INSECURE


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Downtown Art Expo...

    Issa Dee [Issa Rae] and Lawrence Walker [Jay Ellis] enter the Downtown Art Expo through a custom cloud installation created on site by Set Decoration and Construction Departments, erected and ready to shoot in under 48 hrs.
    Production Design and Set Decoration teams, led by PD Kay Lee and Set Decorator Amber Haley SDSA, collaborated to give Director Ava Berkofsky an ‘ethereal and magical’ moment for the ex-couple’s reunion...

    Photo by Merie Weismiller Wallace/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party...

    Market Street in Inglewood glows for 1 week during the shoot, celebrating a fantastic feat of extensive location negotiations, community engagement, weekly site visits and months of planning.

    A production in nearly perpetual motion, PD Kay Lee and team were able to present final plans to new Director Stella Meghie just days prior to the Technical Scout, with the initial pitch taking place with Issa Rae while on set in-between takes!


    Image courtesy HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party, Merchandise Tent…

    The party is decked with Merchandise Tents announcing the summation of character Issa Dee’s long-awaited planning efforts!

    Image courtesy HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party, Food Truck Lawn…

    Tensions loom as Issa [Issa Rae] and Molly [Yvonne Orji] finally talk...in front of a packed Food Truck Lawn crowded with party goers!

    Leadman Ashby Wharf and his team scaled the whole of Market Street to provide the celebratory scattering of cafe lights...

    Photo by Merie Weismiller Wallace/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party, Director’s plan…

    A look at the Block Party Layout by Set Designer Lia Burton.
    Extensive collaboration between Set Dec and Art departments is essential in planning and executing a Meta-Environment of this kind, servicing both the needs of a scripted environment and real-life block party vendors.
    The team integrated Production Offices and Logistic items within each of the businesses, dressing in storefronts and basecamps...

    Image courtesy AS/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party, Food Truck Lawn…

    Empty plots of land vacant for years on Market Street are negotiated with City and opened to serve as Green Space and Access to Base Camps...

    Images by Andrew Sloane, courtesy HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party, VIP Area…

    Haley’s party decor takes a glamorous turn, with custom cabanas outfitted with event sponsors and real-life products...

    Photos by Andrew Sloane, courtesy HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party, Location Installation/Art notes…

    A look at Zone #1-of-7 detailing the division of work between crafts.
    In non-traditional Sets such as this, wherein the environment is handed over to Real-World vendors that would also serve to populate the space as extras, the logistics can be an exercise in not just Set Design and Decoration but also Event Planning and Coordination...
    Diagram created by Art Director Andrew Sloane.

    Images courtesy HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party, Main Stage…

    The Main Stage was originally planned to include a fabric overhead structure inspired by Music Festivals, for light and shade but was cut for character-based reasons and budget constraints.
    The Stage also served to block off the East Queens Street entrance to Market Street with Security Areas that functioned both fictional and non...

    Photo by Merie Weismiller Wallace/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party, Tec-Leimert VR booth…

    Working directly with real companies to imagine their brands in ways not yet seen, Set Dec and Art departments kept an interactive online grid to continuously update, monitor and service the needs of the contributors...

    Images courtesy AS/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party, Sonos Booth/Sponsor Area…

    Due to the frantic TV pace, established companies scripted to stand in as fictional Sponsors willingly handed over Trade Show specifications and style-guides to re-create their environments. Collaboration all around.
    Telegenic fields games were added as final layer throughout.

    Photo by Andrew Sloane, courtesy HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party, Tent Layout and Distribution…

    Color-blocking was celebrated, in an attempt to look energizing but also random and slightly lacking in overt finesse. Set Dressers spent their days fluffing each booth and redressing when needed to withstand the 5-day shooting schedule.
    Diagram by Assistant Art Director Kirby Feagan.

    Image courtesy HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party, Vendor Booths…

    Buyers worked closely with LA brands to add depth to their merchandise and raise the eye-line of their items to read on camera. On-site arrivals were coordinated by Set Dec Dept’s Christine Huynh with Set Dec Coordinator Paige Haley...

    Photos by Merie Weismiller Wallace & Andrew Sloane, courtesy of HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party…

    Late Day pushed the neon scheme even further, on custom benches created by Art and Construction in concert with Set Dec, moved daily by teams of set dressers for safety. Crosswalk added, with eco safe practices, led by Paint Foreman Robert Carbajal....

