Alex Eastwood
Production Designer

The Utah desert in February can be a mighty cold place, especially if you are a Florida conditioned person. Underdressed and overly ambitious, Danny, Erica, Eric, Bryce and I were standing in southern Utah deciding on where the story of A Monster in the Attic was going to be told.

Part 3

Alex and Erica studying map. For all the complexities that this film has, its heart is a story that is based on minimalism. It is a story of two children surviving under bleak circumstances, having to live each day in bare preparation for the next, and doing all of this framed in the ever important third character of this film; the geography of southern Utah.

Click Picture for Full Screen View

With our limited budget for scouting, the five of us had one weekend to decide where the entire story of this film was going to take place. While we were out there we exhausted all the resources we had in trying to find all the locations that were described in the script. This included all the interiors that take place in the children’s house, an abandoned farmhouse in the middle of the red rock desert, and all the exterior locations surrounding.

The Kane County Office of Tourism and Film Commission was wonderful in providing us with ample information of the surrounding area. Southern Utah is a gorgeous place and once we drove around and explored this backdrop we were quickly checking exterior locations off of our list. The next great treasure we came across was a place in Kanab called the Heritage House. It is a historical house in the town whose architecture and lifestyle has been preserved since the turn of the century. We were amazed. It was absolutely perfect for all of our interior shots. It almost seemed that the script was written with this place in mind, however, this was the first time any one of us had ever seen it. We knew we had found all of our interiors, but the outside architecture, coupled with the fact that it was located in downtown Kanab, was not going to help us with our exterior house scenes.

Heritage House Winter 2006

With time and energy running out we desperately tried to find this abandoned farmhouse. Our last day was spent in two cars driving to the most remote of locations, and ultimately, spent in vain, for we could not find the right house for our film. Though we had accomplished so much on this trip, we still didn’t have one of the most crucial elements of this film; the three story house exterior.

With my spirits low, I was preparing my bags to go back to Florida when we all starting discussing the possibility of actually building the exterior house facade we needed for the film. This new option would allow us to be able to pick our most ideal location and then build our house there. It was also less money then having to relocate our entire crew mid-shoot to a further away exterior destination. The more we entertained this idea the more it seemed like the right answer, and the more excited we became.

Danny and Alex I felt accomplished walking onto my overnight flight back to Florida, and only when I laid my head down to sleep did I really ask, “how do I build a three story, late 1800’s farmhouse?!”

View Entire Photo Gallery of our Trip

[tags]Scout, Scouting, Location Scouting, Production Design, Kane County, Heritage House, Paria, Flickr[/tags]

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