Prom (the movie) at Home in My School
There's a reason the sets for the movie Prom looked so realistic. That’s because it was filmed at a real life school and not on a set. It was filmed at my school, John Burroughs Middle School, in Los Angeles, California.
Director Joe Nussbuam told me there are two reasons for filming at an actual school rather than building a set. The first was to intentionally give the film a realistic feel. Also, it’s cheaper!
Prom was filmed in Los Angeles, but is set on the East Coast. John Burroughs Middle School, unlike most other L.A. schools, has an old-fashioned brick layout and earthy color scheme that fits with East Coast style.
“John Burroughs is a beautiful school,” Nussbaum said. “It just makes the movie feel more real.”
John Burroughs students reaped some benefit from having the movie film there over the summer months. The school was paid and the money was used to directly help students at the school.
That wasn’t the only perk, either. John Burroughs students who take drama class and/or have exceptional grades were able to attend a special early screening of the movie. Disney even gave out Rolos and candy necklaces as seen in the film.
I also attended the screening. As the producer predicted in his introduction, there were claps and cheers at every familiar hallway, staircase, and exterior shot.
There was also a funny moment of revelation for some students: a particular locker (clue word: Kranton) design was left in the school. Our lockers aren’t used, so it was a mystery what this one strange locker was doing in our hallways.
Someone finally figured out how to open it. Every single photo and fake binder from the movie was left in there. When the scene came along, people who remembered the mystery locker were caught between laughing and thinking aloud “OH! That’s what that was!”
Prom was shot over summer break, so no class schedules were interrupted. However, the film has definitely made a lasting mark on our student body. We’re all still talking about it!
PHOTO: Nolan Sotilo and Cameron Monaghan on the set of Prom in the hallway of John Burroughs Middle School, in Los Angeles, California. (PHOTO: Richard Forman Jr., SMPSP © Disney Enterprises Inc. All Rights Reserved)