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Fear is a Driving Force – And How to Dress a Room

About 2 months ago I shot a little short film. Initially I was absolutely in love with the concept and I went from writing the script to finding a location to shooting within about a week and a half. It’s not a difficult piece, it was never meant to be, but I let myself hesitate when it came to putting the finishing touches and uploading. Why? I asked myself. Because I was letting fear dictate my work.

Upon sending the script to select friends for review I got mixed reactions of both extremes. Ultimately the few people who helped me shoot it were excited about it; so I figured if anything, I am only wasting our time and no one else’s. But I let fear push back. I was afraid that once I was done, I would obviously have to upload it and there I was afraid of all the negative feedback I would receive.

However, instead of caving to my fears I’m going to turn this around and make something positive out of it. Because as a wise man on twitter once said “There are things far, far worse than making ‘bad’ work – like making no work at all” @mgoldst [Mitch Goldstein]

Lets Turn This Train Around:

So instead of sitting here whining about how scared I was of the internets, let me turn this around. Because I was asked, I want to write up how I turned an empty room into what hopefully passed as a lived in bedroom for about $12.

Finding a Location:

The first thing I knew I needed to do, was find and secure some locations. My house was out of the question so I took to Facebook and within a few minutes some friends of mine offered up there empty house. But here’s the caveat, the house is on the market for sale. That means I couldn’t do anything that would alter the state of the house; i.e. hang up pictures.

Convert Nothing Into Something:

In college I had a professor who was in the set dressing department for some large films, I always had an appreciation for his work. After seeing first hand the power of set dressing I knew that I needed to pull what little skill I had and make this room believable. Or as believable as I could make it on my budget and time constraint.

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the after – clay sits in while we wait for our actor to show

I had half a day to set up and another half day to shoot (I actually had a paid gig the evening of filming day). While essentially if you added everything up in the room it would probably come somewhere near $150 to furnish, I just used a lot of stuff we (or other people) had lying around.

I absolutely hated the idea of actually carting a real bed to the location, though I’d be willing to do it, instead we picked up an air mattress from my sister-in-law. To sell it as much as possible we borrowed a headboard from a friend and took some risers from my friends bed, to make it appear as if it was on a frame. The nightstand is actually my own and the lamp was in fact broken waiting to be trashed. Although we tried to fill it with some knick-knacks I think the nightstand area is what was lacking the most. Aside rom the walls of course.

I wanted to put a dresser in the room but because of time; availability, and cash, it just didn’t happen. So instead I opted for that really cool piece of furniture he sits on (it actually belongs to my wife and I have no idea what it’s called, but it’s flipping heavy). This actually worked in our favor, because had he sat on the bed it would have popped up on one side revealing the fact that it was indeed an air mattress.

To seal the deal I knew I wanted something in the negative space by the window. We toyed with the idea of a guitar and a few other items, but ultimately wound up with my laundry basket and some dirty shirts. So you might be asking, “where does the $12 come in?” I had to buy sheets for the darn air-mattress from a local closeout store. With it being a full sized bed we opted for a queen set which wrapped around the entire mattress, once again helping us hide the hideous blue material.

This Isn’t Making You A Million Bucks:

So in closing I want to tell you why I am proud of my little short. I got to prove to myself I still can; and got to have fun doing it. After lots of corporate work recently I have not had the opportunity to really push my creativity with lighting and have been doubting myself and my abilities. I have a 20 page script I want to film by next summer and I really want to get myself ready for it. As a result you can expect to see more shorts coming up; and while I can’t promise they’ll always be Oscar worthy, I do promise to give them my all every time.

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