top of page

Cory Lorenzen - The Land That Time Forgot

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

In this episode I speak with my friend, Production Designer Cory Lorenzen. Besides being the Designer for "The Goldbergs" and "Schooled" he also is an Art Director in Entertainment Design for Universal, Nickelodeon and others. Starting his career with the indy hit "Napoleon Dynamite" he’s been designing films and tv shows like "Greek", "The Paul Riser Show", "Breaking In", "Web Therapy" the period hits "The Goldbergs" and "Schooled".

You can see all of Cory's work on his website:

Here is the full Transcript of the podcast:

Cory Lorenzen - The Land That Time Forgot

00:00:18 - 00:05:03

Decorating pages is podcast dedicated to taking you behind the scenes. The designs of your favorite TV shows films. Each episode, sharing design stories with some of Hollywood's most famous APPs Interviews from set decorators, production, designers, directors, and actors about creating the TV. About their design inspirations and stories that take us up from page to screen. Hello and welcome the decorating pages I'm your host Kim on up? I think a week twelve. Of Cova D-. And I don't know I wanNA get through this real. Quick 'cause. This interview with coins in production designer is really good, and I want to get to it. I. Just to address what is all happening to us? Throughout this country I live in La I live two blocks away from the intersection of third and Fairfax of the farmers market the Grove. Where there was a protest, and it was turned into a standoff with police. Vehicles were trash burnden and. It was next to my favorite wine bar, which was super scary. That was going to go down the blending lab, but Frightening is not the word that I could say because you know. This is happening two blocks away and I have twins napping in the next room, so. There's just been a lot of emotions going on. This week I think for everyone and I think all emotions are justified in this. I feel. So much sorrow for George Floyd daughter and his mother. And, his family and I don't even know them. And then. Personally? I feel bad for the small business owners who have gone through a lot of my neighborhood. I know a lot of them on Third Street and I just feel bad that all around there is just so much disrespect and anger in this world and. I don't know I. I really try not to get political on this podcast because. We all get enough of that and I. I want this to be an escape, but I I do WanNa comment that none of this behaviors tolerable. And actions have consequences and. That's that's what I'm going to teach my children. I'M GONNA teach them love and kindness and compassion. and. That's what I'm. GonNa Start with because I. Don't know how to solve this. I hope that all of you are safe and healthy and doing well. In this episode I speak with my friend production designer Corey Lorenzen He's pretty busy during this pandemic, because not only is he currently the production designer of the Goldbergs in school? He also is an entertainment designer for companies like universal nickelodeon and others, and what that means is, he creates interactive like theme park Vignettes, like or some like theme stores. In that are in the parks or even floats for the Disney parade for Disneyland, like is such a cool job and somehow juggles at all. I met Corey in two thousand five on the film Fan Boys, which didn't even come out till two re-shoots later in two thousand nine. He hired me for the film and which was shot in Albuquerque. Albuquerque and unfortunately That's the only time that we've ever worked together. We had one small little project, but other than that schedules. Don't mind up, it sucks. Fan Boys was just the weirdest experience of good and awful. Which I know, a lot of people have had in this industry. You'RE GONNA. Hear all about it, but at least I made a good friend out of it. It's just a terrific I. Starting his career with the indie hit and Polian dynamite let me just repeat that. He started his career on Napoleon dynamite. Hello, he's been designing films and TV shows like Greek Paul Reiser show breaking in Web therapy, and of course, the two period hits the Goldbergs and schooled. Recorded this midday pro to keep that in mind He's such a good guy so talented, so I hope you enjoy. Final Soda you're you're one lasted? Shutdowns and they're probably the last name he shows to shut down.

