(Sky Cinema – 1x 95 minutes)
Main Location Art Director
- Director: Edward Hall
- Executive Producers: Hilary Bevan Jones, Peter Snell and Nick Morcroft
- Production Designer: John Paul Kelly
- Production company: Fred Films/Powder Keg Pictures
Novelist Charles Condomine invites self-proclaimed medium Madame Arcati to his home for a séance, hoping to gather material for a new book. When the hapless psychic accidentally summons the spirit of Condomine’s late wife, Elvira, his home and life are quickly turned into a shambles as his wife’s ghost torments both himself and his new bride.
- Starring: Dan Stevens, Leslie Mann, Isla Fisher, Judi Dench, Emilia Fox and Julian Rind-Tutt
My task as Main Location Art Director involved overseeing the internal transformation of a beautiful Art Deco Sun House. Working together with an onsite construction crew, several small builds were carried out across this large-scale home plus the living areas were repainted with vibrant hues of colour to reflect a stylish 1930’s feel.
Most of the film was shot at this location so it was imperative that all deadlines were achieved in good time, especially as Set Dec needed to meet a very tight dressing schedule. My assistance allowed the Production Designer John Paul Kelly and Supervising Art Director Keith Slote to concentrate on other important locations.
A Typical Location Issue
One of the main scenes in Blithe Spirit is when Madame Acarti holds a séance in the Music Room. Whilst this room was being decorated it was found that the skylight leaked after a recent rainstorm. These are the kind of common issues found when working on location.
This was quickly resolved to avoid any damage to the construction and scenic work already completed, and to ensure the space was watertight going forward so nothing could happen to any of the hired period furniture and prop dressing once set in place.
Once all construction was completed, Set Decorator Caroline Smith moved in together with Prop Master Alan Bailey and his team hanging drapes, voiles and blinds, laying down rugs, hanging pictures and setting out furniture to bring each room to life.
The rich visual tapestry that was created formed an eye catching, stylish take on the 1930’s period. With plush fabrics, luxurious upholstery and beautiful objects the scene was dramatically transformed to a time gone by.
Bedroom & Dining Room
Hallway & Bathroom
Working On Location
When on location like this especially when working remotely, it is important to be time efficient when it comes to materials and any construction supplies. Always thinking ahead and considering potential problems as a project develops is a major factor so not to fall behind.
Managing a team is an art though autonomy to allow people to use their initiative is key. Therefore, checking in on a regular basis to see how things are going and constant communication with all crew as a build takes shape plays such an important part for there to be a successful result.
Intentions & Reinstatement
Liaising with the owner or agent of the location is delicate relationship because whatever needs to be changed, added to, or built over these requests need to be discussed in advance, then outlined in the intentions and agreed beforehand. So establishing a good rapport with those that hold the keys can only benefit a projects productivity.
Also, this is very much the case when reinstating a location once filming has been completed. This should be handled with great care so that there is no come back afterwards since costs can escalate should remedial works are not carried out to a satisfactory standard. Once a get out has happened the only feedback which is acceptable is that the space was left exactly as it was found.