Location, Location, Location!
Part of the magic of any film or television show is the setting … whether it’s on a set on a soundstage, or recorded on a city street. Finding just the right place is not just a skill, but an art.
That’s where our director, Blake Calhoun, comes in. Rather than build a set on a stage for the Glass House, he made the decision to try to find a real house, one that could serve as a “stunt double” for our fictional little community in the middle of Morganville. But finding a suitable house isn’t easy, not even in a city as big as Dallas.
First, the location described in the books was quite specific: an old Victorian, something slightly spooky and ominous. So that narrowed the pool of available locations considerably. But then the expertise of a location scout came into play: not only did a house have to meet the general “look” of the Glass House, it had to be available (as in, not lived in at the time, and available to rent for the long period it would be needed to film) … it also had to meet requirements that had to do with ease of use. After all, if you need room to have a living room set, actors, and a complete film crew, you need a lot of space within that house. So there were requirements beyond just a “look.”
We were extremely lucky that our location scout knew about the Turner House, a historic property in Oak Cliff in Dallas, Texas. It has a fascinating history as one of the oldest private houses in the city. Built in 1912, this modified prairie house was first occupied by a wealthy Texas oilman and his family, who used it for lavish parties and musical events through the First World War. Following that, the house was used as a private residence, a church sanctuary, and then finally came into the possession of the Oak Cliff Society of Fine Arts in 1957. It remains one of the only two surviving structures in Dallas’s largest residential Historic District.
Luckily, today, the Oak Cliff Society of Fine Arts makes this beautiful building available for public rentals, which is how it came to be our beloved Glass House. It had the right look, the right age, and a wide variety of rooms to double for what we needed to film. Perhaps most importantly, it also had enough space to comfortably accommodate all the moving parts of a crew and cast, and even to seat 50 people indoors in the main room when lunchtime came.
Full of mood and atmosphere, the Turner House has as much character and presence as the Glass House in the novels, and we were very pleased to have it as a valued “cast member” in Morganville.