00:05:03 - 00:10:01

We can handle on there another week or so beyond. What most other hosted? At least as far as what we read in Well. So, both of our stories that actually both are stories, Goldberg into schools are the two shows that I designed. And, so both of those were coming into the final episodes, and both of them are the pinnacle to the next. Season setups. And so there was a bit of a shift. Like how do we resolve these storylines? And episode early when we're basically halfway done with the episode. The second to last episode. So, I think I think was A. Real need to hold out longer. Can we squeeze? Can. I think there's a bit of. Realization kind of. The kinda came Sony thing. Everybody else's the last guys come pulled out here so they should have done with that last episode missing from each show. Wrong. And I thought a final cuts on those. And threw comes from creative voice over. It looks like they did in a little bit because our shows are both married, so they get a little leeway in their storytelling. Seems like they were able to kind of resolve some of those. Issues that would exist if we just dropped onto the season finale long. Well, that's I. Mean I gotTa say I mean. I've watched Goldberg since the beginning. I gave up this season. I, just I. I know I know. I love it, but. I gave up. For losing the hometown philly audience funded. What are we? What are you doing this for them? Well, listen I. have voiced my concerns since the very beginning that they don't have philly accents, this is. You can have. John. Who's been honestly though? Watch that though locally? I think people want no. No back there. People Watch it. But I know people who watch it back there. My Parents Limited Gripe. Great. was. I was philly accent shirt. Hey It's just me. I think it's just me. The whole thing is that little kid has like a mid western accent didn't even try to get rid of his dialect at all. That's that's like insulting. Right you. You do so much. Yeah I mean you now every the reason why I watch, every episode is because you guys do such a fantastic job of like cat, not only capturing. The error, but really capturing like minute details from like Philly and I know that's because the Creator writer is Philly and of that time and I'm sure he's. Sure painstakingly, and probably annoyingly giving you notes of like not not the color red on. Wa, but you know it makes for. TV FOR ME. I'm not an pre-state associate. Someone that's local because we tried to hit all those ten important elements that make it feel real good feel like it's actually taking place there. It's it's hard. It's hard to do under style of show of half hour. Episodic show that shot in Los Angeles so. We do things quickly, and we do things for certain price, but. We always do our version whether it's the Wallah or whatever that's. Real always trying to get as much of that reality began in there so hopefully it's enough to. Make people feel it definitely because I it's not all dialogue. There's so many little things in there like in the set dressing and the sets, and like even like the sign it and everything that you guys have done to make that, so Philly I. Love it I'm telling you that's why I watch it. Often more this last year. We failed you so. But yeah. We're things wrong. Well here all right you WANNA. Go Deep I. Just don't get like she went to college. Go to college like. I don't know it just just go away and then only come back for one or two episodes. It was like every episode was like Oh. Mom trying to get me back. I'm coming back and then I. Don't know I was like this is repetitive. I gotta give up I gave up a Muslim family like two years ago. That was a long call gave up at the end. Sure. I probably be speaking of it without knowing the nitty gritty of it I'm sure there are other considerations on a show like this beyond narrative storytelling. I'm sure there's. A contractual obligations there's. I'm sure there's other reasons why things are the way they are. Show running for a long time. To where maybe the initial narratives that may have been I just this going five years say it was going six years and.

