Friday, September 5, 2014

Going A Little More In Depth: Production Designer

Last semester I had the privilege to be a producer for a student film called "Black Butterfly". I really enjoyed that position. I was able to use my organizational skills, creativity, and passion to create an awesome film. I have decided to go out into the world and learn another position to gain more experience and knowledge. I have been thinking about working as a Production Design. I feel that I have a keen eye for designing, decoration and layouts. So I have done a little research and decided to share it with you all!

Production designers are responsible for the visual concept of a film, television or theatre production. They realise a design style for sets, locations, graphics, props, lighting, camera angles and costumes, while working closely with the director and producer.

Once the concept is decided, designers usually appoint and manage an art department, which includes a design and construction team. They often form a strong partnership with a particular director with whom they may work on many productions.

Designers tend to specialise in either film, television or theatre, although there may be some overlap. In the theatre, production designers are also called stage or set designers.

Typical work activities

Most production designers work as freelancers and so an important part of their work is marketing their skills and experience, making contacts and briefing agents. First tasks usually include clarifying the brief and agreeing a suitable fee and timescale, which is sometimes done by an agent. After this, work activities might then include:
-reading scripts to identify factors indicating a particular visual style;
-considering the production brief, which may be written or oral;
-meeting the producer and director to discuss concepts and production requirements;
-researching art history, background politics, historical information and producing design ideas;
-planning and monitoring the design budget;
-providing scale drawings or models for studio or theatre sets;
-producing design ideas for costumes, wigs, props, special effects, make-up and graphics;
-identifying and assessing potential studios and locations;
-sourcing appropriate materials and researching effects;
-presenting ideas to others involved in the production, such as actors and camera operators;
-researching, estimating and preparing a property list;
-hiring and managing an art department team or teams (depending on the size of the production);
-instructing the set construction company, scenic artists and special effects specialists, and monitoring    their work;
-liaising with the costume designer and the director of photography, as well as the props, lighting and sound directors;
-attending progress meetings, rehearsals and filming to advise on visual presentation.

I will definitely have to study these people and their work!

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