True Crime Queen: Callen Golden

Jess from ArtCube Nation
5 min readApr 9, 2021

Callen Golden is a rockstar, multi-talented production designer, prop master, buyer who works both Upstate and in New York City. She is the blood pool queen (her acrylic molds are to die for!) and is one of the most resourceful and equally calm people I’ve ever worked with.

Callen’s heart is in production design and she is a Jill of all trades.

She started off in college creating her own path with production design. When the crew assignment was to section everyone off in different departments, she realized they didn’t choose anyone to be in charge of art direction. She advocated that someone needed to lead the art department, even in this smaller class setup, and took lead on each of her classmate’s designs throughout this exercise. She inspired her classmates to incorporate production design in their storytelling and some folks got into the art department because of her. From then on, her school has given out the role of production design when divvying up the roles.

Today, Callen is still an upstate lady through and through. Throughout the years she has had one leg in the city and one leg home, in Ithaca, NY. With the progression of Upstate filming, she is ecstatic to stay closer to her home base and help that world continuously grow.

Callen has worked on sets in Syracuse, where I met her on Looks That Kill. On Looks That Kill She came on as buyer and then stepped in as Onset and then the Set Decorator. Sometimes roles change quickly from unforeseen circumstances and Callen rose to the occasion. She helped out wherever she was needed and brought such a joyful energy to set, even the late nights wallpapering a fake funeral room for one dream shot!

“My favorite thing out right now though is still Looks That Kill. It’s such a beautiful story and seeing it all come together on screen….all of our hard work, Klide’s amazing vision for the design, and seeing Kellen’s final edit….every time I watch it with someone new, I am so proud to show it… that we all made something like that happen, and it reminds me why I went into this industry and this field.”

Callen is the decade, true crime master since she loves a hands-on project!

These last few months, she has been designing docu-dramas for Discovery’s new streaming service Discover Plus! She has worked on a few series currently airing on the Discovery ID network, so if you’re also a true crime junkie check out “The Murder List”, “Where Murder Lies”, and “Hometown Homicide”.

She said she’s “right where I like to be, in the middle of true crime, blood and mystery story-telling!”

She’s even flirting with the idea of a virtual class to teach folks how to make her famous acrylic pools of blood. There’s a tricky consistency to master, they’re expensive to rent and they’re always in need (especially with all of the true-crime, cop shows that pop up overnight). Feel free to drop us a comment below if you’d be interested in a class like that!

Throughout the pandemic, she is still always the busybody. She has partnered with local restaurants to build out their websites, take photos of meals and interiors, and bring the media quality to the level that the food of her local Ithaca restaurants are at. She believes that the work starts with you and she wants to see her community flourish.

She has also been finding the rhythm with her partner to teach the kids at home, make time for her art and both of them balance their jobs (him a teacher, her a freelancer). It is not an easy task, as I’m sure many of us have experienced this last year, and she has done it resiliently and with grace.

If you’d like to connect with artists like Callen Golden, join ArtCube Nation, the professional social network of the Art Department!

Callen Golden

Callen Golden is a production designer, set decorator, and food stylist hailing from a small town in upstate, NY. She found her calling when one of her professors offered her an art department position on a cooking show back in 2011. She hasn’t stopped since, working her way through any and every art department position she could get her hands on. With a passion for detail and self-indulgence for the semi-chaotic, Callen usually has at least a few balls in the air. Her wheelhouse is crime and murder, having worked on over 10 different re-cre crime shows. While still working in the city, Callen currently lives in Ithaca, NY with her family where she has a small art gallery and studio. She has put her knowledge to work and has guest lectured at Ithaca College and TC3 on production design, which led to her also leading a workshop on bloodwork and crime-scene set design. Collaboration continues to be Callen’s favorite part of this industry, and she looks forward to continuing her relationships with the amazingly talented people she has met so far, while always seeking new opportunities to collab with other artists.



Jess from ArtCube Nation

We are the Film Network for the Art Department called ArtCube Nation. We highlight our artists and how to make films sustainably.