Behind the Scenes: Bringing the Bay Area to Life in Life 2.0
by The Fogbank Development Team
Hello all and welcome to our first behind-the-scenes look at Storyscape!
I’m Rocio, your community manager, and I’m incredibly excited to be able to connect you all with our producers, writers, artists, and more here at Fogbank Entertainment. Today we’re taking a look at Life 2.0, and what goes into bringing the Bay Area to life. Let’s dive right in!
Hello! What's your name, and what do you do here at Fogbank?
My name is April Hart and I am the producer of the romantic comedy show Life 2.0.
Neat! Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions about Life 2.0. Today I would love to learn more about how you've gathered inspiration for all of the new locations in Life 2.0, and how you go about making a new setting in-game. First off, when you receive the script and have to plan for a new location, what is your very first step in the process?
The very first step in the process is a collaboration with the cinematic director (Katrina Carras) of the show, to bring the new locations in the script to life. We pull visual references from the web, or go check out the locations in person (if time allows). Some locations require us to create on our own scene from scratch, for example, an oceanside hotel. In those cases, we find photos of similar places to find inspiration. For all locations, we approach the set development in as much detail as possible. We think about colors, proportions, textures, furniture, architectural styles, demographics of patrons, style (modern or classic), smells and more. We do our best to focus on the emotion or mood that a viewer might feel when entering or seeing a new location for the first time.
Makes sense! You mentioned checking out locations, could you tell me about one you’ve visited and what stood out to you about it?
I had already been to a few of our locations just in my daily, personal life. Land’s End is a beautiful, historic park on the northwest tip of the San Francisco Peninsula. It is one of my favorite places to take out of town guests, so I already felt very close to this one. We tried to capture the overwhelming beauty of Land’s End - lush foliage and trees, the sweeping ocean in the background, and the Golden Gate Bridge in the not-so-far distance. There is a majestic quality to Land’s End that we tried to replicate.
One thing I love about Life 2.0 is how it travels around the Bay. How have you treated different parts of the Bay Area, in particular Oakland/East Bay?
The Bay is an incredibly diverse and interesting place to live in. Neighborhoods and city sections of San Francisco can vary widely visually, in mood and energy. Oakland is incredibly different from San Francisco, but is still accessible from the city. The volume of people that commute into the city every day for work, but live in the East Bay is high. Because of this, it was important to show Oakland in a way that was reflective of the many communities and cultures from there, and also to address the changing nature of the Bay Area. Scenes from the MacArthur BART station and Telegraph Avenue were produced to effectively show the creative, arts-based aspects of Oakland.
So far we've seen famous places like Dolores Park or the aforementioned Land’s End. Which has been your favorite to plan for or visit?
Dolores Park was definitely a fun one to develop. It’s a lively and active park right in the middle of the city that fills up with people dancing, partying and just generally relaxing all throughout the summer. Any warm day in San Francisco is bound to pack Dolores Park with a party. We did our best to capture the stunning view of the city from atop the hill of the park, while engaging the viewer with the wild antics of visitors that you’ll often see in real life. Your character’s outfit in particular for this episode shows off the fun, adventurous and playful energy that the parks’ patrons embody.
A particularly funny part of Life 2.0 for me and others who live in the area is OpenHouse, the communal living space. How did you take some very real places as inspiration and end up with OpenHouse?
There are so many non-traditional solutions to living in a rather expensive city, that both the Writers and Directors had a lot of inspiration to pull from. It was important to us to give a true representation of how a woman might live if taking a low paying internship in a very expensive area. What would that place look like? OpenHouse is a vision of our cinematic director and art director (Ken Capelli). We tried to capture the hip, stylistic vibe of San Francisco, while giving viewers the emotional frustrations they might feel about their food being eaten without permission, a backed up bathroom line, and really, really annoying roommates. OpenHouse still gives your character a safe haven and a cute place to live, but anyone can relate to the common house downsides emotionally.
From what I've heard, you’re not a Bay Area native, but it all looks so real— how have you stayed true to the locations in game?
Being thoughtful and meticulous about the details of each location is extremely important. As a Producer, I try to look at each of the locations from the eyes of the fans and try to keep the locations true to life, visually stunning and emotive. Most fans of our show will not have been to San Francisco - I ask myself how could we could make them want to get on the next plane out here for a visit. Focusing on our audiences’ feelings, while nurturing an emotional connection with the viewer is a huge part of what we do when producing all content.
We haven’t seen all of the Bay, not even by a long shot, what’s on your wish list for new locations?
I’d love to see us get up close and personal with the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin County. There are some incredible lookout points and views of the ocean that could allow us to showcase the natural wonder the Bay Area has to offer. It would also be fun to see fans checking out local street art or murals that exist throughout the area. Both SF and Oakland have exceptional street art that is part of the heartbeat of both cities.
Well, thank you so, so much for your time April. Before we wrap up, can you offer any insights to new locations in Season 2?
While not giving away too much, we are excited to bring to Life 2.0 to new locations that are demonstrative of the tech industry and the unique living experience in San Francisco. We will be showcasing some amazing new spots, while keeping a sense of humor about how our fans navigate all the nuances about life in the Bay!