Daily Journal staff reports
Franklin College Associate Professor of Theatre Gordon Strain took a break from teaching this semester to work on a movie set in Bloomington.
Currently, he’s serving as production designer for a feature-length romantic comedy, called “The Good Catholic.” Strain’s work includes building set pieces, dressing the locations that are being filmed and checking for scene continuity between takes.
Cast members include Danny Glover (“Lethal Weapon,” “The Color Purple”) and John C. McGinley (“Scrubs” and “Platoon”). The movie also has several Indiana ties, including producer and star of the film, Zachary Spicer, a Greencastle native, writer and producer Paul Shoulberg and producer John Armstrong, all Indiana University alumni — friends and former classmates of Strain’s.
Another Indiana tie is David Anspaugh, director of iconic films “Rudy” and “Hoosiers.” He is serving as executive producer.
Strain was able to offer Franklin College students some unique opportunities with the film as well, including senior Ian Mullen, who got to work as production design assistant, and junior Kiera Shackelford, who got a non-speaking acting role in the film. Strain also enlisted the help of Franklin College’s General Trades Technician David Piland on set design and received assistance from Director of Athletics Kerry Prather. All of these individuals will receive mention in the movie credits.
Strain says he’s excited to share what he has learned with his students.
“Film is so different than theater. I am excited to talk to (my students) about the different ways to approach working on film. Designing is different. Acting is different. Even the way we schedule our days is different. I remember as a kid thinking that being a movie star would be so cool and easy. It’s not. Nobody on set has it easy, especially when you have a small-ish budget,” he said in a statement.
Strain received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theatrical production arts from Ithaca College in New York and his Master of Fine Arts degree in scenic design from Indiana University. He served as the technical theater director and resident designer at Cincinnati Country Day School where he also taught middle school and high school theater courses.
In addition, Strain served as a lead artist and project manager for ArtWorks Cincinnati where he worked with students to develop many large public art installations. Strain also worked as a designer for Spaeth Design in New York City where he helped to design the animated holiday windows for Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor.
After graduating from IU, Gordon began professional theater work locally. He has since designed scenery for Indiana Repertory Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, Cardinal Stage (Bloomington) and others. He also has completed designs in Chicago and New York. An artist, Strain recently showcased his works in a solo art exhibition at Jenny and Jimbob’s in Los Angeles and created a public sculpture for a Franklin arts garden.
Internationally, he designed “The Tempest” in Bermuda in honor of their national 400th anniversary celebration of British settlement of the island. In addition to teaching at Franklin College, Strain also serves as the chair of the theater department. He currently resides in Franklin with his family.