00:10:01 - 00:15:08

because. It's been so successful, but that's what happened Briggs. Lead for for for so much more narrative. Be stretched out perhaps. But that's that's what happens with all. The shows like modern family had to add kids. And, then they have grandkids. And working with kids. It's worst. Enough enough. Yeah, and then they grow up and you know you hope I'm sure a producer. You're like Oh my God. Just stay cue. Just please stay cute, and then these poor kids have to go through puberty during shooting like it's A. Sin. Yeah, I think I. Think a very least I. Think Goldberg's You know. The growing up on the goal has been really grateful. Too much awkwardness, and because of the awkwardness was played into. The story. Show. It's dead. Mean it's a pretty good affects their. I and Then I mean I. wanted to ask you time I mean. You basically live in the eighties and then now the nineties with school. I mean you're just like living in your childhood basically in. Constantly reminiscent and things. Like that? Is that! Is Pretty, interesting because you know I think those shows are pretty successful due to the style. This. undefinable feeling some station that we all have because of certain. Situations where their lives and things come back in a number of and. Pretty powerful emotion, both of these shows tapped into until when I started with these shows I mean yeah, and about the same age as Adema whole Bergen, some of those same experiences and In Memory Memories Yeah that that we've done through this whole time, so I think initially, it was pretty overwhelming to try to. Replicate! Essentially the emotion right like trying to replicate a feeling for things because I can look at certain of these objects or The music of the toys or this fashion in how these kinds of styles feels for it, but it doesn't hit you the same way you remember hitting you necessarily, but I think that's what you're trying to design to try and designed to. That emotion. So initially it was. Overwhelming and a bit like really digging into it now. There were so many years later. A bit of nostalgia worn off. You know personally somebody's trying to design. It as more of like heavily. Still, how do we hit those emotional? I think that's a great point out. I think it's super great point because it isn't always exactly how you remembered it. But what were you feeling when you heard that song? Or you know when you were in high school in this situation. Happen to you too, and you're designing for that really. Yeah exactly so sometimes it's. It's not the. Way To describe it. It's not necessarily. If you look at it as a whole like each piece of new ones might not be right, but as a whole. How does this make you feel? Has a you remember? To own for the story that's happening. One of the things that we try to do with design like every designer is not let. What the design is especially something. That's really kind of design centric, not stand in the way of the story. Anything. was something like the eighties nineties? Those are pretty. Intense. You know periods of design. Minute, we had no. I think I actually think doing nineties is hard because. He's been harder than. The. Eighties eighties for the real. Interesting with actually. Yeah. Let's definitely Goldberg is actually from the Seventies. That's how. People don't live in the now. People live in the past ten years kind of constantly so. We're able to do now to Kinda tuned down. The Goldberg stuffed in early house like that finish. Eighties, contemporary design, these Moore's an accident. It's even the nineties especially late nineties like that like in my mind is still so current even our over twenty years ago. It was kind of weird. In the night, yeah, but the nineties is worth things. It's still recent story. Look back on it and say that wasn't good. We haven't gone through enough of A. Time pass to really appreciate what it was especially graphically. which what we do that areas with the graphics and it's just really. It's easy to bad versions of what the nineties is right now I think so. It's a bit harder for us to. Really? Do the good authentic looking design kind of across the board which I think, he's doing very well. It's a bit harder takes more effort to do. The Yankee were falling into what cliches are of that era? Yeah, I, mean the the would the pine the overdone florals the eight like Laura Ashley you could get into so many little.

