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Episode 98 · 5 months ago

WHIPLASH (2014) with Production Designer Melanie Jones

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Parth and Trent discuss Whiplash (2014) with its production designer, Melanie Jones. They also have some help with the intro.

Edited by Parth Marathe

We are tonight's entertainment. You can't handle the true the fire rizals pizza time. You're a wizard, Harry, so you know, you think that's air you're breathing. Groovy. I don't have friends. So Jordan's what have you been eating? Um, well, interesting that you ask that. Um, this morning I made blueberry pancakes and that with some authentic Vermont Maple Syrup. It just it just slept. So the answer to that will be blueberry pancakes. What about you? Um, the most recent thing I ate was chocolate ice cream. The Story? Where was it from? What's the story behind it? My House, my freezer, there was chocolate ice cream, there was whipped cream. Nice. Yeah, if you guys couldn't tell, we've got some special guests on for the intro guys. Is that true, Trent? Special guests? Yes, yeah, I'd say so. I'd argue very special guests. Unless they thought, unless they thought that it was just us this whole time. That'd be confusing for the long time fins. But but hearing them talk about all this delicious stuff they've been putting into their bodies and running through their digestive systems really just makes me wonder what you've been putting through your body. See, I mean this takes the fun out of it, but my answer also is blue blueberry pancakes. So, and my answer is also chocolate ice cream. Look at that. We're um, happy wife, happy life, you know, and I think that's a great way to to to cue the intro. Parts looks so handsome. Look at them. Part look really handsome. Part. We should do this fast, because we had to turn off the fin and they see and it's it's hot. M H. Welcome to craft services where we talk about the films. Okay, movies just doesn't have to get a right welcome back. Welcome back two craft services where we talk about the movies. Um, each week we talk about a film and hopefully have a crew member of that film to talk with us about their experience working on the picture this week. But do we have Trent so Jordan, who is our guest this week? Our guest has been Melanie Jones, and what films did she work on? She worked on such films as the purge, insidious, the last key bill and Ted faced the music, and our film for today Damien Chiselle's whiplash. Wow, Jordan's you you had that like right off the top of your head. It seems you know a lot about the guest. I'm just like really talented and I didn't know you were such a stand of Melanie Jones, like big Melanie Jones production designer. Right, I love Melanie Jones. I love her work on the purge. Um, it was really good. And he's the last face the music and our film for this week whiplash, Damion. She's a whiplash. It's pretty awesome. Trent, did we like this interview, because as much as we like Jordan and Sophia, they weren't present for it. Oh, Um, I actually I had Jordan's. It may have appeared as though I was there, but I had Jordan's put on all my clothes and just sit in for the interview and it seems like you didn't notice. No, I didn't at all. Even in the pre interview, Chit Chat, she was pretty convincing. That's why Jordan knows so much about Melanie Jones. Makes Sense. I think we should have Jordan just take over in general. I'm gonna use my hard drive path, I'm gonna put the headphone. Oh my God, it's...

