Technical Theatre Student Works on FX Series

When The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story premieres on FX today (Wednesday, January 17), senior Technical Theatre major Savannah McComb will be watching and looking back on her role working on the show.

This past summer, McComb worked as a Production Assistant for the FX TV series, American Crime Story. She was hired for the upcoming season, which explores the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace by serial killer Andrew Cunanan.

woman working on set lights for one of her many productions
Savannah McComb working on set for one of her many productions.

Consisting of a total of nine episodes, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, is based on Maureen Orth’s book, Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History. It is the second season for the true crime anthology television series, following The People v. O.J. Simpson.  

As a Production Assistant, McComb helped the director and kept everyone and everything on set in order. On a normal day, she spent about 16 hours on set.

Her favorite part of the job was going on location to scout and pick out different areas of California near Los Angeles to be used as outdoor sets. She also enjoyed that every day involved something new. Each day meant new scenes being filmed, and scenes were often filmed out of order, which constantly kept her on her toes.

performers on stage, shows lighting design
An example of McComb's work in lighting design.

McComb spent several weeks in L.A. working with A-list celebrities like Ricky Martin, Penelope Cruz, and Darren Criss and with a top-level production team. However, this wasn’t her first time working with celebrities. In the past, she has worked on show lighting for major celebrities like Kanye West and Beyonce.

“Being able to work directly with such mainstream celebrities at such an early stage in my career is honestly a dream come true,” said McComb, adding that she liked how she was treated as an equal at FX and that everyone took her opinions seriously despite the fact that she was the youngest member of the crew.

McComb landed the job with FX simply by emailing one of the members of the crew and offering to help out. She never expected to get a job out of the email, so she was ecstatic when they offered her something better than she had asked for.

“It’s all about reaching out, even if you don’t know them personally,” she said, advising other students to: “Take a shot at it. Start a conversation. You never know what’s going to happen.”