Set Dressing on the Side

Exciting news abound! I'm beginning work as a set dresser on a feature that shoots in a couple weeks. I can't tell you much, beyond the fact that it includes asteroids and fortresses.

Okay I give up. There is an asteroid fortress.

Since production isn't for another couple weeks, this time is devoted to prep-- building, painting, and lots and lots of driving to pick up odds and ends on the cheap. As a set dresser/decorator (which are technically two different positions but often get combined into one because we're not all working for Steven Spielberg), my responsibility is specifically to fill sets with all the furnishings and decor that turn a place from house to home. Or, more often than not, abandoned closet to executive office.

This is actually the inside of a Fat Burger bathroom stall.

This is actually the inside of a Fat Burger bathroom stall.

I work under the guidance and creative direction of the production designer and art director to select pieces that establish the appropriate mood and environment of the space, and, where applicable, provide a look into the character's personality.

Let's play a non-optional game! What type of personality and character traits might you ascribe to someone with one of these items in their home?

1. Framed sports posters

2. A funky vase

3. Children's toys

4. A severed head in the fridge

Answer: fun and full of surprises

Answer: fun and full of surprises

But it's a lot more than the pieces themselves that tell the space's story-- it's just as much about the where and the how. Are those books neatly arranged by author on the shelf, or are they scattered all over the desktop? Are there ample couches or just a few metal chairs? Is the living room full of Thomas Kinkade paintings? Why is the living room full of Thomas Kinkade paintings? This is supposed to be a Greek sorority house. Somebody bring in a better set dresser!

This is one of my favorite art department roles, because it satisfies my deeply-rooted compulsive desire to control the way other people live their lives, right down to the knick-knacks in their shadow box. It feels so good.

ALSO it feels fuckin' good to be put back to work! After last week's dreary dollop of a post about why having free time is the worst thing ever, I'm happy to be back in the action.

Side note: seeking animatronic cat shelters in Los Angeles. Tell me your faves!

Side note: seeking animatronic cat shelters in Los Angeles. Tell me your faves!

Click the little pixel heart below to validate my own real, goopy, blood-and-muscles heart. Thanks bae