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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Sep. 5, 2018 1 week ago

Oprah drama series filming near DPHS

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The Oprah Winfrey Network is filming its drama series, “David Makes Man.”
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

If you’ve driven by Dr. Phillips High School recently, you may have noticed a large apartment complex on the school’s north campus and near the Orange Tree Community. That complex is actually a set for the Oprah Winfrey Network’s drama series, “David Makes Man.”

Dr. Phillips has been chosen as a filming location for the new drama series, which is slated to air 2019. Access to the DPHS north campus will be blocked, and cars will not be allowed in that area on filming days. Additionally, the show will be needing a variety of students as extras throughout the filming process. Details on casting can be found on the DPHS website, the school’s principal Dr. Suzanne Knight wrote in a newsletter.

“David Makes Man” tells the coming-of-age tale of a 14-year-old prodigy from a government housing project in Homestead, Florida. The show was created by Academy Award-winning writer/producer Tarell Alvin McCraney, who will be an executive producer of the show. The drama series also is inspired by events in McCraney’s own life. The apartment-complex set near DPHS is the housing project where the show’s protagonist, David, lives, said Line Producer Wayne Morris, of Warner Horizon Scripted Television. 

“David lives in the government housing, but he actually is very gifted and he actually is bused to a different school in a high-rent neighborhood,” Morris said. “The juxtaposition of those worlds is a big part of the story. The story is really about the different people David has to be all at the same time, and in that, it’s very relatable to anybody.”

Morris said other scenes for the show also will be filmed in South Florida and in other parts of Central Florida. He also said he’s filmed many projects in Central Florida in the last 20 years and has even filmed scenes in the Orange Tree community before. One of the reasons why he chose to film in the area — aside from the fact that the show is set in Florida — is because of the environment.

“You get very different weather formations (in Florida),” Morris said. “The clouds are like nowhere else. You can predict what time of day things are going to happen (with) great accuracy. For instance, thunderstorms in the summer and so forth. … It becomes another character of the project.”

Wherever Morris films a project, he likes to reach out and give back to the local community. One of the ways he gives back is through partnering with schools to give students opportunities to experience what it’s like to make a television show. Casting students as extras is just one of those opportunities, Morris said. 

“When I do a show, I give back in the community in a way that, I hope, has a strong impact,” Morris said. He later added, “I love to go and talk to kids about how it is possible to achieve this sort of Hollywood dream. It’s just about starting. And to that end, we offer a lot of opportunities for exposure to the set … we offer a lot of opportunities for them to come on the set and be extras so they can really get a sense of it.”

Morris said the show will be filming through Dec. 18 and added it will not impact school activity.

Eric Gutierrez is a staff writer with the West Orange Times & Observer and Windermere Observer. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2015 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science. Got a story idea? Contact Eric at...

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