As a production design enthusiast, Ferris Bueller’s bedroom still continues to give me life. It was effortlessly cool -- although clearly obvious that a lot of planning was attention to detail was given to it. This was my dream bedroom when I was teen, mainly because I believed it was a teen's room. It spoke of Ferris' character and what he wanted to surround himself with.
One of the films I worked on featured a teen girl’s bedroom, and my approach to it was somewhat influenced by Ferris’ room.
Of course, one must also take into consideration the story, the characters, the look of the entire film -- what is it trying to say?
A teen bedroom can be tricky because while it is a teen's room it is ultimately the parents who are paying for the furniture, who are painting the walls, buying the bedding, etc. So certain expectations are still to be met.
The lived in details are often the hardest to achieve without having it look too staged.
It’s a process…
Last month, we filmed the final scene for Harrison's Closet which picks up some 20 years later in the early 1970s. A word of advice, if you have the space never get rid of any wardrobe -- even from short films. We ended up repurposing wardrobe from A Man of Limited Emotional Means and dressing Jay Disney (Harrison) in Jackson's infamous blue pants -- or at least they were infamous on set. A total time and money saver!
While it was fantastic to finally wrap Harrison's Closet, what I was most excited about was the prop used in the scene. It was an authentic Goldblatt's shopping bag from the late 1960s. For those not familiar with Goldblatt's, they were a small chain of department stores that went out of business in the early 00s. We had three or four of them in Chicago.
Not to sound like a total granny (Get off my lawn!), but department stores aren't what they used to be. Whenever my mother would take me to Goldblatt's, it was a treat.
My earliest memory of the store was going there when I was 4 or 5. The store had several floors and when you first walked in, you were dwarfed by a huge candy display where you could buy "fancy" candy in bulk. I remember the clear acrylic bins bursting with lemon drops, jelly-filled strawberry candies, light blue mints wrapped in cellophane.
The store didn't have an escalator but it did have an elevator which had an actual elevator operator. He could take you to the furrier on the upper level, or the furniture shop.
One of the things I love most about moving making is the potential nostalgia it can bring you. Really, for me, it's the goofy small details that get me.
The little movie that could. Or at least I hope! It's been a year since we wrapped principal shooting on Harrison's Closet. We finished with much fanfare but something about it still seemed not quite done.
Christopher Barrett, our DP, and I scratched our heads over why this just didn't feel right. We had an editor come in and do some work, and after seeing the results I felt the film was
unsalvageable and a failure. It looked gorgeous, but it was missing a key component in the script to tidy it all together.
So 365 days later (almost to the day), an additional scene came to me. Writing it and thinking about each character gesture and word -- and what that would mean in terms of creating that cohesion was paramount. It all has to mean something in the end. The devil is in the details even if the detail is minute.
I'm happy to say that we'll be picking up one more scene, taking place approximately 15 years after the rest of the movie (you know how much I love dressing everything for a specific era). This one tiny scene, which will be less than 3 minutes in length, is what HC needed to finally move forward.
Filming will take place in February.
When you have nowhere else to go for the next three hours, it only makes sense to either drink a lot or write something. On a recent trip to Jamaica, during a three hour bus ride from Montego Bay to the Nassau Valley, I was able to write a screenplay draft another short. Three characters: a man, woman and boy meet at a laundromat on a weekly basis. It's part love story, part friendship study with a funny dose of deus ex machina.
Harrison’s Closet wrapped shooting January 21 and the entire cast and crew could not be more pleased with the results. We shot on a RED Epic with Cookie Mini S4/i lenses, and Christopher Barrett was the DP for the film.
Shot entirely in Berwyn, Illinois, "Harrison’s Closet" is set in 1956 and deals with a sad sack of a man who discovers he is a cross-dresser. This, while problematic for the time, brings him the zest for life he has been lacking. The film stars Jay Disney, Elizabeth Laidlaw and Aemilia Scott. I hope to have a teaser trailer up by mid-February.
To view more photos, behind the scenes and stills, visit the Harrison's Closet Facebook page.
My husband tells me that we created two meaningful things together: our son and this little film. It's such an honor to be included as a Louisiana Film Prize finalist and have the hard work the cast and crew committed to validated.
A Man of Limited Emotional Means is a project that had been in the back of my husband’s (Christopher Barrett, the film’s DP) mind for a while. It’s a semi-autobiographic story that needed to be told, it was just a matter of how and when. When the LA Film Prize was announced, it was the impetus we needed to have the film finally come to fruition. We’re thankful for that push!
I feel the story will really reach people. There is a lot there you can connect to. It’s the story of a mother’s struggle, the story of a man who is trying to find himself, the story of a boy who comes to the realization that his parents aren’t the perfect creatures he’s created in his mind. A Man of Limited Emotional Means is life in all of its harshness and complexities -- but shared in a very touching and approachable manner.
We'll be part of the Louisiana Film Prize Festival the weekend of October 5, 2012. See you there.