Photo by Carroll D. Thomas, 1994
Courtesy of Library of Congress, “Working in Paterson”
Mari’s Hair People on 21st Avenue
Diary of a Webisode Maker #3
“Location, location, location,” is the mantra of all real estate agents and the backdrop for most storytellers. This weekend, producers of “Gravity” can expect another week of record breaking ticket sales. The stratospheric chemistry between Sandra Bullock and George Clooney certainly helps, but so too the movie’s setting of deep, dark space. On earth, without record breaking sales in sight, just yet, the WIFV sponsored pilot of “Welcome to Lunatic Fringe” has confirmed a location of a different kind, a hair salon. It’s now up to the set designer and director of photography to transform this very real, working beauty salon into a movie set for comedy and up-dos.
Briefly, here’s a recap of the WIFV sponsored web series. The web series is designed to be a mentoring experience. Mentees have an opportunity to shadow experts in the art and craft of filmmaking. It’s almost hands-on but not quite. This might seem disappointing to someone eager and willing to do “anything to help” but the reality is cameras are expensive, actors need to be compensated, and production timelines and insurance agreements need to be followed. From a producer’s point of view, these are valuable, hard earned lessons. Plus, if the first installment is good enough to be considered as a broadcast pilot, the initial episode can have real legs and actually play to a larger (and more critical) audience.
Mentoring can be a bridge across time and to success. In 1974 the American Film Institute created a directors workshop for women. This served two purposes: to foster storytelling talent and encourage more women to become film and television directors. The number of female directors in film and television, monitored by the Producer’s Guild of America, hovers around 10 percent. To me, the reason for such a low number is not lack of talent, but rather access and opportunity. And this is why the WIFV mentoring program is such a gem: It provides access to expertise, and an opportunity to watch and learn.
This coming week auditions begin, workshops provided by the director of photography and set design will take place — and of course, the scouring for those funky, hairy trolls from the 70’s continue. It’s all part of “Welcome to Lunatic Fringe.”