,” explains Toyon.
“In other words, his central processing unit (CPU) he put together himself,” Toyon continues. “He also had this other CPU that is for coders. They have a really special operating system that is very modular, very coveted, and so Gilfoyle has one of those whereas the other guys have more off-the-shelf kind of stuff.”
As far as cell phones, “we used a variety of platforms,” says Toyon. “But there was a large Apple presence, we found that to be true by our own investigations, and Apple was very favourable to us in sending us equipment that we could use on set.”
With all of the Apple products used in the show, the company is quietly happy with the endorsement.
“I haven’t seen any formal response,” says Toyon. “But our prop master and our set decorator, who are the ones who deal with Apple, got a very positive response sent to them that said they’re on board for next season, so that was good!”
“Apple is not very verbose,” says Toyon, “so we will accept that email as success.”
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