Thoughts from Production Design

5 Dec

3 months ago I knew absolutely nothing about Japan.

I knew about Harajuku girls, Nintendo, Sushi, and Kimonos. I think that’s about it.

Over the course of working on this film, my knowledge (and love) of Japan has grown exponentially. I have learned so much about the people, the history, the fashion, the music, the art, the problems, the obsessions, and the language. What started out as something distant and simple has become a much more fleshed out understanding of Japanese culture, and I hope to incorporate this knowledge into Persimmon.

One thing that has come out of doing some soul-searching and long conversations has been the idea of isolation and how it seems to run throughout the entirety of the film. Each character seems locked in their own little bubble, without any real hope of getting out. Tamotsu is stuck inside his own head, searching for answers to life’s unanswerable troubles. Hasegawa is trapped in his bed, yearning for youth but lacking the motivation to keep living. Mei is wrapped up in relational troubles and personal strife with no real sign of changing. In order to emphasize this idea, there will be a lot of integration of technology and extra spaces where people should be. Our plan is to have as many people on cellphones, other random electronic devices taking the places of humans (such as a roomba, which is a robotic vacuum cleaner), and extra chairs everywhere. My plan is to have as many empty chairs as possible in homes.

After reading the first draft of the screenplay, I immediately fell in love with it. The characters, the metaphors, and the implied colors seemed so vibrant to me. From the moment I read it I knew that the colors orange and teal were going to be important. The color of the persimmon seemed so crucial: describing everything that is key to the film. It’s freshness, it’s ripeness, it’s symbol of life.

Throughout my search for the right look for this film, I tried to find as much inspiration as I could. Here are some of the images that I found.

Most of these images might only be inspiring to me, but I hope that they are some help with my overall ideas for this film.

So far, this film experience has been one of the best that I’ve had. I have never been so encouraged, so loved, and so creatively inspired for a film. I am thoroughly enjoying this process so far, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. I know that once we get to Japan it will all come together and our team will thrive.

-Nick Chavez

Production Designer

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One Response to “Thoughts from Production Design”

  1. Jessica December 23, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    As I was scrolling through, I knew this was you before I read it – the pictures said it all. I love love love it. And am SO jealous 🙂

    ~J

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