00:15:09 - 00:20:00

Little. Pockets of what the nineties was, but then there was those bright colors, and then there was like the minimalist of black and white like. It was so all over the place that I think the nineties is really hard to pin down. It is I mean it's absurd. I research was was looking into what was successful about the nineties and television sets like frazier. Which is incredibly understated in also very elegant. Color combinations pallets. You know types of wild grains that are popular in certain areas as big difference between the type of wood. We appreciate living with in the eighties versus the nineties, and it's a pretty big difference between them. Those those ten those trends most styles. Fluctuate. Those looking contrast between the goalposts, world and the schools world. We need to make them look like they're both in different eras. But also interesting things about. Designing period is at design trends. Don't follow ten year increments. It's really hard to say. Something was eighties when it was popular between a seven and ninety seven. Or something is. Popular between seventy, two and eighty four. So just because it's easy. For instance he wins to kind of. compartmentalize things these tenured they no means that we live in tenure, I mean to say open nineteen ninety time to. Tend to change is. So things are much more fluid than I think. compartmentalize. Some has as far as designers that go. Well I think I mean those shows I think you've nailed it I mean, and I think it working so much probably with wardrobe and the overlap of that because you're period. I mean. Other nailed it on the shows. Oh Great. Yeah, that's awesome when we're able to work a lot with our. Our costume designers amazing with the shows. You know sending up graphics and designs for almost every. You know uniform, graphic and of. Element he's be cross between two always really kind of. Aware of what each other's doing, because the wardrobe with a shows can be. Very out there. and we WANNA make sure that there's a kind of cohesion between what the actors are wearing and where they are environmentally so. Make sure those those works that could be an opportunity for a lot of clashing. Unpleasant way a lot of coordination. There's worship. We've got a good relationship to. Make working together on that. Has To be funny. I mean I. think that was one of the things when I started parks of like being super scared that on my God is dressing funny. Chair funny because this is is the dressing part of the joke, which a lot in parks! volved a lot of that into like the the set was part of the joke or something, so so there is that thing in comedy where you have a little bit of leeway, but you don't want to cross a line to be like over over the line. To be like A. Tick away from. It's kind of what is learned in working in comedies for the past. Ten years or so? Is How'd you put it? I've got to watch the amount of funny that I think I need to put into something. Parts like. I am. Not, in charge of what is funny on a show, that's comes from are show renters who oftentimes fielder the. treaters funny, right? So, I think to make sure that the type of funny that we put in is in service to what it is. They're creating what it is that they're writing for for each show. which is like you said? It's kind of a fine line to walk. I put in all sorts of things I. Think are funny, but. It's it's in keeping with the tone of what. You know the rest of that show supposed to be one detail into ASCII, `bout in Adams. Room is the wallpaper. Did you. Did you make that wallpaper? Is that real? In. So I, don't. Pronounce Bedroom that is Star Wars wallpaper. It. It was only seen season one. Because it was a to remember. It's like a kind of an off white paper with a bunch of scenes of things. Return the jet. That's other to go back like. So I bought a remnant of it for like a foot long. And that the skin it's in peace altogether paints in missing pieces, and then have it printed like. Four because I couldn't find. It didn't quantity. So it's a little piece of it. People are painted and multiply dues whole room, and then the network said. Azru as much little faces staring back at the characters around there. And I was like well. Yeah, but it's cool, you know. Know Network stuff is. To willing to heartbreaking things I had to do because I figured things I was really proud of I found found his paper able to.

00:20:01 - 00:25:02

Recreate it. We got clear on some everybody. That's on clean, kissed to use it and get rid of it after that season. Halfway through that for season. was really kind of. Funny that you actually have everything. That you have the story about it because. I looked on your website it at your set photos. And I saw that and I thought. Oh yeah, that wallpaper I remember that like that's cool and then. Sometimes as a viewer you're you just accept like Oh yeah, that's what it looks like, and you don't remember because it was you know what I mean like that's that's their living room, and you sort of peace. It's you don't remember every single thing, but to me I'm like that's Adams. That's that's what it is, and the fact that it's not there anymore. I was like Oh. 'cause when I just saw it on the picture of your on your website. I was like man. That's cool. I wonder if that's real or if you make that, that's awesome. Yeah on the wealthy for did to that space. And what does all the spaces and they go versus at ads like visual texture. It's almost every said. We'd never have a blink. Section of any tier we do, and also because I think it's kind of emblematic of air was excessive design. So. Far, I mean the whole house is just so much pattern wallpaper. Court like coordinate so many different patterns together to try to work together, but also feel slightly off. Said there was so much of this during air. That felt right to do it this way, but it makes it very type cohesive visual texture behind your back are actors. UNIFIED! UNIFIED SCATTER OF. You still gonNA really extra everybody. The taking. Taking that out of atoms room like really heartbreaking, that was now deeply room without wallpaper and I think it was really one of the. Species I. It works well and honestly because it showed. wallpaper that was like uniquely. Yeah, and you know I mean. We know we know how hard it is to. I mean you get clearance on so much on that show and? It goes. Of the show. It's insane that you had like you. Get that for network. And we started out with very little clearance like so we've got a couple of star. Wars Clearance Gi Joe's and Hasbro stuff cleared right off the bat because we renew show having clouds in you know Kinda pop culture world get as far as the stuff goes. As, we go and see interesting to seize. It became more popular show at more and more. ID's and product wanted to start coming up part of the show so to place. You know kind of fake cheated things with real things and yeah. So then. We're having the point now where. Clearance hasn't become much of an issue or used to be to where we would almost not give shoot things. We didn't hear back on clearance, but now now we're able to get yes so much. Cleared a so much more quickly. On the show it helps I mean it just helps the environment and the viewer to be all in capsule into into the show. But. The. I mean I looked up Evan Goldberg. Who is the writer? Creator I didn't realize how many documentaries disguise into of of like nostalgic. GIC Like our generation. which we are Zenya lls on if you know that but. We're like that mix of. The, we're like the best of both worlds of like a millennial and generations e, there's a there's like four or four year three year pocket in the late eighties in one, thousand, nine, hundred, where we have the best of both worlds like we know a phone and a cell phone, and we had great TV, and we have screaming like we have like the best of everything kind of deal. Kids because my kids still call me boomer. boomer. Tony. Evan Goldberg. You. Did you meet him on families. Yeah so so we on. was that it's actually was I I should meet him till after boys so. But he wrote. You? He Yeah so he Hanson Ernie quite the. Original draft again, Adam. Kinda came to the production draft or Nicer Senator, which weight and The two of them were were. We're like integral to it, and so I had become good friends with Kyle Newman attracted fan boys and I hadn't actually didn't meet Adam until after we shot fan boys. So I met in in Los Angeles bag at home afterwards and he was a great guy has great vision and. I was able to work with him. On breaking in which was for Fox News for Sony, and then that led to the goal.