Jordan's podcast. Where just living in it, you know. But yeah, this was a great interview. She talks a lot about working with Damian Chazelle. She talks a lot about creating the look of the picture. Trent brings up taxi driver and Melanie Jones doesn't get pissed at him, which is pretty interesting. Um, a lot of cool things happen. Um, although I guess Trent didn't bring that up, Jordan's did. So, yeah, get, get, get ready for our interview, for me and Jordan's interview with Melanie Jones, which you can listen to now, starting right now. Wait, Sophia, when starting? Starting? When? When is it starting? I think it's starting now. Hello, everybody, and welcome to our interview with Melanie Jones. She's the production designer behind such films as the purge and CIDYOU is the last key bill, and Ted faced the music in our film for today, Damien Chazelle's whiplash. Thank you so much for being with us today. Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks for having me. So, just to start off, what would you say your relationship with film was like at a young age? Obsessed. We'd go to the theater on on Saturday. My my mom would drop me off in between movies. Like say, I remember planning of the Apes, like all four of them would play in one day. So she would drop me off in the morning and after the first movie I'd run to the front door but not step out. You could pay, but if you stepped out of the theater you'd have to pay again. So there's this whole group of kids at the front door going come back, come back, like two hours, four hours, and we just kind of roam around the theater and watched the movie and you know, it was it just was incredible. And how did you find yourself on set or like studying film more seriously or academically or not at all? Um, I didn't actually study film. I was a theater kid. I was a dancer. So I grew up in Um coastal central California. It's about hours south of San Francisco Um, and you know really what you could do in that community. I was interested in film overall, but you know, theater was the thing. So that kind of lad being a dancer. I was also a good artist, which led to, you know, making props and making signs and eventually stage design. I moved down to Los Angeles and Um, I just got offered a job as a painter on a film and I hopped on and I was supposed to have my associate degree and I was supposed to go for my bachelor's, but I got the job and I thought I'll put it off a semester and then I just kept working. How did you end up realizing that, like production, design was the arena you wanted to be in on a set? Well, you know, it was kind of a natural progression because I had already designed for stage, like small and regional theater. I really enjoyed you know, I had the opportunity to dance on stage and I feel, you know, being rehearsals and feel what it was like to do that. That part of it. But you know, as an artist, I just wanted more control and I wanted more input and I always, I always, just naturally can see things and fantasize about worlds and places and colors and textures, and so it just it just kind of evolved and you know, it's one of those things it's like the more you do something that you...

...do that that's enjoyable for you, the more you want to do it. And in terms of film, I started as a painter. I was a set dresser, I drove the big truck, I loaded the furniture, I was an on set dresser, which is is, you know, when can come back to that as a production designer. I think it's a really good position to do before you do production design because you understand really what the camera sees and really what your job is, Um, you know. And then I was a set decorator and on and on work my way up to production design. I mean I've been doing it since the late eighties. So I took my time, though, because I wanted to not haven't gone to school for this specifically. Um, I don't even know if there was classes in this really um back then. But Um, I wanted to under understand my job. So how did you get involved with whiplash and how did you meet Damien Chiselle, who's also from New Jersey? I believe his mom actually teaches at my girlfriend's college. Fun Fact, part of whip last was supposed to take place in New Jersey, and so you know. Um, anyway, how did I okay, so I was doing another film for Blumhouse and the head of production, uh Jennette, and I were having lunch during lunch. Um, and I think I was working on I think it was it was either the perjor Lazarus. I can't remember, but Um, and she said. I said what's coming up next, and she goes, Oh, we have this little drama and she told me about it and I'm like, Oh my God, I want to do that movie. I had. I told you, guys, I have been a dancer. I went to New York City I studied dance there in the early eighties for about a year and I had this dance teacher who was very much like Fletcher, who would literally, as you were dancing across the floor in your class, scream at you. What are you doing? Why are you doing it like that, you fing idiot, that kind of thing, like scream at you. And you know, I came from very liberal, Groovy California to New York City and it was shocking. But I actually and I don't condone that. That's not the way that I lead or run anything. I don't condone that kind of behavior at all. But Um, you know, he scared people into being better dancers. So I understood. I kind of understood it emotionally and Um, so jeanette said, we'll let me set up an interview, you know, and when I go on an interview I build a web page and I pull a lot of images because, you know, I get obsessed with what what I'm thinking about. And then I talked to Damien about the fact that I related to it from a personal like I really did relate to that and uh, you know, we just clicked and there you go, boom. We're often running. So, once you met with Damien Chisel, like what was he like as a director to work with and creating the look of this movie? He's really concise and he has a really having having being the writer and the director, I think makes for often a more concise and more specific point of view on the writing, because he wrote it. So, you know, let's assume that he saw something when he was writing it. Um, they had done the short you know, and what I said to him was, you know, when you do short film like that, you don't have a lot of money and you don't have a lot of time and you don't have a lot, a lot of so I'm like, you know, how what? What do you want to like? When I read this script, it feels a lot more dark to me and there's two ways we could go with this. We could do juilliard, which is kind of light and bright and more modern looking, or you could do something more like Manhattan School of Music or or, you know, something else that's you know, has a little texture and a little grit and a little darkness and and he said, yeah, I like that better. You know, he had kind of a...

