“JANUS” #productiondesign #setdec #costume #propdressing #artdepartment

Now that this short film has done its rounds, including the Raindance festival- screening in a cinema end of last year; I am ready to share some of the making of the making off.

This one started with an ambition, a metaphor and a sense of human experience – most abstract, but yet understood between me and the director – with little of a script to start of with: the engines of filmmaking started turning all the same.

Location secured with one of the bigger ‘black out’ challenges: this was going to be a thrilling horror and had to happen in the dark- moodboard set ,the set up and planning started with a thrill for our crew – and in lofty hights.

10 days before shooting day: Writer in the midst of translating vision and idea into a script. Casting the actors, discussing costume ( some items of my wardrobe and from previous productions made it into the cut).

Clear on story arch and feel ( still no completed script) I briefed the costume designer on the crucial character and metaphor ( have to have a monster to thrill). The understanding of such, in a short sharp chat: translated by Amelia Giovanelli into concept art and a costume in a heartbeat- amazed me.

Finding the key items and props that signify the story world for me:

My desire to go with practical effects over digital VFX appreciated and realised.


The joy for the art department, is the joy of metaphorical and visual story telling – an aspect I ‘d like to stretch every time: especially in the world of independent shortfilms.

Less time to tell a lot – and with this more abstract approach to psychological and paranormal aspects to the story, the detail and little hints of signifying props sprinkle- became important:

The ‘monster’ got dressed with keepsakes from previous victims; enhancing a suggestion of ‘passing of time’. (Some shots had to be dropped to tell this aspect of the story – due to time restriction in production – storyworld time; always hard to capture)

It helped that objects can tell a background story too, helping a sense of ‘passing of time’, shaping the character of the storyworld: Photos of the main character with blacked out boyfriends, dried flowers from previous dates: just left, uncared for and disregarded – another vintage oldy-wordly lampshade here and there, placing a moon poster and getting one of my vintage rocking chairs out of storage, another velvety curtain and pelmet hung ( who wants to see white walls in a horror? ). Another sprinkling of costume and items to add texture and colour, in keeping with the over all look and feel: I felt the storyworld came to its own.

Story world set up and inspected, I was ready for the camera and lighting team to add their magic and we got off to a good start.

And with a great understanding between director and myself and a translation by the writer into a script – I was thrilled to see the use of the metaphorical use of props: the kintsugi bowl … something to get my art department teeth into.


Taking the ‘smashing it’ – to a literal level on this one… :for this item to take on more significant meaning, and reappear a few times – [“fixed and therefor stronger …”} this was an art department delight for me.

And with true make believe challenges, we had quite a few of these bowls: as the making and breaking and fixing, didn’t happen in chronological order on set – and at times between broke and fixed not much more than a clap of the board.

For shards of a broken bowl only to reappear a day later !?!? LOL … well we ‘smashed it’ and all was ready as intended when the camera was rolling.

We went for the yellow soup and not the predictable tomato soup for horror – to tie in with the rest of the colour palette.

Talking of colour … not to sure if it was too designed – but reviewing the end product and amazing edit: it makes for some pleasant reading in between some thrilling moments … delivering intrigue and engagement to the story telling …

Amazed to see the story arch visualised and nicely arranged through edit and music design… starting with not much more than an abstract thought … successfully translated and communicated to DOP , Costume making and special effects make up and writer … Directed but yet another twist that materialised in the editing room …

Moving forward in my development in the art department and niche. What a team:



Published by danielafleckenstein

Using my creativity as Life Coach to encourage people to move forward in their lives. I also work as Editorial and Art Photographer creating the image you only dreamed of, supporting you throughout the whole process from conception to creation. Find the information you seek about me on http://about.me/danielafleckenstein

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