I have been given a task to produce a set design which is based on the film called, "Little Shop of Horrors." As the set design is very important within theatres I am expected to create a stage which meets all of the requirements of the film as well as 1950's New York. During the process of organising an outstanding stage for an audience, I will be noting down key aspects of my planning. This includes the production of the design and as much research as possible. Also, it is essential to communicate with all members of my group and sharing new ideas. I will ensure that my ideas are original and I am asking opinions from my teacher and client. I am looking forward to creating an exciting design for the stage and an outcome I can proudly reflect on.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Interview with Production Designer

A professional production designer was interviewed who had been working in theatre, film and television since 1990.

What interested you in production designing?
I loved the theatre as a child when I saw the first pantomime. When I realised I had the ability for art it made sense to become a theatre designer.

What problems did you encounter?
It was highly competitive industry. You have to be really ambitious and skilled to succeed. Also, you work on a self employed freelance basis. This means if you don’t have a job that month you don’t get paid. You’re responsible for generating your own work. You have to be disciplined with cash flow.

What qualifications did you take?
Have to have an aptitude for Art design. Helps to be interested in history as you have to be able to look at the past and design historical detail. You must be strong in 3D design. Before I qualified I took a foundation course in art. Then I continued on BA degree in theatre design. Finally I qualified MA in film and television design. 

How much do you get paid?
The pay is very good in film and television especially commercial work. Commercial work a designer can get over £500 a day! As its freelance you only get paid for the days you work. So you balance periods of unemployment.

How do you deal with the stress of looking for work?
You have to network meaning you find yourself agents as they help you find work. They will take a percentage of your income as a fee. You make sure you socialise with people in the business.

The pros and cons of being a designer?
Good- extremely varied you’re always doing different tasks. It’s very creative and the pay is good especially when you are head of department. You can travel around the world such as Spain staying in nice hotels.
Challenging parts of working- very high levels of responsibility and stress. Also, dealing with tight budgets can be tough and meeting deadlines.  Job insecurity- you never know what your next job will be. It’s very demanding that it may take over personal family life. 

Have you ever been criticised about your work?
Once it was a technical issue about sightlines. You have to make sure the entire audience can see the action on stage.

What is it like showing your work to an audience?
It’s very exciting especially some nights when you sit in the audience and get a very positive audience reaction as they applause because of the set design. You realise that you have a significant impact on how much the audience enjoys and understands the performance.

What do you think is the most important skill as a product designer?
Communication- you must be able to communicate your visual ideas to a large amount of people.

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