...look book that he had pulled and he also had, you know, ideas about what his favorite movies were visually in one was the godfather. So if you look at whiplash, I secretly at the time, I've talked about this since then, decided that it was a period piece and decided that the look of the movie was from the seventies, because that's most of the films that he referenced and most of the films that he liked in terms of Color Palette and texture were from the seventies. So, you know, we had all the modern technology in it, but Um, I leaned into that, you know, and having live in the seventies, I remember it. So I was just scrubbing through the short film because we wanted to ask you questions about it or like how it influenced your work in the in the UH, in the in the future. Um. And it's so like White, now that you mentioned it, and just like compared to like the darks and the Greens and like, I hate, I hate to say this, like the taxi driver sort of Color Palette. Um. And it's fine. And you see that throughout the whole movie and it's crazy to see like the really the one eight from the shore. Yeah, you know because again, like, I've worked on short things like that too. You don't, you don't. You know, I'm sure that designer and I don't I don't remember who the person was and I apologize for that, but Um, had more time and stuff. You know, often you get it's like hey, we have this location and it's free or it's cheap and let's find the best room and make it look like what it's supposed to look like. So you know, when you're doing a film in a proper way, and and and and I say that, you know, whiplash was shot in seventeen days. So yeah, I know. So it's not even really proper. I mean there's a lot at bloom house. I'm working at Bloom House was a real gift for me as a designer because I got to do a lot of films. They do films very quickly there that I got to do a lot of films and kind of, you know, build the muscles. Um, we had time to think about it and you know, as having designed for the theater, my approach was was to think about you know, when I saw that Seventeen Danes schedule and my head kind of exploded. Then I'm like, well, we need to find a location where we can do multiple things and we don't have to move, because we have to pack up every night and the crew has to move. Yeah, they absolutely will. It's just time and energy suck and a dollar and and you know, I wanted like if we don't have to move, can I can I have that extra penny or two to put in front of people? We can see it on the screen. So Um, yeah. So that was that was kind of the idea at the beginning of it and we mostly stuck to that. I mean we found the palace theater downtown, you know, and here it is again. It's like Whendes, what what period this school? When was it built? And I'm like, you know, early nineteen hundreds, between nine and we found the palace theater downtown Los Angeles and we did half the movie there. I mean that became so many different places. So this goes into sort of what you were just talking about about the locations. Um, were any of them on a sound stage? kind of like a sneaky in a sneaky way. Yeah, so no, not literally, no sound stages. Were they built? Yes, Um, the palace theater became our sound stage. For instance, we found at the palace theater on our on our first scout there, we found very easily. We found the first band room. I forget the name of the...

...teacher. So it's he he goes to school and he's playing in that band room and it's big and it's got the big windows and let your kind of finds him there and it's the opening shot. Thank you. Now, so ban we found that. That's a loft on the sixth floor and I built the hallway, you know. So it's just a big, huge open lot. So that long, you know, tracking shot into him. That hallways built and then I kind of I found the part of that, the huge loft, that I felt had the most visual value. That's where we put the band. So we created a room out of that space down in the basement at the palace. We built the practice rooms. Um, we built the movie theater that the girl works at in the lobby of the palace theater. We built the jazz that that wasn't even a real movie. We built the jazz club when he goes, when he hears Fletcher after Fletcher, I think has been fired at. He's playing at that jazz club. That jazz club like you know, this kind of traditional theater in theaters that were built around that time, that you come off the you come off the sidewalk and there's there's sort of a a pre, a pre lobby, but it's exterior and it's all marble and that's where you usually have your marquees and stuff like that, and then there's a bank of Beautiful Deco glass doors and then you step into the interior lobby. I took that pre lobby and I, uh, we we did a soundproof wall, as soundproof as possible. Damien complained it later, but what can you do? Um, and I did a big jazz mural and we blocked that lobby off and that became that jazz club. Like we use this for probably you know, three other things I'm not even thinking about right now. His his dorm apartment. The interior of it was at the palace. But and then we were looking. So we wanted this dark wood style, like wood paneled room for fletchers band and you know that that we are looking around downtown at other locations. Can we find it? Because can we just move to that for, you know, a day or we have two days. I couldn't find it. Couldn't find it. Found some stuff too big, too little, ceilings to you know, all the normal things that you run into. And I was walking across the stage of the Palace on one of the many scouts that we did there and I was walking across the stage and I was looking at the stage floor and it is so old and so beautiful. I had so much texture and uh, just dawn on me and like yeah, theater person, why don't we build fletchers, you know, room on this stage? This floor so beautiful, I would just leave it. You know, you've got lots of room. There's a fly gallery above your head. And that's when we ended up down. We built that and put it on the stage of the palace with his office, which I don't I think you don't see very much of that in the film, but there's an office adjacent. Um, and Uh yeah, so long answer to your question. Yeah, the palace, theater became became our sound stage, so to speak. No, I mean, that's that's great. I mean, while you're talking about the look of everything, I mean the director photography has to be a big part of that conversation. I was wondering if you had a lot of conversation with him or if it was just, Um, you know, it's such a quick schedule. Maybe. I mean it was fast. We did talk. I like to tell DPS, you know, they are my friends and I like to say, Hey, this is what I'm thinking, but it was really faster me, to be honest with you. It wasn't even you know, I would show Damien stuff, but it in my memory. It felt like everything was kind of...

