Synopsis: Before follows a group of not-yet-humans as they bide their time in a perpetual waiting room. Like an eternal DMV visit, every visitor in this room has waited for thousands of years for their number to be called to be assigned a life. Some are anxious, some are hopeful, and others are defeated by impatience before their earthly lives have even begun.
Lauren Tothero (Employee #1)
Sierra Tothero (Employee #2)
Toni Maddocks (Intercom)
Maya Nalli (Gossipy Visitor #1)
Upon first read of the script, the world of BEFORE immediately took hold of my mind. I became fascinated with this story about an infinite waiting room. I believe that when we as humans are left to watch and worry and wonder, our truest selves are represented. And I was excited to explore this story of one individual’s enduring hope.
When imagining how to portray the physical space, I wanted to find the divide between the familiar and the unfamiliar. All of us have sat idly waiting for something. Tapping our feet, counting the seconds, and twiddling our thumbs: at the dentist, at the DMV, or at the bank. But the sights and sounds in this place subvert an ordinary waiting room.
Visually, I wanted our production design to have worldly and other-worldly elements. The ticker is meant to invoke the split flap of departures that one might see at a train station as they wait to embark on a new journey. The walls and posters are designed to feel temporary and liminal – because though this space has existed for an eternity, no effort has been taken to make it feel comfortable.
Our color palette lingers in blues and grays that the visitors to this space have been wallowing in for years. And the warmest light shines on the employees at their desk, since visitors approaching this desk are at their most hopeful. The music and sound design is meant to feel ethereal and hollow at first, making the viewer exist in the exhaustion and tedium of the space.
With the help of an incredible team, it was an honor to bring the story of BEFORE to life. I loved discovering each character’s on-screen journey through a space that links the known and the unknown. My goal is that the hopeful spirit of this film lingers with audiences as it has for me.
JULIA MONAHAN is a first-time director determined to tell stories that make us question how well we know ourselves. As a writer, she has been recognized by 2018 New York Television Festival and the 2018 and 2020 JHRTS Script Competitions, and her web series won the Audience Choice Award at the 2017 Brooklyn Web Fest. Julia has worked in production on Barry (HBO) and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC), and as the writers’ assistant on Silicon Valley (HBO).