Today’s update comes from Erica Mazzella the Production Designer of Broken Leg
For anyone that doesn't know what a production designer is, we are basically in charge of the art department - everything from researching and buying set pieces, dressing sets, building props - all of that kind of stuff.
I met Kieran a few years ago while we were both working on a gig that neither of us enjoyed too much. But hey, that show allowed us the opportunity to work together on something we both believed in. He’d been telling me about Broken Leg for some time and I was always secretly hoping that he would ask me to be his production designer. And he did, Yipee!
Going into Broken Leg, Kieran was the only person I knew. I was worried, it seemed like everyone else on the crew had known each other for some time. I wasn't sure how well I would fit in. Of course all of that worrying was in vain because I fell in love with everyone on our crew. We all looked out for each other and everyone had a real personal connection to the film. Nobody considered it a 'paycheck job.' Everyone genuinely cared about making the film and I think that'll come across on screen.
In terms of actually doing my job, there were definitely difficulties. We rented a house for the month and I couldn't use anything that was already in it; it just didn't fit the characters. So we took everything out - EVERYTHING! The house was a blank slate but I now had to completely dress seven different rooms... on a beyond shoe-string budget. All I can say is thank god for credit cards, return policies, and everyone that let us borrow things from their homes. I also had two other jobs at the time. I often found myself getting off work, going straight to the Broken Leg house, working through the night until it was time to go back to work-work the next morning. In fact, when I was getting everything ready for the baby room, I didn't sleep for a solid three days. I just kept going back and forth - from set to work to set to work. I wanted as much time on set as possible and I was always incredibly annoyed when I had to stop to go to my normal job.
When I started meeting with Kieran, I admittedly had no idea what I was doing. I usually work on fantasy or period pieces and for some reason normal houses have always been a challenge for me. No matter what color scheme or what textures we used, the most important thing was that it felt like a real house that real people would live in. I think my favorite room in the house is the living room - so much time in the movie is spent in there on those couches. I thought that room had to be the most real. And I think it does feel like a real house - which may just be because we all slept there toward the end of the shoot. I hope that authenticity comes across on screen.
There's a unique quality to filmmaking that I don't know is true in other professions. The fact that all of these people come together to make something they all want to see - cast, crew, backers, blog readers - everyone connects through the production of the film. They become a family and this is especially true with something as grassroots as Broken Leg. I'm grateful that I had the chance to work on the film - it reaffirmed how much I love making movies. More than anything, I'm just really proud of all of us for getting this thing done with all of the challenges we had. I'm incredibly excited to see the final product.