‘Made for Love’ Boss Makes the Most of Music and Minimalism in Home Office06/10/2021
“Made for Love” showrunner Christina Lee usually prefers to write at coffee shops in her Los Angeles neighborhood because at home “there’s always some laundry to fold or toys to put away or a bed to lie down on,” she says with a laugh. So, adjusting to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic meant making big changes to her space to help her focus.
“I Marie Kondo-ed my office,” she says. “I’m someone who doesn’t like a lot of clutter to begin with, but when you have a husband, a kid, cats, that’s not always up to you. So, I made my office my sanctuary, and I got rid of anything that wasn’t 100% necessary and didn’t, as she would say, spark joy. Usually I only need my laptop or some Post-Its, so what’s in here is [here] to put me in a good headspace.
Hanging above Lee’s desk is a bulletin board filled with “mementos that trigger happy memories for me,” she says. This includes artwork by her 3-year-old daughter, Stella, as well as family photos and cartoons that Michael Showalter drew when they worked together on “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.” The photos and artwork have the most meaning, though, as Lee recalls being told early on in her career that she had to choose between motherhood and becoming a Hollywood boss. Specifically that “I would have to be OK with not having a child or having one but having someone else raise her and basically be a weekend mom,” she says. “And it’s important to me to let young women who are coming up in the business know that is not the case.”
Let’s Get Musical
Lee has a love of music that started young. She grew up playing piano and picked the habit up again over the Christmas holiday, when she got a keyboard. With her desk against one wall in her office and the keyboard against the wall directly across from her desk, she can easily slide her chair between the two as needed to stimulate the different parts of her brain. Playing the keyboard not only evokes nostalgic memories — she says that her current go-to performances are of “Moonlight Sonata” and the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?”, which were her high school standards — but it also “quiets my brain,” she says. “When I’m playing I’m only focused on that, so it’s a big stress reliever for me.”
Listening While She Works
Music is such an essential part of Lee’s writing process that she makes character-specific soundtracks for her various projects. With “Made for Love,” she also made a soundtrack for the two central locations in the show: the hub and the desert. Much of the music she listened to while writing ended up in the show, she points out, from Weyes Blood to Orville Peck and Tim Heidecker. But just because this is a practical part of her process doesn’t mean Lee doesn’t want it to serve a greater artistic aesthetic, so she made sure to snatch up stylish Bluetooth speakers from Bang & Olufsen.
Lee collects and displays Kat and Roger ceramics all around her house. Some are just “aesthetically pleasing” art pieces, while others serve functions, such as holding her pencils. She is the first in line when they have secret flash sales at their Glassell Park studio, which is in walking distance from her house. “The first time I went, I bought more than I could carry home and had to call my husband and say, ‘You have to meet me because I bought too much!’” While she is “in love” with their designs, she also feels a connection to Roger. “Roger is Korean and I think I feel a kinship with any Korean who’s around the same age doing something creative. It’s not an easy path just because of how we were raised and what the Korean parent-approved professions are,” she explains.
Before Lee met her husband, she says her top five “deal breakers” in a relationship included “somebody who had a cat.” But he had two: Spike and Zusy. “Nearly 10 years later and a bunch of allergy shots later, I will say I’m a bona fide cat lady,” she says. Thirteen-year-old brothers Spike and Zusy have provided Lee and her family extra comfort in the time of COVID. “They’re always around,” she says, noting that they often walk across her computer while she’s writing. Now the question is if she can add a dog into the mix of the fur family. While she doesn’t think Spike and Zusy would like it, she admits she finds herself “scrolling through Petfinder at night like it’s Tinder.
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