...on the fly. What do you think of this? Yeah, I like that. Hey, Sharon, if I do this and I make like in the in the in Fletcher's Studio, Um, if you look, there's all these panels there. There's there's meant to be like sound bounce panels, you know a lot of times, but there are we also use them for lighting. Like you know what kind of fabrics should I make these out of? Can You light through it? You create a glow and you know, all this kind of stuff, and there's no ceiling on that set. There's the panels and the walls just go up pretty far beyond and at a certain point we got we stopped the the paneling and I think we painted it white. So you think light bounce happening up there? That would affect the look of of what comes below without, you know, really seeing it on camera. So you brought up the opening shot and since you that was built, I have to ask, like, while watching this morning, like along like the left side, there's just like so many like lovely reflections in the glass. Okay, that part we didn't build. That's actually part of that loft on the sixth floor. What what I'm you know, and this is the thing, this is where like this happens quite frequently with locations. You modify. So we those those windows are so beautiful. So I just I just created a wall of offices or you know, practice studios, right, and then the doorway entering into it, into the now saw a Bandra Um. So I was gonna ask a lot of the movie. The way it looks. It looks like very natural lighting, and so that makes me wonder where those natural fixtures that were already in place and that's how the movie was mostly lit, or is that just a lot of hard work went into making it look that way? If you're seeing fixtures, we probably put them in in most cases, is, unless they're massive. You know, they lit it. It was a combination of probably what you could get naturally and you know, certainly that band room there was natural sunlight coming in because again, we were on the sixth floor on the on the back side of that lot there's some roof and I'm sure they probably put something out there and got some light in Um. You know, again with these kinds of films where you're not where it's super fat, it's a fast shoot and it's a fast crap. You are you kind of come in with a basic plan and then you really have to you have to improvise and be ready to make it work on the day, on the fly and quickly. I know that a lot of the music that like ends up on the soundtrack like it's actually like being played and since you were like there on set, like how, like, how does that work? And I know that a lot of people present were like real, like jazz musicians? Um, I don't. I think they prerecorded it. So so what was like? Were they were they actually hitting or were they all just miming or with the deal? I believe most of it was miming. I wasn't. I'm not on set that much. As a production designer, I'm usually ahead of everybody. I'm working on what you're going to shoot tomorrow or the next day, so I pop in and out. People have asked me this question before. I had to ask Karuna, my set decorator and my onset I'm like that that was pre recorded right, because, um, the guy who wrote that music, who also did la La land, I think, and then I think there was a piece that belonged to somebody else. So now they were they were not playing. So there's a car crash sequence in this movie and I was wondering what that is like to have to design, because that must be kind of that. That was really fun. Um, I like stuff like that. So these kinds of things get shot in pieces and you really uh lean into the editing to make that realistic.

