Fabio Del Percio is a production designer from Italy currently living in Los Angeles. He studied cinema at the Icelandic Film School and at UCLA. His film “SPIRIT” was awarded as the Finalist at Sweden Film Awards.
Q: Would you like to share your profile details with our readers? such as your educational background, birth city, and country, etc?
My name’s Fabio Del Percio. I was born in Varazze, the northwest of Italy. I have a background study in visual arts, filmmaking (in Iceland, Reykjavik) as well as film directing (in the U.S., Los Angeles). Professionally, I began working as a production designer assistant and then became an independent production designer myself.
Q: Tell us about your inspiration as a production designer?
I began working on sets for commercials and scripted films, building sets and props mainly. I had always been curious about what’s “behind” a movie. Meaning, what happens before the crew shows up? I think there is something magical in the process of preparing a location. From designing a set to location scouting to the final step of decorating it. I usually get a script, and as soon as I start reading it, an image slowly emerges in my mind. I am eventually creating the location in my head. This image is the result of previous experiences, yet, to me, there is a natural process of creating an original and unique one, which most of the time is the one that sticks in my mind until I complete the job. As a matter of fact, the first idea remains the strongest until later in the process. Yes, often the choice of location is dictated by budget and availability. Hence it can change even at the last minute. But even then, I organically try to keep the first impression alive. I guess it’s my way of being creative. Or at least I like to believe in it.
Q: When and how did you begin your career as a Production designer?
I had worked on some small projects (mainly short films) in Italy back in 2008/2011. But it’s when I moved to Iceland in 2011 that I started working in the industry consistently. Thanks to my versatility and curiosity I changed and tried new things, jumping on board of interesting projects even though they were not part of my background yet, like commercials or music videos. Moreover, in Iceland, I discovered energy that I never felt and many artists who encouraged me with enthusiasm.
Q: How many films have you worked for, and which one is your favorite?
I worked on about 20 projects in total. And this includes; feature films, documentaries, short films, music videos. For all of them, I keep a fragment of that experience in my heart. Filmmaking is such an intense art and requires a lot of energy and trust in others. For some of them, unfortunately, I am not listed or the project never completed, but I’m glad that most of them came to life. My favorite is certainly Rorrim, a thriller short film for which I designed the entire production, particularly the sets. It was challenging and rewarding at the same time. The most difficult part was to design and decorate the apartment where by the way the entire story took place. In the story, the protagonist, a lonely woman who experiences a double personality, dismantles and recomposes the apartment depending on which personality takes over the other one. Because the film was shot not following the script linearly, I had to be focused and dress the rooms according to the scene paying attention to every detail. In the end, the director was grateful for the job I did and the film is now an 11-time award winner in addition to being distributed on various online platforms.
Q: Tell us something about your experience with your 1st ever film project, isn’t it a very special thing to remember forever?
Oh yeah! it truly is. My first ever project was a live performance that was shot in an apartment. In each of the rooms, there was an artist (a dancer) performing, following some music that was broadcasted in the whole apartment. The director wanted to film the performances without cuts and using a handheld camera that would have walked in each room, like in a confusing circle. Every time the camera moved into the next room, I had to change the order of the furniture as well as the pictures on the walls, to then continue into the next one, following the pace of the camera and being careful because there was a small but yet numerous audience attending the event. I had only a few minutes to do each change. The piece lasted 30 minutes in total but I still remember it as an exhausting and long task to do.
Q: How would you describe working as an independent production designer, isn’t it more challenging?
It is, yes. Being an independent professional requires energy and constant attention. But on the other hand, it gives you freedom, which is what I was looking for when I started busting my career. I also think that nowadays, flexibility and the spirit of adaptations is a skill that every independent, not only production designer but all professionals in this industry are called to have. The world moves rapidly, in terms of technology, pacing, this industry above all. Working as a freelancer can be tricky however it can offer many opportunities and is highly rewarding.
Q: What’s the most exciting thing for you in filmmaking?
I believe that the most exciting characteristic of filmmaking is its ability to make the audience experience emotions. This quality is unique to filmmaking, as it is the only art that combines narrative, visual imagery, acting, sound, and music. I am particularly attached to the visual outcome of films; I guess it’s because of my profession. But there are other aspects of the making of a movie, like the writing, that deeply fascinates me.
Q: What Projects are you currently working on? And what are your plans in the industry?
Right now I’m working in pre-production for a music video for an American band People that we will be shooting In August in Los Angeles. The project is particularly interesting as it will be shot almost during nighttime and in open space. My job is to create a magical world using lights and mirrors where the musicians will play wearing colorful costumes, giving the psychedelic atmosphere wanted by the artists.
In the future instead, I will be working as a set designer for a feature film that will be shot in Georgia US. We are almost done with the location scouting and soon will complete the design of the project. It’s going to be a real-look story but set in the ’80s, so the sets need accuracy in details.
Q: Where can our readers follow and see your film work?
I’m not a great social network enthusiast, maybe because I don’t have much time. However, I usually post my work on Instagram and IMDB