Hello guys! Boy are there a lot of you all of a sudden. *waves enthusiastically*
As you [presumably?] know, I’m the production designer for the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. If you want to know a little bit more about what it means to be a production designer, you can check out my answer to soapboxsteam’s question about that here.
I’m starting at the very beginning (a very good place to start) of the show in my own personal rewatch, so I figured I’d start with some details about place where it all started, Lizzie’s room. Without a doubt, the thing I’ve gotten the most questions about in the past is Lizzie’s bookshelf, so I hope the straight on pictures help clear up some things about the contents of the shelves.
As our producer Jenni Powell’s room doubles for Lizzie’s room, Jenni’s bookshelf is Lizzie’s bookshelf. It’s filled with books belonging to her and her fiancé Stuart, our assistant director. The week before we started shooting, Jenni and I went through and decided which of the books we thought were the most likely to be on Lizzie’s shelf. Thankfully, Jenni and Stuart have excellent taste in reading material. Take a look at the books on the shelf, but remember — although we tried to choose only things we thought Lizzie would have on her shelf, these are set dressing to make her room look lived in and homey much more than they are specific choices for her character.
The picture above was taken on the very first day of shooting as a continuity picture. We’ve moved a few things around since, but for the most part, the shelf has stayed exactly the same since our first day of shooting.
I dressed [put props on] the whole shelf because we weren’t sure how much of it we were going to see until we started shooting. It’s frequently the case that I have a lot of options available and we only end up using a mere fraction of the stuff I’ve brought. All the same, I like to think that although you never got to see them, Lizzie does in fact have an old 1945 Royal Aristocrat typewriter, a pair of silly sunglasses and a few stuffed animals on the top of her shelf, but that’s my personal design canon and not anything official.
All the little knick knacks on the shelf are borrowed from my room or bought specifically for Lizzie. They’ve all lived at Jenni’s since we started shooting. (She’s such a good sport to live on a hot set for months on end!) The piggy bank was a gift from my dad. The pocket watch and nail file I picked up right before filming. You can spot my DVDs of Bridget Jones’s Diary and The Importance of Being Earnest sitting on the middle shelf. Penguins are my favorite animal, so I had to find a way to throw one in there somewhere. He’s sitting on a rock I brought back from a glacial stream in Canada and next to a weird horse thing I’ve had since I was a kid. The nice thing about dressing Lizzie’s room is that because it’s a contemporary show and Lizzie and I have a lot in common, I could easily justify adding some personal touches to her room that line up with my own taste and interests.
My favorite thing about being a production designer is getting the chance to take a fictional character and bring them to life through the things they interact with and the things I think they would choose to surround themselves with. You can learn a lot about a person looking at their possessions. Lizzie’s room is the place she’s living now as a grad student, but also her childhood bedroom. It’s a little bit of a time capsule of stuff she’s collected over the years. I tried to reflect that in the things I chose to bring into her world.
That’s enough bookshelf talk for now. If you have any further specific questions, shoot them my way. Next up, Lizzie’s bulletin board!