Behind the scenes of Day 1 of Sloppy Jones on September 26th at the Paradise Falls Inn.
Producer Susan Nation and creators Jamie Hart, Sophie Nation and Jonathan Neil Alexander have been working on the characters, scripts and world for Sloppy Jones since spring of 2019.
They had the support of Ontario Creates, CMF, WIFT, and amazing creative consultants Amanda Walsh, Colin Mochrie and Lory Mpiana plus mentors like Winnifred Jong, Linda Kash, Jill Golick, Judy Croon, Carrie Cuttforth, Nina Beveridge, and Paul Hart and talent like Jeigh Madjus and Isabel Kanaan during development in 2020 and 2021.
Thanks to funding from Hop To It Productions, Ontario Creates, and OUTtv, Season 1 (6 x 4 minutes) started filming September, 2021.
Behind the Scenes: The Setting for the Paradise Falls Inn
Behind the scenes, Director Emily Cohn, DOP Dale Hildebrand and the creators worked together seamlessly. The vision for the Paradise Falls Inn was a romantic and glam treatment of the characters desperate situation. (Servers Rory Woods and Thomas Collins, strapped for cash, are living in the honeymoon suite.)
Producer Susan Nation went online and then drove all over Toronto and the Niagara strip searching for the perfect Motel that had the heart shaped jacuzzi, and was available, affordable, clean and would allow us to film. It also needed parking, safety measures, meal storage, outdoor patios to eat because of COVID with weather back ups and additonal nice rooms for make-up, hair, wardrobe and crew. The newly renovated Voyager Inn in Niagara Falls was perfect in every way and the owners/managers were a pleasure to deal with.
Rory and Thomas strive for champagne with the budget for water. They attempt to keep their living space elevated and beautiful with LED candles, thrifted blankets, and reusable glass bottles they can dump their cheap shampoo in. Because of the pair’s aim for second hand opulence our first step was to hit the thrift stores, dollar stores and pharmacies.
Sebastian Sage on Styling the Paradise Falls Inn
“I wanted it to look a little tacky and busy, but not messy. I thought that reflected Harper and Rory- not just their aesthetics, but their lives. It’s their impoverished performance of luxury, meant solely for their own consumption.”-Sebastian Sage, Niagara Art Department Head and props designer
The props were handed off to Niagara Art Department lead Sebastian Sage for layout. There, his goal was to make the hotel look lived in and dreamy. Working with Cohn and Hildebrand, Sage laid the stage for two steamy and slightly toxic dates.
Jamie Hart on Seeing the Set
“It was kind of crazy, finally getting to the set and seeing what we’d been writing about for so long. The hot tub was the first scene of the day. We walked into all this beautiful green light and neon. It’s was so gorgeous, but everything on the set was so feasibly owned by these characters. It was like ‘Champagne Tastes and a boxed wine budget.’
“The whole picture looks so beautiful and glam and sexy, but then you start to look closer. The champagne flutes are plastic. The LED hearts are the ones at the restaurant (Rory probably stole some for her date). The candles are fake, the flowers are fake. Rory keeps her cheap shampoo in reusable dollar store glass bottles so she can feel fancy. The whole set was such a good character piece. You know her immediately, because of what her bathroom looks like. She can’t afford a Michelin star restaurant, but she’s creative and she’s a romantic. She put everything together herself. I hope people really fall in love with Rory the way I did while Sophie was writing her.”-Jamie Hart, co-creator of Sloppy Jones
Sloppy Jones: Behind the Scenes
Sophie Nation on Being on Location
“I love Niagara Falls. Everything about it is perfect. Especially the motels. We were so lucky to have found our beautiful motel because it really set the scene to explore our protagonists personal lives. Where you live says so much about you and the fact that Thomas and Rory share not only a bed, but a heart shaped jacuzzi in a motel room just tells you a lot about these characters and where they are at. They are fighting to lead beautiful, exciting lives, but feel very stuck.”Sophie Nation, Co-creator of Sloppy Jones
Sloppy Jones: Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes: Lighting the Paradise Falls Inn
Props did an amazing job. But there was still more work to do! Next was lighting- one of the most important steps!
Producer Susan Nation started us off right by sourcing a motel sign from Neon Signs. It was the perfect way to introduce the setting and the style of our second episode.
The outside of the motel was tented behind the sign to create a moody night look. Perfect for a steamy scene between Jonathan Neil Alexander (Thomas Collins) and Isaac Cunningham (August Rochester)!
Thomas and August’s scene was dramatic, charged and dangerous. Because of that we needed a dramatic look for the lighting that would let our talented actors do their best work. Highlighting the subtext without distracting from their fantastic performances.
QUOTE FROM EMILY ABOUT LOOK FOR MOTEL-Emily Cohn, director of Sloppy Jones
Sloppy Jones: Behind the Scenes
Harper and Rory’s scene was romantic and intimate. Because of the emotional content, the challenge for the lighting was to become intimate and emotionally charged, while holding up to the neon grunge of the Thomas and August scene.
Behind the Scenes: Lights, Camera, Action!
@sloppyjones 💗🍓 Hory4ever 🍓💗. #lgbtq #wlw #behindthescenes ♬ As It Was – Harry Styles
When things started rolling Jamie Hart and Sophie Nation recall sitting in the hot tub to shoot the first scene from Season 1.
“It was wild,” Hart recalls. “We were in this bubble bath in a heart shaped tub constantly having our hair and makeup fixed, because of the steam. Major princess vibes.”
The actors laughed when asked about keeping the bubbles going. “We were in there for hours,” said Nation, “and Sebastian— who plays Damian— he was also in the art department and design. So he was standing by with bubble bath being directed to ‘re-bubble’ the tub between every take!”
When asked if she had a favourite memory from shooting that scene Hart answered, “Oh the strawberries. 100% the strawberries. They kept breaking at the stem while we were trying to be romantic, so it made it all very giggley. I actually think that really helped with the vibe.”
@sloppyjones Behind the scenes shenanigans in Niagara Falls! #fyp #behidnthescenes #pillowfights ♬ Off To The Races – Lana Del Rey
See more from Sloppy Jones!
Want to see our behind the scenes shenanigans? With photography by Jared Miller and footage from our Digital Lead Liam Hart we’ve got you covered!