    Photos by Andrew Sloane, courtesy of HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party, Entrance…

    Stretching the whole of Market Street between E. Kings and E. Regent Street plus adjoining streets for parking and Production needs, the now empty Fox Theatre is an Inglewood Landmark, and can be seen in several wide shots in the Episode...

    Photo by Andrew Sloane, courtesy of HBO.



  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party, Installation Guides, Decorative Elements…

    Graphic Designer Michelle Peters teamed up with Set Decorator Amber Haley and vendors to unify the look, with soft signage added by Set Decoration and hard signs installed by Construction. Installation Diagram created by Art Director Andrew Sloane.

    Images courtesy HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party, Food Vendors…

    Buyers Natalie Contreras SDSA and Alyssa Neal combined efforts to help non-fictional Businesses get the look for film.
    Producers collaborated with Art Department team members Yolonda Ray and Dominique Hatfield to secure the dynamic group...

    Image courtesy HBO.



  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Block Party concludes…

    Issa Dee is among the last standing in an emotional conclusion to the celebratory Episode...

    Issa Rae.
    Image courtesy HBO.



  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Downtown Art Expo…

    Just 1.5 weeks upon completion of the Block Party and 7 days after its wrap, Set Dec and Art depts forge ahead to deliver 120 SQ FT Art Expo !

    Issa Rae, Jay Ellis.
    Image courtesy HBO.




  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Downtown Art Expo, Installation Guide…

    An ever-evolving layout merges the work of Art + Set Dec yet again as Artists obtained by Amber Haley within mere days are communicated to Art in anticipation of the build. Installation Guide created by Art Director Andrew Sloane.

    Image courtesy AS/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Downtown Art Expo, Cloud Installation…

    Originally intended as a giant fabric installation, upon camera tests and zero turn-around for material, Production Designer Kay Lee switched gears and asked for CLOUDS.
    Working with Art Director Andrew Sloane + Grip and Electric crew members, Set Dresser/Draper Matt Pollastrini and team fashioned an on-site studio to craft over 50 light-up Clouds, added just hours before filming!

    Image courtesy AS/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Downtown Art Expo, Cloud Installation + Artists…

    The Installation glows in the background, with the work of LA Artists featured throughout.

    Images courtesy AS/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Downtown Art Expo Umbrella Light Installation…

    Production Designer Kay Lee’s Umbrella concept is realized with nearly 200 umbrellas, each individually lit. Set Decorator Amber Haley and her Buyers amassed Art and Sculpture to supplement the original works.

    Images courtesy AS/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Downtown Art Expo Car Installation…

    Scrap Vehicle sourced, designed and hand-painted, arrived mere minutes before cast.

    Images courtesy AS/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Downtown Art Expo, continued…

    Artist Amina Cruz was tapped to connect the LA Art Scene with Amber’s Set Decoration Team...

    Images courtesy AS/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Condola’s house…

    This location was stripped and redecorated to channel Condola’s aspirational style and clean taste. Several modifications were camouflaged into the architecture to ready the space for filming.

    Photo by Merie Weismiller Wallace, courtesy of HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Issa’s apartment...

    Built at Manhattan Beach Studios, Issa’s apartment evolves this Season, with personal décor elements sourced locally, channeling Issa’s original style.
    Construction Coordinator Robert Mara and Stage Foreman Zach Michel - stage build
    Set Decorator Amber Haley SDSA and her team - decor & visual characterization

    Images courtesy AS/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Issa’s apartment...

    Buyer Natalie Contreras notes,
    “Issa has such great style, personally, that it was important to bring it into Issa’s apartment. Amber was so dialed in on that, and we had great fun doing it!”
    See Issa's comments below and hear even more on the video below!

    Photo by Merie Weismiller Wallace, courtesy of HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Issa’s apartment...

    Built at Manhattan Beach Studios, Issa’s apartment evolves this Season, with personal décor elements sourced locally, channeling Issa’s original style. Shout outs to Construction Coordinator Robert Mara and Stage Foreman Zach Michel...

    Images courtesy AS/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Issa’s apartment complex, Plan Installation Guide...

    Issa’s apartment complex may look the same on camera, but when the crew returned to scout the Season, property owners had renovated and re-faced the Exterior. Location Foreman John Mancuso teamed up with Leadman Ashby Whorf and teams to bring the Courtyard BACK in time for the future! Installation Guide by Art Director Andrew Sloane.

