One really fun aspect of making Catching the L Train has been all of the field research. While Google can instantly load up thousands of reference photos, I have decided that there is something personally enriching about walking around in a real location and making my own observations.

Glass light fixtures
Inside the Southern Pacific building on 9th Street in Modesto
Bear station
My final train station in Catching The L Train
Cornice work

After completing the short, I drove down to a building I hadn’t visited in nearly 20 years. The decommissioned downtown Modesto Post Office is an architectural gem that has been beautifully restored and preserved. It made quite an impression on me the first time I walked into the once shabby, poorly-lit lobby when it was still used to process the mail. As I recall, there was water damage, peeling paint, and one of the WPA paintings had been missing for decades (it was later found during renovations). Despite the tarnish, one could still catch a glimpse of its former glory. Since its restoration, it looks as if it might have been 80 years ago!

As I designed Catching the L Train, I pulled several elements specifically from my memory of this location. The arches, WPA artwork, the lighting fixture, and the sandy brown bricks on its facade, to name a few.

Vaulted ceiling
Post Office Arches
Griffin in booth
My milk glass light fixture
Post Office Lobby
Bear WPA paintings
My take on WPA artwork
Griffin's apartment
Griffin’s Apartment
Cornice work

In preparation for the film and throughout production I took little detours to visit any locale I could think of that might hold a source of inspiration.

Dinner train
The wine train in Riverbank
Dinner train
Wine train details
Train station
The Southern Pacific building bus terminal in Modesto

Of course, I never tire of visiting the Sacramento Train Museum.

Dinner train
Dinner train
Bear looking down

Griffin confronted with two trains

Dinner train
Dinner train
Train "trucks"