00:25:03 - 00:30:01

School with him. Yeah, I have. I have a whole page of just memories and things to talk about on fan boys, but you crew with that. Because, seriously you can, we could. We could write a screenplay about the making of that film, and it would probably on air then that film. That was A. That was insane. Really got before we before we get to that I should. I jumped in? I should ask you start it like how how you got into this and studying for it and and all that. Yeah. It's interesting interesting to hear how people became productions answer. People started working in the art departments. You know like the Greater Art Department if you will be the such a niche thing, right? Who Even knows that there is such a thing as not permanent. There is somebody that has to design all this. I usually introduce myself to people that need I. Don't say production our director. I say I designed movie sets. The Knicks to look and say like Oh you dummy down for everyone. Yeah. Yeah I got you. So. That's always interesting to hear like how people get into this career that so. Few. People know even exists as a career. But I started I in Los Angeles and when I was a young child. My parents actually got into acting. So during the early eighties, I was on TV and commercials for like toys and for. Northern, soft prints, toilet paper and I was in. Honors! I was in with the frigid waters inside moves feature film. And he actually like a week ago, so every ten years stagg check for like twenty bucks move. Plays on it. It's so great. So yeah, so it's really funny that yeah, that little part I have like a little boy, I untie shoes hallway, bugging the. Guy In the senior. Bowl cut had. And that's still. You know. It's like twenty bucks every ten years. But then expose me to the fact that this is a thing. People create a very young age. I'm think that most people can I realize. Kids realize that there's industry that creates things that they enjoy. A pretty young age they'll. They'll be exposed to this. You know as a career. I did want to continue acting at a pretty young age I. Think by the time I was ten or so I was like well. That's not really for me. But I always knew that being involved in that. Industry is what I wanted to deal with I couldn't really ten point whether they wanted to do and it. Also going up next to you know in Los Angeles. There were so many. Friends that have parents in the industry and things like that that you're gonNA exposed to a pretty young age so. It wasn't until high school that I was. kind of weird discovery channel used to be cool used to have a show about making of Hollywood films. And it was called something like the or something, and it was like behind the scenes of. Special effects in production design. Not Paintings, pyrotechnics, and and stunts in watching that show kind of my formative years or something. That's Kinda World Wannabe and I'm not sure what it is, but that's. You know it's of really cool. Showing exposed me to a lot of. That behind the scenes kind of work. When to to to film school to study filmmaking and realize that area I liked was called production design. And I studied. Ask Which nineteen is not really great treating out there, even still no elections liners those who wanna go into design like that. So a lot of it had to be. Taking classes that I think could tell me even though it wasn't necessarily part of the film curriculum. If you. If you were to design a class for production design, you'd be like you'd have to be real like jerk and you'll be all right crazy This shoots Friday. I WANNA budget tomorrow. You know what I mean like. You'd have to be a real jerk about it because that's the reality of it. Yeah and I could tell you jokes so I got into jerk mode when I went to Grad School. Feel like training. In my t I studied in Grad School I. was in the NFL program at UC. Irvine for theatrical. Scenic design. And you would spin and these teachers like by loved them Douglas got go. He was an amazing designer, but he was purposely a horrible to you and your word, so you get why what you did was wrong. To doing you do some two weeks doing a drawing. Now I go to like an an hour. You know we've been doing drawing in my mind is beautiful.

