About Me

Interview with Production designer Jeanette Andriulli

Today’s post was part of a month long series celebrating and investigating women creating horror, past and present as part of the international Women in Horror Month celebration. You can see all of the great events by checking out womeninhorrormonth.com

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Me and Myself – Jeanette Andriulli

Yep, I’m interviewing myself today. I had an actual separate human being lined up to interview, but schedules got a bit wonky, so I’ll have to post that specific one at a later time. Ah well…

I’m a woman and I am a maker of horror, so, I’ll tell you a bit about myself today instead of having a proper interview.

What first inspired me to want to work in Film? 

My desire to work in film actually grew out of my interests in expressing myself as an artist.

I have always been an artistic person. I can remember being 3 years old sitting on my back porch in Georgia on a summer evening struggling to make my drawing of a mermaid match the one on my favorite plastic purse. I’ve stayed pretty darn determined to become an artist since then. Although my medium of expression has changed from year to year. At my core, I am always striving and struggling to bring the artwork I want to see into this world. It’s through this need to create that got me into theater in high school. This then led me to pursuing costume and set design in college.

During my first week of college I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by the amount of people and the bizarre amount of time I seemed to have on my hands. So I wandered over to the school cafe to lurk and sketch the other patrons. Anti-social me ended up making friends with this lovely writer, Maddie Ward, and she wondered if I would be interested in doing storyboarding for the film her father was producing that summer. Wide-eyed and heart in my throat- I accepted. My storyboarding landed me a position in the art department of this indie horror film called, “Fog Warning,” and after my experiences on that set I was hooked, I just wanted to keep making movies.

How did I first get into doing Production Design for horror?

“Dead Souls” cast sitting on my ‘ritual circle’ painting

After my experience on “Fog Warning” I had my heart set on becoming a production designer. So every summer off from school I was charming my way onto the crews of local film sets. And because of the training I was getting at the University of Connecticut I was able to slip into the production designer role. I designed for an indie bio-pic about the poet William Meredith called “Marathon,” and an urban action film called “Diamond Ruff.”  It was through connections I made on those sets that eventually gave me a chance to get back into horror-land. “Dead Souls” was my first production design credit in the genre. Although the first horror feature I designed solo was “Five Senses of Fear” for the Chiller channel.

 What does a Production designer do anyway?


Good question, me.

The production designer is the person in charge of  designing the look of all of the things the actors interact with. From the objects they use (props), to the spaces they exist in (Sets) and the objects that help give the sets character (set dressing). The production designer organizes the art department to get everything done and is the the department’s main link to the director’s vision and the rest of the departments.

What about working on horror is the best and/or worst thing?

The best thing about working on horror is experiencing the wonderful decaying locations these types of projects are shot in. I love exploring these forgotten and decaying corners of our world. The worst thing is that these lovely grimy locations tend to be a bit unsafe when I first arrive. So normally it is production, my art department and myself having to bleach away the mold and up and fix up broken stairs before we go around and paint fake mold and build fake broken stairs. Redundant? Yep. But no one likes breathing in black mold or broken ankles.

Tell me something interesting about a project you designed recently.

Actress Athena Grant covered in Glowing hand prints

Ok, self.  Did you know that regular old liquid Tide detergent looks awesome under black light? My artistic director and I had a ton of fun smearing it all over the set and actors for the black light scene in Deep in the Darkness. What wasn’t so fun was spending the entire next day mopping it all up with buckets of water drawn from the river next to the house. Yeah, there was no running water there. 😛

Do I feel that my gender has effected my experiences in the industry?

Not a bit. I see women rocking the heck out of horror and film in every position, and a couple of them I have introduced to you here during my Horror and Her Makers series. I see women as directors, writers, designers, and cinematographers working as equals with their male coworkers on many of the projects I work on. I know that there has been a history of bias and unbalanced roles between genders but my experience shows that the current generation isn’t stuck in the mindset of the past.

What have I been up to lately and what’s coming down the turnpike next?

All of the things!

My most recent horror features are now out on DVD and Blu-Ray:

Dark Haul

Deep in the Darkness

Animal

Season 1 of my Web-series “Haunting Light” is live

and you can see here:

Episode 1: And So It Begins

Episode 2: Fear

Episode 3: Bedtime

Episode 4: Never Say Goodbye

And I have been making bunches of horror content over on Haunting TV.

What’s next?

Season 2 for Haunting light is in post-production right now. There’s a ton of content coming you way via my youtube channel- including music videos, reviews, and tours of historically haunted locations. I’m also working on scripts and designs for Haunting TV’s next web-series. (But that’s waaaay down the road at this point.) And I’m working on illustrations for a horror YA novel that should be coming to e-book readers near you in the next couple years. And puppets. There will be som many puppets being made for a project in my near future. It is going to be a very busy year.

I promise to keep you all abreast of these projects as everything gets closer to fruition.

Until next time, Happy Haunting!

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