There's a whole scene of him driving and kind of freaking out and Um, and then he gets hit by the truck. So the deal with the truck? When you have a shot like that, if this is the truck, you guys are the camera. You start with the truck really close to the car and the truck backs up and then in the film you played in reverse. Okay, so that's one shot, right. He's driving and truck pulls away. Then the car flipped and we were talking about you know, does it do? I think. I think for camera's sake, you do like a half flip so you get the movement and then you do a full flip with the stunt guy. Art Department set back has buckets of rubber, broken glass and bits of metal and whatever that we you know, we distribute and you know it's very technical. Uh. And I don't think we ever saw it in a y and you never saw the impact. No, I mean the crazy thing about it is that's it's kind of like this long take, and so I was kind of wondering how you guys was that like a stitch or something, because you're seeing it from the left side the entire time. The truck crashes into him and we still stay on that shot as it goes like tumbles I was wondering what that was stitched together. And there's there's always this, you know, it's a horror movie thing too, and all the action things. There's something happening in the frame that kind of wipes frame and then, you know, then that's where you make your cut. Were there any sequences that you remember designing that didn't make it into the finished film? Or is it flincher had a really beautiful part, like Fletcher had a really beautiful apartment. There was. We're gonna ask about that. Yeah, there's just my decorator did a great job with it and he's sitting there listening to music and eating alone and you know, it's just kind of you know, and I said to Damien after I saw the finished product, I totally understand, like it's interesting. Once in the movie what gets cut? Not a lot up cut, but I asked him, I said, did you cut Fletcher because it just slowed down the pace. He goes yeah, absolutely, I mean remember he was a drummer. He was a drummer, I think, in high school. Um. So everything about this movie is about the tempo and how how well, as the audience, are being gloriously manipulated by the tempo that he and Tom the Um editor, worked on together after after we shot it, and making sure that that's you know, you're really on a ride. And I guess also the movie is kind of total through this subjective point of view, and that's that would be like one of the only scenes where miles teller's character is not present, so that kind of changes the view, I guess. Yeah, that's a good point. So I wanted to ask. So whiplash has like easily in one of my top ten film endings of all time. Like I think that that last fifteen minutes is like perfect, and I wanted to ask about designing that stage because I just think that it looks like everything about it is perfect. So if you could just talk about isn't it what it was like? Yes, we did not do very much to that. That's the orpheum theater in downtown Los Angeles. You know, as a designer, you know we looked at several theaters. That was my favorite, that was Damien's favorite. Uh. The thing that I really love about that specifically, and I made sure that it got on cameras, that or f Um has this. The curtain is very old.

Uh, it's kind of this beautiful crushed golden fabric and we just kind of all freaked out about it, like this is gonna look great on camera. Um, another contribution. So that's just the theater as it was lit really well, and then the audience was set back, cutting out different shaped bits of white, like a shirt thing or, you know, book book, and dropping it in the seats so that as you look out, you know, because we only had a certain amount of extras, and you look out you feel like there's a lot of people there, but it's just pieces of fabric drinking over the back of chairs, you know, low fi way to do it. So all the like stage lighting, that is like lighting them. That was all just stuff that existed on the theater. Yeah, that's just from the R fam. Um. I'm sure that our lighting department added some things, Um, that they could control specifically, but Um, you know, you generally make use of the lighting in a theater if you're there, because it does have a good question. You know, it's just authentic quality. Another thing I was going to ask is that's kind of a sequence where, from memory, you can kind of look at it from like all three sixty degrees the angles, because it's I guess, a real location. Are there any locations on this that you remember being particularly like it can only be shot this certain way because otherwise you're going to see the the seems, I guess now I think we pretty much got three sixty everywhere. You know, a lot of the locations, like that hallway we were talking about at the opening of the film, some of the other other things like, you know, the practice rooms and stuff, those were some percentage the actual location and some percentage things that we built him. But in this one we were like kind of had two three sixty everything um to the best of my memory, I don't remember going Damian, you can't see this way, just just because you know it's that kind of movie, like it isn't. It isn't this, then this, that, it's this and again it has a tempo, which means it has a movement, which means you're probably gonna have to see everything. So I was listening to the Director of commentary and obviously you're dressing like L A as New York and but he said that they did one and there's like a montage with just like a bunch of New York exterior shots and they did like one day in New York and one. Were you involved in that? And to like what is the production designer's role when just like shooting exteriors on a street that already exists, or that's just like very much right, you know, just shooting down a New York City Street. Well, I mean really frankly, that comes down to what what size picture you want? I did not go to New York. I was aware of what they were shooting. Um, I think they grab some things kind of on the go. Um, that was, if I remember correctly, that was after we shot all of l a. So you know, Sharon Damien, they already knew what the look of the film was. So there's no kind of fight about that and the film is based off that. Um, you know, more recently up in Canada with pet bird, uh Netflix, painkillers, about the opioid crisis, shooting Canna. You know, we're supposed to be in the United States. So you have to do a lot of stuff if you're shooting a street, and we did a lot of streets, Um, you know, and you change quite a few things. One of in...

