Wright State alumnus Martin Fahrer wins primetime Emmy for ‘Only Murders in the Building’

Wright State theatre alumnus Martin Fahrer served as an assistant art director on “Only Murders in the Building.”

Martin Fahrer, who earned a B.F.A. in theatre design/technology from Wright State University, won his first primetime Emmy for Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Program on the hit Hulu series “Only Murders in the Building.”

Fahrer worked as an assistant art director on the show from 2020 to 2021.

“Only Murders in the Building” is a mystery comedy-drama television series created by Steve Martin and John Hoffman. The 10-episode first season premiered on Hulu in August 2021. The plot follows three strangers played by Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez who have a shared interest in true crime podcasts and work together to investigate a death in the apartment building they all live in.

Fahrer previously won daytime Emmys in Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction/Set Decoration/Scenic Design for a Drama Series for his work as assistant art director on “One Life to Live” in 2009 and 2014, “All My Children” in 2003, 2007 and 2014, and “Between the Lions” in 2001.

Speaking about his two awards in 2014, Fahrer said it is unheard of for one designer to win two Emmys in the same category.

“I tied with myself in the nominations and the Emmy Awards,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to receive one, much less two, (Emmys).”

Some of Fahrer’s past credits include assistant art director for hit TV series such as “Quantico,” “America’s Got Talent” and “Oz” and the movies “The Purge: Election Year,” on which he was the set designer, and “The Preacher’s Wife,” on which he worked in specialty props.

Most recently, Fahrer was set designer on “Till,” a movie based on the true story of Mamie Till, an educator and activist who pursued justice for the lynching of her 14-year-old son, Emmett Till, in 1955. The film stars Danielle Deadwyler, Jalyn Hall, Frankie Faison, Haley Bennett and Whoopi Goldberg. “Till,” which premiered on Oct. 3 at the Neon in Dayton, is directed by Chinonye Chukwu, a former assistant professor of motion pictures at Wright State.

Fahrer said he likes that his job allows him to turn his ideas into something real. “To physically be able to walk through something you’ve imagined is amazing,” he said.

He credited the Wright State Theatre Program for teaching him how to design and understand how to work as a designer in the real world.

“One of my best decisions ever was to go to Wright State,” Fahrer said, “to get that experience painting, being a scenic artist, then being in a studio with (former faculty member) Joe Tilford for six hours a day. That was our studio senior course and it really taught me how to design and how designers work, how to have self-discipline.”

Joe Deer, artistic director and distinguished professor of musical theatre, said Wright State is proud of Fahrer’s long and varied career.

“I’m particularly impressed with the range of designs he’s done, from daytime soaps to feature films, game shows to dramatic episodic television,” Deer said. “He’s really built an incredible resume and reputation. He’s a great example of the kind of career our students can build using the skills and work ethic they learn at Wright State University.”

Prior to enrolling at Wright State, Fahrer studied theater at Wilmington College in Wilmington, where he is originally from. He received an M.F.A. in design from New York University.

Upcoming projects for Fahrer include assistant art director on “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” a TV series based on the 2005 movie about married spies, and “Jigsaw,” a TV series inspired by the real-life story in which $70 billion in bonds went missing in Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy.

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