00:30:02 - 00:35:04

Awesome bringing into class. He couldn't up on the board. And he just started drawing. Right on top of. This is wrong. This is right. This is wrong. This is wrong. Is this person so big I? It's a small wise light coming from two directions. In just like sit there like your heartbroken. While you looked at this thing in your mind, you worked on for weeks and just scribble over it. In point every little did that was wrong with what you're doing. which was incredibly effective because of that she. Really motivated you to. Do that second fear. Shane yet that's. A shame. That's what I work for now the fear of Shampoo. That's the that is it the going home at night after watching your your work on TV and just like getting the whip out and giving yourself some slashes of like. Why did I pick them till? Oh. Yeah! I mean I like that guy. Then I don't know it's like yeah. To me was affected. Yeah, isn't that. Set US up for the precious. We deal with the kind of regular basis here. but that that's a but getting back to the industry I. Studied film design couldn't college. After college be in films. Go you need a lot of good friends like people that you've had collaborated with over the years in school. A couple of them were making the poll turned into Beena Polian dynamite, which was ended up being a very popular film, but That was made just with a bunch of college friends. Right after we finished school together, we made that film. For a very small amount, it's just took a couple months to do. And, then once I was finished. We kind of said like okay. We need to kind of evolved their lives. What are we going to do now that? It's. Like a PA. Like some struggling art or like art director set designer. You did like two things and then bill. You were Napoleon diamond. So so there is a cool side of the had a really hard site that yes, I mean the pulling dynamite like yeah, because twenty. Three twenty four. I went to Grad School, and then like a year later, that was edited into Sundance. It was sold to Fox it was like a huge thing. All of a sudden. I you know I got agent and I started getting. On big big directors actors and started designing like little films in Hollywood. And I had no idea what I was doing. You know I. I felt. I kind of knew how to design a bit. Art Department coordinator was I didn't know to set decorator, was I? Came to a couple of these projects like literally not knowing how to do the job who you? Yearly didn't know what you were doing when you hired me. either. I really yeah. I mean I could see I could see that. I mean there's so much of this business is like fake it till you make it I mean there's so many times someone will say to me like even just a you know like when they come in this room, and they go over and play with the Blah Blah Blah. Blah, Blah and I'm like Oh. Yeah, yeah, I know cool, and then I turned around and look on my phone like what the fuck was that. What's page that? What are they talking about I don't know what that. Hurt me I do now, so you get a fake it, you know. I had like one good friend in Los Angeles who's now production designer Nathan Ogilby and sorry about I. Wonder Friend who was like work in the art department and he's now. He's a productions. I never the time. You're like my Go-to for a lot of information I needed. An art director at the time and my plan I took the fan boys film knowing okay like bring Nathan with. Richard. He knows what's going on. Between the guy, we could kind of make something happen, right. So Albuquerque and they're like. NOPE, you're not bring anybody all you've got to use. What's here and you'll not. and that's where I talked him into. We certainly don't have an art director budgeted as a position. We have a set decorator and this film was seen at this point and I think that's why things were a little little. So that's what I was able to through several recommendations. Find you and I can't job out albuquerque with. Khania I I was trying to think who recommended me. I'm thankful because I've met you and had that experience, but I don't know who I can't remember who that was end I. Have said this many times I only talked to you over the phone twice and then I hopped in my car and I drove to Albuquerque and halfway there. I was like hey. Can I talk to someone else. Your parents still nephew the halfway there verified.