A Pop Up Storefront Transformation


the Fusion Lab storefront at night

For the past couple weeks I’ve been working with Outfest on an awesome grant program they call their Fusion Lab.

“Fusion Lab is a pop-up shop style micro-cinema and media lab in Highland Park, Los Angeles that will be open from March 7 – March 30, 2013. Supported by a grant from the Irvine Foundation, Fusion Lab will host screenings of short films, filmmaking workshops taught by Outfest alumni, and workstations with cameras and editing software. Stop by Fusion Lab to rent a camera to make a short film that you can edit at computers and editing software also available for free.”


Outfest Fusion was awarded a James Irvine Foundation grant for the project

I was hired to help them get up and running in the storefront space that will be their home for the rest of the month. It’s been such a cool project to work on! I love that the goal is to bring the knowledge of story-telling to anyone who wants to learn. They called on production designer Michael Fitzgerald and his team to turn an underwhelming, if not worse for wear, storefront into a fully functional classroom and screening room in an eclectic-grunge setting, and they did it in a matter of mere days. With dozens of cans of leftover paint and some generously discounted set furniture rentals, he creatively put together all sorts of opposing colors and furniture styles, and somehow it works in the most unexpected ways!

I didn’t get there quite in time to take a true “before” picture, but these were taken only three days after I first saw the space completely untouched (poop-brown walls and all), and only three days before the lab was to open for it’s first screening. Already, so much painting had been done!


three days to go until opening night

We used the back two-thirds of the space for the screening room, with a rented ten foot screen taking up a majority of the back wall. We also spent a lot of time hanging lights around the space so we could avoid having to use the awful fluorescent lights already mounted on the ceiling.


Fusion Lab screening room and classroom

The screening room can easily accommodate 40 to 50 people.


production designer Michael Fitzgerald decided to “embrace” the existing red carpet with these red-cushioned chairs for the screening room

Each wall on one side of the space is meant to represent each of the workshop topics offered: writing, directing, editing, and documentary.


one of the chalkboard paint walls; the lightbulb represents the “idea” phase of writing a script

All the black paint used in the room is chalkboard paint and can be written on. There are pieces of chalk hung on each chalkboard so you can simply grab a piece and start writing!


the screening room schedule written in chalk; each screening is a series of short films previously screened as part of either the Outfest or Outfest Fusion film festivals

The furniture in the writing lounge is all rented set furniture.


rented set furniture makes a comfortable writing lounge in the front of the space

Michael’s team made a screen-print mural on one wall of the writing lounge displaying iconic Los Angeles and Hollywood landmarks.


one wall is a collage of screen-printed Los Angeles landmarks


a close up look at the screen-printed Los Angeles collage

Michael’s team built the wall that separates the lounge and the screening room. There are two flaps of the wall, one on each side, that are on hinges so they can close off the screening room for increased quiet and darkness during screenings. (They are shown here open.)


the view upon entering the Fusion Lab

The room is peppered with little chalkboard and felt signs teaching students about the different movie crew positions held on set and in post production.


film terms for students to learn by

The storefront windows are filled with paraphernalia representing film and tv, as well as props that the students can use when making their movies.


storefront display paraphernalia


the storefront during the day

What do you think of this space? 

2 thoughts on “A Pop Up Storefront Transformation

  1. The creative juices really do flow freely! There’s something charming and inspiring about a creative space put together on a shoestring budget like this one.

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