In the NBC TV show Smash, the lives of the show's characters develop through song and dance and from one dramatic moment to the next.
Yet it is what is unsaid, what is visible but casually so, that brings the characters to life.
Enter production designer, Cabot McMullen.
He's the man behind how each apartment and office on the show look, and that look says something about the characters who are producing a fictitious broadway show about Marilyn Monroe.
"It was one of the things, I think, that helped me get the job," says McMullen. "I was an assistant on the original Marilyn musical on broadway in the 1980s."
McMullen has decades in TV, and film, transforming his sketches into realities.
The production designer also trained in architecture is meticulous in his choices for each person in the show.
Actor Jack Davenport plays director, Derek on the show. Derek's "apartment" is located in a flatiron building in New York City, and it's supposed to have iconic views.
"We actually had to pay the Empire State Building to keep their lights on after midnight," says McMullen. "We wanted kind of a really robust, muscular space."
The home of Debra Messing's character is stark and monochromatic. It changes as she does, per Smash's director.
"Cause he wanted the place to feel some what cold, so she would have to go outside of the house to seek friendship and warmth," says McMullen. "That's how she gets involved in this affair that she's involved with."
McMullen says the looks on the show combine high end, affordable, contemporary and vintage, and you can shop where he does.
Often McMullen incorporates products from stores like CB2 and Pottery Barn.
"At the end of the day production design is a visual language," according to McMullen, "and it's telling you things about the characters that the script can't tell you with words."