...whiplash there's the exterior of the movie theater with the Marquis that that was also the palace theater. It's the exterior of the palace theater. But had we did a couple of things to that to make it look more like New York. For one, Um Light, like the traffic lights in New York are yellow and in l a they are right. So I don't think we painted it. I think set that because we knew it was going to be a wide shot from across the street at night. So I think set deck actually wrapped most of that pole with tape, yellow tape, and then we um, we did dirty snow, little remnants of it, because I'm like, it would really feel like New York City if there's some leftover snow and it's ugly and dirty. Again, there's that greediness, right. I didn't realize how much of the movie was shot in L A. and there's also that one scene after he gets dismissed where he's eating pizza and he's walking down that street and he sees the the guy on the streets playing the drums and that felt very New York to me. So the fact that that, I guess, was l a is kind of crazy. That is l a. That was the number two location that we went to um which had. We did multiple things there. There was the diner where he had lunch or coffee with Um, the young lady. That's in Los Angeles. That's the same corner. We used the exterior that as the exterior of the jazz club where he goes to see Fletcher. Double played it. There's a lobby in that building. This is called the Hotel Barclay. Lots of stuff gets shoot. There's beautiful old building and it's got a ton of apartments and they're mostly empty. You know, I've done multiple things, but Um, where they meet the lawyer, he and his dad meet the lawyer and the lobby at the hotel. We did that there. We did uh, his apartment after he got kicked out, which is one of my favorite sets in the movie because it's very underdressed purposefully, you know. So we did all sorts of all sorts of stuff there too. And Yeah, that's in like fourth, fourth and main downtown Los Angeles. Um. So I guess to like kind of wrap up our whiplash side of things, I wanted to ask is there any I mean it just seems like a difficult shoot, but was there any set that you were like this is like difficult, like this is particularly difficult. For that shoot, it was all difficult. That none of the sets themselves specifically were difficult to create or build. You know, it's not like like say, Bill and Ted Doing Howard making the North Pole, which I just did. This was you know, these are these are everyday locations that you you know, the work. It's always work. Nothing's ever easy doing this, but the work that you do there is to make sure that you you're keeping the aesthetic within the range that you wanted to be, keeping it gritty, keeping it interesting, keeping the mood, telling the story. So in that respect, but the shoot itself, I mean seventeen days for that, like everybody had to be just Uber Focus. People were not sleeping enough, you know, like it was hard. It was particularly hard in my department for set deck, because you know, they're the people that are dealing with the couches and the instruments and the you know that that department has a lot of little, tiny, little bits and pieces that they have to bring and that means you I've got trucks and you've got boxes. In all these buildings, these old buildings in L A, they have I don't think the bar play...

