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Photography by Mr Spencer Lowell | Words by Ms Jodie Harrison

Residing in a cinematic 1960s house on the infamous Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles, Mr Bill Damaschke, 47, has an enviable office setting. "I get to work from home pretty often," he says. "The view helps with inspiration, although right now I seem to be spending most of my time in the air, flying back and forth to London to oversee the running of our theatrical production of Shrek."

Tell us about your house and work space.
It was built in 1962 by an architect called John Lautner, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. In the 1940s and 1950s he did a lot of Frank Lloyd Wright type houses and then he broke off and started doing his own work which was much more sculptural with lots of glass and concrete. In terms of southern Californian architects he's not one of the biggest or most prolific ones. I think he was quite difficult and he built odd houses that were unique, and he never repeated himself. Later in his life he became very famous and much loved in southern California.
How long have you lived there?
About eight years. When we got the house it had been poorly remodelled by many owners over many years and it needed to be completely restored. We worked with architects that specialise in mid-century modern restorations and renovations. It took us two years to do the major amount of work. We starting landscaping and put a pool in last year, so we've been working on the house over a long period of time.
Does the house have a name?
We bought the house from the actor Vincent Gallo. It's called the Garcia House because the original owner was Russ Garcia. He was a Hollywood musician and jazz trombone player, and he wrote the score for the original Time Machine from 1960. He also did a lot of arrangements for Judy Garland and Julie London and other singers back then.

THE DETAILS


WEEKEND READING
"Every weekend we get a sack of new development projects, look through them and meet on Monday at 8.30am to talk over what we have read. It's full on but I try to take one weekend day off if I can"
PHOTOGRAPH
"This picture of the house was taken by Julius Shulman. He was probably one of the biggest architectural photographers in California. He photographed the house several times - and lived just down the block"
VINTAGE TELEPHONE
"I like adding unexpected colour to a setting. The house has windows in red, lavender, purple and orange. It's interesting in a house filled with neutral stones and lava rock that it can support splashes of colour like that"
COFFEE TABLE AND CHAIRS
"These tables are from a designer in New York called Silas Seandel. He does a lot of metal sculptural furniture. We got those chairs in a consignment store in Palm Springs and had them recovered"
THE EXTERIOR
An outside view of Garcia House, Los Angeles, designed by the American architect Mr John Lautner in the early 1960s
Do you do the majority of your work from your home?
When I'm home that's where I work - whether it's in the early morning, at night or on the weekends. When I'm on the road I do a lot of work through my iPad. I have a ZAGGmate, which is a keyboard that is also a protective case. It creates a laptop feel and the Bluetooth keyboard turns it into a full-on computer.
Where did your interest in animation come from?
I've always loved animation and as a kid was interested in Walt Disney both from the animation and movie side and also the empire he created. I started my career as an actor originally. I lived in New York and then Los Angeles. When I lived in New York I mainly did musicals, but I knew deep down that I wanted to produce or direct. I then got a job at Disney and worked on the movie Pocahontas. As that happened, DreamWorks opened and I got a job as a PA in the production office. I've worked for DreamWorks ever since.
How would you describe your interior style aesthetic? Mid-century?
That came with the house. My partner and I owned a Spanish house before that, so we never were obsessed with mid-century modern design. We have embraced lots of different styles. I think we like things that are interesting and done well.
Does your aesthetic interest stretch to your wardrobe?
I live in California so I wear jeans a lot and I work in an artistic environment, so it's not dressy. I appreciate well-designed clothes.
How long have you been working on Shrek the Musical?
We've been working on it for about six years. The first conversation we had about it was with Sam Mendes - it really was his idea. His production company, Neal Street Productions, came to see us before Shrek 2 came out back in 2004 to talk about it and we started to put the team together to develop it.
What's next on your agenda?
I also work on the animated movies, and next in line is the Puss in Boots movie that comes out in November, which tells the origins of the character. I have two movies out next year and three movies the year after that. Right now we have nine movies in production. I like to keep busy.
Which project have you been most proud of?
I think probably the movie that came out last year called How to Train Your Dragon: it was one of the best reviewed movies of last year and went on to be nominated for two Academy Awards. I'm proud of all the movies because they're huge accomplishments, but because that one was a very different film for DreamWorks to make, it stands out.
What's the best part of your job?
For me it's getting to work with the smartest, funniest, most creative people in the world. The writers, directors and artists at DreamWorks are just crazy talented.

Shrek the Musical is now on at Theatre Royal, London.
shrekthemusical.com

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