    Images courtesy HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Lawrence’s apartment...

    This location was turned into a Stage Set for Season 4, to accommodate a new storyline between Lawrence and Condola...

    Images courtesy AS/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    PAINT & SIP, location...

    One of no less than 90 Locations dressed for Season 4.

    Photo by Merie Weismiller Wallace/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    A favorite hangout for Issa & Molly, location...

    Molly [Yvonne Orji] ghosts her once best friend...

    Photo by Merie Weismiller Wallace/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Hilltop Café, location...

    An old Federal Style Bank, this location was not yet open, but dressed and decorated during mid-renovation to showcase Issa and Molly as always on the cutting edge...

    Christina Elmore, Yvonne Orji, Issa Rae.
    Photo by Merie Weismiller Wallace/HBO.



  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Cinema, location...

    Dressed in a single overnight, this Location was made completely unrecognizable with 20’ high drapery and a custom bar that matched the architectural vocabulary of the space...

    Images courtesy AS/HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Condola’s office at Highline PR...

    Capitalizing on the current Interior trend, soothing ‘Millennial pinks and mauves’ were juxtaposed by seductive velvet in a High-Tech, contemporary shared work environment.

    Photos by Andrew Sloane, courtesy HBO.


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Mexico hotel room...

    The Season concluded its Production Schedule with key Crew Members in Nuevo Vallarta to join forces with an excellent local team.
    Molly & Andrew’s Hotel Room here is imagined in Pre-Viz by Kay Lee.
    Amber and Buyer Humberto Garcia shopped all the added elements locally, but couldn’t stay long, because...


  • Set Decorator
    Amber Haley SDSA
    Production Designer
    Kay Lee
    HBO


    Farmers Market...

    ...the Season finale includes a Farmers Market...and so much more!

    Jay Ellis, Issa Rae

    Photo by Merie Weismiller Wallace/HBO.



June 13th, 2020

INSECURE is an honest snapshot of the life of a young woman, Issa Dee [Issa Rae], dealing with relationships, workplaces, unemployment and reality...a down to earth and extremely witty depiction of life in the Leimert Park and Inglewood sections of Los Angeles. We are immersed in the world of Issa Dee, limited and expansive as it can be, and her evolution from shallow-perspective relationships to deepening awareness of the responsibilities they involve, both for her and her friends and lovers, who may or may not be on a growth path as well. Much of the time, she is not aware, but we share the foibles and lessons...and many twists of life, and we somehow laugh through the process...often!
 
At the end of four HBO seasons, the most notable factor is Issa’s growth, which is represented in the sets as well. At the beginning of the current/most recent Season 4, we step into Issa’s new apartment, a huge leap forward for someone who has been, and still is, financially challenged. Happily, we see her not defining herself from that measure. However, she is still awkward in negotiating the far more valuable aspects of life, especially relationships...but she is, indeed, starting to define herself from within instead of without, which has an impact on life decisions and friendships that may no longer have the depth of influence and commitment they once carried.



SDSA Executive Director Gene Cane spoke with Creator/Co-Writer/Star Issa Rae about the sets that range from huge to personal...a depiction of the music festivals in Coachella, a major block party, a multi-block downtown LA Art Walk...all pulled together by Set Decorator Amber Haley SDSA and her teams...including, most importantly from a character standpoint, the everyday places and the new character-defining apartment. 

Issa Rae reveals, “This season, the 4th season, when I walked into that fully-decorated apartment the first time, I was just floored at how great it looked. How much it represented her and how much it elevated her without us having to say much.”  She adds, “That was something that I had really been adamant about, just making sure that it look like a real girl’s apartment...I think that often times you see such overly decorated sets with pieces that this person can’t afford this at this time...
I think it was about having those conversations, because Issa’s broke-ness is a huge plotline throughout the series, and Amber is very intentional about how she shops and the story behind each piece. 
I absolutely love Issa’s apartment.” 
 
And, so do we.
Not for the decor per se, but for the characterization, the essence of fine set decoration.
 
Check the gallery above for amazing behind-the-scenes, from sketches & plans to finished sets...

Watch the video for details from Set Decorator Amber Haley SDSA and Set Decoration Buyer Natalie Contreras SDSA, and a bonus at the end...a phone conversation about the sets with Issa Rae!

Enjoy!
Karen Burg, Editor 




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