...had. Oh they had an elevator, but it's Teeny, so you know, you're like trying to get the couch. I mean it's just that kind of stuff. Was Crazy and truck after truck after truck and more crew and you know it like that. Part of it is the logistics and the actual physical demands of shooting on a schedule with so many locations that quickly, which is why I didn't want to move. I'm like, we gotta stay downtown for at least to could punk of this show. You brought up bill and Ted and uh, I guess what's are there any major differences? And like working on a franchise film, like the budget is obviously very different, and you've brought up like designing hell, and do you have more fun with that compared to designing? Like you said, it's all work and it's all hard, but like do you when you have to do something elaborate, do you have more fun with that than like designing a classroom? Yes and no. I mean my first interest as a production designer is telling this story well, telling the visual story well. I don't really look at it as an aesthetic, although that's my responsibility. I'm still a writer. I'm just writing images. So if I like the script or I'm into the job, it's all good. It doesn't really matter to me if it's now, you know, if it's a big build, it's a little build, if it's crazy build, if you've got lots of time and money, I really you know, make making hell. I think I got the job of bill and Ted Three because it was my suggestion that we put hell, we put death's house, we make it a mid century modern as opposed to some gothic thing, kind of like he was trying to have a hipster midlife crisis or something. Right, you know, it's like, you know, let's let's not play into what would be the obvious, which would be some kind of castle. Let's make this. And then, you know, the idea of having a coy pond in front it's filled with lava. You know, that's all meddy. I I do enjoy the cookiness and the humor. You know, the tone of the script will often affect the feeling of the job and the job approach. So I do really enjoy creating fantasy spaces, probably more than I like doing, you know, just another classroom or just another house or Justin you know that kind of thing. But it really depends on the story. If the characters UH interesting of the story is interesting than it, then that that it's all worthwhile. So to move on to another movie that you actually mentioned and I just saw like two weeks ago for the first time. You worked on the purch the first one, Um, and I was wondering that must have been another short shoot. What was that like? And I guess that's the big thing really. Yeah, no, no, no, no, that I think I was probably a thirty, maybe thirty five days shoot maybe, which is still really short. But Um, so that was we found a house in the valley here in Los Angeles. The people had just built it and lived in it for a couple of months and it was not very furnished, which was great, and so we paid them to get out. They hadn't shot in their house for a month. That you know that my approach with that was because that was a future I was supposed to be now or, you know, last year or something, and it was to two thousand twelve when we shot it. So, you know, I just had to think about well, what you know, that's kind of doing five or ten years in the futures is always a rough thing because, you know, how, how can you guess, like how much different is it going to be ten years from now? And you know, when we can reflect literally,...

...that was ten years ago. How is how are things different, like visually? And you know, there's a lot of talk about the technology. What would the phones be like and you know, would they be clear plastic, with all that kind of stuff, and so my thought about that was the best thing to do is not trying and guess at some style that, Um, you know, we we don't really. That's always so dangerous. You can make really bad choices. I so there I just said, well, I'm going to go back to something that I know keeps on come coming back around in terms of style, which is art deco. So there's kind of a Ecko feel. It's a it's a two thousand and twelve art deco subtext on that Um and Um, we shot principle and they decided that they needed to add more Um. Have Ethan Hawks character, have, you know, more of a fight against the bad guys, which in this would be the scene and the pool tables and kind of like a game room, and so the people this is maybe five or six months after we shot principal photography and the owners of the house are like, no way, we don't want you back. You know, we're moved in. No more movies in our house, because that you just that's the whole thing in itself. So, Um, I rebuilt some of the sets on a sound stage and then I added, I connected them with hallways, because when you read the original script the house just felt massive and you felt like there were these these never ending halls that that people could get lost and separated from each other in this blackout right and there's no houses really that have that kind of labyrinth of hallways in reality. So I just thought, well, it would be you know, I mean we can get some good stuff. So I built a couple of halls between the sets that we had to shoot. That we also built and Um, and I'm glad. I'm glad we did, because that's where they got a lot of the really good shots of those guys smashing, you know, walking through the house smashing all this stuff. And you know, we just didn't have it before that and I think it was super valuable addition. It's it's funny the thing you said about kind of having to predict what the future is going to look like, because we talked with the costume designer of her, which is like in the near future, and he said kind of the same thing, of like you kind of have to look back like two cycles or something and kind of like figure out what to mix and match to figure out what the future might look like. Yeah, I guess the next question is just like what have you been working on now that you can speak about? Well, like I said, I've been working on the clauses, which is a continuation of the Santa Claus movies with Tim Allen. Um I'm working. It's for Disney plus. Um. That's been we just this doing that. that. That's been an incredible joy of a job. Two, create the North Pole. I don't even know how to talk about that. That one of the special things about the job is that that we've got to do some of the shooting with I. L M Industrial Lighte Magic at Um, their volume stages, which is what they use for the Mandalorian. Yeah, exactly. So you know, that's my first time working in that kind of environment and that potential is incredible. I mean we basically drew a full set on sketch up and then send it to them and they make it three d looking projected up on the I L M screen and you're shooting in front of it and, uh, it looks incredible on camera. Looks real like things you can't do for a TV series, say, like the santas workshop.

