The Daily Grind: My Life as a Production Designer

People assume that when you work for the film and TV industry, you’re either an actor, a director, or an assistant. I currently work as a production designer–and being one is no easy task.

Image source: filmmakeriq.com

Being a production designer means working for the art department. Together with other production designers and consultants, I help in conceptualizing a film, TV, or theater production.

My role at a certain project starts during pre-production. I meet with directors, director of photography, and scriptwriters to create a strategic visual backdrop for each scene. After this has been established, production designers will go into research and design. How does a salon in the 1950s look like? What were fashion trends during the Motown era? These details are important to make a set believable. After we’re done with the research, we come up with a stage or set plan for the art department. The rest of the art department will materialize this vision that we came up with.

As a production designer, I work long hours. There’s no such thing as a 9-to-5 shift. I also travel a lot, if the script or if the design I made requires me to. Most production designers have finished a degree in architecture, technical theater arts, fine arts, or interior design.

Do you think you have what it takes to be a production designer? The work may be tough, but it’s all worth it.

Image source: freshtvinc.com

David Berkowitz here, a Chicago Bulls fan and production designer for indie films. Know more about my love for basketball and filmmaking when you follow me on Twitter.

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