I spent the day on Saturday doing a photo shoot for the website we're creating for The Last Bridge. The prep and planning leading up to it reminded me of many creative adventures I've had over the years when I had to ask friends and family to lend their time, homes, money and other props and goods. I guess I have a little of that Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland spirit in me where I tend to get enthusiastic about putting on a show. In this case it is bringing aspects of the book to life.
The concept is to provide a little more insight into my main character by showing you the contents of her purse. The purse is on a table, the table is in the kitchen of her childhood home. Sounds easy, right?
Wrong. The kitchen had to have a window over the sink, a door, old cabinets and a farmhouse feel. It needed to be located within the tri-state area and the owner needed to be open to letting us come in and shoot. Oh and we needed to find the kitchen in less than three weeks.
Enter, Larry. My friend Donna's retired downstairs neighbor and lovable pack rat. After sending out an email blast to friends we got some nibbles but none had ALL the elements. Then one morning while brushing my teeth I saw Larry's kitchen in my mind and realized he had it all. We just needed to convince him. That was Donna's job.
Once we had the kitchen Rose (my web designer) and I divided up the prop load. I got to work recreating the bag of legal documents Cat carries around -- including creating some fake medical tests, an old deed and birth certificates. (Thank you Internet!) Rose made a map tracing the route from New York to my imaginary town (see photo) and she even got her boyfriend Dave to represent the father's handwriting.
My friend Gwyn wrote the notes from Diana. Catherine recreated my mother's notes and I kept my terrible penmanship out of it. My friend Wileen gave me some help on places to find a kitchen and reminded me not to forget to feed my crew. Gina scouted a few locations out East and Denise offered me Craig's kitchen (and Craig let her!)
Best of all a young artist named Christopher Carrasco brought Cat's sketches to life -- they are sooo cool.
After we moved everything in Larry's kitchen, we created our "tableau." As I watched Rose shoot, I realized the items on the table spilling out of Cat's purse said as much about me as they did about her. I had another one of those weird moments when I realized I made Cat up and she was not going to talk through that door and ask me what the F*ck I was doing with her stuff.
If she had, I would have certainly taken her to Mama's which is where we ended the day with bowls of pasta and REALLY good garlic knots. Larry said he would let us use his kitchen any time we wanted.