We could not build that. We built a lot of other stuff, a lot of other stuff that was just so much fun, but that big workshop is a massive set and Um, they wanted to bring that back so that you could have the continuity from the movies to the TV series, and so we redrew it. We drew it and repainted it, you know, I modified it some, and then that's you know, and then we just ended up building parts and pieces. But the whole workshop is really just a you know, projection. It's incredible and the and the thing that's interesting about the volume is that it it's not only projected, you know, behind the actors, it's also lighting them. So you don't have to bring movie lights. You can bring you know, you can add a little bit, but you're already lit. You Walk in there and you're let go. It's it's really phenomenal technology. Part would you say it's time for the Big Huna final question. I think. I think it's time we bring it out. So the Big Huna final question is what is the last great film you watched? Um, and we have to clarify that. We don't mean good, we mean great, little big man. What is that? So it's a film made in nineteen seventy, I think, with Dustin Hoffman Um and he plays the opening of the film. He's a hundred and two years old. He basically is being interviewed by this Young Guy and he tells the story of his life, which included meaning general custard and included living with Indian tribes called the human beings and all sorts of really fun, funny, beautiful philosophical plot points. It's a beautiful film, very much of the period. You know, it's not a modern film. It's very nineteen seventies kind of style and I hadn't seen it in a long, long time. And I guess that brings us back to whiplash, the nine seventies look yeah, uh. Well, I think that wraps us up nicely. Thank you so much to our guests. Melanie Jones. She's the production designer behind such films as the purge, insidious, the last key bill and Ted faced music and our film for today, Damien Chazelle's whiplash. Thank you for being on. Thank you for having me. It was fun. Welcome back. That was a really, really good interview with Melanie Jones, the production designer for whiplash, Um, another films and other films. Um, Sophia, you have any anywhere to say closing remarks? I love that interview. It was a really great time. Good job, guys. Yeah, yeah, I think, I think. I think when Jordan and I get together, some really interesting work comes out of it. I think it's a fruitful working partnership. Um, and you know, who knows? Who knows where else it'll go? You know, yeah, I might argue that this is your best interview yet, and it's like, what changed during this interview? That wasn't the way of the arrest of the especially especially when you consider our last interview was the Eddie Hamilton's interview. For this to be even better than that, that's something. You know. You guys just keep out doing yourselves. But part part, but like parts of we can't talk about top gun, we can't talk about okay, we get it's the end of the episode. We can talk about top gun now. Okay, so joining I saw top gun for a second time. We didn't um the beach scene. It's still not a breath of yeah, you haven't listened to our whiplash discussion yet. But Um, as I will men Shin in that episode, which you'll hear next week, Trent and I...

...have three episodes to record and we're doing them backwards. So we did. We've already done the discussion, but that's not coming out until next week for you guys, and we have yet to record the top gun discussion. But that came out last week for you guys. But because of that really sorder, I told Trent to hold off on the top gun talk. But I guess, since it is the end of the episode, what do you think we should recommend for the listeners to do? I think that the listeners should hit like on this podcast, leave a leave a like comment and a comment, maybe probably rate it five stars. Yeah, Um, and you could also listen to the apple podcasts and spotify, really wherever you get your podcast or wherever you get your podcasts. And there's also craft services, social media, twitter and instagram and twitter. Yeah, those those, those are the two we have. So that's where you can find us, and so just give us a follow whatever. Thanks, thanks a lot to Melanie Jones. You know. Um, I think, I think that's all we have to say. We'll see you next week for our whiplash discussion and then after that it's our hundredth episode special Jordan's rough. That's an interesting reaction. Um, okay,.

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