"It had to be pink -- the obvious color choice for Regina," Waters says. The other idea that immediately sprung to mind was that the Burn Book had to look like a yearbook so that it could sit covertly on the shelf, eluding parental detection. Then came filling the book with words, images, and designs that would evoke that would take bullying to a new, but cheerful level. Waters remembers his prop master's design breakthrough: "He said, 'Let's make it look like those kidnapping videos.'"
What followed was a series of off-the-cuff photography sessions that could be combined with the Burn Book's creepy pages to create something that could earn the name "Burn Book." Cary White, the production designer on Mean Girls, says he learned everything he knows about teenage girls from photographing the bedroom of Jamie Lee Curtis's daughter, who he and Waters met on the set of Freaky Friday, their previous movie. Wall photos became an inspiration for what wound up in the book. "The faces in the book… there were all these extras, some in featured roles, and you do a photo session with those folks, not professional -- the right camera, and sometimes terrible light."