It’s been a very busy couple of months. I just wrapped a big project and took a trip.
The big project was the filming of an indie short here in San Francisco. The film is tentatively titled Interloping. The story is about two young actors struggling in their relationship and their day-to-day, city lives. They decide to go out on the town one night, but without spending any money. They pretend to be a wealthy, married, British couple. But how far and how deep does their escapism run?
I was recruited by the director, Quentin Jones, and the producer, Nate Visconti, in January of this year. I know them both through a mutual friend, and I consulted on a short film they did last year. With that first project, all I did was read the script, then I sat down with them, and told them my thoughts on the costumes. Then they ran with my ideas.
For Interloping, at first, they asked me if I would do costumes. Then later they said they really needed an Art Director, and would I be interested in doing that?
Of course, I said yes.
Then I went home and called my friend in film and television, the glamorous Tom Mares of Denver, CO, and asked him, “Tom, what is an Art Director?”
It was going to be one of those projects.
I was in charge of managing the overall look for wardrobe, set, and props, in accordance with the director’s vision of the world of the film. I also had to find, buy/beg/borrow, organize, and make sure everything and every detail in these departments was accounted for.
My character and wardrobe sketches:
The production was slated for late April, early May, but due to complications, it was pushed back… then pushed back again… In May, I started keeping track of everyone’s schedule and helped maintain communications between the various parties.
I’m not going to lie. This was one of the most difficult projects I’ve been on. I learned how hard it can be to keep going a project even when you are frustrated and feel like, “I am so over this.” I had to keep returning to why I wanted to be a part of the project in the first place. The power of the script, the story, was what kept me going. That was what had drawn me in initially, and I had to trust that if we could build it, it would be a worthwhile piece of art.
Everyone involved learned a lot on this project. It was interesting to see how pushing back our production and working on it longer actually made it stronger.
For me, I learned that I really enjoyed this work. My favorite parts were doing the set dressing and finally seeing the wardrobe pieces come together. There’s an indescribable moment that happens when you look over the cameraman’s shoulder and you see the world you’ve seen in your head fall into place and come alive, right in front of you. But I had to keep in mind that this wasn’t just “my world” or “my vision.” Essentially, it belongs to the director. It would be interesting to know more about how different directors work with the production design aspect. I’m sure some directors are more visually design inclined than others.
I’m very interested now in this work of “production design.” It makes a lot of sense to me, with my background in the performing arts and my plethora of interests. I’m curious to see if I could do this again for a different production. That being said, I also learned that I will never again do this work for free. And honestly, that’s a valuable lesson for an artist to learn.
Above all, with Interloping, our crew was amazing. Everyone we worked with really came through beautifully. I can’t wait to see the finished product and share it with you!
Production photography stills:
Until next time!