Pinwheel, directed by Frankie Crichton, is a short, silent narrative following John, a mess of a man, as he attempts to woo his new neighbor, Marnie, by improving his gardening skills and lawn decoration.
I was the production designer and art director for the production and executed all design concepts with Frankie and the team within 3 weeks.
The silent film relied on production design quite heavily, as the whole concept of the film was John's sharp transition as a messy man without a garage, to a fresh, crisp, gardener type - and with our three day production schedule and active hand props management, the production was an excellent design challenge! And with a seriously great team, Frankie curated an amazing team to craft her vision for Pinwheel.
Let's break down a few tasks I did while working on the production:
- Scouted locations, measured general and specific details of the space, took initial sketches/brainstormed concepts, took a significant number of photos of each location which were later used for the art and camera department.
- Discussed the aesthetic vision with Frankie and then, after scouting, presented possible design concepts and ideas for approval, and after discussion began putting the plan to action.
- Bought, borrowed, rented, and made all production properties, such as our 25 pinwheels which I hand painted for the production (base coat, two color coats, for all 25 pinwheels and prepped extras, as I knew our adorably frail props would need frequent replacement or touch up on set - my hot glue gun and I were ready!)
- Rented a storage unit, bought Tupperware bins, cleaned, labeled, and organized all properties into their designated bins to optimize efficiency for our time on set.
- Organized transportation for pre-set decoration, production days, and post production when I returned, sold, or donated properties. Charted the budget expenditures.
- Loaded and unloaded all scenic props, set dec, hand props, and art department kits for production. Specifically staged all chairs, tables, shelves, pipes, paint cans, etc. for each scenic change in production. Installed and hung curtains, hanging chimes, door wreaths, etc.
- While we weren't able to paint doors/shutters as initially intended, I was able to paint several set decoration and property elements, such as the 'weathered palettes' camera right of John's house that are leaning up against the house, in order to create John's distressed, construction-orange and beachy-cobalt blue color scheme.
- Bought, watered, and planted all plants on the set with Emilio, Rachel, and Michael DeMauro. We scattered several plants on John's porch, flower beds in front of the porch, and at the corners of his front yard, as well as Marnie's porch and front yard.
- Custom made several props, such as John's overflowing 'mail' camera right of his front door, which included bills, letters, postcards, etc. It's all in the little details that makes this a living, breathable set, not only for our on-camera looks, but enhancing the reality of the space for our actors.
- Tracked the movement of all props on set, actively managing their placement/accuracy of movement. I was a very active participant on set, constantly moving lawn mowers, watering hoses, curtains, couches, chairs, gnomes, etc. according to each plot point in the film and specific shot.
- Once certain props or set dec units were inactive I would properly store them at our prop table backstage, labeled, and ready for their next movement. Once certain elements were wrapped, I would clean them backstage, bin them, and get them prepped for departure.
- Created an art department kit (in my massive, rolling DeWalt plastic bin) full of on-set maintence tools, including touch-out paint and brushes, cleaning wipes and dusters, windex and cleaning cloths for windows, markers and labeling tape, all types of glue and tape, hanging wire, broom and dustpan, swiffer mop, etc.
- Joyfully participated in creating Frankie's vision and working with my art department crew members, actors, camera department, g&e team, producers, set photographer, etc. Always bringing positive energy and decreasing stress in, often times, a highly stressful situation.